Expert’s answer: Can I measure bi-directional flow using vortex flow meters?

While you can’t measure bi-directional flow using only one vortex flow meter, in some applications, you can use two for this purpose.

Before I wrote that, I looked for such a meter. I thought maybe I’ve never heard of it, but I didn’t find one. Let’s go into why.

A vortex flow meter has a bluff body before the sensor to create the vortices in the flow. As far as I know, no flow meter has two bluff bodies to measure bidirectional flow.

If you have a bi-directional steam application, then you could install two vortex flow meters in the same line as long as you respect the inlet and outlet runs for both. But depending on the size of the line, this setup may get expensive.

If you have a steam pipe bigger than four inches, you should consider an orifice plate and two multi-variable transmitters to measure your flow. It’s always crucial to analyze case by case. Maybe you can find an excellent vortex that works on bigger lines and won’t break the bank, but in general, it’ll cost more.

This video explains the vortex working principle:


If you want to read more about vortex meters, then check these articles out:

Vortex flow meters – what you need to know

If you have steam flow to measure, then you’ve heard of vortex flow meters. But do you really know how they work? Don’t worry. Everything you need to know is this article!

Preventable mistakes with vortex flow meters

Vortex flow meters are ideal for many applications, like saturated steam or flow energy management (natural gas, steam, water). In some of these cases, installation may need some expertise. Kam Bansal, the director of engineering at Sierra Instruments, has some tips for avoiding common mistakes with your vortex flow meters !


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