You are on page 1of 12

# Forced Vortices (Rigid Body Rotation)

ME211
Lab 1
2-16-14
Ken Vogt & Kevin Huxhold

Abstract
This experiment is an exercise in comparing theoretical values and experimental values as
concerns the motion of water as it is swirled around within a container of fixed volume. Through
the use of an Armfield F1-23 Free and Forced Vortex Apparatus, experimental values for the
dimensions of the surface profile of the resulting vortex were recorded for three progressively
faster fluid flow rates.
These values were then compared to theoretical values derived from applying the equation for
the centripetal force of the fluid:
z=

2 r 2
+ constant
2g

Where z is the height of the vortex at a distance r from the center, is the angular velocity of the
water and g is the gravitational acceleration on Earth at sea level.
In this way, it was found that the experimental and theoretical values correlate very closely, thus
validating the centripetal force equation.

Introduction

The motion of a constrained fluid that is spun around a center creates a forced vortex. In such a
vortex, all particles of the fluid are assumed to have the same angular velocity, . As a
consequence of this, the linear velocity of the flow is a function of this angular velocity and the
distance the fluid is from the center:
q=r
Where q is the linear velocity, or velocity of the flow and r is the radius of the vortex.

## The centripetal force of the vortex is then given by the equation:

p
q2 r
+z=
g
r g
2 2

p
r
+ z=
+ constant
g
2g

Since the pressure at the free surface is constant in an open container, we can solve for the height
of the surface of the fluid at a certain radius as:
2 2

z=

r
+ constant
2g

Given that z=z0 at an initial position of r=0, and that z0 represents the lowest point of the vortex,
we can replace the constant with this initial boundary condition and arrive at:
2 2

r
z=
+ z0
2g

Procedure:

## For this experiment, we used the Armfield

F1-23 Free and Forced Vortex Apparatus
with input flow split via a y-connector
between the two angled 9mm inlets along the
bottom of the apparatus. The water jets from
these inlets impacts a paddle that is attached
to an axle at the bottom of the device. Water
then exits the apparatus via tubes that run out
of the 12 mm holes at the base.

Figure 1

## By regulating the input and output valves of

the apparatus, a vortex of steady level is then
from a bar across the top of the container,
distances can then be taken. The angular
velocity ( ) was then determined by

recording the time it took for the paddle to make fifty full rotations and converting that resulting
frequency to angular velocity..
This procedure was repeated three times at progressively faster angular velocities and the results
tabulated in Table 1.

Results
TABLE 1 - EXPERIMENTAL VALUES
PIN

1
2
3
4
5
6

1
2
3
4
5
6

1
2
3
4
5
6

REVOLUTIONS

TIME(s)

FREQUENCY
(hertz)

(cm)

= 6.49
1.03
11
1.03
9
1.03
7
1.03
5
1.03
3
1.03
0

50
50
50
50
50
50

48.4
48.4
48.4
48.4
48.4
48.4

50
50
50
50
50
50

= 8.82
35.6
1.40
11
35.6
1.40
9
35.6
1.40
7
35.6
1.40
5
35.6
1.40
3
35.6
1.40
0

50
50
50
50
50
50

30.4
30.4
30.4
30.4
30.4
30.4

## Fast Speed of Rotation(=2f)

= 10.33
1.64
11
1.64
9
1.64
7
1.64
5
1.64
3
1.64
0

PIN LENGTH
(cm)

HEIGHT (cm)
(length pin 6pin n)

17
16.5
15.9
15.5
15.3
15

2
1.5
0.9
0.5
0.3
0

17.9
16.3
14.9
14.2
13.5
13.1

4.8
3.2
1.8
1.1
0.4
0

17.2
14.9
13
12
11.3
10.6

6.6
4.3
2.4
1.4
0.7
0

Discussion:
Given that

z=

2 r 2
+ z0
2g

We can further simplify the equation by setting z0 to zero for all our data points and referencing
our heights from that point. This allow us to calculate the height of the pins at various distances
from the center using the following equation:
2 2

z=

r
2g

Using the data from the tree trials, we can then arrive the following calculated values for the
vortex profiles in Table 2.
TABLE 2 - THEORETICAL VALUES
CALM VORTEX
CALCULATED
PIN HEIGHT (cm)
6.49
2.60
6.49
1.74
6.49
1.05
6.49
0.54
6.49
0.19
6.49
0.00
MODERATE VORTEX
CALCULATED
(cm)

8.82
4.80
8.82
3.21
8.82
1.94
8.82
0.99
8.82
0.36
8.82
0.00
FAST VORTEX
CALCULATED
(cm)

## PIN HEIGHT (cm)

10.33
6.58
10.33
4.41
10.33
2.67
10.33
1.36
10.33
0.49

PIN

1
2
3
4
5
6

11
9
7
5
3
0

PIN
1
2
3
4
5
6
PIN
1
2
3
4
5

11
9
7
5
3
0
11
9
7
5
3

6
0
10.33
0.00
As seen in Graphs 1, 2 and 3, the measured profile for the vortex surface and the calculated
profile for the vortex surface in all three trials are very similar. Variances between the two can be
explained by several causes.
Among such causes, finding a stable level for the vortex proved to be problematic. Often, once
the vortex looked stable and we began taking measurements, levels would change slightly up or
down. Also, the interior of the container is not perfectly smooth, thus adding uncalculated drag
along the outer edge of the fluid and skewing results slightly from calculated values. Thirdly,
measuring the angular velocity of the fluid was rather imprecise as it relied on visually watching
and counting the rotations of a mono-colored paddle wheel at the bottom of the tank while
tracking time on a stopwatch app on a cell phone. Better results could be obtained by either using
a paddle of contrasting colors or, better yet, using optical sensors connected to an electronic
timer to count the revolutions of the paddle in a set period of time.

CALM VORTEX
3
2.5
2

1
0.5
0

PIN NUMBER
HEIGHT (cm)

CALCULATED
HEIGHT (cm)

CALM VORTEX

MODERATE VORTEX
6
5
4

HEIGHT (cm) 3
2
1
0

PIN NUMBER
HEIGHT (cm)

CALCULATED
HEIGHT (cm)

## FIGURE 2 EXPERIMENTAL/THEORETICAL COMPARISON

MODERATE VORTEX

FAST VORTEX
7
6
5
4
HEIGHT (cm) 3
2
1
0

PIN NUMBER
ACTUAL HEIGHT (cm)

CALCULATED
HEIGHT (cm)

## FIGURE 3 EXPERIMENTAL/THEORETICAL COMPARISON

FAST VORTEX

Conclusions:

In summary, this experiment allowed us to verify the validity of the centripetal force equation for
forced vortices by using the Armfield apparatus to record surface profiles of actual vortices.

Considering that the centripetal force equation governing the surface profile of a vortex is well
established, it is not surprising that our experimental results validate the theory. Nonetheless, it is
still gratifying to see, despite the difficulties mentioned, such a strong correlation and makes it
easy to qualify the experiment a success.

Such validation confirms the real-life application of this equation to industries such as small
appliances where the size of a blenders walls would have to accommodate the surface profile
caused by the spinning blades, or of the design of a beer-brewery vat where paddles rotate to mix
the grain, yeast and liquids together.

Appendix

List of variables:

## r radius as measured from center pin of vortex apparatus (cm)

f frequency (hertz)
z vortex surface height at distance r from center (cm)
zo vortex surface height at center pin (cm)
g acceleration due to gravity (m/s2)

Main equations:
Centripetal force:
2 2

z=

r
+ z 0 ; with boundary conditions of r=0 ; zo=0.
2g

## Angular velocity conversion:

=2f

With these equations, it is assumed that there are no friction forces acting upon the fluid,
and that the only velocity component of the fluid is the angular velocity.

Sample calculation:

## For calm vortex:

Angular velocity:

=2f;

=2

50 revolutions

48.4 s

2 2

r
+ z0
2g

z=

) (11 cm)2
s
z=
+0
m 1000 cm
2(9.81 2 )(
)
1m
s
(6.49

z = 2.60 cm

2 2

r
z=
+ z0
2g

) ( 9 cm)2
s
z=
+0
m 1000 cm
2(9.81 2 )(
)
1m
s
(6.49

z = 1.74 cm

2 r 2
+ z0
2g

z=

(6.49
) ( 7 cm)2
s
z=
+0
m 1000 cm
2(9.81 2 )(
)
1m
s

z = 1.05 cm

2 r 2
z=
+ z0
2g

) (5 cm)2
s
z=
+0
m 1000 cm
2(9.81 2 )(
)
1m
s
(6.49

z = 0.54 cm

2 r 2
+ z0
2g

z=

) ( 3 cm)2
s
z=
+0
m 1000 cm
2(9.81 2 )(
)
1m
s

(6.49

z = 0.19 cm

2 2

r
+ z0
2g

z=