Transit Time Ultrasonic Flowmeter

About transit time ultrasonic flowmeter

The transit time ultrasonic flowmeter is an instrument designed for measuring the volume flow rate in clean liquids or gases. It consists of a pair of ultrasonic transducers mounted along an axis aligned at an angle 0 with respect to the fluid flow axis. Each transducer consists of a transmitter–receiver pair, with the transmitter emitting ultrasonic energy which travels across to the receiver on the opposite side of the pipe. These ultrasonic elements are normally piezoelectric oscillators of the same type as used in Doppler shift flowmeters. Fluid flowing in the pipe causes a time difference between the transit times of the beams traveling upstream and downstream, and measurement of this difference allows the flow velocity to be calculated. The typical magnitude of this time difference is 100 ns in a total transit time of 100 µs, and high-precision electronics are therefore needed to measure it.


There are three distinct ways of measuring the time shift. These are direct measurement, conversion to a phase change and conversion to a frequency change. The third of these options is particularly attractive as it obviates the need to measure the speed of sound in the measured fluid which the first two methods require. This scheme also multiplexes the transmitting and receiving functions, so that only one ultrasonic element is needed in each transducer.


Transit time flowmeters are of more general use than Doppler shift flowmeters, particularly where the pipe diameter involved is large and hence the transit time is consequently sufficiently large to be measured with reasonable accuracy. It is possible then to achieve an accuracy of ±0.5%. The instrument costs more than a Doppler shift flowmeter, however, because of the greater complexity of the electronics needed to make accurate transit time measurements.

More Flow Measurements is a participant in the Amazon Service LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to