Venturimeter: Definition, Parts, Working, Equation, Applications, Installation

Venturi meters are instruments for fluid flow measurement. It has a converging section that gives an increase in the flow velocity with a corresponding drop in pressure from which the flow rate can be calculated. The reduction in the fluid pressure that occurs when a fluid moves through a constricted passage is known as the Venturi effect. Venturi meters are widely used wherever there is a need for fluid flow measurement, specifically in water, chemical, and oil industries. Depending on the application and size requirements, industrial venturi meters are constructed in various forms. These versatile instruments are known for longevity, long performance, and reliability. In this article, we will discuss about the following:

  • Definition of Venturimeter
  • Venturimeter Diagram and Parts
  • Working Principle of Venturi meter
  • Venturimeter Formulas
  • Co-efficient of Discharge for Venturimeters
  • Venturimeter Types
  • Applications, Advantages, and Disadvantages of Venturimeters
  • Difference between Venturimeter and Orificemeter, and
  • Many more.

What is a Venturimeter? Venturimeter Definition

Venturimeter is a type of flowmeter that works on the principle of Bernoulli’s Equation. This device is widely used in the water, chemical, pharmaceutical, and oil & gas industries to measure the flow rates of fluids inside a pipe. The pipe cross-sectional area is reduced to create a pressure difference which is measured with a manometer to determine the rate of fluid flow. So, the venturi meter is a differential head type flowmeter that converts pressure energy into kinetic energy.

The principle of the Venturimeter was demonstrated by Giovanni Batista Venturi (Hence the name Venturimeter), But it was first used in practical metering applications by Clemens Herschel. In this article, we will explore the parts, working principles, equations, and applications of the Venturimeter.

Venturimeter Diagram and Parts

A venturimeter consists of four parts:

  1. Cylindrical Inlet Section
  2. Conical convergent Section
  3. Cylindrical throat and
  4. Conical divergent outlet

Fig. 1 below shows a typical venturimeter diagram with its parts.

Venturimeter Diagram with Parts
Fig. 1: Typical Venturimeter Diagram with Parts

There are two tappings on the venturi meter for pressure measurement; the upstream pressure tapping is located at a distance of one-half of pipe diameter (D/2) upstream of the convergent entry, while the downstream pressure tapping is located in the throat (d/2) as shown in Fig. 1.

  • Cylindrical Entrance Section: Venturimeter entrance is a straight cylindrical section with a length equal to 5 to 8 times the pipe diameter.
  • Convergence Conical Section: In this section, the venturi meter tube diameter gradually decreases. The conical angle is normally 210 ± 20. While the liquid flows inside the venturimeter, the velocity of fluid increases at the expense of a decrease in pressure.
  • Cylindrical Throat: Throat consists of the minimum venturemeter diameter. In the throat section, the velocity is maximum and pressure is minimum. Normally, throat diameter = 1/3 to 1/4th of inlet pipe diameter.
  • Diverging Conical section: At this section of venturimeter, the tube diameter gradually increases. So, the pressure is built up again to the original inlet pressure. The cone angle is 5-70. British Standard BS-1042 specifies two conical angles, 5–70 and 14–150 for the outlet cone.

Materials for Venturimeter

Small-size venturimeter are made of brass, glass, or bronze and large venturimeters are made of cast iron, steel, or stainless steel.

Working Principle of a Venturimeter

When a fluid flows through a venturimeter, it accelerates in the convergent section and then decelerates in the divergent section. The pressure difference between an upstream section and the throat is measured by a manometer. Using that differential pressure, applying Bernoulli’s Equation and Contininuity Equitation the volumetric flow rate can be estimated. In the next section, the equations of venturimeter to find the discharge value are discussed.

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Venturimeter Equations

Bernoulli’s principle states the relation between pressure (P), kinetic energy, and gravitational potential energy of a fluid inside a pipe. The mathematical formula of Bernoulli’s equation is given as:

Bernoulli's equation for Venturimeter


  • p= pressure inside the pipe
  • ρ =density of the fluid
  • g =gravitational constant
  • v = velocity
  • z=elevation or head
  • a = cross-sectional area of the pipe
  • d= diameter of the pipe

Suffixes 1 and 2 are used to denote two different areas; 1 denotes the cylindrical inlet section and 2 denotes the throat section.

Now as the pipe is horizontal; there is no difference in the elevation of the pipe centerline; So, z1=z2. Re-arranging the above equation we get the following:

(p1-p2)/ρg = (v22-v12)/2g

(p– p2)/ ρg is the difference of pressure heads in sections 1 and 2 which is equal to h that can be measured in the differential manometer. So the above equation becomes

h=(v22-v12)/2g……….eqn. 1

Now applying continuity equations between the same sections 1 and 2, we get

a1v1=a2v2 or v1=(a2v2)/a1

Putting this value of v1 in eqn. 1 and solving we get,

So, the rate of flow through the throat (Q) can be calculated as Q=a2v2; Substituting the above value of v2 we get,

Ideal Flow rate Equation through venturimeter throat

This Q represents the theoretical discharge of Venturi Meter in ideal conditions. But in actual practice, there will always be some frictional loss. Hence, the actual discharge will always be less than the theoretical discharge. So, to calculate the actual discharge, the above Q value is multiplied by Cd, called the Coefficient of discharge of venturimeter. So the actual flow rate through the throat of the venturimeter will be given by the following equation.

Actual Flow rate through venturimeter

Coefficient of Discharge of Venturimeter (Cd)

The coefficient of discharge for Venturimeter, Cd is defined as the ratio of the actual flow rate through the venturi meter tube to the theoretical flow rate. So the venturi meter discharge coefficient is given by:


As Qactual will always be less than Qtheoretical due to frictional losses, the value of Cd is always less than 1.0.

The typical range of the discharge coefficient of a Venturi meter is 0.95-0.99 but this can be increased by proper machining of the convergent section. The value of venturimeter discharge coefficient differs from one flowmeter to the other depending on the venturimeter geometry and the Reynolds number.

ISO-5167 code provides the values of venturimeter discharge coefficients. For accurate flow measurement, normally straight length requirement upstream and downstream of venturimeter is specified.

Types of Venturimeters

Normally three types of venturimeters are available:

  • Horizontal Venturimeter: This type of venturimeter has the highest kinetic energy and the lowest potential energy.
  • Vertical Venturimeter: This type has the maximum potential energy and the minimum kinetic energy.
  • Inclined Venturimeter: Both potential and kinetic energy are in between the above two types mentioned.

Applications of Venturimeter | Venturimeter Uses

Venturimeters find wide application in fluid industries. The major application of venturimeters include

  • Used in Engine Carburetors (Automobile Sector) to measure airflow
  • Used in process industries (Process and Power Piping Industries) to measure and control process flow.
  • In the medical industry, blood flow in the arteries is measured by venturimeters.
  • Measures the fluid flow inside pipelines (Oil & Gas Industries)
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Broadly the use of venturimeters are versatile and widely used in the following industries:

  • Water treatment plant
  • Chemical processing
  • HVAC systems
  • Power Generation systems
  • Oil and gas industry

Advantages and Disadvantages of Venturimeter

Advantages of Venturimeter:

  • They provide accurate results.
  • The accuracy of venturimeter is not dependent on temperature and pressure inside the pipe.
  • No moving part.
  • Very low energy loss.
  • Wide applicability for Water, suspended solids, gases, slurries, chemicals, dirty liquids, etc.
  • High discharge coefficient and very low-pressure drop.
  • Venturimeters can be installed in a horizontal, inclined, or vertical direction.
  • Very little chance of being clogged.
  • The pressure recovery of venturimeter is very high. The discharge pressure is almost near to inlet pressure.

Disadvantages of Venturimeter:

  • Venturi meters are large in size; so difficult to install where there is space constraint.
  • Expensive as compared to other types of flowmeters
  • Limited range of flow measurement
  • Not suitable for very small diameter pipes.

Codes and Standards of Venturi meter

The codes and standards that provide guidelines related to venturi meters are

  • ISO 5167
  • ISO 9300
  • AWWA M33
  • ISO TR 15377
  • BS 1042
  • ASTM D2458
  • AGA 9

Installation of a venturi meter

Proper installation of a venturi meter is the key to the ideal operation. So, the installation of venturi meters must be performed following manufacturer guidelines. Normally, the following guidelines to be followed while installing a venturi meter in a piping or pipeline system:

  • The flow direction arrow in the venturi meter should be checked and installed to agree with the direction of the flow.
  • Flanges at the venturi meter ends should be properly aligned with the piping flanges.
  • Pipe Support should not be placed on venturi meters.
  • Bolts should not be over-torqued.
  • Installation tolerances should be within industry standards.
  • Pressure taps should be oriented horizontally for liquid service applications.
Venturi meter Pressure Connections
Fig. 2: Venturi meter Pressure Connections

Venturi meter Upstream and Downstream Pipe Straight Leg Requirement

For proper functioning and accurate results, the flow through the venturi meters should stabilize. This calls for minimum straight pipe length requirements upstream and downstream of the venturi meter. Depending on the type of fitting, type of venturi meter, and beta ratio (the throat diameter divided by the inlet diameter) the straight leg requirement varies. The following image (Fig. 2) provides a sample table that provides typical strength leg requirements while installing a venturi meter in a piping system.

Venturi meter Piping Requirements
Fig. 3: Venturi meter Piping Requirements

Design of Venturimeters

Even though standard classical venturimeter designs need a bit more space, the significant benefit is that their design can easily be modified to fit any requirement. Over the last centuries, venturimeter design has undergone significant changes and two specific designs have contributed in significant impact on Venturi metering; They are:

  • Modifies Short form Venturimeters, and
  • Insert Venturi meters.

Modifies Short form Venturimeters: Patented by Dezsoe Halmi, these designed forms of venturimeters are highly accurate, have low headloss, and need no upstream/downstream straight length requirements. Modifies Short-form Venturimeters are more suitable for asymmetric flow patterns due to their overall short length.

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Insert Venturi Meters: Insert venturimeter design is somewhat similar to the shape of a Classical Venturi but its profile is entirely inside the pipeline. They utilize a static low-pressure throat tap that sense pressure perpendicular to the axis of the flowing line fluid.

Difference between Venturi meter and Orifice meter | Venturimeter vs Orifice Meter

Venturi meters and orifice meters are both types of differential pressure flow meters that are commonly used to measure the flow rate of fluids in pipes. While they are similar in some respects, they differ in several important ways, including their design, performance characteristics, and applications.

Venturi meters are typically designed with a tapered throat section that gradually reduces the cross-sectional area of the pipe. As the fluid flows through the throat, its velocity increases and its pressure decreases, creating a pressure differential between the upstream and downstream sections of the meter. This pressure differential is proportional to the square of the flow rate and can be measured using pressure gauges or transducers.

In contrast, orifice meters use a flat plate or disc with a precisely measured hole in the center to constrict the flow of fluid in the pipe. This creates a pressure drop that is proportional to the square of the flow rate and can be measured in the same way as with a venturi meter.

Here are some key differences between Venturi meters and orifice meters:

Design: A Venturi meter has a gradual taper to the throat section, while an orifice meter has a sharp-edged disc or plate with a hole in the center.

Pressure recovery: The pressure recovery in a Venturi meter is better than in an orifice meter, meaning that the pressure downstream of the meter returns closer to the upstream pressure.

Accuracy: Orifice meters are generally less accurate than Venturi meters, particularly at low flow rates, where the turbulence caused by the sharp-edged orifice plate can create errors.

Applications: Venturi meters are often used for high flow rates and in systems where pressure drop is a concern, while orifice meters are used in a wider range of applications, including lower flow rates and where cost is a concern.

Installation: Venturi meters require longer straight sections of pipe upstream and downstream of the meter to achieve accurate readings, while orifice meters can often be installed with less straight pipe.

Overall, the choice between a Venturi meter and an orifice meter will depend on the specific requirements of the application, including flow rate, accuracy, pressure drop, and cost.

The major differences between a venturimeter and an orifice meter can be tabulated as follows:

Venturi MeterOrifice Meter
Venturi meter comes with complex designs.Orifice meters are easy to fabricate
Venturimeters have a large space requirementOrifice meters, on the other hand, need relatively lower space.
In venturimeter, the Energy Loss is less.Orifice meters have comparatively more energy loss.
Venturimeters are quite expensive.Orifice meters are comparatively cheaper.
High discharge coefficient.Low coefficient of discharge.
Venturimeters provide High-Pressure Recovery.Pressure Recovery in the Orifice meter is relatively less.
Venturimeter vs Orificemeter

Video Tutorial on Venturimeters

The above contents are explained in the following video tutorial on Venturimeters titled “What is a Venturimeter?”

Anup Kumar Dey

I am a Mechanical Engineer turned into a Piping Engineer. Currently, I work in a reputed MNC as a Senior Piping Stress Engineer. I am very much passionate about blogging and always tried to do unique things. This website is my first venture into the world of blogging with the aim of connecting with other piping engineers around the world.

5 thoughts on “Venturimeter: Definition, Parts, Working, Equation, Applications, Installation

  1. A Venturimeter of 2.5 cm diameter and 1.5 cm diameter at throat will give good/acceptable results or not? What should the minimum recommended diameter of venturimeter for good/acceptable results? What could be the maximum error in venturimeter readings, if the diameter is small (example 2.5 cm or less)?

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