A mathematical model for ‘vibrating element’ density transducers is derived. The origin and magnitude of reading errors inherent in this type of instrument is analysed. The theory is substantiated by newly acquired experimental data, covering a wide range of pipeline operating conditions up to 150 bar. The model is believed to be suitable for correction of density meters in field applications. The treatment specifically deals with ‘cylindrical membrane’ transducers, but the qualitative findings are believed quite generally applicable.

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