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University of Ottawa

Universit dOttawa

Chemical Engineering

Gnie Chimique

Faculty of Engineering

Facult de Gnie

Air Flow Measurements


Chemical Engineering Practice

By
David Carey (7195956)
Shail Joshi (7282674)

CHG3122

Jan 29 2016

Cover letter
To: Dr. Lan
From: David Carey & Shail Joshi, Group 4
Date: Jan 29, 2015
Subject: CHG 3122, Air Flow Measurements
This investigation was designed for students to apply their fundamental
knowledge of fluid mechanics and chemical process to measure accurate pressure drop
values in a 30-foot long pipe. These values were then used to calculate local velocities
using fluid mechanics concepts. These local velocities were in turn used to calculate
appropriate Reynolds numbers and friction factors in the pipes. The relationship between
friction factor and Reynolds number was analyzed by measuring the pressure drop in the
pipe and an orifice meter. Thus the velocity profiles were determined and analyzed at
varying Reynolds number.
In order to determine the velocity profile, it was necessary to calculate traverse
points in order to ensure that equal area was maintained. The traverse points were as
follows: 0.6, 1, 1.5, 2.1, 3, 4.2, 5.4, 6.3, 6.7, 7.2, 7.8. The pressure drop was recorded at
each of these traverse points, and was used to estimate the velocity profile at varying
airflow.
Airflow under contracted conditions was also investigated using the orifice meter.
The differential pressure was measured across the orifce and these values were used to
calculate the discharge coeffients at varying flow rates of air. All the measurements were
made with the aid of an electronic pressure transducer
The local velocities yielded turbulent flow regime in the pipe and the friction
factors suggested that the inside of the pipe was rough. Furthermore the discharge
coefficients calculated in orifice matched literature values.

Table of Contents
Cover letter ................................................................................................................. 1
Equipment .................................................................................................................. 3
Procedure ................................................................................................................... 4
Summary Of Results .................................................................................................... 5
Discussion ................................................................................................................... 7
Conclusions And Recommendations .......................................................................... 10
Appendix ................................................................................................................... 11
Tables ........................................................................................................................................................................... 11
Supporting Figures ................................................................................................................................................. 14
Sample Calculations ............................................................................................................................................... 16
References .................................................................................................................................................................. 19

Equipment
Figure 1: Experimental Setup. Not to scale
The experiment consists of 4 critical
components. The first of which is the
long cylindrical pipe through which the
air flows.

The pipe has an internal

diameter of 3 inches. At the bottom of


the pipe a blower fitted with a
dampener. By restricting the amount of
air that is let into the pipe, the
dampeners

serves

as

an

airflow

controller. The flow rate of air within


the cylinder can be calculated using
local velocity measurements taken from the second component the Pitot tube. The
position of the Pitot tube can also be varied and it can be placed anywhere along the
diameter of the pipe. With both these apparatus it will be possible to observe the
different velocities in the pipe and where the airflow is greatest. An orifice meter with
inner diameter of 1.8 inches is placed above the Pitot tube. The orifice meter installed
with Vena contracta taps will measure the pressure drop. Furthermore several other
pressure taps are installed the length of the pipe to measure pressures at various critical
locations. Along with the orifice meter these taps will measure electronically the majority
of the data for this investigation.


Procedure
1. Ambient Conditions Laboratory conditions were recorded
2. The positions for the 10-point traverse of the Pitot tube were calculated and the
appropriate pencil marks were made on the Pitot tube ruler.
3. The motor and blower were turned on to start delivering air to the pipe
4. The dampener was opened so as to let the maximum airflow into the pipe

5. The bulk air pressure just above the blower, the pressure drop across the orifice
and the pressure drop along the pipe were all recorded.
6. The pressure drop across the Pitot tube was measured along the 10 point traverse.
7. The dampener was closed progressively until the reading on the Pitot tube was 80%
of the original maximum value.
8. Step 6 is now repeated and the pressure drop is measure along the traverse.
9. The dampener is now closed till the reading reaches 60 percent of the maximum
value.
10. The above steps are then repeated until the dampener is fully closed.

Summary Of Results
1. A pitot tube operates by measuring the stagnation pressure at the entrance of the
tube and comparing it to the static pressure that surrounds the tube in the flow
stream.
Advantages:
-cost effective pressure measurements
-no moving parts
-simple to use and install
-low pressure drop
-works in high temperatures
Disadvantages:
-can be clogged if the flow stream includes particulates
-if the flow rate is too low or too high the measurements on the transducer
could be incorrect
2. The averages velocity and Reynolds numbers calculations can be found on the Excel
sheet and in the Appendix. The centre point measurement was not included, as the
velocity measurements are found inbetween the radii of equal area cirlces. This
makes each measured velocity an average of the the velocity found at each radius,
meaning that the velocity on either side of the centre point includes the centre point
velocity in its calculation. Including the centre point in a total average calculation
would raise the velocity to a larger value than it should be.
3. If equal areas were not used to find the transverse points, then any distances used
would have to be referenced to the centre to create an average velocity profile.
Otherwise the weighting of the velocities in the average equation would be
incorrect.

4. Our results accurately represent literature published charts of discharge coefficient


against Reynolds Number. The only cause of non-conformity was our final two
points, at 10% and 20% of the total flow rate. The discharge coefficient for these
values was above 1, which generally represents an error in the calculation or flawed
data. The flawed data is most likely a good assumption in this case, as for these two
flow rates, the dampener for the blower was either almost completely closed or
closed entirely, which could result in very strange readings from the orifice plate.
5. For the graph of eq. 11 friction factors and the smooth pipe friction factors vs.
Reynolds Numbers, the data does not follow the smooth pipe curve. It increases
much more rapidly than the calculated smooth pipe data does. This most likely
means that the inner surface of the pipe is rough, causing a larger slowdown of the
air than a smooth pipe would.
6. K1 is equal to -1.4 and k2 is equal to 14.35. In eq. 13, k1 is equal to 2.5 and k2 is equal
to 1.75. The difference is most likely attributed to the assumed roughness of the
pipe, as eq. 13 is only applicable to smooth pipes. This would generate a significant
difference, as roughness cannot be accounted for easily in an empirical equation like
the friction factor equations are.

Discussion
The experiment began by determining the locations that would be needed for an
equal-area ten point traverse of the tube. With these 5 circles extending from the center,
the locations could be determined for the points of measurement. The radii of these
circles on either side of center became the target points where the Pitot tube was set to
record the pressure drop across the pipe. Since these velocities are actually the average of
velocity at the radii on either side of it, the center point velocity can be ignored for the
calculation of average velocity as it is included in the measurement on either side of it.
These was held true for each of the flow rates throughout the experiment. The largest
change made to the procedure was that the blower was unable to reach 10% of its
pressure drop before the dampener was fully closed. This made the final step closer to
18% instead of 10%.
While making measurements of the pressure differences recorded by the Pitot
tube during the experiment, it was often very difficult to get a constant readout from the
pressure transducer. Quite often, guesswork and approximated averaging was used to
determine the value to be recorded. This lead to a good deal of potential error in the final
data points and calculated velocities. A way to improve this may be to have software
recording the fluctuations at each point. Once a desired time is reached, the operators can
take the mean and standard deviation to find a far more accurate value than what is taken
by guessing where the display is most constant.
When all the pressure differences were recorded, the local velocities could be
determined by using equation 1 in the lab manual, which assumes the fluid is isothermal
and incompressible. The velocities were also calculated using equation 2, which is used

when the fluid is compressible and adiabatic, gave nearly identical results to equation 1,
with an error on the scale of 0.0006% and 0.005%. This verified the assumption that the
gas was incompressible and isothermal. This assumption also lead to density being
assumed to be constant throughout the pipe at 1.225kg/m3, based on the conditions. The
Reynolds numbers were calculated from these assumptions, with the average velocities
coming from equation 1, and the density being assumed to be constant. The numbers
varied from 1.3*104 to 2.9*104, making the flow regime at all flow rates turbulent. This
turbulence was very important for the other calculations, and may be a slight source of
error for other aspects.
The orifice plate installed in the pipe plays an important role in determining
velocity of the air when it is contracted. This velocity was determined by examining the
incoming velocity and adjusting according to the size of the contraction of the orifice
plate. The Reynolds numbers for these new velocities were also calculated, using the
diameter of the orifice to determine the values instead of the diameter of the pipe. For this
case, the discharge coefficient was calculated and plotted on a graph against the
Reynolds numbers for each flow percentage. Compared to literature values and charts of
the same type (figure 4), the results matched almost perfectly, apart from the points from
the 20% and 18% flow rate trials, which are believed to be outliers. They may be
explained by low velocity having a skewing effect on the transducer readout from the
orifice plate, but the other data points follow the established literature very well, and
approach the ideal value, which is around 0.62, as the flow rate increases.
The friction factors of this system were calculated in a number of different ways,
resulting in different numbers each time. This is most likely due to the difference in how

the equations were created analytically, and what different variables they depend on. The
main friction factor was calculated using equation 11 in the lab handout, which, unlike
the other methods, does not use the Reynolds number to calculate friction factor. By
analyzing the pressure drop across the entire length of the tube, an approximation for
friction can be found. This method was compared to equation 15, which is based on the
assumption of smooth piping and a Reynolds number in the range of 3*103 to 3*106,
which fit the previously calculated Reynolds numbers of the average velocities perfectly.
The smooth pipe approximations vary from the calculated friction factors by an average
of 97.64%, which is incredibly significant. This would mean that the inside of the pipe
cannot be assumed to be smooth, as roughness causes the friction factor to become much
larger. This is also shown on a log friction factor vs. log Reynolds number graph, on
which both calculations are present. The expected smooth straight line is seen by the
smooth pipe approximation, but as the flow rates increase as used in equation 11, the
friction factors increase as well, indicating more surface disruption.
When the friction factor data was analyzed, it was then modeled in the form of the
Van Karman equation, using a y-axis of

1
f /2

and an x-axis of ln(Re f / 8 ) . This

resulted in a much different form, with a slope of -1.419 and a y-intercept of 14.475. The
difference from the Van Karman equation shown in equation 13 of the lab handout and
this empirically found equation is most likely explained again by the surface roughness of
the pipe, bringing about much different friction factors than were used to originally find
the given equation.

Conclusions And Recommendations


In Conclusion the investigation was a success to an extent. The pressure drops at
different traverse points were successfully recorded using the Pitot tube. Although the
readings fluctuated a lot due to the instrumentation. Thus a suitable solution to this
problem would be to install a more sensitive instrument, or incorporate recording
software, which measures the fluctuation of the values and calculates the appropriate
average pressure drop.
Using the pressure drop values the local velocities were using equation 1 in the
lab manual which assumes air is an incompressible and isothermal fluid. This assumption
was verified using equation 2 which calculates local velocities for compressible fluids
such as air. It was found that the both equations yielded nearly identical results with
minimal error.
These average velocities were used to calculate The Reynolds numbers. The flow
regime was found to be turbulent since the lowest Reynolds number calculated was
1.3*104 which falls under the turbulent flow criteria.

These Reynolds number

calculations were all done under the assumption that the density of air stays constant at
1.225kg/m3 . This value was verified by literature, however instead of relying on literature
values, the density of air could have been measured using an aerometer.
The friction factors within the pipe were calculated using numerous equations and
methods. However the main friction factor was calculated by analyzing the pipe as
whole and using the pressure drop from the bottom to the top. This method relied
primarily on the assumption that the inside of the pipe was smooth and did not affect the
calculations. However when this assumption was compared with friction factors
calculated using equation 15 it was found that the both values varied considerably. This
meant that the inside of the pipe was rough and the smooth pipe assumption was false.
Thus in order to generate better friction factor values the roughness of the pipe could be
estimated using moody diagrams.
In depth analysis of the system was done and appropriate charts and figures were
plotted; thus the investigation was a success and generated acceptable data.

Appendix
Tables
Table 1 - Operation Parameters
Parameters
Patm (Pa)

Tatm (K)

air (Pas)*

Do (m)

Dc (m)

L (m)

103591.48

295.95

0.000018

0.04572

0.0762

6.26

*Evaluated at 20 oC
Table 2 - Local pressure at each radial position and percentage flow rate
%

r, radial position of Pitot Tube from centre (cm)

maximum
flow rate

0.6

1.5

2.1

3.0

4.2

5.4

6.3

6.7

7.2

7.8

Kpa gauge
100%

0.0135

0.018

0.02

0.024

0.026

0.028

0.026

0.023

0.021

0.02

0.016

80%

0.012

0.015

0.017

0.019

0.021

0.022

0.022

0.019

0.018

0.016

0.013

60%

0.009

0.011

0.013

0.014

0.016

0.017

0.016

0.015

0.014

0.012

0.01

40%

0.006

0.008

0.009

0.009

0.010

0.011

0.011

0.010

0.009

0.0085

0.0075

20%

0.004

0.0045

.0055

.0055

.0055

0.0055

0.005

0.005

0.005

0.045

0.004

10%

0.0035

0.004

0.004

0.0045

0.0045

0.005

0.005

0.0045

0.0045

0.004

0.004

Table 3- Local Velocity Calculations by equation 1 (air incompressible fluid)

Table 4- Local Velocity Calculations by equation 2 (air compressible fluid)

Table 5- Percent Error Between Velocities at Equation 1 and 2

Table 6- Pressures of air in Bulk, Discharge, and Orifice


P gauge (KPa)

P Top (KPa)

Orifice

(bulk)

Discharge

(Torr)

.21kpa

0.04

2.1

0.031

1.7

% Maximum flow rate

100
80

0.165

60

0.122

0.023

1.1

40

0.066

0.015

06

20

0.017

0.006

0.2

18

0.015

0.004

0.1

Table 7 - Average velocity result summary


%
Maximum

(m/s)
(m/s)

Re
Re (orifice)

flow rate

(Orifice)

100

5.880925638 29673.24344 49455.40574 16.33590455

80

5.342121779 26954.61392 44924.35653 14.83922716

60

4.649622728

40

3.820459847 19276.80132

20

2.790784806 14081.39501 23468.99168 7.752180016

18

2.651714801 13379.69287 22299.48811 7.365874446

23460.4883

39100.81383 12.91561869
32128.0022

10.61238846

Table 8- Discharge Coefficients


Discharge Co.
100 0.730627883
80 0.719868548
60 0.778895423
40 0.866592783
20 1.096512417
18 1.473428326

Table 9- Summary of Friction Factors


% of Dampener Open Friction Factor (equation 11) Friction Factor ( equation 12) Smooth Pipe Friction Factor
100
4.705481137
0.000539206
0.006031836
80
3.009136796
0.00059359
0.006176474
60
1.691281649
0.000681998
0.006393467
40
0.744689461
0.000830013
0.006717394
20
0.158948568
0.001136251
0.007279541
18
0.09566791
0.001195842
0.007376504

Supporting Figures

Discharge CoefXicient Against Reynolds Number


Discharge Coef.icent

1.6
1.4
1.2
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
0

10000

20000

30000

40000

50000

60000

Reynolds Number

Figure1- Discharge Coefficients Against Reynolds Number

Log Friction Factors

Friction Factors of Smooth and Rough Pipes


2
0
9.4

9.5

9.6

9.7

9.8

9.9

10

-2
-4
-6

Log Reynold's Numbers


log f

log smooth

Figure 2- Friction Factors of Smooth and Rough Pipes

10.1

10.2

10.3

10.4

Comaprison to Von Karman Equation


5
4
3
2
1

y = -1.4187x + 14.475

0
0

Figure 3- Comparison to Von Karman Equation

Figure 4: Typical Orifice Plate vs. C Relationship

10

12

Sample Calculations
Any parameters dependent on flow profile were calculated using the centre point
maximum flow rate and 100% flow rate.
Local velocity at the traverse points

u=

2PP

2 * 0.028kPa * 1000

u=

Pa
kPa

1.225kg / m 3

u = 6.76 m / s
u is the local velocity
Pp is the pressure difference measured by the Pitot tube
Average velocity through pipe

1 n
ui
n i =1
1
u = * (4.69 m / s + 5.42 m / s + 5.71m / s + 6.26 m / s + 6.52 m / s + 6.52 m / s + 6.13m / s
10
+ 5.86 m / s + 5.71m / s + 5.11m / s)
u = 5.79 m / s
u=

u is the average velocity

Reynolds numbers of the pipe average velocities

Re =

DP u

1.225kg / m 3 * 0.0762m * 5.79m / s


1.8 *10 5 m 2 / s
Re = 29229.07
Re =

Re is the Reynolds number


DP is the inner diameter of the pipe

Velocity and Reynolds number through orifice plate

u A p = u o Ao
uo = u (

DP 2
)
Do

u o = 5.79 m / s * (

0.0762m 2
)
0.04572 m

u o = 16.09 m / s
1.225kg / m 3 * 0.04572 m * 16.09 m / s
Re o =
1.8 * 10 5 m 2 / s
Re o = 48715.11
u o is the average velocity of the orifice
Reo is the Reynolds number of the orifice
Ap and Ao are the cross sectional area of the pipe and orifice
Do is the diameter of the orifice
Orifice discharge coefficient

uo =

Co

2Po

1 4

Co = uo 1 4

2Po

C o = 16.09 m / s 1 0.6 4

1.225kg / m 3
2 * 266.65 Pa

C o = 0.72
Co is the discharge coefficient of the orifice plate
is the ratio of orifice diameter to pipe diameter
Po is the pressure drop across the orifice
Friction Factor of flow in pipe (equation 11)

f =

Ps D p
2 Lu 2

40 Pa * 0.0762m
2 * 9.144m *1.225kg / m 3 * 5.79 m / s
f = 4.57
f =

f is the friction factor


Ps is the pressure drop due to skin friction

L is the length of the pipe


Dp is the inner diameter of the pipe
Smooth pipe friction factor approximation

0.125
Re 0.32
0.125
f = 0.0014 +
29229.07 0.32
f = 0.006
f = 0.0014 +

Comparison of velocities calculated using equation 1 and equation 2

ueq1 = 6.76 m / s
ueq 2

2 Po Ps
=
( )[( )
1 o Po

ueq 2 =

1]

2 *1.4 101535Pa
28 Pa + 101535Pa
(
)[(
)
3
1.4 1 1.225kg / m
101535Pa

1.4 1
1.4

1]

ueq 2 = 6.76 m / s
is the ratio of the pressure and volumetric heat capacities, in this case of an ideal gas
Po is the bulk pressure through the pipe
Ps is the stagnation pressure as measured by the Pitot tube

References
Lan, C., Air Flow Measurements Chemical Engineering Practice, Ottawa ON. (2016)
McCabe, W.L., Smith, J.C. and Harriott, P., Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering
Sixth ed., McGraw-Hill, New York NY, 2001.
Nevers, N. d. Fluid Mechanics for Chemical Engineers, McGraw-Hill.(2004)
Holinsgard, C., Discharge Coefficient Performance of Venturi, Standard Concentric Orifice Plate, VCone, and Wedge Flow Meters at Small Reynolds Numbers (2011)