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A SunCam online continuing education course

Fluid Flow in Pipes

The Darcy-Weisbach Equation
and the
Fluid-Flow Calc v1.0 Tool for Engineers
by

Lawrence H. Smith, Sr., P.E.

Copyright 2011 Lawrence H. Smith, Sr., P.E.

Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course

A.

Introduction
This course is intended for mechanical and civil engineers who want to learn more about
Sizing Piping Systems with the Darcy-Weisbach equation. Design issues covered
include, understanding the equations, purpose and history, sizing residential, commercial
and industrial piping systems. This course qualifies for four (4) hours Professional
Engineering CEU credits. Upon completion of this course, you will have a thorough
understanding of the design aspects related to Sizing Piping Systems with the DarcyWeisbach equation and others relating to its application.

B.

General
Because of the great variety of fluids handled in modern industrial processes (heating and
air conditioning, piping systems, etc.) a single equation used for any flow in piping
systems would obviously have an advantage over other equations. Such an equation is
the Darcy-Weisbach equation for liquids only in this course. The equation can be derived
rationally by means of dimensional analysis; however, one variable in the equation, the
friction factor, must be determined experimentally. Today with the invention of the
calculator, computers and software and spreadsheets, etc. this is not a problem. This
equation has a wide application in the field of fluid mechanics.
The Fluid Flow Calc tool was developed using the Darcy-Weisbach and other equations
and utilizes the following variables:

Q
V
D
L

= Density of the fluid, lb/ cu ft

= Viscosity of the fluid, cP
= Quantity of flow, gpm, gph, cfs and B
= Velocity of flow, mean velocity of the flow in the pipe, fps
= Pipe inside diameter, in and ft
= Fitting total K coeffs
= Fitting total L/D values
= Length of pipe, ft
P = Pressure drop, feet of fluid and psi in fluid
R = Roughness factor, , ft
The input looks at the data and tracts it to determine proper input. Five types of
calculations can be performed as follows:
1. Sizing pipe for Pressure Drop, requires , , Q, D, L and R
2. Sizing pipe for Maximum Velocity for Flow, requires , , V, D, L and R

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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3. Sizing pipe for Maximum Velocity for Pipe Diameter, requires , , Q, V, L and R
4. Sizing pipe for Maximum Pressure Drop, requires , , Q, L, P and R
5. Sizing pipe for Maximum Flow, requires , , D, L and R
The input tracks and displays one of the following messages:
1. Too Much Data
2. Default Used
3. Need to Check Your Input
If the data input is entered correctly, one of the following messages will be displayed.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Sizing pipe for Pressure Drop

Sizing pipe for Maximum Velocity for Flow
Sizing pipe for Maximum Velocity for Pipe Diameter
Sizing pipe for Maximum Pressure Drop
Sizing pipe for Maximum Flow

There are three buttons on the screen, one for Default Density data, one for Viscosity, and
one for the Roughness factor. Density is 62.37 lb/cu ft. Viscosity is 1.1 at 60 oF and
Roughness factor 0.00015.
Note: The Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet has three (3) Macros for the three Default
Buttons and the following security screen will appear. The Enable Macros button
should be pressed to operate correctly if the Security Level is Set above (Low).

C.

Units
The following units will be used during this course:
gpm
gph
cfs
gpm

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to
to
to
to

cfs
gpm
gpm
B/h

=
=
=
=

gpm / 448.8
gph / 60
cfs x 448.8
gpm x 1.42857

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course
gph
D.

to

B/h

gph x 42

Physical Properties of Fluids

The solution to any fluid problem requires an understanding and knowledge of the
physical properties of the fluid under consideration. Therefore, an accurate value for the
properties affecting the fluid is essential to problem solving. Numerous publications
have tables and charts for this purpose. The following is the fluid physical properties that
we will be using throughout this course:
1.
2.

Viscosity, cP
Weight density, lb/cu ft

Viscosity: Viscosity expresses the readiness with which a fluid flows when it is acted
upon by an external force. The coefficient of absolute viscosity or, simply, the absolute
viscosity of a fluid, is a measure of its resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by
either shear stress or tensile stress. In everyday terms (and for fluids only), viscosity is
thickness or internal friction. Thus, water is thin, having a lower viscosity, while
honey is thick, having higher viscosity. Put simply, the less viscous the fluid is, the
greater its ease of movement.
Although most fluids are predictable in their viscosity, in some, the viscosity depends
upon the previous working of the fluid. Wood pulp slurries and ketchup are examples of
fluids possessing such thixotropic properties of viscosity.
Note: Thixotropic is the property of certain gels or fluids that are thick (viscous) under
normal conditions, but flow (become thin, less viscous) over time when shaken, agitated,
or otherwise stressed.
Considerable confusion exists concerning the units used to express viscosity; therefore,
proper units must be employed whenever substituting values of viscosity into formulas.
In the CGS or cgs (centimeter-gram-second) or metric system (proposal made in 1832 by
the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss), the unit of absolute viscosity is the
poise (it is named after Jean Louis Marie Poiseuille) and is often used with the (metric
prefix centi-) which is equal to 100 centipoises. The centipoise is properly abbreviated
cP, but the alternative abbreviations cps, cp and cPs are also commonly seen.
The poise has the dimensions of dyne seconds per square centimeter or of grams per
centimeter second. It is believed that less confusion concerning units will prevail if the
centipoises is used exclusively as the unit of viscosity. For this reason and since most
handbooks and tables follow the same procedure, all viscosity data in this course is
expressed in centipoises.
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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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The English units most commonly employed are slug per foot second or pound force
second per square foot; however, pound mass per feet second or poundal second per
square foot may also be encountered. The viscosity of water at a temperature of 68 oF
is:

1 centipoises =
=
=

0.000 672 pound mass per foot second

0.000 672 poundal second per square foot

'e

0.000 0209 slug per foot second

0.000 0209 pound force second per square ft

0.01 poise
0.01 gram per cm second
0.01 dyne second per sq cm

See Table 3, in Appendix A for some viscosity of liquids.

Kinematic viscosity is the ratio of the absolute viscosity to the mass density. In the
metric system the unit of kinematic viscosity is the stoke. The stoke has dimensions of
square centimeters per second and is equivalent to 100 centistokes

centistoke s =

=
'
S

Specific gravity: the specific gravity S, in the foregoing formula is based upon water at a
temperature of 39.2 oF (4 oC), whereas specific gravity used throughout this course is
based upon water at 60 oF. In the English system, kinematic viscosity has dimensions of
square feet per second.
Weight density, specific volume, and specific gravity: The weight density or specific
weight of a substance is its weight per unit volume. In the English system of units, this is
expressed in pounds per cubic foot and the symbol designation used in the course is
(Rho). In the metric system, the unit is grams per cubic centimeter and the symbol
designation used is centimeter and the symbol designation used is (Rho prime).
The specific volume V , being the reciprocal of the weight density, is expressed in the
English system as the number of cubic feet of space occupied by one pound of the
substance, this is:

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course

Computation in the metric system is not commonly referred to in terms of specific

volume; however, the number of cubic centimeters per gram of a substance can readily be
expressed as the reciprocal of the weight density, that is:

'

The variations in weight density as well as other properties of water with changes in
temperature are shown in Table 1, in Appendix A. The weight densities of other
common liquids are shown in Table 2, in Appendix A. Unless very high temperatures are
considered, the effect of pressure on the weight of liquids is of no practical importance in
flow problems.
Specific gravity is a relative measure of weight density. Since pressure has an
insignificant effect upon the weight density of liquids, temperature is the only condition
that must be considered in designating the basis for specific gravity. The specific gravity
of a liquid is its weight density at 60 oF (unless otherwise specified) to that of water at
standard temperature of 60 oF.
S

p2
p1

Where
p1
p2

=
=

any liquid at 60 oF unless otherwise specified

water at 60 oF

The specific gravity is measured with the hydrometer and there are three scales used
commonly in this country. The API scale which is used for oil. The Baume (Be) scales,
one for liquids heavier than water and one for liquids lighter than water. The relationship
between the scales and specific gravity are:
For oils:

Degrees API = (141.5 / G) 131.5

G = 141.5 / (131.5 + Degrees API)

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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For liquids lighter than water:

Specific Gravities at 60 oF = 140 / (160 Deg. Be)

60 oF
For liquids heavier than water:

Specific Gravities at 60 oF = 145 / (145 Deg. Be)

60 oF
E.

Darcy-Weisbach Equation

The Darcy-Weisbach equation is named after Henry Darcy of France and further refined
into the form used today by Julius Weisbach of Saxony in 1845. Historically this
equation arose as a variant on the Prony equation (Gaspard Clair Francois Marie Riche de
Prony, 1755-1839). Initially, data on the variation of f with velocity was lacking, so the
Darcy-Weisbach equation was out performed at first by the empirical Prony equation in
many cases. Although in the later years it was eschewed in many special case situations
in favor of a variety of empirical equations valid only for certain flow regimes. Notably
the Hazen-Williams equation named after (Allen Hazen and Gardner Stewart Williams)
or the Manning equation (Gauckler-Manning formula) named after (Philippe Gauckler in
1867 and Robert Manning in 1890) most of which were significantly easier to use in
calculation.
The name of the equation through time is also curious and may be tracked in hydraulic
and fluid mechanics textbooks. Early texts generally do not name the equation. Starting
in the mid 20th century some authors including at least one German named it "Darcy's
Equation", an obvious confusion point with "Darcy's Law". Rouse in 1946 appears to be
the first to call it "Darcy-Weisbach", but that naming did not become universal until the
late 1980's. It is a good enough name, but as pointed out previously, it leaves out many
important contributions.
From a practical standpoint, the Darcy-Weisbach equation has only become popular since
the advent of the electronic calculator, computer and software like the spreadsheet. It
requires a lot of number crunching compared to empirical relationships, such as the
Hazen-Williams equation, which are valid over narrow ranges. However, because of its
general accuracy and complete range of application, the Darcy-Weisbach equation should
be considered the standard and the others should be left for the historians. A recent
interesting discussion on the topic was presented by Liou (1998), Christensen (2000),
Locher (2000) and Swamee (2000).

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course

The Darcy-Weisbach equation is considered the best empirical relation for pipe-flow
resistance. In terms of head units it is:
Pipe Friction
2
L v
hf f

D 2 g

where
hf
f
L
D
v
g

=
=
=
=
=
=

friction resistance in feet of fluid

friction factor, dimensionless
length of pipe, (in feet)
internal diameter of pipe, (in feet)
average velocity in feet per second, (in fps)
acceleration due to gravity in feet per second per second, 32.17
feet/second/second

L v 2

h p f
D 2 g
where

fluid density at mean temperature, (in lb/cu ft)

Velocity

The following are equations used to calculate mean velocity of flow in several units:
q
= 183.3 2
d

q
A

B
= 0.286 2
d

A
B

=
=

Q
0.408 2
d

where

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cross section area of pipe in square feet

rate of flow in barrels (42 gallon) per hour (B)
Copyright 2011 Lawrence H. Smith, Sr., P.E.

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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Q
q
v
V
d

=
=
=
=
=

rate of flow in gallons per minute (gpm)

rate of flow in cubic feet per second (cfs)
mean velocity of flow, in feet per second (fps)
specific volume of fluid, in cubic feet per pound
inside diameter of pipe, (in inches)

/d
where

/d

=
=

absolute roughness of pipe surfaces

inside diameter of pipe, (in inches)

The relative pipe roughness is the ratio of the pipe surface roughness, to its diameter,
d, or /d. See Table 4, in Appendix A for some common pipe relative roughness
factors.
Reynolds Number

dv

Re 123.9

where
d
v

=
=
=
=

inside diameter of pipe, (in inches)

average velocity in feet per second, (in fps)
fluid density at mean temperature, (in lb/cu ft)
viscosity, (in cP)

Friction Factor

The Darcy-Weisbach formula can be rationally derived by dimensional analysis, with the
exception of the friction factor f, which must be determined experimentally. The friction
factor for laminar flow condition (Re < 2000) is a function of Reynolds number only:
whereas, for turbulent flow (Re > 4000), is also a function of the character of pipe walls.
A region known as the "critical zone" occurs between Reynolds number of approximately
2000 and 4000. In this region, the flow may be either laminar or turbulent depending
upon several factors; these include changes in section or direction of flow and
obstructions, such as valves in the upstream piping. The friction factor in the region is

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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indeterminate and has lower limits on laminar flow and upper limits based on turbulent
flow conditions.
At Reynolds numbers above approximately 4000, flow conditions become more stable
and a definite friction factor can be established. This is important because it enables the
spreadsheet to determine the flow characteristics of any fluid flowing in a pipe providing
the viscosity and weight density at flowing conditions are known.
If the flow is laminar (Re < 2000); the friction factor may be determined from the
following:
f

64
Re

When the flow is turbulent (Re > 4000), the friction factor depends not only upon the
Reynolds number but also upon the relative roughness, /D the roughness of the pipe
wall , as compared to the diameter of the pipe D . For very smooth pipes such as
drawn brass tubing, the friction factor decreases more rapidly with increasing Reynolds
number than for pipe with comparatively rough walls.
Since the character of the internal surface of commercial pipe is practically independent
of the diameter, the roughness of the walls has a greater effect on the friction factor in the
small sizes. Consequently, pipe of small diameters will approach the very rough
conditions and, in general, will have higher friction factors than large pipes of the same
material
The most useful and widely accepted data of friction factors for use with the DarcyWeisbach equation was presented by L. F. Moody. Professor Moody improved upon the
well established Piggott and Kemler friction factor diagram by incorporating more recent
investigations and developments of many outstanding scientists. See the Moody Friction
Factors Diagram in Appendix A.
For turbulent flow smooth pipe with the Blasius equation
f

0.3164
Re 0.25

= 0.0032

for Re up to 105
0.221
for 105 < Re < 3 X 106 at least
Re 0.237

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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1/

f = 1.14 2 log( D / )

Transition between this case and smooth-wall friction factor is represented by

Colebrooks natural function:
1/

E.

9.3

Re / D f

Associated Items Which Have Pressure Losses

Valves and Fitting

The pressure drop through valves and fittings are usually handled by finding the length of
straight pipe of the same diameter that would have the same pressure drop as the
appropriate fitting at the same flow rate. This length is referred to as the equivalent
length and is added to the actual pipe length in using the Darcy-Weisbach equation.
So-called minor losses occurring at the entrance to pipe, change in pipe diameter or
other changes in shape are usually expressed by the following:
v2
hf K
2g

therefore
L
K f for turbulent flow
D
where
hf
v
g
K
L/D

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=
=
=
=
=

frictional resistance in feet of fluid

average velocity in feet/second in a pipe of corresponding diameter
32.17 feet/second/second
resistance coefficient for valve or fitting
is the equivalent length in pipe diameters of straight pipe which
will cause the same pressure drop as the valve or fitting under the
same flow conditions

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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The K is a factor that varies for each case. Values of K are available in fluid mechanics
texts as well as in handbooks as monographs that allow determination of equivalent
length of pipe and fittings. The K resistance coefficient for a given line of valves or
fittings, tend to vary with the size as does the friction factor f for straight pipe, and that
the equivalent length L/D tend toward a constant for the various sizes of a given line of
valves or fittings.
L/D Values for Fitting and Valves

The L/D values are available in fluid mechanics texts as well as in handbooks in Table
form based on a particular fitting type.
In the flow range of complete turbulence as defined by the friction factor chart, the K
coefficient for a given size and the L/D is constant and that K varies in the same manner
as the friction factor. However, since the tendency is in this direction, it is believed to
provide more accurate solutions than would the assumption that K is constant for all
Reynolds numbers. Therefore, within this course we will be using the fittings and valves
L/D values. See Table 9 in Appendix A for typical valves and fittings L/D values and
Table 8 in Appendix A for Typical Pipe Entrance and Exits K Coefficients.
When we have a fitting or valve with a K coefficient the L/D would be:
L/ D

K
f

where
f
K
L/D

=
=
=

friction factor, dimensionless

resistance coefficient for valve or fitting
is the equivalent length in pipe diameters of straight pipe which
will cause the same pressure drop as the valve or fitting under the
same flow conditions

L
Re L

D s 1000 D t

where
f
K
Re

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=
=
=

friction factor, dimensionless

resistance coefficient for valve or fitting
Reynolds number

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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(L/D)s =

subscript (s) refers to the equivalent length in pipe diameters of

straight pipe under laminar flow conditions where Reynolds
number is less than 1000.
subscript (t) refers to the equivalent length in pipe diameters
determined from tests in the turbulent flow range.

(L/D)t =

In some branches of the valve industry, particularly in connection with the control valves,
express the capacity of a valve and the terms of flow coefficient Cv. The Cv of a valve is
defined as the flow of water at 60 oF, in gallons per minute at a pressure drop of one
pound per square inch.

Cv

29.9d 2
f

L
D

29.9d 2
K

Strainer Pressure Drop

Strainer pressure drop should be obtained from the manufacturer data sheets to determine
proper value to use. The pressure drop depends on the type of strainer, size, flow rate,
service, filtration (screen loss factor for the mesh used) and viscosity of the fluid.
Increase in Friction Loss Due to Aging of Pipe

The deterioration of pipes with age depends upon the chemical properties of the liquid
flowing and the characteristics of the material from which the pipe is made. In general,
the flow carrying capacity of a pipe line decreases with age due to roughening of the
interior surface caused by corrosive products, tubercules and the like or an actual
reduction in area caused by chemical deposits. The effect corresponds to a variation in
friction factor due to increasing relative roughness.
A wide variation in waters over the country makes it impossible for any precise
estimation of this aging effect. No reputable authority will go on record to endorse
friction factors for other than new pipe. This fact, however, does not eliminate the
deterioration of friction factor and some means of estimation is required. Whenever
records are available on the aging effects of local or similar waters it is recommended
they be studied and applied as a correction to the computation of friction loss for new
pipe from the Darcy-Weisbach equation or any other. This is a sound and logical
approach for a specific problem.
In many instances, either the economics of the project does not warrant the expense of
this detailed investigation or there are no available records on local or similar waters. For

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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those occasions, Table 7 in Appendix A may be used with caution and discretion. It is
based upon the best available data.
It will be obvious there is no sudden increase in aging effect between 10 inch and 12-inch
pipe as indicated from Table - 7. The values shown are composites of many tests
grouped by the experimenter. A reasonable amount of interpretation and logic must be
used in selecting and applying a multiplier for each specific problem.
It must also be borne in mind that some test data on aging of pipe may vary up to fifty
percent from the averages as shown in Table - 7.
Therefore, based upon the above-mentioned aging information it is recommended that 15
percent be added to pipe friction loss.
Recommended Water Maximum Velocities

1.
2.

The service for which the pipe is to be used.

The effects of erosion.

Table - 5 in Appendix A, lists recommended velocity ranges for different services. The
design of the water piping system is limited by the maximum permissible flow velocity.
The maximum values listed in Table 6 is based on established permissible sound levels
of moving water and entrained air, and on the effects of erosion.
Erosion in water piping systems is the impingement on the inside surface of the tube or
pipe of rapidly moving water containing air bubbles, sand or other solid matter. In some
cases, this may mean complete deterioration of the tube or pipe walls, particularly on the
bottom surface and at the elbows.
Since erosion is a function of time, water velocity, and suspended materials in the water,
the selection of design water velocity is a matter of judgment. The maximum water
velocities presented in Table 6 is based on many years of experience and they ensure
the attainment of optimum equipment life under normal conditions.

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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Sample Problem - 1

The Kentucky Water Processing Plant is going to build a new two tank atmospheric system for
storing water at 70 oF in a Tank designated as A and then have 0.56 cfs of water pumped to
the second floor to another Tank designated as B. The piping system will have Schedule S-40
pipe with a roughness factor of 0.00015 ,ft and the pipe is 100 feet long and is 3 inches with a
inside diameter of 3.068 inches. The system has a square-edged entry from Tank A, 3 - 90 deg
elbows, 2 gate valves, and 1 check valve in the piping, and free discharge at Tank B. See
Figure 1 below for the geometry of the piping system.
Calculate the pump head in feet.

Figure 1

The engineer for the project, used a density of 62.23 lb/cu ft, 1.0 cP and L/D of 135 for the check
valve, L/D of 13 for each of the gate valves, L/D of 20 for the 3 - 90 deg elbows which totaled
221 L/D and a K of 0.5 for the square-edged entry. He used the Fluid Flow Calc v1.0 tool to
calculate the velocity, total equivalent length, pressure drop, relative roughness, Reynolds
number and the friction factor.

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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Density of flow = 62.23 lb/cu ft

Viscosity = 1.0 cP
Quantity of flow = 0.560 cfs
Pipe Diameter = 3.068 inches
Fitting Total K Coeffs = 0.50
Fitting Total L/D values = 221
Length of Pipe = 100 ft
Roughness Factor = 0.00015 , ft
Output from the Fluid Flow Calc tool

Velocity = 10.91 fps

Total equivalent length = 166.6 ft
Pressure drop = 22.73 feet of fluid
Relative roughness = 0.0005867 /D
Reynolds number = 258,324 Re
Friction factor = 0.019 f

hs = (50 + 10 + 5) = 65

Th = hs + hf
Th = 65 + 22.75
Th = 87.75 Feet of fluid

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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Sample Problem - 2

The Kentucky Water Processing Plant is going to pump 600 Barrels/hr of oil through a straight
horizontal steel pipeline 450 feet long to an open tank. The tank is 20 feet above the pump
discharge with a free discharge into the tank. The velocity shall be 7 fps maximum and with a
check valve, 1 gate valve, and 3 - 90 deg elbows in the piping system. See Figure 2 below for
the geometry of the piping system.
Fluid properties are as follows:
Density
Viscosity

=
=

42 lb/cu ft
30 cP

Figure 2

Determine the pipe size, pump total head with the fittings:
The engineer for the project, used a schedule 40 steel pipe with , ft of 0.00015, L/D of 135 for
the check valve, L/D of 13 for the gate valves and L/D of 20 for the 3 - 90 deg elbows, which
totals 208 L/D. He used the Fluid Flow Calc v.1.0 tool to calculate the maximum pipe size for
the 7 fps mean velocity, Pressure drop, Relative roughness, Reynolds number and Friction factor
for the above conditions.

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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Input to the Fluid Flow Calc tool
Density = 42 lb/cu ft
Viscosity = 30 cP
Quantity of flow = 600 Barrels/hr
Velocity of flow = 7.00 fps
Fitting Total L/D values = 208
Length of Pipe = 450
Roughness Factor = 0.00015 , ft
Output from the Fluid Flow Calc tool
Pipe inside diameter = 4.950 inches
Total equivalent length = 535.8 ft
Pressure drop = 35.47 feet of fluid
Relative roughness = 0.0003636 /D
Reynolds number = 6,010 Re
Friction factor = 0.036 f

The system requires a pipe larger than 4.950

inches. Therefore, the engineer selected a 5-inch
pipe to meet the velocity requirements.
Input to the Fluid Flow Calc tool
New Conditions

5.047 inches in the Pipe inside diameter

Output from the Fluid Flow Calc tool
Velocity of flow = 6.73 fps
Total equivalent length = 537.5 ft
Pressure drop = 32.46 feet of fluid
Relative roughness = 0.0003566 /D
Reynolds number = 5,896 Re
Friction factor = 0.036 f
hs = 20
Th = hs + hf
Th = 20 + 32.46
Th = 52.46 Feet of fluid

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

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Sample Problem - 3

The Kentucky Water Processing Plant is going to install a new chiller to supply two cooling
coils. The chiller will have a flow of 175 gpm with a pressure drop of 20 feet of fluid. Coil - A
will have a flow of 100 gpm with 12 feet of fluid pressure drop and Coil B will have a flow of
75 gpm with 12 feet of fluid pressure drop. Each coil will have a control valve to control the
flow with a pressure drop at the flows of 3 feet of fluid each. The piping will be schedule S-40
steel and will be designed with a maximum pressure drop of 4 feet of fluid per 100 feet. See
Figure 3 below for the piping geometry and nodes.
Node 0 1
Node 1 2
Node 1 2
Node 2 3

from the Chiller will have 2 gate valves, 6 90 deg elbows, 1 check valve and
1 tee with flow through run and 300 feet of pipe.
for Coil A will have 2 gate valves, 1 control valve and 1 balancing valve, 2 tee with flow through branch, 8 90 deg elbows and 250 feet of pipe.
for Coil B will have 2 gate valves, 1 control valve and 1 balancing valve, 2 tee with flow through run, 6 90 deg elbows and 310 feet of pipe.
to the pump will have 2 gate valves, 1 strainer, 1 - tee with flow through run, 6
90 deg elbows and 600 feet of pipe.

Figure - 3

Determine the piping sizes and pump total head.

The engineer for the project, used a water density of 62.30 lb/cu ft, viscosity of 1.00 cP, , ft of
0.00015 for the pipe, L/D of 13 for the gate valves, L/D of 18 for the balancing valves, 135 for
the check valve, L/D of 20 for the 90 deg elbows, L/D of 20 for the tees with flow through run,
L/D of 60 for the tees with flow through branch and 0.5 feet through the strainer. He used the
Fluid Flow Calc v.1.0 tool to calculate the maximum pressure drop size for the 4 feet of fluid
pressure drop for the above four-pipe section.
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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course

The project engineer then input the data into the Fluid Flow Calc tool for each of the Nodes to
determine the pipe sizes. He entered this information into a spreadsheet as shown below.
Node 0 1
Input to the Fluid Flow Calc tool

Density = 62.30 lb/cu ft

Viscosity = 1.00 cP
Quantity of flow = 175 gpm
Length of Pipe = 100 ft
feet of fluid = 4.00
Roughness Factor = 0.00015 , ft
Node 0 1
Output from the Fluid Flow Calc tool

Pipe inside diameter = 3.409 inches

Pressure drop = 4.00 feet of fluid
The project engineer then input the flow quantities
with each of the pipe sizes along with the fittings,
L/D valves and length of pipe for each node
section into the Fluid Flow Calc tool. After
getting the results, he entered this data into his
spreadsheet as shown below. As can be seen
below, Coil A has the maximum pressure drop
along with Nodes 0 1 and 2 3. The pump total
head is 54.64 feet of fluid.
Node 0 1
Input to the Fluid Flow Calc tool

Density = 62.30 lb/cu ft

Viscosity = 1.0 cP
Quantity of flow = 175 gpm
Pipe Diameter = 4.026 inches
Fitting Total L/D values = 301
Length of Pipe = 300 ft
Roughness Factor = 0.00015 , ft

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course
Node 0 1
Output from the Fluid Flow Calc tool

Velocity = 4.41 fps

Total equivalent length = 401.0 ft
Pressure drop = 6.98 feet of fluid
Relative roughness = 0.0004471 /D
Reynolds number = 137,040 Re
Friction factor = 0.019 f

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Page 22 of 36

Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course

Sample Problem 4

The Kentucky Water Processing Plant needed a new city water distribution system. The pipeline
will be 1,500 feet in length to connect the plant to the city water main. The pipeline has 2 Gate
valves, 4 - 90 deg elbows, 1 tee with flow through branch. The total water flow will be 400
gallons per minute (gpm) for the normal operation and the Fire Department required an
additional capacity of 1,500 gallons per minute. The maximum total pressure drop from the
main to the plant shall not be over 22 (psi) with a maximum flow of 3,900 gpm from a flow test.
The engineer for the project selected asphalt coated cast iron pipe with a roughness factor of
0.0004. Water density of 62.37 lb/cu.ft. and cp of 1.00. For the fittings, he used an L/D of 13 for
the two gate valves, L/D of 20 for the 4 - 90 degree elbows and L/D of 60 for the tee, which
totals 166 L/D. He applied a safety factor of 15% to the fluid flow. He used the Fluid Flow Calc
v1.0 tool to calculate the pipe size required for the project.
Input to the Fluid Flow Calc tool

Density = 62.37 lb/cu ft

Viscosity = 1.00 cP
Quantity of flow = 2,185 gpm
Fitting Total L/D values = 166
Length of Pipe = 1,500 ft
Pressure drop = 22 psi
Roughness factor = 0.0004 , ft
Output from the Fluid Flow Calc tool

Total equivalent length = 1,633.3 (ft)

Pipe inside diameter = 9.633 inch
Relative roughness = 0.0004983 /D
Reynolds number = 715,912 Re
Friction factor = 0.017 f
Pressure drop = 22.00 psi of fluid

With the above information the engineer selected

a 10-inch diameter pipe with an inside diameter of 10 inches. Again, he entered the new pipe
size into the Fluid Flow Calc tool to determine the maximum flow with the limitations of 22 psi.

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course

10.000 inches in the Pipe inside diameter Column

Output from the Fluid Flow Calc tool
Quantity of flow = 2,414 gpm
Total equivalent length = 1,638.3 (ft)
Relative roughness = 0.00048 /D
Reynolds number = 761,916 Re
Friction factor = 0.017 f
Pressure drop = 22.14 psi of fluid

The new flow of 2,414 gpm would allow for a

plant growth capacity of only 229 gpm.
Therefore, the engineer looked at a 12-inch pipe
to allow for plant growth and he used the Fluid
Flow tool to determine the maximum pressure
drop through this pipe size and maximum flow of
3,900 gpm.
Input to the Fluid Flow Calc tool
Quantity of flow = 3,900 gpm
Pipe inside diameter = 12.0 inches
Output from the Fluid Flow Calc tool
Total equivalent length = 1,666.0 (ft)
Relative roughness = 0.0004 /D
Reynolds number = 1,025,778 Re
Friction factor = 0.016 f
Pressure drop = 22.59 psi of fluid

The engineer reported that a 12-inch pipe would

be of adequate size to meet the current flow
requirements and future growth of the plant to
1,715 gpm maximum. The project manager
decided to accept the recommendations and install
a 12-inch pipe line.

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course

Sample Problem - 5

The Kentucky Water Processing Plant has new a sump pump with a capacity of 400 gpm with a
total dynamic head of 95 feet that needs to be installed in a 12-foot deep sump and pump the
discharge to a gravity sewer located 1,200 feet from the top of the sump at elevation 0 feet. The
discharge pipe will have 1 check valve, 1 gate valve, 10 90 degree long radius elbows and a
sharp edged exit discharged into the sewer. The pipe material will be schedule 40 PVC. The
velocity shall not be under 2 fps minimum and the maximum shall not be over 8 fps. See Figure
4 below for the geometry of the piping system.
Fluid properties are as follows:
Density
Viscosity

=
=

62.38 lb/cu ft
1.00 cP

Determine the pipe size for the above velocity restrictions and be within the total dynamic head
of the pump.

Figure - 4

The engineer for the project used a roughness factor of 0.000,005 , ft for the pipe, 135 L/D for
the check valve, L/D of 13 for the gate valves and L/D of 20 for the 10 - 90 degree elbows, which
totals 348 L/D. He used a K of 1.0 for the sharp edged exit to the sewer. He applied a safety
factor of 15% to the feet of fluid pressure drop. The total dynamic head less the 30 feet of static
head witch equals 55.25 feet of fluid pressure drop maximum (95 30) * 0.85 He used the Fluid
Flow Calc v1.0 tool to calculate the required pipe size for the project velocity restrictions.

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course
Input to the Fluid Flow Calc tool
Density = 62.38 lb/cu ft
Viscosity = 1.00 cP
Quantity of flow = 400 gpm
Fitting total K coeffs = 1.00
Fitting Total L/D values = 348
Length of Pipe = 1,200 ft
Pressure drop = 55.25 feet of fluid
Roughness factor = 0.000,005 , ft
Output from the Fluid Flow Calc tool
Velocity = 8.03 fps
Pipe inside diameter = 4.510 inches
Total equivalent length = 1,356.1 ft
Pressure drop = 53.61 feet of fluid
Relative roughness = 0.0000133 /D
Reynolds number = 279,977 Re
Friction factor = 0.015 f

With the above information the engineer selected

a 5-inch diameter pipe with an inside diameter of
5.016 inches. Again, he entered the new pipe size
into the Fluid Flow Calc tool to determine the
pressure drop.
Input to the Fluid Flow Calc tool New
Conditions - 5.016 inches in the Pipe inside
diameter
Output from the Fluid Flow Calc tool
Velocity of flow = 6.49 fps
Total equivalent length = 1,373.2 ft
Pressure drop = 32.40 feet of fluid
Relative roughness = 0.0000120 /D
Reynolds number = 251,734 Re
Friction factor = 0.015 f
hs = 30
Th = hs + hf
Th = 30 + 32.40 + (32.40 * .15%)
Th = 67.26 Feet of fluid < 95 feet

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Page 26 of 36

Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course
Sample Problem 6

The Kentucky Water Processing Plant has a new 8-inch S.A.E 70 Lube Oil line that will supply
600 barrels per hour through 200 feet of Schedule 40 pipe 8-inch pipe, in which an 8-inch
conventional globe valve is installed.
Fluid properties are as follows:
Density
Viscosity

=
=

56.2 lb/cu ft
470 cP

Determine the pressure loss through the pipe and valve.

The engineer for the project used a pipe inside diameter of 7.891 in, roughness factor of
0.00015 , ft and L/D of 340 for the globe valve and used the Fluid Flow Calc v1.0 tool to
calculate the total equivalent length of pipe, relative roughness, Reynolds number, friction factor
and pressure drop.
Input to the Fluid Flow Calc tool

Density = 56.2 lb/cu ft

Viscosity = 470 cP
Quantity of flow = 600 (B)
Pipe Diameter = 7.891 (in)
Fitting Total L/D values = 340
Length of Pipe = 200 ft
Roughness Factor = 0.00015 , ft
Output from the Fluid Flow Calc tool

Total equivalent length = 272.0 (ft)

Relative roughness = 0.0002281 /D
Reynolds number = 322 Re
Friction factor = 0.199 f
Pressure drop = 9.69 feet of fluid

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Page 27 of 36

Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course
Sample Problem 7

The Kentucky Water Processing Plant has a system that needs to pump 2.5 cfs of water at 50 oF
from a reservoir with an elevation of 50 feet and needs to pump the water to a reservoir with an
elevation of 150 feet. The suction pipe to the pump is 8 inches diameter with a length of 1,000
feet and the discharge pipe is 6 inches diameter and is 2,000 feet long. The suction pipe has 1 gate valve, sharp edged entrance and the discharge pipe has 1 gate valve, 1 check valve, 12
90 decrees long radius elbows and sharp edged exit. The pipe material shall be clean cast iron
pipe. See Figure 4 below for the geometry of the piping system.
Fluid properties are as follows:
Density
Viscosity

=
=

62.38 lb/cu ft
1.3 cP

What is the maximum feet of fluid loss for the two pipes with and without the static head of the
system?

Figure - 4

The engineer for the project selected a roughness factor of 0.00085 for the pipe. For the fittings,
he used an L/D of 13 for the two gate valves, L/D of 20 for the 12 - 90 degree elbows, L/D of 135
for the check valve and used a K of 0.50 for the sharp edged entrance and a K of 1.00 for the
sharp edged exit. He used the Fluid Flow Calc v1.0 tool to calculate the pressure drop for the
two pipes.
The suction pipe total K is 0.50, L/D is 13 and pipe inside diameter is 8 inches.

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course
Input to the Fluid Flow Calc tool
Density = 62.38 lb/cu ft
Viscosity = 1.30 cP
Quantity of flow = 2.5 cfs
Pipe Diameter = 8.00 (in)
Fitting total K Coeffs = 0.50
Fitting Total L/D values = 13
Length of Pipe = 1,000 ft
Roughness Factor = 0.00085 , ft
Output from the Fluid Flow Calc tool
Total equivalent length = 1,024.1 (ft)
Relative roughness = 0.0012750 /D
Reynolds number = 340,640 Re
Friction factor = 0.022 f
Pressure drop = 26.39 feet of fluid

The discharge pipe total K of 1.0, L/D of 388 and

pipe inside diameter of 6 inches.
Input to the Fluid Flow Calc tool
Density = 62.38 lb/cu ft
Viscosity = 1.30 cP
Quantity of flow = 2.5 cfs
Pipe Diameter = 6.00 (in)
Fitting total K Coeffs = 1.00
Fitting Total L/D values = 388
Length of Pipe = 2,000 ft
Roughness Factor = 0.00085 , ft
Output from the Fluid Flow Calc tool
Total equivalent length = 2,215.8 (ft)
Relative roughness = 0.0017000 /D
Reynolds number = 454,187 Re
Friction factor = 0.023 f
Pressure drop = 255.4 feet of fluid

The total feet of fluid loss for the two pipes is =

26.39 + 255.4 = 281.79 ft
The total feet of fluid loss with the static head of
the system = (150-50) + 281.79 or 381.79 ft.

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course

Conclusion
The objective for this course has been to develop a better understanding of the use of DarcyWeisbach equation for flow of fluids in piping systems and to give attendees a new tool for
salving problems and answering questions.
With the use of calculators and computers along with software the Darcy-Weisbach equation
should be considered the standard predictor of flow in pipes and now the Fluid Flow Calc v1.0
Tool makes it easier to use the Darcy-Weisbach equation along with the appropriate other
equations in this course than ever before.
A final word of caution: Never rely entirely on this or any software package to give you the final
answers to engineering questions. Use it to optimize and explore nut than perform your own
computations to verify and cross-check results. As a professional engineer our profession exists
to protect the safety, well-being and other interests of the general public. So your integrity is
being viewed when performing computations and designed.

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course
Appendix A
Physical Properties of Water
Specific
Weight
Weight
Temperature
Volume
Pound per
Density
of Water
Cu
Gallon
lb/cu ft
ft/pound
32
0.01602
62.42
8.345
40
0.01602
62.42
8.345
50
0.01603
62.38
8.340
60
0.01604
62.34
8.334
60
0.01606
62.27
8.325
80
0.01608
62.19
8.314
90
0.01610
62.11
8.303
100
0.01613
62.00
8.289
110
0.01617
61.84
8.267
120
0.01620
62.73
8.253
130
0.01625
61.54
8.227
140
0.01629
61.39
8.207
150
0.01634
61.20
8.182
160
0.01639
61.01
8.156
170
0.01645
60.79
8.127
180
0.01651
60.57
8.098
190
0.01657
60.35
8.068
200
0.01663
60.13
8.039
Note: Weight per gallon is based on 7.48 gallons per cubic feet
Specific gravity of water at 60 oF = 1.00

Table 1 Physical Properties of Water

Weight Density and Specific Gravity of Liquids
Temp
Weight
Specific
Liquid
Deg.
Density
Gravity
F
lb/cu ft
Mile
..
64.2 to 64.6
.
Olive Oil
59
57.30
0.919
SAE 10 Lube
60
54.64
0.876
SAE 30 Lube
60
56.02
0.898
SAE 70 Lube
60
57.12
0.916
Table 2 Weight Density and Specific Gravity of Liquids

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course
Viscosity of Liquids
Liquid
Water
Gasoline
Kerosene
Bunker C Fuel
Fuel 5 (Max) or 6 (Min)
SAE 10 Lube
SAE 30 Lube
SAE 70 Lube

Centipoise cP
1.10
0.62
2.2
1500
300
95
450
2000

Temp
Deg. F
60
60
60
100
80
60
60
80

Table 3 Viscosity of Liquids

Relative Roughness of Pipe Materials
Material
Glass, new commercial pipe surfaces, drawn typing
Asphalted cast iron
Cast iron
Commercial steel or wrought iron
Concrete
Drawn Tubing
Galvanized iron
Riveter steel
Schedule 40 PVC
Wood stave

e, ft
0.000,005
0.0004
0.00085
0.00015
0.001 0.01
0.000,005
0.0005
0.003 0.03
0.000,005
0.0006 0.003

Recommended Water Velocity

Service
Velocity Range (fps)
Pump discharge
8 12
Pump suction
47
Drain line
47
4 15
Riser
3 10
General service
5 10
City water
37
Table 5 Recommended Water Velocity

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course

Maximum Water Velocity To Minimize Erosion

Normal Operation hr/year
Water Velocity (fps)
1500
15
2000
14
3000
13
4000
12
6000
10
8000
8
Table 6 Maximum Water Velocity To Minimize Erosion

Increase In Friction Loss Due To Aging Of Pipe

Age of Pipe in Small Pipes 4-in
Large Pipes 12-in to
Years
to 10-in
60-in
New
1.00
1.00
5
1.40
1.30
10
2.20
1.60
15
3.60
1.80
20
5.00
2.00
25
6.30
2.10
30
7.25
2.20
35
8.10
2.30
40
8.45
2.40
45
9.25
2.60
50
9.60
2.86
55
9.80
3.26
60
10.00
3.70
65
10.05
4.25
70
10.10
4.70
Note: Multiplies for use with new pipe loss. Use this table with extreme care.

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course
Resistance Due to Pipe Entrance and Exit
Type
Picture
Inward Projecting Pipe Entrance

K
0.78

0.50

0.23

0.04

1.00

1.00

Rounded Exit

1.00

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course
Equivalent Length in Pipe Diameters (L/D) of Valves and Fittings
Type
Description
Angle valves
with no obstruction in flat, bevel, or plug type seat

Globe valves
Gate valves

Check valves

Strainer
Butterfly Valve
Cocks
Fittings Elbows

Fitting Standard
Tee
Fitting Bands

L/D
145

200

with no obstruction in flat, bevel, or plug type seat

with wing or pin guided disc
Wedge, Disc, Double Disc, or Plug Disc
Fully open
Three-quarters open
One-half open
One-quarter open
Conventional Swing
Clearway Swing
Globe Lift or Stop; Stem Perpendicular to Run or
Y-Pattern
Angle Lift or Stop

340
450

In-Line Ball
With poppet lift-type disc
With leather-hinged disc
8-inch and larger
Straight-Through
Three-Way
90 Degree Standard Elbow
45 Degree Standard Elbow
90 Degree Long Radius Elbow
90 Degree Street Elbow
45 Degree Street Elbow
Square Corner Elbow
With flow through run
With flow through branch
Close Pattern Return

13
35
160
900
135
50
Same as
Globe
Same as
Globe
150
420
75
40
44
140
30
16
20
50
26
57
20
60
50

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Fluid Flow in Pipe The Darcy-Weisbach Equation

A SunCam online continuing education course

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