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Evolution of Thermal Mass Flow Meters

A Historical Perspective from Sierra Founder Dr. John Olin

John Olin, founder and CEO of Sierra Instruments, Inc., in Monterey, California, provides a historical perspective on the development of thermal mass flow.

Thermo-Systems, Inc. (TSI) began in its founder’s basement in 1959, with a cooled-film anemometer designed for transient measurements in high temperature fluid flows. This led to TSI’s hot-film and hot-wire anemometers, the first commercial products of this type. These immersion-type devices were used mainly as research instruments, many related to environmental pollution.

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Benefits of thermal mass flow meters for gases:

  • Direct mass flow measurement of gases eliminates the need for temperature or pressure compensation
  • Accuracy +/- 0.5 percent reading; high flows 60,000 sfpm (0-305 smps); 100:1 turndown
  • Multivariable: Mass flow rate, temperature & pressure
  • Advanced four-sensor “dry sense” technology minimizes drift and enables field validation
  • Insertion version with hot tap capability for easy installation
  • Software applications for easy set-up, in-situ calibration, dial-a-pipe, and gas mixing
  • Digital communications suite
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  • Publications

    • flow brochure