Acoustic velocity meter (AVM) accuracy depends on equipment limitations, the accuracy of acoustic-path length and angle determination, and the stability of the mean velocity to acoustic-path velocity relation. Equipment limitations depend on path length and angle, transducer frequency, timing oscillator frequency, and signal-detection scheme. Typically, the velocity error from this source is about +or-1 to +or-10 mms/sec. Error in acoustic-path angle or length will result in a proportional measurement bias. Typically, an angle error of one degree will result in a velocity error of 2%, and a path-length error of one meter in 100 meter will result in an error of 1%. Ray bending (signal refraction) depends on path length and density gradients present in the stream. Any deviation from a straight acoustic path between transducer will change the unique relation between path velocity and mean velocity. These deviations will then introduce error in the mean velocity computation. Typically, for a 200-meter path length, the resultant error is less than one percent, but for a 1,000 meter path length, the error can be greater than 10%. Recent laboratory and field tests have substantiated assumptions of equipment limitations. Tow-tank tests of an AVM system with a 4.69-meter path length yielded an average standard deviation error of 9.3 mms/sec, and the field tests of an AVM system with a 20.5-meter path length yielded an average standard deviation error of a 4 mms/sec. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:

Report

Publication Subtype:

USGS Numbered Series

Title:

Accuracy of acoustic velocity metering systems for measurement of low velocity in open channels