Real Life Application: Using Ultrasonics to Measure Flow in a Buried Pipe

Real Life Application: Using Ultrasonics to Measure Flow in a Buried Pipe

On a recent visit to far North Queensland last week, we were asked to measure flow in a huge pipe, that was mostly buried underground. With a tropical storm brewing, the recording had to be done as quickly as possible without disturbing the environment.


As you can see in the picture above, the pipe was partially buried with only a small section of pipe exposed close to the pumps, and we could only guess the diameter based on some old drawings.


The dimensions of the Carbon steel pipe

were given as 48 inches (1220 mm) with a wall thickness of 6 mm. We applied the sensors to the pipe and very quickly established a good signal. However the Flexim ultrasonic flowmeter indicated an incorrect sound speed.


Without access to the full circumference of the pipe it was very difficult to measure the exact dimensions. With the aid of on board diagnostics and field experience we changed the pipe diameter to 54 inches (1375 mm). A correct sound speed was recorded and therefore an accurate flow result.


Measure Flow

The long term solution to continue to measure flow in this pipe

is to expose a longer straight section of pipe to improve accuracy. Negotiations are underway with the Shire in far North Qld to supply a fixed clamp on meter.
You can see some of our results recorded below:

measure, flow, ultrasonic, flowmeter, water, slurry, gas
Measured Transit Time


measure, flow, ultrasonic, flowmeter, sound speed, results, flowservices
Sound Speed

Find out how we can assist with your application from the team who know flow! 07 5657 9467

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