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Mechanisms of Vortex Oscillation in a Fluidic Flow Meter

By: Mohammed Al-Muqbel and Peshala Gamage | Mentor: Dr. Hansen Mansy


Flow meters are devices capable of measuring the amount of fluid transported through piping networks. Example applications include accurate measurements of flow in chemical processing plants and fluid consumption by end-users (e.g. water, fuel, natural gas, etc.) by customers, which is a core issue in fluid-handling engineering. Some flow meters contain no moving parts (Royle and Boucher 1972), which is desirable since moving parts wear over time, leading to compromised meter accuracy. The meter investigated in this study contains no moving parts, and its operation relies on oscillations induced by the fluid flow through the meter. In this project, the mechanism of the underlying flow-induced oscillations was investigated both experimentally and using computer simulations. Measurements showed that the oscillating frequency was a linear function of the flow rate, which implies that the oscillating cycle corresponds to a fixed amount of fluid irrespective of the flow rate (Mansy and Williams 1989). This mechanism makes the device a good fit as a totalizing meter since by counting the number of cycles, the total amount of fluid consumed can be determined. The computer model was validated using experimental measurements. The model results showed that fluid oscillations tended to be weaker at low Reynolds numbers, which will help determine the useful working range of the device.

KEYWORDS: flow meter, fluids, engineering, oscillation, frequency, simulation, experiment, cycles, device

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