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Flow Through an Orifice Consider the figure below.

Assume the tank is sufficiently large to neglect all velocities except at the orifice. Near the orifice, the flow accelerates towards the center of the hole, shown as the streamline MN on the figure. The reduction of area due to the curvature of the orifice is assumed complete at about half the orifice diameter downstream of the plane of the orifice. The reduced section is referred to as the vena contracta.

The pressure everywhere on the surface of the jet is atmospheric. However, within the jet, the pressure does not fall to atmospheric until the acceleration is complete, i.e., until the vena contracta is complete.

Consider the total head of water at point M and N, M is at the surface and N is at the vena contracta. hm =
2 u m Pm + + zm 2g

2 u n Pm hn = + + zn 2g

Thus, if there is no head loss hm = hn

2 u Pm u n Pn + + zm = + + zn 2g 2g 2 m


In the above equation Pm and Pn are the same (atmospheric) and um is considered to be negligibly small. Also, the distance Ho is defined as H o = zm zn Equations 1 and 2 can be solved for the velocity at N
2 un = Ho 2g



The result of Equation 3 applies to all points in the plane of the vena contracta. Thus, change the notation to let uo be the ideal velocity in the plane of the vena contracta.
2 uo = Ho 2g


Because of energy losses as the water flows down the sides of the container and through the orifice, the actual velocity is lower than uo. The actual velocity uc in the plane of the vena contracta will be less than the value in Equation 4. u c2 = Hc 2g It is clear the (Ho Hc) represents the energy loss. (5)

The ratio of actual velocity and ideal velocity is referred to as the coefficient of velocity, Cu.

Cu =

uc = uo

Hc Ho


In a similar sense, the coefficient of contraction, Cc, is defined as the ratio of the crosssection of the vena contracta ac, to the cross-section of the orifice ao.

Cc =

ac ao


The discharge coefficient Cd is defined as the ratio of the actual discharge to that which would take place if the jet discharged at the ideal velocity without any reduction of area. The ideal discharge is given by: Q = u c ac If the jet discharged at the ideal velocity over the orifice area, the discharge would be: Qo = u o a o = a o 2 g H o Thus, from the definition of the coefficient of discharge, (9) (8)

Cd =

Q u c ac = Qo u o a o


The discharge coefficient is commonly expressed in terms of variables that can be measured experimentally. Cd = Q ao 2 g H o (11)

Equations 6, 7 and 10 allow a different method for determining the discharge coefficient. C d = Cu Cc There are no theoretical values for the discharge coefficient because only an experiment can be used to determine the energy losses. (12)

The above coefficients can be experimentally determined using an orifice apparatus, shown below.

There is a tapping in the base of the tank which connects with a plastic tube mounted in front of a vertical scale showing the level of water in the tank above the plane of the orifice. A second plastic tube is connected to a pitot tube which may be introduced into the discharging jet in order to measure the total jet head. The pitot tube may be traversed across the jet by revolving a graduated nut working along a lead screw with a pitch of 1 thread per mm; each complete revolution of the nut moves the pitot tube 1 mm.

Procedure 1. The equipment is leveled on a table and the diameter of the orifice is recorded. 2. The flexible supply hose is connected to the inlet pipe and the inlet pipe should be submerged. Water is allowed to flow into the tank with a small steady amount leaving via the discharge tube. To measure Cd, the discharge is obtained by the collection of a known weight of water from the orifice, and recording the value of Ho in the orifice. To measure Cu, the pitot tube is inserted into the emerging jet as close to the underside of the tank as possible, and the values of Hc and Ho are recorded. To measure Cc, it is necessary to determine the diameter of the jet at the vena contracta. This is done by utilizing the traversing feature. This can be repeated for various stages if desired.






Data Table Measurement Diameter of Orifice (mm) Cross-Sectional Area of Orifice (m2) Head on Orifice (mm) Time Required to collect x kg of Water (s) Discharge Pitot Tube Reading (mm) Diameter of Jet (mm) Coefficient of Discharge Coefficient of Velocity Coefficient of Contraction

Symbol do ao Ho t x Q= (10 3 )t Hc jc Q Cd = ao 2 g H o

Cu =

Hc Ho

Cc =

ac ao