Mass Flow Measurement vs Coriolis Mass Flow Meter

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The Advantages of Using an Ultrasonic Flow Meter for Mass Flow Measurement instead of a Coriolis Mass Flow Meter


Coltraco Ultrasonics is the global leader in our fields of contents monitoring of gaseous extinguishing systems and watertight/airtight integrity monitoring. We pride ourselves on the quality, reliability, and accuracy of our instruments, all made in the United Kingdom.

Our range of Ultrasonic flow meters, the Portasonic® 2.FL0 and Permaflow®, are:

  1. Accuracy and reliability tested and calibrated at an ISO 17025 certified laboratory for flow measurement in the UK, giving you the confidence that our ultrasonic flow meters will produce a reliable measurement.
  2. Built with exceptional quality materials, including a special composite material to optimise ultrasound transmission, and remain competitively priced in the market worldwide through our unique R&D position.
  3. Fitted with a built-in oscilloscope for signal diagnostics that assists you in performing a reliable measurement as part of the setting-up process.
  4. Delivered with the guarantee that technical support, advice and assistance with your application will be available throughout the lifetime of the unit.

Furthermore, the Portasonic® 2.FL0, one of the world’s leading ultrasonic flow meters, is fitted with an integrated ultrasonic thickness gauge, which allows you to perform ultrasonic thickness gauging (simple NDT testing) on the wall thickness of your pipe to look for signs of corrosion, increasing the safety and reliability of the system being measured, whilst potentially reducing maintenance costs.

Likewise, the Permaflow® system, in line with our better-faster-cheaper philosophy, features modular I/O options, which allows you to choose only what you need for your application, saving time when fitting the system, and lowering cost.

Both devices will work on a wide range of fluids and pipe materials, featuring built-in databases of over 19 fluids, and 12 pipe materials, as well as the option to input custom fluid types and pipe materials, if the speed of sound in those fluids and pipe materials is known. This information can be easily found in online databases.

Why Use an Ultrasonic Flow Meter over a Coriolis Mass Flow Meter for Mass Flow Measurement? 

Ultrasonic flow meters use two ultrasonic sensors, clamped on to the outside of the pipe with the sensor proximity at a pre-determined distance apart. Ultrasonic signal travels between the transmitters through the pipe wall and the fluid within the pipe. If the fluid is flowing, then it takes slightly longer for the ultrasound to travel against the flow (upstream time T_up) than with the flow (downstream time T_down). This very small time difference (T_up – T_down), usually only tens of nanoseconds, is measured by the ultrasonic flow meter and is directly proportional to the flow velocity (V) of the fluid. The velocity of the fluid can then be multiplied by the fluid’s density, for mass flow measurement.

By comparison, Coriolis mass flow meters measure the inertia caused by the fluid flowing through oscillating tubes. That inertia then causes the tube to twist in proportion with the mass flow rate, and this twisting is measured with sensors to generate a linear flow signal. Coriolis flow meters can only be invasively fitted to a specific range of pipe sizes for each individual meter.

What are the Benefits? 

Ultrasonic flow meters are better-faster-cheaper for mass flow measurement when compared with Coriolis mass flow meters.

  • Better: Ultrasonic flow meters are non-invasive, non-destructive, and non-disruptive. As there is no contact with the fluid being measured, there is no risk of pressure drop throughout your pipe network, and no risk of damaging your pipe network whilst installing the ultrasonic flow meter, as the installation process does not require breaking into the pipe, decreasing risk for personnel. In addition, ultrasonic flow meters can be retrofitted to a broad range of pipe sizes and are capable of matching the mass flow measurement accuracy of Coriolis flow meters under certain conditions.
  • Faster: The non-disruptive, non-invasive nature of ultrasonic flow meters, with no installation costs such as drilling into pipes, allows our ultrasonic flow meters to often be in situ more quickly than a Coriolis flow meter, with no downtime to the pipe network.
  • Cheaper: The fluid being measured cannot damage ultrasonic flow meters. This could contribute to a longer lifespan and lower maintenance costs compared to Coriolis flow meters which are at risk of being damaged by their contact to pressurised flowing fluid. Furthermore, the Portasonic® 2.FL0’s integrated ultrasonic thickness gauge simultaneously allows you to check the integrity of your pipework for corrosion, reducing the need for a second device to monitor integrity, further decreasing cost and risk to customers and personnel.

With their significant advantages over Coriolis flow meters, the Portasonic® 2.FL0 and Permaflow® reduce installation costs, increase safety helping you deliver our vision of the Safesite™ on land and the Safeship™ at sea, and allow their user to consistently perform a wide variety of maintenance and inspection procedures, for the benefit of customers and personnel.

Get in touch

You can reach us anytime via phone or email, we aim to respond to all enquiries within 24 hours (excluding weekends and bank holidays)


Come say hello at our Technical Laboratory.

Coltraco Ultrasonics
NETPark Research Institute
Joseph Swan Road
TS21 3FB

United Kingdom


Monday - Friday (excluding bank holidays) from 8:30am to 6:00pm, UK.

Tel (Sales & HQ): +44 20 7629 8475
Tel (Technical): +44 1740 618 240