How ABB Flow Meters Regulate Steam Flow for Power Plants

How ABB Flow Meters Regulate Steam Flow for Power Plants

Some power plants today utilize steam to create electricity. Steam requires heated water, and the source is often from nuclear energy. Industrial steam can be under intense pressure, and it’s very important to regulate the flow of steam for the plant to operate safely and effectively. This is where ABB flow meters that work with vortex technology come into play. Here is how vortex flow measurement works.

Basic Principle

Hundreds of years ago, Leonardo Da Vinci noticed that when water flowed through a given medium, it created vortices. A vortex is a small whirlpool that acts like a whirlwind or tiny tornado. Centuries later, a man named Von Carmen came up the with the principle of flowing water vortices, and today it’s called the Von Karmen Effect.

The Von Karmen Effect states that when you partially block or inhibit the flow of liquid or gas, it forms vortices as it passes by the bluff body. In fact, the vortices formed are in direct relation to the flow of the fluid. By counting the vortices, it’s possible to determine the rate of flow. This is the basic principle behind equipment like vortex ABB flow meters.

How it Works

A vortex meter is quite simple in design. It requires a partial obstruction inside the meter. As gas or fluid flow, vortices form. The vortices then pass through a mechanical sensor, and they form on alternate sides of the obstructing body. This creates both high and low-pressure zones (called the Karmen Vortex Street). The pressure differences are reflected in the vortices as they pass the sensor, so it moves from side to side and transmits this information to a computerized control.


Vortex ABB flow meters can work under high vibrations with no adverse effects. They are not hard to install and have very few moving parts, making them durable and reliable.

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