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Fig. 49 : Velocity gradient in a pipe.

of relative velocities between adjacent layers, the fluid

(and the mass of 1 gram) is subjected to shearing
action continuously. A shear stress in grams / cm2 is
necessary if fluid has to flow. The basic unit of viscosity
is POISE. The relation between Poise, shear stress
and velocity is as under :

Introduction :
Viscosity involves units of force, distance and time. Viscosity is the property of reluctance of liquids to flow i.e.
opposite of fluidity.
The resistance to flow is caused by shearing of adjacent
layers in a fluid. This resistance is due to the viscosity of
the fluid, and is proportional to the rate at which layers are

1Poise =

It can be thought of as the iternal friction resulting when

one layer of fluid is made to move over the other with different velocity. Viscosity may also be defined as the ratio
to shearing stress or force between adjacent layers of
fluid to the rate of change of velocity perpendicular to the
direction of flow.


Dyne is a unit of force in C.G.S. system and one dyne is
that force which produces an acceleration of 1 cm / s2 in a
mass of 1 gram.

Velocity gradient in a pipe ( Fig. 49) :

Poise is numerically = grams / cm-s

Veleocity gradient of a laminar flow in a pipe takes a parabolic shape. Along the pipe wall V = 0, while at axis it is

For convenience Poise value is taken in Centipoise and it

is equal to one hundredth of Poise.
Measuring units for viscosity (in metric Units).

Note that there is relative velocity between each layer

across the pipe, and energy is expended in acquiring relative velocity from layer to layer.

1) Centipoise (Dynamic or Absolute viscosity)

2) centistokes (Kinematic viscosity)

A force twice as large would be required to move the liquid twice as fast. Fluids which behave this way are called
Newtonian fluids, like :
water, milk, petrol, kerosene, mercury, hydrocloric acid
(31.5%), turpentine etc.
Fluids which do not behave this way are called
Non-Newtonian fluids like :
syrup, honey, molasses, slurries, etc.

[Saybolt Seconds Universal (SSU) used in U.S.A.]

Mathematical formula of viscocity

SSU = Centistokes x 4.635

Abs. Viscosity (in Centipoises)

Kinematic Viscosity =
(in Centistokes)

sp. gr. of liquid

For values of 70 centistokes and above, use 4.635 as a

factor for converting viscosity units like :

Centrifugal pumps can handle viscous liquids without any

problems if liquid has a viscosity upto 200 centistokes
or 924 SSU for normal design of pump. For viscosity conversion refer Fig. 53.

Refer to Fig. 49, where a viscous fliud is supposed to flow

in a number of layers in different velocities. Now consider
the fluid mass of one gram on any layer moving with the
velocity of 1 cm/s in the direction of the arrows.Because



Effects of Viscosity on Pumping :

from this point and cut Kh, KQ, KH curves and at each
meeting point turn to the left to get correction factors as
under :

As viscosity increases, the Q-H and power curves of centrifugal pumps handling water takes different shapes.
When viscous liquids are admitted both head and discharge are reduced while the power curve rises, because
of increased friction (Fig. 50.)


0.91 (at BEP = 1)




Note on using the chart (Fig. 50).

The water values for pump will be obtained after dividing
them by individual correction factors as under :

Some symbols and factors are to be understood for reading the chart and those are as given below :

= Viscous capacity


= Viscous head


= Viscous efficiency


= Water capacity


= Water head

i) Hw

ii) Qw

= Correction factor for head


= Correction factor for capacity


= Correction factor for efficiency.



= 33.36m

= 178.9 m3/h

Select the pump which gives the above duties close to

b.e.p. on water performance.

= Water efficiency


However for predicting the efficiency when handling viscous liquids, multiply water efficiency by the Kh factor
If water efficiency is 81%, then the pump will give only
51% (81 x 63) when it handles viscous liquid under consideration.

Pumps Handling Viscous Liquids

Ordinary centrifugal pumps can handle viscous liquids
under certain conditions :

Refer Fig. 54, for performance correction chart for discharge below 20m3/h

1. Use only conventional design with radial type open or

closed impeller.

Viscosity conversion chart is given in Fig. 53.

2. Use only Newtonian (uniform) liquids

3. Adequate NPSH must be made available in order to
avoid cavitation (Flooded suction is preferable).
For a pump handling viscous liquid, selection is done on
the basis of water duties (Qw, Hw) arrived at after dividing
the given flow (Qvis) and Head (Hvis) by viscosity correction factors.
How to obtain these factors is explained in the example
given below.
Fig. 50 provides a means of predicting the approximate
performance of a conventional centrifugal pump to be
selected for viscous liquids when its duty point and viscosity are given.
Example :
Select a pump to deliver 170m3/hr at 30 m total head of
liquid having a viscosity of 215 cst and a specific gravity
of 0.9. Find out the pump model (handling water) which
meets the duties of the viscous liquid.
To start with, enter the chart with 170 m3/hr, go up till head
line (30 m) intersects, then turn to the right horizontally
and proceed till you touch the slant viscosity line giving
the required viscosity number 215 cst; then go upward