What is an Area Meter?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

An area meter is a device used for measuring the flow of a fluid. The device includes components that move in response to variations in flow, providing feedback about how quickly or slowly fluids are moving through the meter. Area meters are used in manufacturing, scientific experiments, and a wide variety of other settings where people need accurate information on the rate of fluid flow. With this information in hand, people can also determine the total volume of flow, looking at the rate over time.


A simple example of an area meter is the rotameter. The rotameter contains a float in a glass tube. When the flow is strong, it pushes the float up, while weaker flows allow the float to sink. The movement of the float can be used to track the rate of flow. Rotameters are sometimes built into equipment for convenience of the operator, and they can also be used independently. In this, as in other designs, the conditions inside the meter change with the flow, providing real time feedback with a high degree of sensitivity.

Manufacturers of scientific supplies and industrial equipment are good sources for flow meters. These companies typically have several models on the market, allowing people to choose between a range of products to find the one most suited to their needs. It is also possible to order a custom area meter for a specific application if there are concerns that none of the available models will be appropriate. Custom devices tend to be more expensive.

Some area meters need to be periodically calibrated. Directions for this are usually provided, or people can ship them back to the manufacturer for adjustment. It is important to calibrate when a device starts to return strange readings or errors. Over time, these problems can become more serious, leading to inaccurate readings. In cases where an area meter is part of a regulator inside a piece of machinery, this can cause equipment malfunctions.

People may also use the term “area meter” to refer to a device designed to help people measure area. These devices are used by people like surveyors and contractors to get accurate and precise area readings for spaces ranging from structures to plots of land being surveyed. They can work in a variety of ways and may account for things like changing elevations on a plot to return a scrupulously accurate area reading.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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