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Jaafar

Chapter 7: Similitude,

Dimensional Analysis and

Modeling

Concept of Similitude

Dimensional analysis

Buckingham Pi Theorem

Determination of Pi Terms

Some comments about dimensional analysis

Common dimensionless groups in Fluid Mechanics

Modeling and Similitude

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Concept of Similitude

The concept of similitude is used so

that measurements made on one

system (for example, in the

laboratory) can be used to describe

the behavior of other similar systems

(outside laboratory)

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Dimensional Analysis

Dimensional analysis involve

reducing the number of original

variables to a number of groups

which are dimensionless

combinations of the original

variables.

The basis of its application to a wide

variety of problems is found in the

Buckingham Pi theorem.

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Buckingham Pi Theorem

If an equation involving k variables is

dimensionally homogeneous, it can

be reduced to a relationship between

only n dimensionless variables or

[’s. The reduction j=k-n equals the

maximum number of variables which

do not form a pi among themselves

and is always less than or equal to

the number of dimensions describing

the variables.

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Buckingham Pi Theorem

(cont.)

Q : Dimensionally Homogeneous?

A : Principle of dimensional

homogeneity

If an equation truly expresses a

proper relationship between

variables in a physical process, it will

be dimensionally homogeneous; i.e.

each of its additive terms will have

the same dimensions.

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Determination of Pi Terms

What are Pi ( [ )Terms ?

dimensionless products that arise in a

dimensional analysis

There are several methods that can

be used to determine the pi terms

One of them is the method of

repeating variables

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Determination of Pi Terms

Method of repeating variables

(1) List all the variables that are involved in the problem

(variables must be independent)

(2) Express each of the variables in terms of the basic

dimensions

(3) Determine the required number of pi terms

(4) Select a number of repeating variables, where the number

required is equal to the number of reference dimensions

(5) Form a pi term by multiplying one of the nonrepeating

variables by the product of the repeating variables, each

raised to an exponent that will make the combination

dimensionless

(6) Repeat step 5 for each of the remaining nonrepeating

variables

(7) Check all the resulting pi terms to make sure they are

dimensionless

(8) Express the final form as a relationship among the pi

terms and think about what it means.

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Determination of Pi Terms

(cont.)

Table 1 : Dimensions of

Fluid Mechanics

Properties

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Example 1

Assume that the power, P, required to drive a fan is a function of the

fan diameter, D, the fluid density, µ, the rotational speed, e, and

the flowrate, Q. Use D, e and µ as repeating variables to determine

a suitable set of pi terms.

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Example 2

When a fluid flows slowly past a vertical plate of height h and width b,

pressure develops on the face of the plate. Assume that the

pressure, p, at the midpoint of the plate is a function of plate

height and width, the approach velocity, V and the fluid viscosity,

µ. Make use of dimensional analysis to determine how the

pressure, p, will change when the fluid velocity, V, is doubled.

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Example 3

The pressure drop per unit length, Ap

l

, for flow of blood through a

horizontal small-diameter tube is a function of the volume rate of

flow, Q, the diameter, D, and the blood viscosity, µ. For a series of

tests in which D = 2 mm and µ =0.004 N-s/m

2

, the following data

were obtained, where the Ap listed was measured over the length,

l = 300 mm. Perform a dimensional analysis for this problem, and

make use of the data given to determine a general relationship

between Ap

l

and Q (one that is valid for other values of D, l and µ)

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Some comments about

dimensional analysis

There are also other methods in

dimensional analysis but the method

of repeating variables is the easiest.

There is not a unique set of pi terms

which arises from a dimensional

analysis. However, the required

number of pi terms is fixed.

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Common Dimensionless

Groups in Fluid Mechanics

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Common Dimensionless

Groups in Fluid Mechanics

(cont.)

Re no. can only be neglected in flow regions

away from high-velocity gradients, e.g. away from

the solid surface, jets, or wakes.

Eu no. is only important when the pressure drops

low enough to cause vapor formation (cavitation)

in a liquid.

Fr no. is totally unimportant if there is no free

surface.

We no. is important only if it is of order of unity or

less, which typically occurs when the surface

curvature is comparable in size to the liquid

depth, e.g. in droplets, capillary flows, ripple

waves, and very small hydraulic models.

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Modeling and Similitude

A model is a representation of a physical

system that may be used to predict the

behavior of the system in some desired

respect.

The physical system for which the

predictions are to be made is called the

prototype.

Usually a model is smaller than the

prototype and therefore, easier to handle

in the lab.

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Modeling and Similitude

(cont.)

Model Design Conditions (or Similarity

Requirements or Modeling Laws)

To achieve similarity between model and

prototype behavior, all the corresponding

pi terms must be equated between model

and prototype

Geometric Similarity

Dynamic Similarity

Kinematic Similarity

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Modeling and Similitude

(cont.)

Model Design Conditions (or

Similarity Requirements or Modeling

Laws) (cont.)

( )

3p 3m

2p 2m

3m 2m 1m

, ,

H H

H H

H H | H

=

=

=

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Modeling and Similitude

(cont.)

Geometric Similarity

A model and prototype are geometrically

similar if an only if all body dimensions in

all three coordinates have the same linear-

scale ratio. All angles are preserved in

geometric similarity. All flow directions

are preserved. The orientations of model

and prototype w.r.t. the surroundings

must be identical.

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Modeling and Similitude

(cont.)

Kinematic Similarity

Velocities are related to the full scale

by a constant scale factor. They also

have the same directions as in the

full scale.

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Modeling and Similitude

(cont.)

Dynamic Similarity

Forces are related to full scale by a

constant factor. Also requires

geometric and kinematic similarity.

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Example 4

The drag on a 2-m-diameter satellite dish due to an 80 km/hr wind is

to be determined through a wind tunnel test using a geometrically

similar 0.4-m-diameter model dish. Assume standard air for both

model and prototype.

(a) At what air speed should the model test be run?

(b) With all similarity conditions satisfied, the measured drag on

the model was determined to be 170 N. What is the predicted drag

on the prototype dish?

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Modeling and Similitude

(cont.)

Distorted Models

Models for which one or more of the similarity requirements

are not satisfied are called distorted models.

Distorted models are rather commonplace, and they can

arise for a variety of reasons, i.e. perhaps a suitable fluid

cannot be found for the model

Distorted models can be successfully used but the

interpretation of the results obtained with this type of model

is obviously more difficult than the interpretation of results

obtained with true models for which all the requirements

are met.

Models involving high-speed flows are often distorted w.r.t

Re # similarity but Ma # similarity is maintained.

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