Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Steven L. Barfuss


Electromagnetic flowmeters (known as magnetic flow meters) are a widely used type of flowmeter. The accuracy of magnetic flow meters are a function of several factors, not the least of which is the flow condition inside the pipe. It has been shown that disturbances in the velocity profile affects the accuracy of a magnetic flow meter (Luntta, 1998). Accordingly, manufacturers of magnetic flow meters give installation guidelines. These guidelines help prevent the user from installing the meter in a pipe configuration that is likely to cause the meter to produce inaccurate results. Although most manufacturers provide recommendations about the amount of straight pipe that is necessary upstream of the meter, little is said about the orientation of the meter in relation to upstream disturbances.

This study examines the performance of magnetic flow meters when positioned at two different orientations: EIP (electrodes in plane with an upstream 90-degree short radius elbow) and EOP (electrodes out of plane). Four different meters were included in the study in which a baseline straight pipe test was first performed using over fifty diameters of straight pipe upstream of each meter. The straight pipe test was used to determine the baseline accuracy of each of the meters over a velocity range that is typical for the size and function of the meters. Meters were then installed at five different locations downstream from a 90-degree short-radius elbow. At each location the meters were tested in two orientations at five different flow rates.

The intent of the research is to show that the orientation of a magnetic flow meter affects the meter’s ability to produce accurate flow readings when it is installed downstream of a flow disturbance. The results from this research showed a significant shift in measurement accuracy when the meter was in EIP and EOP orientations. All of the meters in the study produced accuracy readings at one point of another that were outside the specified accuracy from the meter manufacturer. Interestingly, the meters that had a larger manufacturer specified accuracy produced smaller shifts in accuracy when comparing the test results under EIP and EOP conditions. The results of the research are given in the section entitled “Results and Discussion” as well as in the Appendix A.