Basics of Rotameters (Variable Area Flowmeters)

Rotameter by Yokogawa
Rotameter (Yokogawa)
A rotameter is a flow measuring device that belongs to a group of instruments called variable area flowmeters. For decades variable area flowmeters have become established in industrial measurement technology with an economical, mature measurement principle.

The variable area flowmeter is an instrument for metering the flowrate of liquids and gases in a pipeline. It includes a vertically oriented conical tube, whose diameter is larger at the top than at the bottom, through which the fluid flows upward and in which a vertically moving float is positioned. The height of the float in the tube increases as the flowrate increases in such a manner that the resistance to the flow is always balanced by the weight of the float and remains constant regardless of the flowrate. The height of the float in the tube is a measure of the flowrate.

The value of the flowrate can be read from a scale. Variable area flowmeters are the most cost effective solution for almost all applications involving the measurement of industrial process liquids, gases or steam. They meet the application requirements by featuring a wide range of design varieties and sizes.

Rotameters offer long life and high reproducibility and are excellent mechanical back-up meters because no external power supply is needed. For more information on rotameters (variable area flowmeters) visit or call Power Specialties at (816) 353-6550.

The video below does a great job introducing the various types and uses for rotameters.