Advanced science.  Applied technology.


Flow Measurement Research Programs

The Metering Research Facility (MRF) conducts research programs through funding by the Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI), private companies, the U.S. government and other industry organizations. We have helped to develop technologies and standards for natural gas flow meters used around the world. The following describes research program areas supported at the MRF in addition to flow meter calibration services and natural gas measurement field services.

Ultrasonic Flow Meters

Ultrasonic flow meter research at SwRI has provided necessary test data to the American Gas Association (AGA) Transmission Measurement Committee (TMC) for the original generation and subsequent revisions of AGA Report No. 9, Measurement of Gas by Multipath Ultrasonic Meters. PRCI-funded research is guided by the PRCI Measurement Technical committee. For more information on the PRCI directed research and recent accomplishments, see the PRCI website.

Orifice Flow Meters

Originally funded by the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), the orifice meter research program began in 1989 at the MRF with the objective of solving installation effects issues and operational issues (adverse effects of abnormal operating conditions). These results have been used for modification of American Petroleum Institute (API) Chapter 14.3 (AGA Report No. 3). Current private research activities for orifice measurement are driven by specific industry test requests.

Coriolis Flow Meters

The MRF assisted the AGA TMC with the development of the first Coriolis gas flow meter standard for custody transfer applications.  AGA Report No. 11 provides guidelines for meter installation configuration, meter verification testing, and meter operation and maintenance. The publication of AGA Report No. 11 has helped Coriolis meters to gain acceptance worldwide for natural gas flow rate measurement.  

 The MRF continues to be a source for Coriolis research and development for meter manufacturers, end-users, and interested industry groups.

Turbine Flow Meters

Prior turbine meter research provided information to assist the AGA TMC with revisions to the gas turbine meter standard for custody transfer applications (AGA Report No. 7, Measurement of Gas by Turbine Meters).  Research at the MRF determined the extent and magnitude of pressure-related trends in meter calibrations and established the best division between "low" and "high" pressures for measurement uncertainty requirements in the revised standard.  The program also tested installation effects and possible bias due to meter bodies being used with different meter cartridges (i.e., cartridge change-out effects.)

Natural Gas Sampling Methods

Revisions of API Chapter 14.1, Collecting and Handling of Natural Gas Samples for Custody Transfer, of the API Manual of Petroleum Measurement Standards (MPMS) were supported by research activities conducted at the MRF for GTI, PRCI, and others.

For more information about flow measurement research programs, please contact Adam Hawley at +1 210 522 3427 or visit the Metering Research Facility.