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Enabling better global research outcomes in soil, plant & environmental monitoring.

High Pressure Flow Meter for Hydraulic Conductance

The High Pressure Flow Meter (HPFM) is designed to perform quantitative root and stem analysis without having to dig up roots or drag limbs back to the lab. In most cases, the analysis of a sample root or shoot is completed in as little as 10 minutes. You can quickly measure the major components of the hydraulic conductance in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. The hydraulic architecture of a whole shoot or of a single leaf can be represented by a resistance diagram similar to the one on the left. One can measure the values of the individual hydraulic resistances, then compute the pattern of water flow and water potentials in the resistance network. Each hydraulic resistance element (R) equals the pressure difference driving flow through the element divided by the resulting flow (F). In the HPFM method, the resistance of the root and shoot are measured separately by pressure perfusion and added together. The HPFM will help plant physiologists and agronomists look forward to those seasonal studies of root and shoot progression, water potential, or soil treatment effects.

The HPFM is designed for two types of numerical analysis.

The first analysis is an in-situ transient analysis of hydraulic conductance. HPFM measures the flow as the water pressure increases while flowing into the root or shoot. The software then intelligently calculates the slope of the increased flow and pressure. That slope is the hydraulic conductance.

The second analysis is a quasi-steady state, constant pressure and flow into the sample. This derives the flow pressure and conductance in a steady state environment.


  • New High Res Generation 3 HPFM
  • Reading Sensors direct in parts per million
  • NIST calibration standard feature
  • Instant data regression, and auto-saver aged results
  • USB powered data acquisition
  • New High speed sensor conversion module
  • Flow ranges increased by 50%
  • Improved overlap on conductance ranges by 50%
  • Vista, XP, and Windows 7 supported
  • Upgrade packages available to previous HPFM systems, with new factory calibration.


HPFM Measurements

  • Transient

The transient measurement of conductance of your root or shoot sample allows a quick and fast way to gather data in the field or the lab. Acquiring the data quickly is important when dealing with root systems. The root systems as well as the shoots of many plant species have the ability to “repair” themselves and plug off the xylem. Also, there is an osmotic effect in root systems that will increase the pressure (and therefore reduce the flow) as more water is injected into the root system.

  • Regression

While measurement of the Transient is simply graphing a line of increasing pressure and flow, Regression is the ̴̣best fit” of that graphical line and calculating the slope. That slope is the hydraulic conductance of the measured plant.

  • Set Zero – Steady State

The “SetZero” option allows you to measure and record the mismatch so that flow measurements can be corrected between pressure sensors to improve the accuracy of measurements. This option will also allow you to do a pressurisation of the HPFM with the outlet valve closed and the highest flow range selected.

  • Flow Meter

Quasi-steady state flow meter measurements are usually done on whole shoots because flow can be approximately constant with constant applied pressure. The resistances are reported rather than conductance because one of the common aims with quasi-steady state measurements is to measure the resistance of the whole shoot and its components, e.g. leaf blades, petioles, small stems, large stems etc.


Dynamax will supply the HPFM with a professional factory calibration. The calibration file is on the CD-ROM that comes with the HPFM If you wish to perform a custom calibration on the HPFM, you are required to have an Electronic Balance with a 4 decimal place resolutions and RS232 communication facility.


Dynamax includes all the fittings and couplings you may require for analysis. These additional parts include high quality couplings machined out of Lexan for durability and easy viewing.

Stem Ranges: 1mm to 55mm diameters
Flow Rates: 0.7 g/h to 2500 g/hr in 6 overlapping ranges
Conductance: 7.7E-08 to 2.2E-03 Kg s-1 MPa-1
Electronic A/D: 24-bit resolution dual Analogue/Digital converters
Analogue/Digital: One reading every 2 seconds
Data Interface: USB
Dimensions: 13.5 inch x 12.3 inch x 20.5 inch (33 x 31 x 52 cm)
Weight: 26 lb. (12 kg)
Capacity: 2.1 gal. (8 litre) Degassed Water
Maximum Pressure: 90 psi (630 kPa)

Cochard, H., Martin, R., Gross, P., & Bogeat‐Triboulot, M. B. (2000). Temperature effects on hydraulic conductance and water relations of Quercus robur L. Journal of Experimental Botany, 51(348), 1255–1259. https://doi.org/10.1093/jexbot/51.348.1255

Domec, J.-C., Meinzer, F. C., Gartner, B. L., & Woodruff, D. (2006). Transpiration-induced axial and radial tension gradients in trunks of Douglas-fir trees. Tree Physiology, 26(3), 275–284. https://doi.org/10.1093/treephys/26.3.275

Trifilò, P., Raimondo, F., Nardini, A., Lo Gullo, M. A., & Salleo, S. (2004). Drought resistance of Ailanthus altissima: Root hydraulics and water relations. Tree Physiology, 24(1), 107–114. https://doi.org/10.1093/treephys/24.1.107

Tsuda, M., & Tyree, M. T. (1997). Whole-plant hydraulic resistance and vulnerability segmentation in Acer saccharinum. Tree Physiology, 17(6), 351–357. https://doi.org/10.1093/treephys/17.6.351

Tsuda, M., & Tyree, M. T. (2000). Plant hydraulic conductance measured by the high pressure flow meter in crop plants. Journal of Experimental Botany, 51(345), 823–828. https://doi.org/10.1093/jexbot/51.345.823

Tyerman, S. D., Tilbrook, J., Pardo, C., Kotula, L., Sullivan, W., & Steudle, E. (2004). Direct measurement of hydraulic properties in developing berries of Vitis vinifera L. cv Shiraz and Chardonnay. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, 10(3), 170–181. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-0238.2004.tb00020.x

Tyree, M. T. (1997). The Cohesion-Tension theory of sap ascent: Current controversies. Journal of Experimental Botany, 48(10), 1753–1765. https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/48.10.1753

Tyree, M.T., Nardini, A., et al. (2001), Hydraulic Architecture of Whole Plants and Single Leaves, L’Abre The Tree, Montreal, Isabelle Quentin. 2000 pp. 215-221.

Tyree, M. T., Patiño, S., Bennink, J., & Alexander, J. (1995). Dynamic measurements of roots hydraulic conductance using a high-pressure flowmeter in the laboratory and field. Journal of Experimental Botany, 46(1), 83–94. https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/46.1.83

Tyree, M. T., Velez, V., & Dalling, J. W. (1998). Growth dynamics of root and shoot hydraulic conductance in seedlings of five neotropical tree species: Scaling to show possible adaptation to differing light regimes. Oecologia, 114(3), 293–298. https://doi.org/10.1007/s004420050450

Wei, C., Tyree, M. T., & Steudle, E. (1999). Direct Measurement of Xylem Pressure in Leaves of Intact Maize Plants. A Test of the Cohesion-Tension Theory Taking Hydraulic Architecture into Consideration. Plant Physiology, 121(4), 1191–1205. https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.121.4.1191

Wikberg, J., & Ögren, E. (2004). Interrelationships between water use and growth traits in biomass-producing willows. Trees, 18(1), 70–76. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00468-003-0282-y