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Flow Instrumentation

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Ultrasonic Clamp-on Meters

Ultrasonic clamp-on meters aren’t new to the flow metering world. They have been a leading meter in building design and construction, HVAC, facility and property management, water and wastewater treatment and water distribution industries for decades. As facilities managers, chief engineers, controls contractors and other key stakeholders evaluate their flow metering options, there are often a few questions that come up about ultrasonic meters. Below are five frequently asked questions and answers to help in the decision-making process.

Dynasonics® TFX-5000 ultrasonic clamp-on meter

1) How do ultrasonic clamp-on meters measure flow and what liquids do they measure?

Ultrasonic clamp-on meters measure the velocity of a fluid flowing through a pipe in one of two ways: transit time or Doppler technology. Transit time technology measures the time differential between signals sent upstream and downstream. The differential is directly proportional to the velocity of the water. Doppler technology measures the difference in sound wave frequency reflected off gas bubbles or particles in the flow stream.

Ultrasonic meters measure a wide variety of liquids, including potable water, make-up water, surface water, reclaimed water, deionized water, caustic fluids and more.

2) What range of pipe diameters can ultrasonic clamp-on meters measure?

Ultrasonic clamp-on meters fit a wide range of pipe sizes, but actual dimensions will depend on the exact brand and meter. As a point of reference, our Dynasonics® TFX-5000 ultrasonic clamp-on meter fits pipes ranging in size from ½ inch to 48 inches.

3) How do you install ultrasonic clamp-on meters?

Because of their simplistic design, ultrasonic clamp-on meters are easy to install. The meters clamp on to a pipe’s exterior, without interrupting service or having to cut into or drain the pipe. The meter never comes in contact with the internal liquid and typically can be installed and set up within an hour. Another benefit of ultrasonic clamp-on meters is that there’s no need for calibration. You can install the meter and start collecting accurate flow measurements right away.

In addition to permanent installations, ultrasonic clamp-on meters are also frequently used as temporary/portable tools to check flow on other pipes throughout a facility or to verify accuracy on other meters.

4) What maintenance do ultrasonic clamp-on meters require?

Ultrasonic clamp-on meters have no moving parts that could wear out over time or that need to be maintained. Therefore, these meters are virtually maintenance-free and have a low cost of ownership.

5) How accurate are ultrasonic clamp-on meters?

Ultrasonic clamp-on meter accuracy will vary depending on the brand and model. For reference, our Dynasonics® TFX-5000 ultrasonic clamp-on flow meter measures flow ranges from 0.07…33,000 gallons per minute with up to + 0.5% accuracy.

Want to know more about ultrasonic clamp-on meters or have a question specific to your application? Contact us to get an informed answer from our product experts.