An orifice plate is a thin plate with a hole in the middle. It is usually placed in a pipe in which fluid flows. When the fluid reaches the orifice plate, the fluid is forced to converge to go through the small hole; the point of maximum convergence actually occurs shortly downstream of the physical orifice, at the so-called vena contracta point (see drawing to the right). As it does so, the velocity and the pressure change. Beyond the vena contracta, the fluid expands and the velocity and pressure change once again. By measuring the difference in fluid pressure across tappings upstream and downstream of the plate, the volumetric and mass flow rates can be obtained from Bernoulli's equation.
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