What is a Turbine Flow Meter?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 24 May 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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A turbine flow meter is a measurement device for calculating the flow rate of fluids and some types of gases through plumbing. It consists of a rotating turbine mounted inside the plumbing that turns as the fluid or gas pushes against it on the way through, providing a measurement of how fast the materials are moving. Turbine flow meters are useful in a wide variety of settings, and a number of companies make a range, with special designs for particular applications.

The turbine flow meter usually consists of a unit set into the plumbing. The diameter of the unit can vary to make sure it fits into the plumbing, and it may be made from metal or plastic. Some flow meters are capable of handling high-viscosity fluids or very high pressures. The device usually performs best when the flow is steady, without pulsations, and it can return inaccurate measurements at low flow rates or when fluid just starts moving into the plumbing.

It is necessary to install an upstream filter above the turbine flow meter. This keeps debris and impurities away from the filter. They could damage the blades of the turbine and cause inaccurate measurements. Periodic recalibration is also advisable to confirm that the meter is working properly. A technician can do this on site, or a meter can be sent to the manufacturer for maintenance.


This is an example of a mechanical flow meter, measuring flow rates with the use of mechanical components. The turbine flow meter can provide analog and digital readouts in a variety of measuring units to meet the needs of a given application. It is also possible to use remote sensing to feed the readout to another location. This can be useful for monitoring performance from a central command room. The devices can also trigger alarms when flow enters a danger zone and the system needs attention from a technician.

Hardware stores sometimes carry very basic flow meters. It is also possible to order them through supply catalogs or manufacturers. For special applications, it can be a good idea to contact a manufacturer to discuss how the device will be used and get advice on the best models for a given situation. Manufacturers may be willing to make custom flow meters to meet specific customer needs. Costs for custom turbine flow meter models are higher, but they will perform more safely and accurately, making them a good investment in the long term.



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