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Experiment #4

Impact of a Jet of Water

Stephen Mirdo

Performed on September 30, 2010

Report due October 7, 2010

Table of Contents

Object ………………………………………..………………………….………….…. p. 1

Theory ………………………………………………………………..……….....…pp. 1 -3

Procedure …………………………………………………………………….………...p. 4

Results ………………………………………………………..……...……………pp. 5 - 6

Discussion and Conclusion …………………………………………………….………p. 7

Appendix ……………………………………………………..…….…....………pp. 8 - 10
The object of this experiment was to determine the force exerted by a jet of water on a
stationary vane and compare the experimental results to the theoretical results.

A moving stream of fluid carries momentum. Momentum is defined as the
product of the mass of a body and its velocity. When a moving stream of fluid, or jet, is
deflected by a surface, a change in linear momentum occurs. This change in linear
momentum results in the water jet exerting a force on the surface it is impacting.

ΣF = ∫∫CS V ρ Vn dA (Equation 1)

Equation 1 is the general equation for linear momentum for a deformable control
volume. The components of this equation are V, the velocity of the stream of fluid, ρ, the
density of the fluid, and Vn, the velocity of the fluid normal to the impact surface. These
components are integrated with respect to the impact surface area and yield the force the
jet exerts.

To calculate the theoretical force a jet exerts on a surface, first a control volume
must be defined. For this experiment, a Pelton bucket will be used for the vane. A
diagram of the force exerted on the Pelton bucket by the jet of fluid is seen in Figure 1

Figure 1: Diagram of Pelton bucket, reaction forces and angle of velocity of

escaping water.

To calculate the force the jet of fluid exerts on the Pelton bucket, a force sum
calculation is used. A control volume is defined such that the fluid exits at 90 degrees,
normal to the defined control volume. This definition of the control volume allows for no
fluid to escape in the y direction, thereby simplifying the force calculation. It is assumed
that to the left is positive on the x axis. The velocity of the fluid escaping the Pelton
bucket is calculated as follows:

V = Vcos(19o) = V(cos161o) (Equation 2)

The force balance equation for this system, with to the left on the x axis being positive is
as follows:

ΣFx = Fwater – ρAV(Vout – Vin) = 0 (Equation 3)

Simplifying the equation by factoring the velocity term and substituting Equation 3 into
the force equation for the velocity of the escaping jet of fluid acting in the x direction is
as follows:

ΣFx = Fwater – ρAV2(1 – cos(161o)) = 0 (Equation 4)

The force the Pelton bucket experiences due to the change in momentum of the jet of
water is equivalent to the force of the water. Therefore, the equation for the theoretical
force of the jet of fluid exerted on the Pelton bucket is as follows:

F = ρAV2(1 – cos(161o)) (Equation 5)

To calculate the area term, A of Equation 5, calculate the cross sectional area of
the exit of the nozzle. The V term, velocity, is the fluid jet’s velocity at the exit of the
nozzle. To calculate the exit velocity, divide the volumetric flow rate of the nozzle, Q,
by the cross sectional area A.

Q = VA  V = Q / A (Equation 6)

A method of determining the actual force exerted by a stream of fluid is to

evaluate the moment the force exerts on a beam. As seen in Figure 1 below, a nozzle
emits a jet of fluid at a constant volumetric flow rate that impacts the vane. The vane is
connected to beam that will rotate about a pivot as seen to the left on the beam. The
impacting jet of fluid, having its direction of momentum altered, will exert a force on the
vane at a fixed distance from the pivot, do, and cause the beam to rotate

To assess the force exerted by the jet, F, a mass jockey is positioned on the beam
so as to counteract the jet’s force with a force that is equal in magnitude and opposite in
direction. The mass jockey will exert a force due to weight, Fw, in the downward
direction at a distance, dw, from the pivot, thereby exerting a clockwise moment about the

pivot on the beam. The tally, or leveling device, of the apparatus will register in the
neutral position when the mass jockey is positioned at the appropriate distance from the
pivot to counteract the counterclockwise moment exerted by the jet of fluid.

Figure 2: Jet impact testing apparatus diagram

(Source: University of Delaware, Department of
Mechanical Engineering)

Any subsequent increase in the volumetric flow rate, Q, will cause a proportional
increase to the impact force the jet exerts on the vane. The increased force equates to an
increase in the moment exerted by the jet around the beam’s pivot. To counteract the
increased force, and therefore increased moment, the mass jockey must be shifted further
to the right on the beam to a position dwi to counteract the increase. To account for the
force at each flow rate, multiply the weight of the mass jockey by the difference in each
displacement with reference to the initial position and divide the product by the distance
from the fluid jet to the pivot.

F = [ Fw (dwi – dw1) ] / do (Equation 7)


TQ H1D Volumetric Bench (SN: A7771/2)
Pelton Bucket Plate

1) Close the drain in the catch basin of the jet impact apparatus. Open the flow
control valve, turn the pump on and set the flow rate to a desired value. Using the
sight glass on the side of the device, measure the time taken for the volume in the
catch basin to rise from zero to an arbitrary volume. Divide this volume by the
time taken to achieve it. This value is a flow rate, Q.
2) Obtain a theoretical velocity by dividing the flow rate Q by the cross-sectional
area of the nozzle. This obtained value is the theoretical velocity of the fluid
exiting the nozzle.
3) Use the theoretical velocity to calculate a theoretical moment exerted on the beam
by the jet.
4) Turn off the pump of the apparatus. Ensure that the flow control valve has been
closed and open the drain of the catch basin so as to let the fluid in the system
return to the pump.
5) Move the mass jockey to the zero position and calibrate the lever arm of the
testing apparatus by adjusting the spring via the thumb screw.
6) Turn the pump back on and open the flow control valve. Adjust the flow rate
until a deflection of the lever arm is noticed. Leave the pump running and move
the mass jockey to the right until the moment created by the water jet has been
balanced. Record this distance. Do not adjust the spring.
7) Increase the flow rate of the water jet by an increment of two liters per minute.
Again, slide the jockey mass to the right until the moment has been balanced.
Record this value.
8) Repeat Step 7 for a desired number of data points.


Table 1: Known values used to determine theoretical and actual

values of force exerted by a jet of water
Jockey Mass 0.600 kg
Nozzle Diameter 0.010 m
Density of Water 1000 kg/m3
Distance from Pivot to Vane 0.150 m

Table 2: Theoretical values of the force exerted by a jet of water

obtained by using Equation 2 and Equation 3.
Volumetric Volumetric
Flow Flow Force (N)
(LPM) (m3/s)
10 1.67E-04 2.12 0.6054
12 2.00E-04 2.55 0.8718
14 2.33E-04 2.97 1.1866
16 2.67E-04 3.40 1.5499
18 3.00E-04 3.82 1.9615
20 3.33E-04 4.24 2.4217
22 3.67E-04 4.67 2.9302
24 4.00E-04 5.09 3.4872
26 4.33E-04 5.52 4.0926
28 4.67E-04 5.94 4.7465
30 5.00E-04 6.37 5.4487

Table 3: Experimental values of the force exerted by a jet of water obtained by

using Equation 2 and Equation 4.
Volumetric Volumetric
dw dwi-dw1 Velocity
Flow Flow Force (N)
(mm) (m) (m/s)
(LPM) (m3/s)
10 1.667E-04 12 0.012 2.12 0.4709
12 2.000E-04 19 0.007 2.55 0.2747
14 2.333E-04 26 0.014 2.97 0.5494
16 2.667E-04 35 0.023 3.40 0.9025
18 3.000E-04 45 0.033 3.82 1.2949
20 3.333E-04 58 0.046 4.24 1.8050
22 3.667E-04 72 0.06 4.67 2.3544
24 4.000E-04 88 0.076 5.09 2.9822
26 4.333E-04 100 0.088 5.52 3.4531
28 4.667E-04 113 0.101 5.94 3.9632
30 5.000E-04 130 0.118 6.37 4.6303



Force (N)




10 15 20 25 30 35
Flow Rate (LPM)

Actual Theoretical

Figure 3: Theoretical and actual force exerted by a jet of water on a Pelton bucket

Discussion and Conclusion

The Pelton bucket is a component of the Pelton wheel that is found in impulse
turbines. The raised ridge between the two hollows of the device essentially splits a jet of
water into two and deflects each nearly 180o. This deflection prevents the jet from
spraying out of and away from the device. By controlling the velocity vector of the fluid
jet, the Pelton bucket is able to extract more energy from the moving fluid by changing
its linear momentum. The fluid that leaves the Pelton bucket has a small fraction of the
velocity it came in with, concluding that it has a very efficient design.

It was that the theoretical and experimental forces have a significant percentage of
error between them, as seen in Table 4 below. Most of this error is due to the theoretical
calculations neglecting the force of gravity on the jet of water. When the jet leaves the
nozzle, it will have the calculated velocity obtained by using Equation 3. However, after
the fluid has obtained any height above the nozzle, the force of gravity acts on it and
decreases the velocity. The reduction in velocity can be determined by using Bernoulli’s
equation, where V is the respective velocity, g is gravitational acceleration and Δz is the
distance between the nozzle and the vane.

V2vane = V2nozzle – 2gΔz

Table 4: Percent error of experimental and theoretical force of a jet of water

Experimental Theoretical
% Error
Force Force
0.4709 0.6054 22.22%
0.2747 0.8718 68.49%
0.5494 1.1866 53.70%
0.9025 1.5499 41.77%
1.2949 1.9615 33.98%
1.8050 2.4217 25.46%
2.3544 2.9302 19.65%
2.9822 3.4872 14.48%
3.4531 4.0926 15.63%
3.9632 4.7465 16.50%
4.6303 5.4487 15.02%


Data Usage

Sample Calculation of Velocity at 10 LPM

V = Q/A = [(10 LPM * 1.5e-2 m3/L * min/60 s)] / [(π/4) * (0.010m)2] = 2.12 m/s

Sample Calculation of Experimental Force at 12 LPM

F = 0.600 kg * 9.81 m/s2 * (0.007 m) / 0.15 m = 0.2747 N

Sample Calculation of Theoretical Force at 20 LPM

F = 1000 kg/m3 * (π/4) * (0.010m)2 * (4.24 m/s)2 * (1-cos(161o) = 2.4217 N


Introduction to Fluid Mechanics, 3rd Edition

William S. Janna (1993)

Fundamentals of Material Science and Engineering: An Integrated Approach

W.D. Callister, Jr and D.G. Rethwish (2008)

A Manual for the Mechanics of Fluid Laboratory

William S. Janna (2008)