Experiment AR4
Incompressible Viscous Flow in a Pipe
1.0 Fluid mechanics fundamentals
1.1 Mach number
The Mach number for a gas flow is defined as the ratio of the flow speed to the local
speed of sound, c. For a perfect gas the speed of sound is given by the expression:
c = (γRT)
1/2
, (1)
where γ is the specific heat ratio C
p
/C
v
, R is the gas constant, and T is the absolute
temperature. For air, R=287 N·m/kg·K and γ=1.4. When M < 0.3, local changes in
density are less than 2% of the average density and the flow may be regarded as
incompressible.
1.2 Continuity equation
For steady onedimensional flow in a duct, the mass flux ρV (kg·m
2
·s
1
) integrated
over the cross sectional area is:
dm/dt (kg/s) = ʃ ρV dA (2)
The fluid density is ρ and the fluid velocity is V. Because mass is conserved, the mass
flow rate, dm/dt, is constant along the flow. For an incompressible fluid, ρ is also
constant and the mass flow rate is the product of the density ρ and the mean velocity
V
mean
.
dm/dt = ρ ʃ V dA = ρ V
mean
A (3)
For a perfect gas
ρ=p/RT, (4)
where p is the local pressure.
1.3 Momentum equation
Figure 1 (below) is a sketch of a control volume for fluid moving through a constant area
duct with viscous shear forces exerted between the fluid and the duct walls.
p
2
p
1
ρ
2
V
2
2
ρ
1
V
1
2
2 1
Figure 1: Control volume for application of Newton’s second law (below)
For steady onedimensional flow within a duct of constant area, the net change in
momentum for fluid flowing through a control volume situated between points 1 and 2
along the flow direction is given by the relationship
ʃ
A1
ρ
1
V
1
2
dA
1
 ʃ
A2
ρ
2
V
2
2
dA
2
= ʃ
A2
p
2
dA
2
– ʃ
A1
p
1
dA
1
+ ʃ
Ap
τ dA
P
Here the peripheral wall area is A
P
and A
1
, A
2
are the respective cross sectional areas
normal to the flow at 1 and 2.
For an incompressible fluid: ʃ
A1
(ρV
1
2
+p
1
)dA
1
= ʃ
A2
(ρV
2
2
+p
2
)dA
1
+ ʃ
Ap
τ dA
P
(5)
1.4 Kinetic energy
The kinetic energy “current” (J/s) of the fluid at a given position along the flow is given
by the kinetic energy flux, ½ ρV
3
, integrated over the crosssectional area:
K.E. current = ʃ
A
½ ρV
3
dA
wall shear stress
τ
For an incompressible fluid,
K.E. current = ρʃ
A
½ V
3
dA = ½ ρ(V
3
)
mean
A (watts) (6)
1.5 Velocity profiles for fully developed flow in a cylindrical tube (circular pipe)
For a fully developed laminar flow in a pipe of radius R, the velocity profile is given by
the expression:
V(r) = V
max
[1(r/R)
2
] (7)
For fully developed turbulent flow in a pipe of radius R, the velocity profile is often
represented with the “oneseventh power law”:
V(r) = V
max
(1r/R)
1/7
(8)
1.6 Stagnation pressure
The Pitot tube brings the flow to rest isentropically to its stagnation (total) pressure
p
t
= p + ½ρV
2
(9)
The difference between total and static pressures is the “dynamic pressure” ½ρV
2
.
2.0 Experimental Apparatus
Measurements are made for a developing flow of an initially uniform flow entering a
long, cylindrical brass tube, shown schematically in the Fig. 2 below. The flow becomes
fully developed within about 4050 tube diameters for turbulent flow and about 100 tube
diameters for laminar flow. The flow, forced through the tube by a fan at its entrance,
exhausts into the ambient room air at the exit of the tube. The fan speed is adjustable
by changing the voltage applied to the fan using a variable AC transformer (Variac).
This enables measurements of flow parameters (velocity profiles for fully developed flow
at the tube exit and the static pressure distribution along the tube) for two or three rates
of discharge Q (m
3
/s).
uniform velocity profile fully developed velocity profile
inlet exhaust
Figure 2: Flow development near the entrance to a constant area cylindrical duct
Static pressures are measured at various wall taps positioned along the length of the
tube. A Pitot (total head) tube, mounted on a micrometer carriage, enables
measurements of the total (stagnation) pressure as a function of radial position across a
plane perpendicular to the flow located near the tube exit. The pressure measurements
are referenced to the static pressure at the tap located nearest the entrance of the tube
with use of several differential manometers of varying sensitivities. Rubber tubing is
used to connect one port of a manometer to one of the many wall taps or to the Pitot
tube, while the other manometer port is connected to the reference static pressure tap.
3.0 Measurements
3.1 With the fan operating at top speed, measure the static pressure distribution along
the length of the brass tube. Use these data to determine the pressure gradient, dp/dz,
along the tube. Be sure to record the power input, P=VI (volts x amps), to the fan.
3.2 Again with the fan at maximum speed, use the Pitot tube to measure the radial
distribution of stagnation pressure near the tube exit. Because the flow is axisymmetric,
the micrometer carriage is designed for measurements that do not encompass the full
diameter of the tube. Use these measurements to determine the radial variation in flow
velocity across the tube. Try to obtain measurements as close as possible to the inside
wall surface and record your best estimate of the separation between the wall and the
centerline of the Pitot tube at this location.
3.3 Repeat the measurements of 3.1 and 3.2 for one or two smaller discharge rates. Do
not reduce the applied voltage to the fan below values necessary to maintain a steady
flow. A very crude shutter exists at the fan entrance, apparently used in the past to vary
the flow discharge rate. This approach doesn’t yield predictable quantitative variations in
discharge rates and has long since been abandoned. For each discharge rate, again
be sure to record the power input to the fan.
4. Analysis
4.1 Calculate the Reynolds number, based on the mean velocity at the tube exit and the
tube diameter, for each discharge rate and determine whether the flow is laminar or
turbulent.
4.2 For the maximum fan speed, compare the experimental velocity profile, obtained
from the stagnation pressure measurements with the Pitot tube, to the prediction of Eq.
(8).
4.3 Use the measured power input to the fan at its maximum speed and your measured
velocity profile in 4.2 to determine the efficiency with which the electrical energy input is
converted to kinetic energy of the gas flow.
4.4 Assume that the flow has a uniform velocity distribution at the location of the static
pressure tap nearest the flow tube inlet. For the maximum discharge rate, use your
measured velocity profile near the tube exhaust and the continuity equation (2) to
calculate this uniform velocity.
4.5 Refer to the control volume of Figure 1 and work with your data for the maximum
discharge rate: Take position 1 to be that of the upstream reference tap with a static
pressure p
1
and the uniform velocity calculated in 4.4. Take position 2, with a static
pressure p
2
, to be where the downstream velocity profile is measured, Use the
momentum equation (5) to estimate how much the momentum of the fluid flow is
reduced by the wall shear force as it passes through the flow tube.
4.6 The “head loss” caused by wall shear forces for a fully developed flow through a
constant area circular (horizontal) pipe is defined as
h
ℓ
= Δp/ρ
where Δp is the pressure drop along a pipe length L. The “friction factor”, ƒ, is given by
the expression:
ƒ = h
ℓ
2(D/L)/(V
mean
)
2
(10)
Use your measurement of the pressure gradient dp/dz for the downstream onehalf of
the tube to estimate Δp/L for a fully developed flow along a similar pipe of length L. Use
this to calculate the friction factor for such a pipe. The “Moody diagram”, available in
most elementary texts on fluid mechanics (see the reference below, p. 362), gives the
friction factors as a function of the Reynolds number, ρV
mean
D/μ, for pipes of varying
roughness. Compare your estimate of ƒ with that given on the Moody diagram for a
“smooth” pipe.
Reference:
Robert W. Fox and Alan T. McDonald, Introduction to Fluid Mechanics, John Wiley &
Sons, NY 1985.
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