Numerical study of upstream disturbances on the performance of electromagnetic and ultrasonic flowmeters

ABSTRACT Electromagnetic and ultrasonic flowmeters are high precision devices that can measure the water flow in pressurized irrigation networks. In these networks, the inadequate installation distance of flow control valves generates upstream disturbances which will increase measurement errors and reduce the accuracy of the equipment. Therefore, estimating these errors is important to establishing the correct installation distance of the hydraulic accessories and to ensuring the metrological reliability of the flowmeters. This work proposes a numerical study using Computational Fluid Dynamics to evaluate water flow behavior in pipes and estimate measurement errors caused by gate and butterfly valves in installation configurations found at pressurized irrigation networks. The numerical simulations were made for gate (15, 50 and 75 % closed) and butterfly (open and 30º closed) valves installed three and six diameters (3D and 6D) from the flowmeters. The numerical study with three-dimensional simulation allows for evaluating the flow behavior and estimating measurement errors correctly. According to the study, the installation configurations of the gate and butterfly valves change the flow velocity profile at different positions in the pipe, generating both positive and negative measurement errors at both flowmeters. Among the tested configurations, only the butterfly valve installed 3D and 6D from the electromagnetic flowmeter ensured the measurement accuracy required by ISO 4064.