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How to measure/integrate flow?

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If you have a pipe that's intermittently using fluid, is there a way to find total amount of fluid going through the pipe after say 2 cycles (1200 seconds)?

Like i find it used 840kg of fluid from start to finish.

So far i'm getting by using liquid storage tanks, filling them up, hooking them up, and then seeing the remaining fluid after 2 cycles. But it's REALLY cumbersome and a pain to keep filling the tanks for every test. 

i really want something automated and can measure say 10 tanks worth after 20 cycles. 

The reason why is I have a "no-space-materials" sour gas boiler i'm testing and i'm having trouble determining how to find the oil usage rate. 

I think in real life a precision flow integrators basically have two tanks inside, it fills one and empties the other. Then flips when the tanks are full/empty. it then counts the flips over time and since we know the volume we know perfectly how much fluid was used. I'm thinking of building something like that with ONI automation but the logic circuits break my mind every time i try. 


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I did the following a while ago:

1. Make sure it is full, max-sized fluid packets. (Can be done, e.g. with a tank and some automation.)

2. Split the pipe into two pipes and then recombine. That way you have alternating packet/empty flows in both.

3. Put a sensor and counter on one of the split pipes. It will count half the overall packets.

You still have to time manually or use more complex automation with a cycle-counter and you have to convert the count, but overall this works pretty well.

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Since it's related to this topic I'll repost one of my old threads on how you can build a flow sensor relatively easy.

Note that the intent for my build is to measure rate of flow in contrast to amount of flow which is the main topic here.


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