Hydraulics: Flowmeter, Valve, and Pipe Testing

Phone Number
Hydraulic Experts
Steve Barfuss | 435-797-3214 | steve.barfuss@usu.edu
Mike Johnson | 435-797-3176 | michael.johnson@usu.edu
Zac Sharp | 435-797-3167 | zac.sharp@usu.edu 
Blake Tullis | 435-797-3194 | blake.tullis@usu.edu 
Phone Number
Business Contact
Maria Gates | maria.gates@usu.edu | 435-797-3120

Since 1965, the UWRL testing facility has performed thousands of flow meter, valve, and pipe tests. World-class staff perform calibrations for commercial, governmental, nuclear, aerospace, and many other applications. Turnaround time for calibrations is generally 2 weeks with appropriate scheduling.


Flow meter calibrations at the UWRL use National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) traceable instrumentation and have met stringent nuclear safety testing requirements. The size of the UWRL hydraulics laboratory gives us the capability to simulate actual metering installations to ensure the most accurate calibration possible.

Flowmeter testing capabilities:

  • Flowmeter sizes from 1/8-inch to 78-inches in diameter
  • All types of municipal, industrial, and residential flow meters
  • Accuracy and head loss characteristics determined
  • Non-ideal piping configurations and varying water temperatures possible
  • Precise measurements using weight tanks and/or calibrated master flow meters
  • Weight tanks that can receive flows up to 22,000 gpm
  • Maximum flow rate through our largest master Venturi flow meter exceeds 100,000 gpm
  • Handling capabilities up to 40,000 lbs
  • CFD can be coupled with laboratory data to predict meter respons to piping conditions that are not feasible to test in the laboratory
  • CFD can also be used to direct meter design and installation locations
Photo Gallery
Venturi meter flowmeter testing


High Performance Regulating Valve

Hundreds of valves of all varieties have been tested at the UWRL in an effort to assist manufacturers and end users. The hydraulics laboratory has also conducted specialized testing of valves going into nuclear service and for aerospace applications.

Valve testing capabilities:

  • Valve sizes rangings from 1/8 inch to 78 inches
  • Flow performance characteristics with valve weights up to 40,000 lbs
  • Cavitation and dynamic torque characteristics
  • Seating, unseating, and sealing performance
  • Nuclear and aerospace applications
  • Valve pressure testing
  • Valve cycle testing using hot and cold water
  • CFD capabilities to test valve performance as well as direct valve design
Photo Gallery


As a premier pipe test facility, our ability to pass large flows and handle large pipe sets us apart from other laboratories.

Pipe testing capabilities:

  • 500 ft-long channel with large (100,000 gpm) flow capacity
  • Flow tests to establish pressure loss characteristics of smooth wall and profile pressure and non-pressure pipe
  • Burst testing
  • Pipe deformation testing
Photo Gallery

Service and Outreach

Board and Committee Memberships:

United States Society on Dams (USSD)member,Steven Barfuss

USSD Hydraulics of Dams—Spillways Subcommittee Chair, Steven Barfuss

American Water Works Association (AWWA)—member, Steven Barfuss; Water Loss Committee member, Steven Barfuss; Customer Metering Practices Committee member, Steven Barfuss; Standards Committee 161 on Butterfly Valves and M49 Manaual member, Michael Johnson; Water Meter Standards Committee 380 for developing AWWA Standards C700, C701, C702, C703, C704, C706, C707, C708, C710, C712, C713, and M6 Manual on Meter Testing member, Michael Johnson; Standards Committee 242 on Gate and Check Valves member, Michael Johnson

International Association of Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR)—member, Steven Barfuss

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)—(member, Steven Barfuss; EWRI Hydraulics and Waterways Council Secretary, Blake Tullis)

Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO)member, Steven Barfuss

Bluestone Dam UASCE IEPA and 100% DDR Review Panel—member, William Rahmeyer

Utah Floodplain and Storm Water Management Association—Board of Directors member, William Rahmeyer

Transportation Research Board (TRB)—Hydraulic, Hydrology, and Water Quality Committee member, Blake Tullis

International Association for Hydraulic Research (IAHR)—Hydraulic Structures Committee Chair, Blake Tullis

Utah State University—Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, ABET Committee Chair, Blake Tullis

Water Engineering Education

Faculty within the Water Division have joint appointments with the Utah Water Research Laboratory and with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at USU. The academic curriculum supporting research is one of the most comprehensive offered in the United States.

Elements of ongoing research projects are routinely and effectively incorporated into the courses offered. The program combines research, training, and experience to understand water issues and water resources management challenges in the State of Utah, the United States, and the world.