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What are the Major Applications of a Positive Displacement Flow Meter?

Flow meters come in various categories, and it’s upon the plant manager to decide which flow meter is suitable for a particular application of the flow system. This article will look at positive displacement types of flow meters and their different applications. If you have no expertise in choosing proper flow meters for your flow system or industrial process, Proteus will guide you to pick one. We provide high-quality flow meters for all kinds of flow systems and industrial applications. 

Let’s now look at the positive displacement type of flow meters in detail to understand what they offer. 

Functions of Positive Displacement Flow Meters 

Positive displacement flow meters are popularly used to measure flow rate in flow systems that use high viscous, dirty fluids. The pipeline where positive displacement flow meters are used doesn’t necessarily have to be straight like other flow meters. These types of flow meters are utilized in various flow measurement types that require high precision, including:

  • Chemical dosing or injection 
  • Pharmaceutical applications
  • Hydraulic testing 
  • Residential water 
  • Custody transfer of gasoline fuels
  • Gas metering 
  • Oil hydraulics

Although it is designed to measure high viscous dirty fluids, if you want your flow meter to last longer and measure flow accurately, it is advisable to use clean, non-corrosive, and non-erosive fluids.

Benefits of Positive Displacement Flow Meters 

  • Low maintenance 
  • Good accuracy
  • Long life
  • High repeatability and excellent accuracy
  • Upstream conditions don’t affect the accuracy 
  • Upstream piping doesn’t need to be straight 
  • Works well with high viscosity fluids
  • Pulsing flow does not affect its accuracy because it has little sensitivity to uneven flow distribution in the pipe 
  • Good Turndown ratio
  • Can directly read outflow in volumetric unit 

Examples of positive displacement flow meters include Oscillating Piston Flow Meter and Nutating Disc Flow Meter. 

Shortcomings of Positive Displacement Flow Meters 

  • Positive displacement flow meters are usually heavier and more expensive in large pipe diameter than differential pressure flow meters. 
  • PD flowmeters are only available for applications that use higher viscosity fluids. 
  • Due to leakage in the internal sealing surface, these flow meters are not ideal for very low viscosity liquid or gas.
  • Inertia may damage the moving in PD flowmeters when a sudden change occurs in the flow system.
  • Flow meters that use extreme conditions require regular calibration, which raises the cost of maintenance. 
  • Construction materials are prone to corrosion, and moving parts can wear and tear. 
  • They are not ideal flow meters for sticky, abrasive liquids.
  • It may cause pulsation inflow.

Other flow Meter Types 

Mass Flow Meters – These types of flow meters are recommended in flow systems that measure fluids and gas substances that need high accuracy levels and chemical reactions in heat transfer. The two major mass flow meters include Coriolis and thermal mass flow meters. Compared to thermal mass flow meters, Coriolis measures flow more accurately. 

Differential Pressure Flow Meters – These flow meters are dominant in many industrial processes. They make up almost half of the flow meters used in the world. DP flowmeters include orifice plate, variable-area (Rotameter), pilot tube, and venturi tube flow meters. 


If you plan to install a flow meter in your application or flow system, you need to consider flow requirements factors. Flow meters are design differently to work efficiently based on the type of measured fluid. This article has expounded on the various features, applications, and benefits of positive displacement flow meters. If you are not knowledgeable about flow meters and their flow requirements, you can use it as a guide or ask Proteus flow meter experts to select guidelines. 

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