Fundamentals Of Volume Measurement Turbine Meters

Author: Kevin Tansey

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Turbine meters have been used for the custody transfer of refined petroleum products and light crude oils for over
40 years. When correctly applied, they offer high accuracy and long service life over a wide range of products and operating conditions. Traditionally turbine metes were used for the measurement of low viscosity liquids and PD meters for higher viscosities. However, new developments in turbine meter technology are pushing these application limits while increasing reliability and accuracy. This paper will examine the fundamental principles of turbine meter measurement as well as new developments including: smart preamps for real-time diagnostics, helical flow turbine meters for higher viscosity applications, higher performance flow conditioners to increase accuracy, and viscosity compensation to extend the application limits.


With the development of jet engines and liquid propellant rockets in the 1950’s, the need arose for an accurate, quick response meter that could be used on exotic fuels and oxidizers at extreme temperatures. The turbine meter met this need. It was soon applied to many other industrial flow measuring applications.

Turbine meters began to be applied extensively in the petroleum industry in the mid-1960’s. Since publication of API Standard 2534 “Measurement of Liquid Hydrocarbon by Turbine Meter Systems” in March, 1970, the turbine meter has gained broad acceptance for custody transfer of petroleum liquids such as liquefied petroleum gases (LPG’s), light distillates, and light crude oils, primarily at large petroleum storage and transfer terminals.