How Do Magnetic Pulse Water Meters Work?

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How Do Magnetic Pulse Water Meters Work?
Water is a conductor and its flow can be measured with a magnetic field. (close up of flowing water drops falling into water tank image by sasha from

Magnetic pulse water meters, also known as electromagnetic flow meters or mag meters, apply Faraday's Principle of Induction to the measurement of water flow through a pipe. These meters work for any liquid that is conductive.

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Faraday's Principle of Induction

Faraday's Principle of Induction has been most commonly used in the design of electric generators. This principle says that the movement of a conductor --- including water --- through a magnetic field will generate an electric current proportional to the rate of movement. As the conductor moves faster, the current increases.

Applying Faraday's Principle to Water Flow

Electromagnetic flow meters create a magnetic field around a section of insulated pipe. As charged particles in the water flow through the magnetic field in the pipe, the field forces the positively and negatively charged particles to opposite sides of the pipe. The flow of these charged particles through the magnetic field generates an electric current that is measured by electrodes in the pipe. Because the strength of the magnetic field and the distance between the electrodes are known constants, the meter can calculate the proportional rate of flow of the liquid.

Pulsed Magnetic Field

The electrochemical properties of the water can create interference voltage at the electrodes, affecting flow measurements. Pulsing, or periodically reversing, the magnetic field reduces this interference voltage and increases the accuracy of flow measurements.

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