The Basics of Mass Flow Meters

By | July 12, 2022

What Are Mass Flow Meters?

Mass flow meters are gauges used to determine the flow rate of any fluid. This means that they measure how much of a substance goes through the meter within a certain period of time. This may seem obvious, but it is difficult to measure how quickly a liquid moves when it is being provided by a constant, monogenous stream. That is why mass flow meters are used, to figure out that exact measurement. There are two primary types of mass flow meters.

First, there are thermal mass flow meters. The process by which they function is two-fold: first, a “flow sensor” is heated enough that the heat transfers to the fluid going through the meter; second, the fluid carries this heat through the meter. How quickly the heat transfers to the end is the resulting flow rate.

There is a second form of mass flow meter called the Coriolis flow meter. This type of meter uses the vibrations and oscillations of a pair of tubes to determine how quickly a fluid moves from one location to the next. The math behind it is not as complicated as it looks, just plug in the known numbers of the experiment to an already-solved formula and you can know exactly what rate a fluid flows at. More information can be found here.

Mass flow meters are availed for their high accuracy and general reliability in multiple fields. They are useful tools in many industries, though they do have minor flaws. The first is that temperature-based meters are vulnerable to corrosion and under-reading temperatures due to condensation when measuring gasses. Coriolis flow meters, on the other hand, are more expensive and are not available for larger pipes.

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Uses For Mass Flow Meters

These meters can be used for many things, such as calculating fluid usage statistics, testing for potential leaks, or checking the quality of the fluid. Many mass flow meters manufacturers often promote specific utilities for their meters, as well as inform customers of their models’ limitations.

By measuring the flow rate, and then checking for how long said rate has been active, one can determine the amount of fluid used in any given span of time for any given fluid being measured. This can apply to water, gasoline, and even carbon emissions.

If the flow rate changes, usually by increasing, for no discernable reason there may be a leak somewhere, causing the fluid to be less compressed and therefore easier to move. Leak detection can help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in homes or could simply help find faulty plumbing.

Each variety of fluid should also have its own flow rate. Oil moves slower than water, and fluids full of impurities may flow at different rates when compared to more fine materials. General viscosity measurements may fail when the fluid doesn’t hold up to the standard, so mass flow meters can help detect whether or not impurities are present.

To elaborate further, these meters can be used to check air or water quality in particular. As indicated at, a number of pollutants suffuse the air. Each of these chemicals has somewhat different attributes, such as density and their reaction to heat. Another factor that differentiates them all is flow rate, which means testing for that with a meter is a good way of ensuring better air quality.

Chemists also use mass flow meters for their experiments and calculations. When a fluid must be added to a mixture at a specific rate as to not cause an unwanted reaction, or when they want to study how a certain combination of fluids may change the flow rates of both, these meters are essential to the process.

For more personal use, mass flow meters can even be used in automobile maintenance or construction to help check emissions. If a car running for x amount of time produces emissions that flow at y rate, and y is larger than can be tolerated, then you know you need to fix something in your build.


Mass flow meters are useful tools for multiple purposes and are an industry staple. In discerning hands, they can be used to measure any number of things and can be the first step toward mitigating future problems. Engineers, environmentalists, chemists, and more all uses mass flow meters in their everyday operations. Proper research and diligence are necessary, of course. Do not expect to know how to use one of these right off the bad with no prior reading, and always ensure to follow proper safety protocol and usage instruction. Manufacturers tend to include instruction manuals with their products, so be sure to read those thoroughly if you do not want to suffer unforeseen consequences. That said, do utilize your meter well, for whatever endeavor you seek to complete.