Oxygen Flowmeters: What They Are and How They Work

Jun 2, 2022

Oxygen Flowmeters: What They Are and How They Work

Oxygen therapy and other medical procedures require a variety of different supplies and equipment items to be administered safely and effectively. One of the most important components is an oxygen flowmeter, a device used to measure the rate at which gas flows from one place to another. These meters are essential to ensure that patients receive an accurate supply of medical gas during medical procedures or oxygen therapy.
Learn more about what a flowmeter is and how it works below.

What is a flowmeter used for?

Medical airflow meters are tools that measure the flow of medical gases from the dispensing device to the patient. They are most commonly found on oxygen tanks and oxygen concentrators.

Flowmeters measure pressure loss and are essential tools for ensuring that oxygen devices deliver an accurate prescribed flow of oxygen to a patient.

How does a flowmeter work?

Oxygen flowmeters are located either directly on the oxygen tank or are standalone devices that can be attached to gas cylinders or other gas-delivering devices. While there are several different types of gas flowmeters (discussed below), all work by using scientific principles to measure the changes in a liquid or gas as it flows from one area to another.

Different types of flowmeters

There are two different types of flowmeters: liquid and gas. Each one measures flow differently using various technologies. Some of the most common sub-flowmeter types are:

Differential pressure flowmeters

These sensors use orifice plates, nozzles or tubes to measure pressure loss as gasses pass from one end to another. Higher pressure drops indicate higher flow rates.

Ultrasonic flowmeters

On this type of meter, a transmitter sends ultrasonic waves into a pipe and back to another sensor. The frequency of the waves is affected by the movement of the fluid within the pipe, which can allow a flow rate to be determined.

Coriolis flowmeters

This meter works via a vibrating tube. Changes in gas flow causes changes in vibration frequency, thus allowing an accurate flow measurement.

Thermal flowmeters

Thermal meters use heat to measure flow rate. Temperature sensors located on the outside of the meter track the temperature of the gas as it flows through the tube or pipe.

Electromagnetic flowmeters

These meters use electromagnetic coils to create a magnetic field which changes as fluids or gases pass through a pipe. These are best used for gases and liquids that can conduct electricity.

Floating element flowmeters

One of the simplest types of flowmeters, the floating element meter, uses a float encased in a pipe. The float moves up and down as fluids or liquids are forced inside the tube, generating differential pressure. These are suitable for most types of gases.

Vortex Time flowmeters

Vortex flowmeters use the von Karman effect principle to measure flow velocity. This principle states that the flow of a liquid or gas will create a vortex as it passes a bluff body (a surface on which the front area is flat and broad). The frequency of the vortices helps determine the flow rate.

Paddlewheel flowmeters

This flow wheel depends on a small wheel located inside the device. Gas or fluid passing through the pipe move the wheel. The flow rate is determined by the speed at which the wheel spins.

Oxygen flowmeters are either located on an oxygen tank or are removable devices. Choosing the right type of flowmeter depends on what application they are being used for.

Find medical gas flowmeters at Mega Medical

Medical airflow meters are essential for many in-hospital procedures, and oxygen flowmeters are necessary for at-home oxygen therapy.

If you’re searching for medical flowmeters, be sure to visit Mega Medical to find the best one for your needs. We’re proud to be one of Australia’s leading suppliers of medical equipment, consumables and gases. Whether you’re searching for a flowmeter for your oxygen cylinder or need assistance refilling medical gas tanks, our team will be happy to help you locate any medical equipment you may require to help you provide the care your patients need.

Call us on 1300 881 824 or reach out to us online today.