Ultrasonic Flow Measurement with Doppler Technologie

Doppler flow meters measure flow from outside a pipe with a strap-on sensor. Greyline Doppler meters continuously transmit high frequency sound (640 kHz) that travels through the pipe wall and into the flowing liquid. Sound is reflected back to the sensor from solids or bubbles in the fluid. If the fluid is in motion, the echoes return at an altered frequency proportionate to flow velocity. Doppler flow meters continuously measure this frequency shift to calculate flow.

The Doppler effect was first documented in 1842 by Christian Doppler, an Austrian physicist. We hear everyday examples of Doppler: the sound of a train whistle changing pitch as it passes by, or the exhaust noise from a race car as it speeds past our location.

The Doppler technique only works on liquids which contain solids or gas bubbles to reflect its signal. These are "difficult" liquids that may damage regular flow meters: slurries, sludge, wastewater, abrasives, viscous and corrosive chemicals. Because the sensor mounts on the outside of the pipe, there is no pressure drop and no obstruction to flow.

For best performance Doppler sensors should be mounted away from turbulence creating devices like pipe elbows and tees, and away from velocity increasing devices like controlling valves and pumps. Typical accuracy is ±2% of full scale.

Doppler instruments include a strap-on sensor, connecting cable and an electronics enclosure which can be mounted at a convenient location nearby (within 500 ft / 152 m). Sensors can be rated intrinsically safe for mounting in hazardous-rated locations.