Install The Right Fluid-Straightening Device To Correct Fluid Distortions

Fluid distortions located close to or upstream of flow meters can cause reading errors as high as 50 percent. One of the best ways to correct these issues is by installing fluid-straightening devices. If you're a project manager charged with resolving reading errors caused by obstructions in metering pipelines, here's a guide to some of the most common fluid-straightening devices.

Fluid-Straightening Devices Reduce Swirls

All fluid straightening devices aim to accomplish the same goal: straighten the flow of fluid in a metering pipeline system.

Just as water flowing past a log or rock in a river swirls, fluid in metering pipeline forms eddies and gushes within the piping. This creates surges and lulls as the fluid flows inconsistently through the pipes, which make it difficult to get accurate readings at flow meters.

Fluid-straightening devices reduce the number of swirls in a pipeline by straightening the flow of the fluid through the piping. They remove the eddies and gushes, so meters can get more consistent readings

Flow Conditioners Counteract Distortions

Fluid conditioners work by creating small swirls that flow in the opposite direction of those created by the obstruction. When the two vortices meet, they cancel each other out.

Compare to other fluid-straightening devices, flow conditioners have three distinct advantages:

  • they maintain pressure in piping
  • they come in small sizes, so they can be put in narrow pipes
  • they're easy to install

Often, these straightening devices are welded to the side of a pipe, which is why they're easy to install. All you need to do is order a flow conditioner that's already welded to a section of pipe, and then replace a panel of your current piping with that section.

Zanker-Type Straighteners Are Inexpensive

Zanker-type straighteners use perforated plates to standardize a fluid's flow. As the fluid in a pipeline goes through the plates, which have specifically sized holes and are angled, the fluid is channeled into a single stream,

These fluid-straightening devices, which were patented in 1970, have been used in the metering pipeline industry for decades because they're inexpensive. Klaus Zanker's design reduces the length of meter tube that's required, which shortens the overall amount of piping needed. Because less piping is needed, you'll be able to save on both installation and metering pipeline repair if you use Zanker-type straighteners.

Etoile Straighteners Provide Precise Flows

Etoile straighteners use plates that are situated in a star-like pattern to control fluid's motion by equalizing static pressure. Because the star pattern equalizes pressure in a radial manner, it controls the fluid's flow from all sides. This provides a greater amount of control than the other systems that use plates or swirls which control one side of the fluid at a time.

Thus, etoile straighteners are some of the most precise fluid-straightening devices available. They're best reserved for metering pipeline systems that require extremely accurate measurements.

Like flow conditioners, etoile straighteners can be installed by replacing an existing section of pipe with a new panel that has the star-shaped metal pieces pre-welded to it. It may take several adjustments, however, to calibrate etoile straighteners because they're more precise than the other devices.

If you're having trouble with inaccurate readings, talk with a metering pipeline repair service about installing one of these fluid-straightening devices. There's a good chance the flow meters' errors are a result of upstream obstructions in your piping, and one of these straighteners could solve your problems. Whether a flow conditioner, Zanker-type straightener or Etoile straightener is best for your system will depend on your needs. A repair service will be able to help you assess the issue and choose the most appropriate straightening device.