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Blower, Pitot-static Tube, Inclined Manometer, A length of smooth circular cross section pipe, Tubing, Thermometer, Mercury Barometer and Measuring tape.

Finding the friction factor for a pipe carrying air using an experimental method, and comparing it with theoretical results.


1. The equipment was set up, as shown in diagram 1. A length of pipe with tapping stations is the main piece of apparatus, an electric blower would provide airflow originating upstream of the blower inlet. A pitot-static tube mounted inside a screw to adjust the depth, would be used to find the maximum velocity of the airflow; that in the centre line of the pipe. An inclined manometer would provide pressure readings. The uncertainty of measurement for the manometer was listed down. 2. End A of the manometer read the dynamic pressure, whilst end B deduced the static pressure directly resulting in the center-line dynamic head being read with one measurement, reducing the number of readings to obtain a value reduces error. 3. End A of the manometer was connected to the first tapping station and end B to the next one downstream. Reading the difference in pressure directly as opposed to reading the pressure at each tapping station relative to the atmosphere once again resulted in reducing error. This process was repeated for the rest of the tapping stations keeping end A connected to the first tapping station i.e. reading the pressure drop at each station. For each reading the manometer was kept at its lowest possible inclination to improve accuracy. 4. The positions of the tapping stations relative to the first one where measured using a measuring tape and the results were tabulated, all the time including the uncertainty in measurement.


The atmospheric temperature and pressure were recorded, the uncertainty of measurement were recorded for the instruments used.

Calculations and Some Results

The results as obtained from the experiment are shown in tables 1 and 2. Table 1 Pipe Diameter Centre Line Dynamic Head Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Temperature

78.8 0.1mm 1.76 0.01 inH2O 761.35 0.005 mmHg 23.5 0.25 OC

Table 2 Reading Distance m 0.0005m 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 0.2300 1.1420 2.0580 2.9600 3.8700 4.7900 Pressure Drop inH2O 0 0.066 0.0025 0.308 0.01 0.5 0.01 0.8 0.05 1.06 0.05 1.3 0.05 Pressure Drop Pa 0 16.248 0.623 75.82 2.49 123.09 2.49 196.9 12.5 260.9 12.5 320.0 12.5

With reference to table 2, the uncertainty in measurement of the pressure drop changes since the manometer was used in different inclinations. The multiplier for the first reading was 0.02, the second and third 0.5 and the last three 1. The density of air was calculated using equation 1;


Pb is the atmospheric pressure read by the mercury barometer in Pascals Pv is the partial pressure of water Rt is the specific gas constant for dry air in J/K*mol Rv is the specific gas constant for water vapour T is the temperature in Kelvin The partial pressure of water vapor was found using the following equation;


is the relative humidity, obtained from an average value with unknown uncertainty since a hydrometer was not provided, it was found to be 0.75 for the month of September

The centerline velocity Umax was found using equation 3; Where; (Po-P) is the centre line dynamic head. is the density of air. Now according to Darcy's equation for pipe flow the pressure loss, Where;

PL is given by equation 4;

f is the friction factor L is the length of downstream of the reference point, or upstream, in that case the result would be pressure gain. is the mean velocity according to the 1/7th power law equation [5]; D is the pipes hydraulic diameter which is calculated for the pipe in equation [6], r is the pipe's radius;

Plotting in the y-axis against L in the x-axis should result in a straight line intersecting the origin and having a gradient m, thus allowing the calculation of the pipe's friction factor, as illustrated in equation [7];

A straight line passing through the origin could easily be approximated for the points plotted and m can also be found out using Microsoft Excel's trend-line feature. The Reynold's number was calculated using equation [8], for finding the theoretical friction factor using moody's chart and comparing it with the experimental value.


is the dynamic viscosity of the air at 23 OC obtained from a reliable source and using a linear interpolation.

Uncertainty analysis
The uncertainty in measurement of the pressure drop in pascals is simply a multiple of the uncertainty in measurement of the pressure drop when it is measured in inH2O.

The uncertainty of the friction factor was found out by making f subject of the formula in equation [4] and considering the definition of uncertainty from calculus;

where x is a variable such as pressure drop. For an equation with multiple variables, like the one for the friction factor; equation [4], the uncertainty was defined as the root mean square of the uncertainties due to each variable. The result was equation [9] [ ( ) ( ) ( ) ]

Since and were quantities derived from readings, they and their uncertainties had to be calculated before . Let us first do the same procedure for the density of air calculated from equation [1] the uncertainty of the partial pressure of water vapour will be ignored for the uncertainty analysis of since its effect is negligible. The resulting uncertainty is given in equation [10]; [( ) ( ( )) ]

Now that has been calculated one can find out by referring to equation [3], this uncertainty is given in equation [11]; The uncertainty for the reynold's number, equation [8], could be calculated using equation [12] once again using the same procedure as for

Further Results
Now that all equations and the uncertainty analysis have been defined the results can be shown. First consider Plot 1 pictured at the end of the report, than take a look at table 3 to understand fully what is going on, note the trend-line and the equation for it as generated by Microsoft Excel. This equation's gradient will be used to calculate the friction factor as shown previously in equation [7]. Table 3 kgm-3 1.3500 0.0012 UMAX ms-1 25.4637 ms-1 20.8030 0.0026 Re 1.395 f 0.0180 0.00073


was calculated for each respective , and using equation [9] the other variables and their uncertainties remained fixed. The average of the uncertainties was taken as the value for the uncertainty of measurement in the friction factor. The result of this is shown in table 4;

Table 4 Reading 1 2 3 4 5 6 Average f 0.00073 0.000589 0.00032 0.00113 0.00086 0.00070 0.00073

When finding out the friction factor for a smooth pipe using moody's chart in ref{2} the result was . When working out the relative roughness of the pipe from Reynolds number and the friction factor obtained from the experiment the result is which for comparison is roughly that of new galvanized steel.

Discussion and Conclusion

Precautions 1. The manometer was levelled and reading were taken from the base of the meniscus at eye level to avoid parallax errors. 2. Before readings were taken from the manometer some time was given so the value would stabilize. 3. The system was in good shape, this is important since we assumed the pipe was smooth. Possible sources of error 1. Something to block the tapping stations during use was not provided, this could have led to a slight pressure gain than if they were blocked. 2. It was assumed that the system reached a steady state quickly. The result came very close to the value from moody's chart despite the fact that the experiment was not repeated.

Distance from referance tapping station VS Pressure Drop


y = 66.37x 300

250 P r e s s u r e D r o p


150 Data Points Linear interpolation 100


0 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Distance from reference tapping station