Orifice Plate

Orifice Plate

The orifice plate is a metal disk with a hole in it which is inserted into the pipe carrying a flowing fluid. This hole is normally concentric with the disk. Over 50% of the instruments used in industry for measuring volume flow rate are of this type. The use of the orifice plate is so widespread because of its simplicity, cheapness and availability in a wide range of sizes. However, the best accuracy obtainable with this type of obstruction device is only 2% and the permanent pressure loss caused in the flow is very high, being between 50% and 90% of the pressure difference in magnitude.

 

Other problems with the orifice plate are a gradual change in the discharge coefficient over a period of time as the sharp edges of the hole wear away, and a tendency for any particles in the flowing fluid to stick behind the hole and gradually build up and reduce its diameter. The latter problem can be minimized by using an orifice plate with an eccentric hole. If this hole is close to the bottom of the pipe, solids in the flowing fluid tend to be swept through, and the build-up of particles behind the plate is minimal.


A very similar problem arises if there are any bubbles of vapor or gas in the flowing fluid when liquid flow is involved. These also tend to build up behind an orifice plate and distort the pattern of flow. This difficulty can be avoided by mounting the orifice plate in a vertical run of pipe.


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