The Parshall flume is an open channel flow metering device that was developed to measure the flow of surface waters and irrigation flows. The Parshall flume is a fixed hydraulic structure. It is used to measure volumetric flow rate in industrial discharges, municipal sewer lines, and influent/effluent flows in wastewater treatment plants. The Parshall flume accelerates flow through a contraction of both the parallel sidewalls and a drop in the floor at the flume throat. Under free-flow conditions the depth of water at specified location upstream of the flume throat can be converted to a rate of flow. Some states specify the use of Parshall flumes, by law, for certain situations.
The design of the Parshall flume is standardized under ASTM D1941, ISO 9826:1992, and JIS B7553-1993. The flumes are not patented and the discharge tables are not copyright protected. A total of 22 standard sizes of Parshall flumes have been developed, covering flow ranges from 0.1416–92,890 L/s.
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