Basic principle venturi flowmeter

When a flowing fluid or gas passes through a narrow pipe section (neck) the pressure drops. If there is no flow the pressure before and after the neck will be the same. Th faster the fluid flow, the greater the pressure difference before and after the neck. This is known as a Venturi valve. The figure below shows a Venturi valve being used to measure a fluid flow rate. The fluid flow rate will be proportional to the pressure difference before and at the neck (or after the neck) of the valve.

Venturi valves allow pressures to be read without moving parts, which makes them very reliable and durable. They work well for both fluids and gases. It is also common to use Venturi valves to generate vacuums for actuators, such as suction cups.