Calibration of Laminar Flow Meters for Process Gases

Published: June 01, 2012


John D. Wright, Thiago Cobu, Robert F. Berg, Michael R. Moldover


We calibrated three models of commercially-manufactured, laminar flow meters (LFMs) at four pressures (100 kPa, 200 kPa, 300 kPa, and 400 kPa) with five gases (N2, Ar, He, CO2, and SF6) over a 10:1 flow range using NIST’s primary flow standards as references. We combined three items: (1) the calibration data acquired with N2, (2) gas-property data from NIST’s database REFPROP 9.0, and (3) a physical model for each LFM that accounts for the effects of viscosity, entrance and exit effects, gas expansion, gas non-ideality, and slip. This combination predicted the calibrations for the flow of Ar, He, CO2, and SF6 with a maximum error of 0.8% for Reynolds numbers Re < 500. Under these conditions, the present LFM model is approximately 3 times more accurate than conventional calibrations that plot the flow coefficient as a function of the viscosity coefficient or Re. We represented the calibration data for SF6 in the range 500 < Re < 2000 by adding an empirical quadratic function to the model for one of the LFMs.
Citation: Flow Measurement and Instrumentation
Pub Type: Journals

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laminar flow meter, calibration, gas species, gas properties, rate of rise, dynamic flow standard, gravimetric flow standard, process gases
Created June 01, 2012, Updated February 19, 2017