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Osborne Reynolds’ Experiment: The Transition from Laminar to

Turbulent Flow
Abstract: The objective of this experiment was to determine the interval of
the Reynold’s number where flow through an idealized straight, smooth pipe
with constant pressure transitioned from laminar flow to turbulent flow. This
experiment was carried out utilizing a model similar to Reynold’s own design.
Dye was injected into a stream of water flowing through a clear pipe and out
into a reservoir to demonstrate if there were any disturbances within the
flow. Water exiting the bottom valve was collected in a one liter graduated
cylinder for a period of about thirty seconds and the accompanying volume
and exact time was recorded. The Reynold’s number was calculated for three
different flow rates around the transition which was noted by the movement
of the dye in the flow and whether it was a straight or windy and broken up
line. The collection of many volume and time datum allowed for an average
volume flow rate that was more representative of the actual volume flow rate
than one set of data could have produced, leading to more accurate results.
The accepted Reynold’s number of 2300 was within the experimental interval
of calculated Reynold’s numbers for the transition from laminar to turbulent
flow.

CEE 171L Lab Report
Group 3
Lab Section 1A
1 | Page

Page 8 6.. 9-11 am Table of Contents: 1. Methods………………………………………………………………………………… ……………….. …………………………………………….…… Page 3 2...Page 5 4.Monday Lab. Appendix………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………. Introduction & Hypothesis………………………………………………………………………. Analysis of Results…………………………………………………………………………………....Page 4 3. Works Cited……………………………………………………………………………………… ………….. …….Page 7 5.…..….Page 9 2 | Page .……. Interpretation of Results & Conclusions….

his equation no longer held true. the more turbulent the flow. an engineering professor by the name of Osborne Reynolds discovered that the constant in Lagen’s equation was in fact: ℜ= ρVd μ This is the equation for what we now call the Reynold’s number. velocity. Once velocity increases past a certain threshold (determined by the diameter of the pipe. What he did not know is that the constant in his equation related to the viscosity of the liquid. length/diameter. The larger the Reynolds number.H. smooth stream.Introduction and Hypothesis: Liquids do not always flow in a perfect. The first person to mention that there may be in fact two types of viscous flows was an engineer named G. ∆ p= ( const ) LQ +entrance effects(¿ 351) 4 R He observed that after increasing the volume flow rate in a pipe past a certain point. The significance of the Reynolds number is that it relates given values (density. 3 | Page . taking into account the entrance effects and some unknown constant. The accepted Reynolds number for transition from laminar to turbulent flow in a smooth. circular pipe is 2300 (White 352). The experiment he used to determine this is what was duplicated to generate the results presented in this report. A smooth flow of liquid is called laminar while an uneven flow is called turbulent. density and viscosity of the liquid. and velocity). and viscosity) to the type of flow that the liquid will experience.L Lagen in 1839. puffs begin to develop in the liquid and produce turbulence. In 1883. He deduced an equation that described the difference in pressure.

a large container over a thin. Data was collected over a spectrum of flows ranging from laminar to turbulent. we were provided with an apparatus that was comprised of a reservoir of room temperature water. 4 | Page . during data collection. as well as necessary tools such as a timer and a one liter graduated cylinder. a pump. constant flow rate. cylindrical pipe. The pump was turned on to transfer the water in the reservoir at the bottom of the apparatus to the container at the top and adjusted the valves to let in as much water to where there was a small amount of spillover from the top tube while maintaining a constant water level in the container to sustain a constant pressure. We gathered Set Up of Reynold’s Experiment water exiting from the tube connected to the pipe exit for a time of about thirty seconds in order to calculate the volume flow rate. and therefore. one was located at the bottom to control the flow of water from the reservoir to the container and the other was located at the junction of the pipe exit and one of the tubes.Methods: In order to reproduce Reynold’s experiment. smooth. There were two valves to control the flow of the water over the duration of the experiment. and two exits for the liquid (one spillover tube at the top of the container and one at the bottom of the pipe).

583 2282 9.2746E-06 0. There is also human error in the amount of liquid collected in the graduated cylinder since one person was operating the timer and another person was observing the amount of water exiting into the graduated cylinder and removing the cylinder at the thirty second mark.2318E-06 0.760 2975 1.280 30.19 0.209E-05 0.244E-06 0. it should be noted that discrepancies of the collection time exist because it was impossible for human reflexes to stop the timer at exactly thirty seconds each time.595 2328 9.368 30.44 0.12 0.764 2988 LaminarTransitional LaminarTransitional LaminarTransitional LaminarTransitional LaminarTransitional TransitionalTurbulent TransitionalTurbulent TransitionalTurbulent TransitionalTurbulent TransitionalTurbulent 5 | Page .369 30.580 2271 9.33 0.0045m Density of Water [1]: 1001 kg/m3 Viscosity of Water [2]: 0.360 30.52 0.288 30. V [4] (m/s) [3] Reynold’s Descripti Number.2165E-05 0.746 2920 1.33 0.585 2287 9.745 2914 1. Q (m3/s) Velocity.280 30.22 0. Analysis of Results: Constants:     Temperature of Water: 15°C Diameter of Pipe: 0.1869E-05 0.4612E-06 0.00115 kg/m·s Table of Collected Data & Calculations: Time (s) Volume of Liquid (L) 30.581 2274 1.29 0.765 2993 1.280 30.1843E-05 0.2961E-06 0.23 0.358 30.367 Volume Flow Rate. on of [5] Re Flow 9.In the data shown in the Analysis of Results section.25 0.2144E-05 0.280 30.

[4].463 0.30. The standard deviation gives us how much.5152E-05 1.08 30.5267E-05 0.461 0. 6 | Page .455 0.959 0.13 0. I conclude that 2300 is a valid value for the Reynold’s number for the transition from laminar to turbulent flow in a smooth. only the values for the LaminarTransitional description were implemented.03 30. [5] : Refer to Appendix for Calculations Statistical Analysis: In order to calculate the following values. the data set deviates from the mean. Based upon these calculations. on average.969 0.5253E-05 1.   Mean Critical Reynolds Number: 2289 Standard Deviation of the Critical Reynolds Number: 20.960 3793 3753 3728 3771 3756 Turbulent Turbulent Turbulent Turbulent Turbulent [1].03 30.964 0. cylindrical pipe (otherwise known as the critical Reynolds number).42 The Mean Critical Reynolds Number gives us the average of our calculated values.953 0. [3].464 0.460 1.5326E-05 1.42 30. [2].5418E-05 1.

As with all correctly conducted experiments. Validity of Initial Hypothesis: The experimental data determined that the mean critical Reynold’s number was 2289 with a standard deviation of 20. One of these is solely human error. the higher tendency it will have to develop turbulence.42. it is indeed a transitional Reynolds number. While we were not able to fully determine its dependency on the other factors such as density of the water. Another parameter of our errors was that we were not constant with who the operators were throughout the experiment. 1 liter graduated cylinder with markers that were very spread out in terms of significant figures.44 above (for a total value of 2309. The problem was that the person operating the timer was starting either a small amount of time before or after the liquid collection actually began and ended. we observed that the Reynold’s number generally increased with increasing velocity. diameter of the pipe. all variables other than the ones desired to be measured should be kept constant as to isolate any changes occurring to the variables. This was one factor that should have been considered prior to beginning the experiment. we determined that the Reynold’s number is truly dependent on velocity. The inconsistency in reflexes and synchronization between operators adds another variable to our experiment along with the time and volume of the liquid. or viscosity. This means that values falling anywhere within 20. which had the largest impact on our calculations. Error Assessment: There is some error in the experimentally calculated mean critical Reynold’s number due to a few parameters. the faster the liquid is moving. Since the widely accepted critical Reynold’s Number of 2300 falls within the standard deviation range.Interpretation of Results & Conclusions: Discussion of Concepts: Through this experiment. Also. This error could have been avoided if the volume readings 7 | Page . One other factor to our error to consider is the fact that the volume data collected was being read off of the bottom of the meniscus in a large. Our team found it was difficult to carry out the data collection effectively with two people since the they would have had to have impeccable synchronization in order to produce the most accurate data.58) is a valid estimate for the critical Reynolds number. This makes sense because the Reynold’s number maintains a linear relationship with velocity in the equation.42) or below 2289 (for a total value of 2268.

were obtained by weighing the dry graduated cylinder and taring the scale. weighing the graduated cylinder with the liquid and obtaining the mass of the collected liquid. performing the liquid collection. 8 | Page . This method would have taken longer than the original. but yielded more accurate results. and then dividing the mass of the collected liquid by the density of the liquid (taking into account the temperature of the liquid) to obtain the true volume of the collected liquid with more significant figures.

2 [2] μ 273 K 273 K ln =1.Appendix: [1] ρ ≈ 1000−0.0178 ( T ° C−4 ° C )1.003 μ0 TK TK [3] π Q= AV = d 2 V 4 [4] V= 4Q π d2 [5] ℜ= ρVd μ ( ) ( 2 ) 9 | Page .704−5.7 ∓0.306 + 7.

2011. Seventh ed. Fluid Mechanics. New York: McGraw-Hill. 10 | P a g e . Frank M. White. Print.Works Cited: 1.