Coriolis flow meter working principle

The operating principle of a Coriolis flow meter is basic but very effective. This phenomenon is all around us in the physical world; for example the earth’s rotation and its effect on the weather.

A Coriolis flow meter contains a tube which is energized by a fixed vibration. When a fluid (gas or liquid) passes through this tube the mass flow momentum will cause a change in the tube vibration, the tube will twist resulting in a phase shift. This phase shift can be measured and a linear output derived proportional to flow. 

Do you have questions or are you interested to learn more about the Coriolis flow meter working principle? 

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The video explains the Coriolis working principle and how you can combine a Coriolis mass flow meter and a gear pump.

Coriolis flow sensor, flow sensor liquid, flow sensor gas
Schematic of a Coriolis flow sensor

As the Coriolis principle measures mass flow independent of what is within the tube, it can be directly applied to any fluid flowing through it - LIQUID or GAS - whereas thermal mass flow meters depent on the physical properties of the fluid. Furthermore, in parallel with the phase shift in frequency between inlet and outlet, it is also possible to measure the actual change in natural frequency. This change in frequency is in direct proportion to the density of the fluid – and a further signal output can be derived. Having measured both the mass flow rate and the density it is possible to derive the volume flow rate.

Are you interested to learn more about the Coriolis flow meter working principle? Read our blog about the importance of mass flow measurement and the relevance of coriolis flow meters. 

E-book: How to handle low liquid flows

Focusing on low liquid flows < 100 g/h

Download the e-book 'How to handle low liquid flows' to find out more about 'low flows'. Including in-depth information, technical advice and insider tips from our experts.

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Volume flow versus mass flow

Coriolis flow meters measure real mass flow, whereas thermal mass flow meters are dependent of the physical properties of the fluid. True mass flow measurement is an important development across industry as it eliminates inaccuracies caused by the physical properties of the fluid, not least being the difference between mass and volumetric flow. Mass is not affected by changing temperature and pressure. This alone makes it an important method of fluid flow measurement.

Volumetric flow remains valid, in terms of accuracy, provided that the process conditions and calibration reference conditions are adhered to. Volumetric measuring devices, such as variable area meters and turbine flow meters, are unable to distinguish temperature or pressure changes. 

difference of volume flow versus mass flow
Difference between mass and volumetric flow

Coriolis flow meters versus thermal mass flow meters

  • Fluid independent flow measurement and control - no need for recalibration
  • Gas and liquid can be measured with the same sensor
  • Ability to measure undefined or variable mixtures
  • Suitable for supercritical fluids, e.g. carbon dioxide (CO2) or ethylene (C2H4)
  • Same compact footprint
  • High accuracy ± 0.2% of rate ± zero stability for liquids ± 0.5% of rate ± zero stability for gases
  • Large turndown range of up to 1:2000
  • Fast sensor response time: down to 50...100 msec
Read more about the thermal mass flow measurement working principle.

Bronkhorst Coriolis flow meters

Bronkhorst realised a series of compact, cost-effective Coriolis mass flow meters and flow controllers for accurate measurement and control of (very) low flow rates. Check out our product portfolio.


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Willie Snaith Road
Newmarket Suffolk CB8 7TG
Tel. +44 1223 833222
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