You are on page 1of 8


Group I
Sessouh Akowanou
Jason Fields
Joe Mitchell
Shea Robinson
February 24 2010

The aim of this experiment is to measure the system curve of a 54.8 ft long
and 0.085 ft diameter system of pipework. It is also desired to establish a
calibration curve. The study has been done on liquid water at room
temperature. The system curve indicates how much energy is lost in the
system in function of the flow rate .In order to determine it two approaches
are used in this experiment. One method is realized by measuring physicals
properties of the system such as pipe length, pipe diameter flow velocity
etc... The other one is derived from conservation of mechanical energy. The
pipe roughness builds up on the surface of the duct within time and can
lower the overall performance of the system. This parameter has been
estimated then reevaluated throughout our work in order to reduce the
difference between estimated head loss and measured one. We generate a
calibration curve so one can calibrate the measured flow rate to the
predicted one and hence predict the head loss. After plotting measured and
predict system curve, both curves underlie each others. In consequence the
model and actual measure fit well in this experiment. Finally we will
determined the head loss of the system at regime that has not been
measured during the experiment.

Theory and Analysis

In this experiment the fluid studied is water at room temperature (68°F to 77

°F). At this condition water can be assume to be an incompressible flow. We
can get some physical properties (density, viscosity…) of water at this state.
A mechanical energy balance applied on the system helps determine the
head loss. By applying (eq 4.74) in Unit Operation of Chemical Engineering
(McCabe and Smith):

Paρ+ gZa+αaVa2+ηWp=Pbρ+ gZb+αbVb2+hf (eq 4.74).

Pa and Pb are the pressure at point “a” and point “b” or as an example
between inlet and outlet. Pressure at inlet can be determined from pressure
transmitter PT03 and the pressure at the outlet is supposed to be
atmospheric pressure (14.7 psi). “η” is the pump efficiency; however no
shaft works (Wp) is done on the fluid so the term ηWp is set equal to zero.
The elevation height between inlet and outlet ΔZ is about 5.5 ft. Initial
velocity (Va) can be assumed to be equal to zero and final velocity is
measured by gravimetric flow rate. Alpha is a correction factor for kinetic
energy and its value is estimated to be 1.05 however, for simplifying our
analysis we will consider it equal to 1. The data needed to apply eq 4.74 are
available in table 1.
Having those data, we can estimate the head loss (hf) of the system. Head
loss can be understood as the part of energy that gets irreversibly lost due to
friction and changes in momentum of the fluid streamline.

Another method (theoretical) consists to determine friction factor which is

function of pipe roughness, pipe diameter and Reynolds number
(dimensionless number). Reynolds number is a ratio of inertial forces to
viscous forces and can be used as a good indicator for fluid regime (laminar
or turbulent). For the different regime we had Reynolds number varied
between 9158 and 9210. So all regime here are turbulent. Knowing or
guessing the pipe roughness we can determine the friction factor from the
Colebrook equation for turbulent flow (eq 8-50) in Cengel and Cimbala:

1f=-2.0logε/D3.7+2.512.51Ref (eq 8-50).

In this equation f is the friction factor, D is the pipe diameter and ε is pipe
roughness. This equation is valid only for turbulent flow which corresponds to
the regime we having in this experiment. Another way to determine the
friction factor is by using the Moody chart and it is suitable for Reynolds
number ranging between 103 to 108. Now that we can determine the friction
factor, we can calculate the major loss. Minor losses are due to fittings and
are also taken in account when total head loss is determined. Fittings disturb
streamline and create eddies. The fittings attached to our system are listed
in table 1.

Fitting Description Numb Value of Source of K

er of
s K
Pressure Transmitter Calculated by using Table and Equations given
(PT03) 1 0.36 in the Project
Pressure Transmitter Calculated by using Table and Equations given
(PT07) 1 0.36 in the Project
Calculated by using Table and Equations given
Flow Transmitter (FT02) 1 0.36 in the Project
Calculated by using Table and Equations given
Flow Transmitter (FT03) 1 0.27 in the Project
Calculated by using Table and Equations given
Flow Transmitter (FT04) 1 0.23 in the Project
1 inch Pipe Union 5 0.08 Textbook
90 Degree Bend 11 2.5 Textbook
45 Degree Bend 2 2.5 Textbook
Fully Open Gate Valve 2 0.2 Calculated by using Table 7.3 in annex
Fully Open Ball Valve 1 0.05 Textbook
T - Junction Straight
Through Flow 3 0.2 Textbook
T - Junction Exit flow at
90 degrees 2 1 Textbook
T - Junction Inlet flow at
90 degrees 1 1 Textbook
Rotameter 1 3 Given in Project Problem Statement
Table 1: number of fittings and K value coefficients (minor losses) for the system of

The Total head loss is the sum of major and minor loss. The governing
equation used to calculate head loss has been obtained from Unit Operation
of chemical engineering (McCabe and Smith):

hf=(4f L/D+∑Kl)V2g2 (eq 8.59).

Kl is defined as loss coefficient and depends on the fittings, g is the

acceleration due to gravity (32.17ft/s2), L is the pipe length and D the pipe
diameter and v is the average fluid velocity.

In table 2 we summarize the data that we collected and processed from the
laboratory to generate the system curve of our system of pipe work.
Stand Standa
Head ard rd
Mean Volume Flow Loss Deviat Head Loss Deviat
Rate (ft^3/sec) (ft) ion (ft) theory ion
1 0.50 1.104 0.010 1.106806 0.001
2 0.802 2.678 0.044 2.671129 0.009
3 1.48 8.461 0.018 8.469375 0.007
4 0.397438 0.657 0.001 0.657411 0.000

From table 2, measured and theoretical system curves are plot for the
system of pipework studied during our experiment in figure 1.

When we analyze the system curves obtained in figure 1, we observe a

deviation between predicted and measured values. This is mainly due to the
guess we made to estimate the roughness of the pipe. In order to obtain the
true roughness of the pipe, we minimize the sum of the squared error
between measured and predicted values using excel’s solver tool. While
minimizing the error, only the roughness cell is changed until its converges
to a solution. The value converged to 0.0001049 in whereas our first
estimation was 0.00123 in.

A calibration curve is added to the work so we can calibrate the flow rate
measured by gravimetric measurement to the one measured by the orifice
plate. To do so, volumetric flow rate calculated from the orifice plate is plot
as a function of gravimetric flow rate. We obtained the following plot

In summary the experiment conducted to develop a suitable model to

predict head loss trough the pipework system is fairly accurate within the
range of 0.40 cu_ft/s to 1.5 cu_ft/s. The mean deviation between predicted
value and measured valued for a flow rate of 0.50 cu_ft/s in example, is
0.009 and 0.08 for a flow rate of 0.40 cu_ft/s. The difference between the
prediction and the measurement arise from the fact that the water flow rate
is not constant all along the experiment. Those variations induce changes in
fluid streamlines and momentum. In addition change in pressure and
temperature can explain the difference between our model and the actual

Another source of deviation might arises from the fact that after collecting
the data during the experiment, the recorded values obtained from pressure
transmitter 3 and 5 (PT03 and PT05) have been corrupted and automatically
rounded by the software to the nearest 1/1000. This might affect the
accuracy of the measured data. According to the results it looks that the
predicted values get close to the measured one at higher regime and the
reverse phenomenon at lowest regime. Overall, theory and observations
meet in this experiment. However no value have been taken out of the range
studied, so we don’t know if the general trend obtained for the studied range
will be kept out of the range studied. Thus we recommend collecting more
data principally out of the range studied (0.3 ft3/min to 1.3 ft3/min) if time is

In order to predict the head loss at different regime, we fit a quadratic

equation (eq.1) to the plot we obtained from head loss (estimated, measured
and mean) versus flow rate (see figure 3).

The quadratic equation relates head loss in function of flow rate:

hl = 3.603V2 + 0.3829V (eq. 1)

hl is the head loss in ft and V is the volumetric flow rate in ft3/s. According to
eq 1, the expected head loss at 50 GPM (6.68 ft3/min) is to be 163.33 ft. To
compensate the head loss one can add a pump which will compensate the
calculated head loss (163.33 ft) to the system. When we calibrate the
volumetric flow rate we obtained a head loss of 123.33 ft. By comparing both
values it is better to choose a pump that will compensate 163.33 ft of head
loss. In case that the work done by the pump is higher than what is needed
one can still adjust the pump to deliver more head to the system. As we
mentioned above it will be wise to obtained more value at different range of
volumetric flow rate so one can know the general trend of the system curve
at a wider range.

References lists:

Yunus A. Cengel, John M. Cimbala (2006). Fluid Mechanics: Fundamentals

and Application. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Warren L. McCabe, Julian C. Smith, Peter Harriott (2005). Unit Operations of

Chemical Engineering. New York: McGraw-Hill.