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Coriolis flowmeters are a relatively recent entrant into the market. Although the roots of today’s Coriolis flowmeters can be traced back to the 1950s, it was not until 1977 that Micro Motion introduced a commercially viable Coriolis flowmeter for industrial applications. Since that time, a number of other suppliers have entered the market, including Endress+Hauser and KROHNE. 

The principle underlying the Coriolis flowmeter, however, dates back to 1835, when  French mathematician Gustave Coriolis showed that an inertial force needs to be taken into account when describing the motion of bodies in a rotating frame of reference. A hypothetical object thrown from the North Pole to the equator, for example, appears to vary from its intended path due to the earth’s rotation -- and this illustrates  the Coriolis force.

Learn more about New Technology Flowmeters:

Coriolis flowmeter design

Coriolis flowmeters contain one or more vibrating tubes.  These tubes are usually bent, although straight-tube meters are also available.  The fluid to be measured passes through the vibrating tubes.  It accelerates as it flows toward the maximum vibration point, and slows down as it leaves that point. This causes the tubes to twist. The amount of twisting is directly proportional to mass flow.  Position sensors detect tube positions.

Coriolis suppliers have introduced a wide variety of models and types of Coriolis flowmeters in the past 35+ years and differentiate themselves in a number of ways.  One is by the proprietary design of the bent tubes.  Another is by the different types of straight tube Coriolis flowmeters they offer.  

Suppliers also compete by bringing out Coriolis flowmeters for particular industries and applications, such as food & beverage and pharmaceutical.  Accuracy and other performance specifications are other areas of supplier differentiation.

While Coriolis flowmeters are loved by many end users, price is often an issue.  Coriolis flowmeters are the most expensive meter made, in terms of average selling price.  The average selling price of Coriolis flowmeters are between $5,000 and $6,000.  Some suppliers have introduced low-cost Coriolis flowmeters in the $3,000 range.  Performance specifications for the lower-cost flowmeters are not at the same level as those of the higher-priced meters.  However, these lower-cost meters can help satisfy the needs of users who want the essential benefits of Coriolis technology but prefer not to pay the higher price.

Coriolis flowmeters are used to measure both liquids and gases, but they do have some limitations with gas flows. Coriolis meters have an easier time measuring liquids than gases because liquids are denser than gases.

Advantages and disadvantages of Coriolis flowmeters

Advantages Disadvantages
High accuracy High initial cost
Approved for custody transfer for liquid and gas applications Becomes expensive and unwieldy in line sizes above four inches
Now available for line sizes above six inches Gas flow measurement can be difficult due to low density of gas
Can handle sanitary applications Pressure drop for bent-tube meters
Excel in line sizes of two inches and less Can have a problem measuring liquids with entrained gas
High reliability, low maintenance
Much new product development ongoing

Flow Research previously published Coriolis studies in 2001, 2003, 2008, 2013, and 2016. For further information on Coriolis meters and our detailed market reports, please visit www.FlowCoriolis.com.

Flow Research, Inc. | 27 Water Street | Wakefield, MA 01880 | (781) 245-3200 | (781) 224-7552 (fax) | (800) 245-1799 (from the USA) | info@flowresearch.com

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