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The segmental wedge flow element provides a flow opening similar to that of a segmental orifice, but flow ob struction is less abrupt (more gradual), and its sloping entrance makes the design similar to the flow tube family. It is primarily used on slurries. Its main advantage is its ability to operate at low Reynolds numbers. While the square root relationship between the flow and pressure drop in sharp-edged orifices, venturis, or flow nozzles requires a Reynolds number above 10,000, segmental wedge flowmeters require a Reynolds number of only 500 or 1000. For this reason the segmental wedge flowmeter can measure flows at low flow velocities and when process fluids are viscous. In that respect, it is similar to conical or quadrant edge orifices.

For pipe sizes under 2in (50 mm), the segmental wedge flow element is made by a V-notch cut into the pipe and a solid wedge welded accurately in place (see Figure 7.6.10). In sizes over 2 in, the wedge is fabricated from two flat plates that are welded together before insertion into the spool piece. On clean services, regular pressure taps are located equidistant from the wedge (see Figure 7.6.10), while on applications where the process fluid contains solids in suspension, chemical tees are added upstream and downstream of the wedge flow element. The chemical seal element is flush with the pipe, eliminating pockets and making the assembly self-cleaning. The seals are made of corrosion-resistant materials and are also suited for high-temperature services. Some users have reported applications on processes at 3000 psig (210 bars) and 850°F (454°C).

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