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The Evolution of Flowmeters to the start of the Atomic Age

The Evolution of Flowmeters to the start of the Atomic Age
27/03/2020

From the simplicity of Michael Faraday to the complexity of modern electronics, flowmeters have moved with the times and provide an accurate reflection of industrial progress. Most meters now used began, or finished, their main development by 1945.

The Nilometer is a well-documented type of meter alluding to it’s earliest known form. There must have been prototypes of this beforehand, definitely on a less grand scale. Maybe a brick left in a river bed allowed a local observer to draw a conclusion about the state of the water. That would have pre-dated the Nilometer by hundreds of years. What is certain is that they were very visual devices. Someone had to look at the meter itself to know the state of flow.

Leonardo da Vinci, in 1510 or so, observed the eddies trailing the bluff bodies of bridge piers. The frequency of shedding of the vortices is proportional to the flow rate. This physical action is exploited by the Vortex Flowmeter, first commercially available from Eastech in 1969.

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