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MEC2404/CHE2161

LAB REPORT

Lab 1
FLOW MEASUREMENT

MEMBERS :

Tan En Yi (25515063)
Kelvin Lim Ming Ken (25841122)
Surin Varma Pillai Hariharan (25053663)
Arrijal Fadhila Suryana (25642081)

DATE :

22 April 2015

Abstract
The purpose of the experiment is to apply the principles of the Bernoulli equation in the analysis
of the flow of water in two separate apparatus set up: the Didacta Italia Rig and the Armfield Rig.
For both rigs, the flow rate of water is measured in two ways: a) Calculate actual flow rate manually
by recording the time taken to collect a specific volume of water, b) Calculate ideal flow rate by
analysing the pressure drop across the obstacle in the piping system (venturi meter and orifice
plate). The ratio between the actual and ideal flow rate is reported as the discharge coefficient of
the obstacles. The results are then plotted against Reynolds number of the fluid flow for data
analysis.
In conclusion, both rigs produced values and results that show similar trends to the theoretical
predictions that would be expected from the respective flow changes. However, the Didacta Italia
Rig is shown to be more accurate due to its higher sensitivity in detecting different flow rates and
flow velocity at different parts of the piping when different restraints are applied on the flow of
water in the pipeline. Due to human inconsistencies, there was a slight shift in the readings
obtained in comparison with the theoretical values, which also proved the existence of errors such
as parallax error and unsynchronised timing in the manipulation of the flow with the time taken.

1. Introduction
In this experiment, we assumed that no energy is loss for the fluid flow (negligible pipe friction
loss). Thus, the Bernoulli equation can be applied in investigating the flow dynamics in the pipes.
The Bernoulli equation expressed in terms of total head is given by:
2

+
+ =
2

Based on the equation above, the velocity head, pressure head and elevation head were all
calculated based on the respective effective points along the pipeline. Theoretical predictions were
made based on the understanding in the relation of the equation with each component in it as they
all refer to the pressure difference in the flow rate.
The assumptions made in the analysis of the results are:
-

Constant properties of water at 30 C

No energy and head loss
Viscous effects and friction in the pipe is negligible
Pipe is aligned horizontally, therefore position 1 and 2 are at equal height ( h 1 = h2)
Water flow is at steady state and is incompressible

Special steps were taken to ensure that these assumptions are valid. For example, the fluid is let
to flow for a certain period of time before measurements were done so that the fluid flow is steady.
These assumptions would reduce the complexity of the calculation by removing the effects of other
manipulated variables present during the experiment. However, the results obtained from

calculations will deviated slightly from the actual results due to these assumptions since in real
world conditions, energy loss in fluid flow is unavoidable.
Several flow measuring techniques are used in this experiment: a) manually using a stopwatch,
b) pressure drop across venturi meter, c) pressure drop across orifice plate and d) using a
rotameter. The rotameter would show the highest accuracy as it is placed in series with the fluid
flow, but due to the size of its scale (1/min and 50L/hr), slight changes in flow rate would not be
obvious. Manual measurement using the stopwatch would be the most cost efficient method and
most accurate after the rotameter. This is because the energy loss in pipes is taken into
consideration. However this is only applicable to measuring flow rate in a small scale, thus making it
impractical for industrial usage. The third most accurate method would be analysing the pressure
drop across the venturi meter. Venturi meter is more accurate than the orifice plate because it
does not cause turbulence, which induces head loss. Moreover, the venturi meter does not clog
with slurries while the orifice plate does. Having that said, the venturi meter has a higher
installation cost than the orifice plate.

2. Experimental Procedures
2.1. Didacta Italia Rig*
Mercury manometers and water manometers are connected to the venturi meter and
orifice plate to measure the change in pressure across the pipes. A water pump is used to draw
the water from the supply tank to flow through the pipes. Once this set up is done, the tap is
turned on and then the flow rate is adjusted using the turbine flow meter. The water was
allowed to flow for a short period of time before any readings were taken to allow for any
trapped bubbles in the system to flow out. During the experiment, the flow rate is obtained by
measuring the time taken to fill up 4.5 litres of water in the collection tank. The height
differences of the liquids in the manometers which are connected to the venturi meter and
orifice plate are recorded together with the reading on the rotameter. These procedures are
repeated another 7 times for different flow rates and their respective readings.
2.2. Armfield Rig*
The tap is turned on before turning on the pump. Then the flow rate is adjusted by varying
the tap opening. The water is let to flow for a few minutes to make sure no bubbles are trapped
inside the pipes. Once the fluid flow has stabilised, the flow rate is obtained by measuring the
time needed to collect 5 litres of water. The reading on the rotameter and the height of the
water manometers, which are connected to separate parts of the Venturi tube and Orifice plate,
are also recorded at the same time. The experiment is then repeated for another 7 times. The
flow rate is varied by increasing the flow rate of the rotameter by 2 litres per minute intervals
until the water in the water manometer is at its maximum capacity.
*(see Appendix A for schematics for Didacta Italia rig and Armfield Rig)

3. Results
3.1. Calculations for results
The Bernoulli equation and equation of continuity was used to express the volumetric flow
rate Q, in terms of upstream area (A1) and throat area (A2), pressure difference (P) and
fluid density ().
- Continuity equation: m1 = m2
- Bernoulli equation:

1 +

2 1

water A1 V1 = water A2 V2
+ 1 = 2 +

2 2

+ 2

The Bernoulli equation is simplified using the assumptions made (see Introduction). Details
on simplification of equations can be found in Appendix B.
3.2. Discharge coefficient against Reynolds number for venturi meter and orifice plate

Discharge Coefficients against Reynolds number

Discharge Coefficient

1.10

Armfield Venturi
Armfield Orifice

0.90

Didacta Venturi
Didacta Orifice
0.70

Log.
(Armfield Venturi)
Log.
(Armfield Orifice)

0.50
0

5,000

10,000

15,000

20,000

25,000

30,000

35,000

Reynolds Number
Figure 1: Graph of discharge coefficients against Reynolds number for both
Armfield rig and Didacta Italia rig

3.3. Literature values of the venturi tube coefficient and the orifice plate discharge coefficient

tube coefficient

Figure 3: Literature values of the orifice

plate discharge coefficient

0.00045

0.0004
0.00035
y = 1.0199x
0.0003

y = 0.9654x

0.00025
0.0002
0.00015
Armfield Rig
0.0001
Didacta rig

0.00005
0
0

Volumetric flowrate measured manually (m3/s)

Figure 4: Rotameter reading against actual flow rate
3.5. Error analysis
Error analysis is done for Reynolds number, Discharge coefficient and Rotameter reading
(only Didacta rig) and shown as error bars in the graphs.

5. Discussion
Compared to the theoretical prediction, the result shows similar trend but with slightly deviated
values. The venturi meter in the Didacta rig is slightly out of range, but the orifice plates trendline
is nearer to the theoretical trend. The value obtained from venturi meter in the Armfield rig is still
in range, but orifice plates values are deviated from its theoretical line.
All assumptions made such as constant temperature of water, no change in elevation, no
viscous effect, steady state, and incompressible fluid are accurate. However, the assumption of
energy loss for head loss due to friction in pipe causes deviation in the calculated values from the
analysis of pressure drop. It is because there is h than the ideal case. As a result, the calculations
are slightly deviated.
The main sources of error that occurred during the experimental procedures and analysis of the
results were from human inconsistency with the recording of the readings, the probability that the
water in the pipes still had bubbles, measurements were taken before the flowrate could
completely settle down, the minor fluctuation in the meters due to the constantly flowing water in
the pipes thus not getting a fixed value and the possibility of parallax error when taking down the
readings. Those main sources affect the recorded results to be slightly deviated, thus the calculated
values show differences with theoretical values.
The orifice plates function to act as an obstacle to the flow of water in the pipe causes
intermediate convergence where the water has to abruptly pass through a much narrower opening
which in turn causes a significant loss in pressure, increasing the velocity (in conjunction with
Bernoullis principle) and a large amount of turbulence at the exit end of the plate. This turbulence
causes the decrease of flow rate and is affected by sudden contractions and expansions of fluid
water. When the contractions and expansions are large, the loss in flow rate would increase, thus
reducing the discharge coefficient significantly. However, the venturi tubes water flow is
considered to be smooth as the contraction is gradual. As a result, viscous effects can be neglected.
Gradual contractions would lead to a smaller reduction in flow rate thusthe discharge coefficient
would be much lower for the orifice plate (Co = 0.6) compared to the venturi tube (Cv = 1).
6. Conclusion
By varying the volumetric flow rate of fluid flow rate of water in pipe is measured both manually
and by analyzing the pressure drop across the pipe fittings. From the analysis of the results, the
initial prediction of the accuracy of the instruments was proven to be correct. The Didacta Italia rig
is more accurate than the Armfield rig based on the overall results and calculations done. This is
supported by the significant error in the values obtained from the Didacta Italia rig as compared to
the theoretical values recorded that are smaller than the values obtained from the Armfield rig.
However, some discrepancies were faced due to the various potential reasons for errors as stated
in the discussion. Hence, in conclusion, the main objective of the experiment to apply Bernoullis
principle in the analysis of fluid flow in a pipe while assuming that the fluid obeys the assumption of
incompressibility was achieved thus proving that this experiment has achieved its objective.

- Armfield rig:

Appendix B : Raw Data

A.1) Flow Measurement experiment (Armfield Rig)
Specifications: Venturi Tube, D = 31mm, d = 15mm
Orifice Plate, D = 31.75mm, d = 20mm
No

Volume
(L)

Time(s)

Rotameter
(L/min)

h1

h2

h3

h4

h5

h6

h7

h8

44.81

36.87

29.69

10

25.94

12

21.81

14

20.06

16

16.87

18

15.31

20

No

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

Meter
Volume
(litres)
4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5

Time
(seconds)
24.87
20.31
18.87
15.75
15.25
12.81
11.44
10.87

Orifice Plate, Water

Manometer
= 50 ,
= 20

Venturi Meter,
Mercury Manometer
= 20 ,
= 10

1 (cm)

2 (cm)

1 (cm)

2 (cm)

5.2
8.4
10.7
15.4
16.5
21.9
27.1
29.4

1.2
2.6
3.8
5.5
5.9
7.3
8.6
7.9

13.7
13.5
13.1
12.3
12.2
11.8
10.2
9.7

16.1
16.3
16.7
17.5
17.6
18.5
19.6
20.0

Rotameter
(m3/h)

0.60
0.75
0.85
1.00
1.00
1.20
1.40
1.45

Appendix C : Equations for calculations

i) Simplification of continuity equation:
m1 = m2
water Q1 = water Q2
water A1 V1 = water A2 V2
V2 =

A1

V
A2 1

----------------------------------- 

ii) Simplification of Bernoulli Equation:

1
1
1 + 1 2 + 1 = 2 + 2 2 + 2
2
2
1
(1 2 2 2 ) = 2 1 =
2
2
1 2 2 2 =

1 2 =

+ 2 2 ------------------------ 

1 =

[(1 ) 1]
2

Therefore,
= =

[( ) ]

iii) Calculating pressure drop:

- For mercury manometer:
- For water manometer:

= ( )( )
= ( )

=

=

=

Appendix D : Calculated data for Armfield rig

- Actual flow rate (from manual measurement with stopwatch):
Q actual
m3/s
0.000112
0.000136
0.000168
0.000198
0.000229
0.000249
0.000296
0.000327
- Venturi meter (V) and Orifice plate (O):
Q ideal
(V)
m3/s

V1 (V)

Re (V)

Cv

m/s

Q ideal
(O)
m3/s

0.000166

0.2093

8292

0.6730

0.000150

0.1900

7526

0.000175

0.2213

0.000175

V1 (O)

Re (O)

Co

m/s

0.000186

0.2344

9288

0.6009

0.9013

0.000227

0.2871

11376

0.5962

8767

0.9608

0.000284

0.3581

14188

0.5937

0.2213

8767

1.0997

0.000339

0.4280

16958

0.5685

0.000238

0.3004

11899

0.9637

0.000379

0.4785

18959

0.6048

0.000276

0.3481

13789

0.9042

0.000437

0.5515

21848

0.5706

0.000306

0.3866

15317

0.9678

0.000491

0.6203

24574

0.6032

0.000339

0.4278

16947

0.9639

0.000547

0.6902

27343

0.5974

- Rotameter:
Q
m3/s
0.00010
0.00013
0.00017
0.00020
0.00023
0.00027
0.00030
0.00033

Appendix E : Calculated data for Didacta Italia rig

- Actual flow rate (from manual measurement with stopwatch):
Q actual
m3/s
0.00018094
0.00022157
0.00023847
0.00028571
0.00029508
0.00035129
0.00039336
0.00041398
- Venturi meter (V) and Orifice plate (O):
Q ideal
(V)
m3/s
0.000198
0.000213
0.000242
0.000291
0.000297
0.000330
0.000391
0.000410
- Rotameter:
Q
m3/s
0.0001667
0.0002083
0.0002361
0.0002778
0.0002778
0.0003333
0.0003889
0.0004028

V1 (V)

Re (V)

Cv

m/s

Q ideal
(O)
m3/s

0.6303
0.6808
0.7720
0.9278
0.9455
1.0532
1.2475
1.3059

15731
16991
19266
23155
23596
26284
31132
32589

0.9135
1.035
0.9830
0.9800
0.9932
1.0615
1.0035
1.0089

0.000282
0.000340
0.000370
0.000444
0.000459
0.000539
0.000606
0.000654

V in (O)

Re (O)

Co

m/s

0.1435
0.1729
0.1885
0.2259
0.2337
0.2743
0.3088
0.3329

3583
4314
4706
5637
5833
6846
7706
830

0.6416
0.6525
0.6439
0.6440
0.6428
0.6520
0.6486
0.6332

References


Chemical Engineering. (undated). IC125D - Fluid Mixing Studies Apparatus - Code 994006.
[Online]. Viewed 2015 April 11. Available:
http://didacta.it/allegati/main_catalogs/CE_IC125D_E.PDF



Munson, Bruce Roy, T. H Okiishi, and Wade W Huebsch. Fundamentals Of Fluid Mechanics.
6th Edition. Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley & Sons, 2010.