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D.J.Zigrang
Deoanment 01Mechanlcal Engineenng.

N. D. Sylvester
Department
01CllemicalEngineering.
TII' Universityof Tulsa.
600 SoutllColleoe.
Tulsa.Okla. 74104

A Review01ExplicitFtiction
FactorEquations
A 1ft1ÍftIIollhr uplidllriclion ItlClor ftIIUIlions tkwloP«i lO repltlt:f!Ih~ Colebrook
etpI/IIion is presmled. ExplidllriClion ItlClor ftIIIIllions tire dewlo¡J«/ which yield ti
wry hirh IÚlrer 01 pm:ision comptlmi 10 Ihe Colebrook «/lIIIlion. A new uplicil
«¡lllltiDn, which 'Jllers ti muDable compromi# betw«n compluilY tlnd tlt:CUI'tlt:y,
is pt'fW1I,«t tlnd m:om",mMd lor ,he calcuJtllion 01 tlIl flll'buJenl pipe /low lriClion
ItlClOI'Slar tlIl rourhnus rtllios tlM Rqnold's numben.

IatroductiOD
Tbe Colebrook equatiODfor tbe frictiODfactor (I).
,ID
2.51
t
., 101 -+~
~
(1)
v
33
~
is impücit iDl. Nevenbeless. it leaerally bu beca used to
obtaiD fric:tiODfacum for OowiDc1osedconduiu. Tbe widely
recopized Moody cban for fric:tiODfacum (2)is based ODit
as are othcrs. At lcut until receatly. la cbans have furDisbed mOSt or tbe fric:tion facum used iD pressure-drop
calc:ulaúonsfor Oowin c1osedconduiu.
Tbe arüest cxpücit approxm.aOD 10 CoIebroolt's
eq~OD is due 10 Moody (3). SiDcetbeD, a series of iDCI'C8IiDJIymore precise expücit approximatioas bave beca
published (4-7). 1be mOStreceat of thesc 18-11]bave beca
based on Dumerica1methods 8Ddcan yield any desired de¡ree
of precisiOD.ZiJranJ and Sy1vester(8) and a
(9J as
reponed by Olujic (lOJ bave shown i&~
tbat
stania¡ witb a reuonable app1~illUltiODfor
tWO addiúona! iterations wiII yield valucs fo, / wbicb deviate

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DeJÜlibly (0.02 percent averqe)

tbe seasitivity of the frictiODfactor value 10 pipc rou¡lmess
tOletherwith a considerableuncenaiDtyiDtbe actual vaIucof
tbe rou¡hness may be tbe predomiDantlOurce of uncenainty
iDa frictiODfactor val..
It wouldsean tbat our real aeeds may be for more accurate
fric:tionfactor dua UpoDwhich to base correlations ud for
ways to reduce tbe unc:crtaiDtyiDpipc rouJlmess rathcr tban
for more precise expücit VersiODlof Colebroolt's equaúon.
However, tbe proÜferatiOD of expücit approDmations
proDJputhis review.
SilllpIe Esplidt EqaadoDl
Available frictiODfactor cbarts cover boch IUDÍDIr8Dd
tUrbulentOows. PipcrouJhness docs DOtbave a mcasurablc
effect ODprelSUledrop in 1amiDarOow 8Dd this RlÍODis
adequaIay c:overedby equatiOD(2) whichis dcrived from tbe
Hqen-PoiJeuiUe equatiOD

'"

Colebrook equatiODval.. over a wide nDP of values for
Reynold's Dumber ud elD. W'aIIiams(l2J bu poiDud out It is usuaIIy acccpted that t1ow can be eitber laminar 01
that proarammable hand-heId calcuIators are 10 cuy 10 use turbulent in tbe uansiÚOD felÍOD 2OOO<Re«tOOO.Thus
ud conver¡ence is 10 rapid tbat tbere is litt1eDeCalÍty10stop cither equation (1) or eqU8ÚOD
(2) mayacwaUy be appticable.
short of full conver¡ence.
'Ibis review. wiII ~
i~t-.sRIic:it lmR!\}.i""vi()U, IQ,
in ¡pite of tbeseiDc:re:uiD81Y
more ac:curatebut iDcrasinaIY ~!:!
eqU8tlOD.~.JC)_R,!'!.25OQ..with.thc..~0J!
more complex cxplicit equatiODl. J. J. J. Cbcn (13J has tbát tbey are applicable only to ful1ydm:loJlC!!i..ntdmICDl.
SUIJcsted a very simple but admiued1y inaccurate cxpücit Oo..
.
.
equaÚOD.Equauons dcmonsuatably simpler than Chen'I but
Moody'. equaUOD(3)is iDc1udedbecauseit was tbc fJl'ltof
considerably more precise reIative 10 Colebroolt's equaUOD.'1beexpIicitapproximations 10Colebrooks's equatiOD.
e
10' IIJ
are available. HOWevef. Chen points out tbat siDce
(3)
C::°lebroolt~seq~~D ~y COD~ ~fic:ant aror'.~
is
1-0.0055 1+ 20000 D + Re
üUle pr&cuca1JustiflC8110D
for mc:reasm¡ the prec:uJon of
expücit equaÚODS.HaaIand (14J aIso has CODSideredthis ZiJrana uel Sylvester(8J showed tbat Moody's equaúon has
point. staÚD¡: ". . .Defore simpücity is sacrificed for ex- an averqe error of 4.3 pcTCCDt
for tbcir test cases: tbus. it is
c:essive accuracy, it is wonh 1teepiD¡ iD mind tbat tbe nOtconsidered for further evaluation. ADotbereariy cxplicit
Colebrook-White formula. . .iuelf may be 3-5 pcrca1t. ir Dot equaUOD.presented by Wood (4J,is DOtconsideredfor similar
more, in error compared to experimental data. . . ." Fioally, reasoDS.Churchill's equation (6] was CODSidered
iDu arüer
reviewby ZiIf8Jll ud Sylvester (8Jwben:it was sbown to be
las accurate relative 10 equatioD (1) Iban otber las c:ompIa
Conlribuled bv Ihe Petroleum F1uid Mrcllanics Commitlec oí Ihe Prarolcvm
equaÚODS.
Divilion for publicallon In Ihe JouaNALo. ENDGY
TICH!tOLOGY..
Other simple explicit equaÚODSinclude tbose of Jain (5),
M8JIUICripI reccived by Ihe Petroleum Divilion. July 23. 1984; rrvlsed
Zigrana ud 5ylvater 18J, Haaland (14). N. H. Cbcn (7J,
manuscnpt rCCClvedfrbruary 8. 198'.

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280 I Vol. 107, JUNE 1985

.~

. (2)

/.. iC

from tbe fuUy C1ODYtfIed

Tr8nuet1ona

01...ASME

. The results are summarizedin Table l.11 [-+Re [. 1 ] ] [ Haaland then genera. J.9 e/D 1.9 Complexity index -- Reference Colebrook.is relatively inac:curate as shown in Table 1.1C191+ ..Sl Re [1. H.7 + 2.)+0.3 yjelds fric:tion factors in consonance with those recommendedfor use in IJ&S uansmission lines.9 2. equations (S) and (6).OO1. H.-2101 [3. Chen (7] equaúon. Chen's (7]equation (seeequation (12».11 (7) ij= -1.1982 Zigrang-Sylvester. 0. FinaUy..=-210g-+(5) vI 3. .9 elD 1.". 1 ij elD -~I .03 forI to obtain 1 e/D 14.1111 . Serghides (11] utilized an equation simüar to.:= -210g -+-. Tab1e2 shawsthat equation (lS) is the superiorequation of intermediateprecision.14-210g (ElD)+ Reo. 107/281 t . 1.8257 (E/D)I..-2101 elD [ 3.21 0. Zigran¡ and Sylvester(lS] bave shown that equation (S)is not only simp1erthan equation (9).02 1 ElD 13 ]]] (14) 1 e/D 4.6 0. e/D S. were c:ompared00 the basis of error relative to Colebrook's equation and on the basis of complexity.8 e/D 6.S18 .Sylvester.7 ReHaaland [14] reexamined the basis for Co1ebrook's equation in view of the simple friaion factor re1ations of Prandtl and von Karman for smooth and rough pipes and developedthe explicitrelation 1 6.S. 1979 Zigrang. 1939 Jain.7 Re (13) - Zigrang 8Dd Sylvester (8] bave showü that equation (12) is sliabtly more precise than Clquation(13).. I 21.3 12.14 0. 08 ] 1 . except thu the constant for the sccoDd term in the parenthesesis 12ratber than 13or 14.--2101---108 [3.-2 101[[ 2. vI 3.1S 0. Chen. (lO) and (11) have been compared to equation (1) for 2S00< Re< 10' and 4 X 10-5 <ElD<O. Serghides (11] and J. J.114-2101 [E/D+ 21. this work Zipana. The resulting equations are 1 ~. / Max. this worlc 82 49 60 60 0. J. H. Chen's equation coma from a numerical metbod. J.9 1.Sylvester. is quite good as is shown in Table 2. but also considerab1ymore precise relative to Colebrook's equation." Chen's Cirstequation is ' / ' Avg. Mu. AY" Complexity indcx -¡.. I ]] (12) (9) acc:uracywas presemed by Barr (16] but is not presented bere.4 ac:curacy NumeriadJy Demed Explidt Eqaadoas of IDtermediate Precisioe The N. from which equation (lO) was extracted. 1 elD 12 vI 2101-+[ 3.07 Refermc:e -- Co1cbrook. A simple expücit expression for fric:tion factors can be obtained from N. wbicb are of intermediate precision. H.' ij . Joumal 01 Energy Resource.two equations. Inc1udedis the complexity index whic:bis defined as the number of algebraicnotation c:alculator key strokes required to solve tbe equation for Re-I05 and E/D-O.10 0.9 (11) Equations (4) through (7).S (6) }".3. The resu1tSare shownin Table 2.0 1.0 .0:00-0:0 12 13 14 IS 0. 1979 Serglrides.8 O.>. r-. Cben's (see equation (13).These are ""'- discussed in the forthcoming. 1982 Shaclwn.lizedthis re1ationto 1 1. .. It is tbe flJ'Stiteration of the IlUlDericalsalUtiODof equation (1) using the metbod of straigbt substitUtion ud tbe value for I from equation (S) as the first pess.1980 Haaland.810g Re + 377 [ j For n-l.S 0. " .1 7. H. JUNE 1985.5 2.OSas in reference (11]. . (but) . . Chen [13].0 1.7 ~---log Pm:ent absolute deviation ] [ [ Table 1 ComparisoD 01 simple lrk1ioD factor equations ] Re ~--2101 v¡ ["'3.7 Re [ ]] 108.+ 3.. Thus. is sbown as equatioo 02).549 ~ An equation comparable to Chen's in c:omplexity and ( )] ¡-0.2S ij = 1. Technology Ziaran8 8Dd Sylvester (8) combined equatiOt\.7 Reo. simp1er tban any of those already reviewed . H.11 ¡. (S) with equation (1) 10 pt an equaUon of somewbat less comp1exity than N.9 (4) [ ~ ] Zigrang and Sylvester [8] substituted a value for I of 0. \ . can be obtaiDed by combinins Clquation (4) with equation (1) and by combiDÍDI equatioo (7) with equaioo (1). from which it is obtained. Haaland suaested tbat n Equation no. . Jain's equation is based on the theoretical equations of von Xarman and Prandtl together with curve fitting..25 Reo. 1976 Zigrang-Sylvester. the valua of the constants rault from curve fitting.7 ] ]](lS) Equatioas (12)througb (1S).Table 1 shows that equation (7) is the superior simpleexplicitequation.6 4. ~"Shacham(9).whic:hare more complexthan - equation (13) but less complex tban equatioo (12) and both of whic:h are limpk:r and more accurate than equation (12).7 Re v¡ 6. Chen's sec:ond equation is of similar accuracy. Chen (13] suaested two relations which are ".. not expec:ted to be of e u high [ 1 4 5 6 7 10 11 1. except that Shacham [9]useda valueof 0. . However.'-- - [ ] ] + Re (lO) Equation (lO). 1983 N. J.] +-[ equation (8) becomes equation (7). the cxuaction of equation (lO) from equation (12)may not be approprlate. Chm.4 8..6 8. This is surprising because equaDon (12).9 " vI n [[ Re . 1939 N. lt appcars that while tbe form of N. Vol. ] ] (8) .3164 Reo.04 imo the right-hand side of Co1ebrook'sequation to obtain 1 e/D 13 -.3.11 1 tlD 7.7 Re This is a1mostidenticaJ to Shacham's equation.706S Re [ 2..7 4. 0.5 0. 1984 35 24 24 35 41 24 Table 2 ComparUoD of frimoD factor equatioDs of iDtenaediaae colllplaity Pm:eat absoluu: deria1ion Equalion DO.

if tbe errors were of differcnt sisa. Ser¡hides (11) has taken cquation (16) and incorporated However.1I2) O ~ 0.781)2 (18) Tbe actual effect of tbe use of an expücit equation with a B-2A +4. Here tbe root. The effon required to use an equuion is proporcional to its complexity.0.Cprocedure app6es ud tbe resulting error would be .1980 0.02 EID S.781(A -4.21o¡ EID 2.1.¡:J2 S. the following conclusionsand recommcnd¡¡tionsare prescnted: Tranaactiona of the ASME '- ..! considertbe crfect of using an explicitcquatio~ haVÍDg 3.eneraI.s of intermediate precision to see if the added precision is wonh the additional effon. tbe next iteration of equation (16) is of the same accuracies of equations (16) tbrou¡h (19) are unnecessary in level of convergcnce as equation (17). to S peleent error in (16) Colebrook's cqu8lion was randOm. B e -.75 of highest. 4. 2. Mu. On tbe otber hand. The accuracies of the equations compared in Tables 2 and 3 are shown relative to their complexity in Fig. cquation is Consider the crfect of usin¡ an explicit equation with a -2 (B-A)2 17.J a:: 1&1 CL .02 El D --og Re ( -+3.c- [-+[-+- f-[ '-.7 0. add an additional one percent error EID 12 A --2101 3.0040 og---o¡ [3. 1 aII show that acc:uracyand complexity are correlated. Tbe trend tine shows that cquatiODS(1S).) muimam error of one perceDt.7 Re sum:!9!!!!.0170 0.Sylvesler. tbe muimum error would be reduced f1Om fivepercentto four pel'CCDt. .0300 74 124 99 99 Zigrang. In this.0000 0.02 EID 1 ~=-210g---01 ---lo¡ -3. 1984 Serghides. tbe magnitude of the combined errors would be tbe root-sum-square value. - ] - [-+- .02 EID S.0023 0.251 Eq.IO percem.' lB C 2 108 (17d) Colebrook cqualiDDerfors aIso are random.1400 0.7 Re ] a lIIUIDI1IID error of one pel'CCDt under tbe assumpuon that the envrs are raadom. Reference --¡-. possible.7 Re (17b) for a total of six percent.00 Table 3 Comparison precisiOD ~ 0. in the WOI'Itcase. In this case. 1982 Serghides. the errors in the explicit cquations are not random Steffenson's acc:eIeratedconveqence teclUIique10 mate !be and the errors in Colebrook's cquation relative to"the exresulting solution more accurate than tbat which would result paia-utal data are nOt expected to be random. Since tbe Colebrook errors are of both sigas tbe errors wiU from severa! additional suai¡ht iterations.02 EID 21 og 1 1 vf factor equations PerceDt absolUte devia1ion ~ o of frimon '- ] ] - ] I dD S. EQuation Complexity no. 1984 Zigrang-Sylvesler. 1 lID S.1 pel'CCDtwould c:enainly be reprd~ as -2 neaIigible. l. Ihis work Accaracy Reqllirmleats EqU8tlon 8CCUr8C)'Y8f8U8compI8Jdty IncIu [--3. 1939 (.S-r.50 a:: 1&1 ~ ~ ~ )( ~ 0. Using tbe relatively inaccurate equation where would.7 The explicit fricüon factor equations considered have maximumerrors relative to Colebrook's equation as ¡reat as 13 percentud as low as 0. and can be written practice. On the basis of this discussion it is suggested that the higb Finally. and (19) offer an Cdgein accuracy relative to complexity.Tables 1.(18) O O 50 FIg. If me errors in me ap1icit cquations reiative 10Colebrook's equation were random and if tbe 3.7 [ [ [ vf 3.7 Re 3. The compuison shown in Table 3 is from Serghides (11) with the addition of the resulta for equations (16) and (19) and the complexity index. case.1 Numerically Prec:isiOD . Tbe increase in friction factor Serghides also preseats tbe simpler cquation unceuaiAti by 0. a:: 16 17 18 19 Eq. one would like to use tbe simplest equation which provides ure&IODIIbIe"8CC1If8CY. ~ 75 COMPLEXITY IQÓ INDEX Derived Expliclt EquatioDS of Highest Re 0.7 Re S.0000 Colebrook. JUNE 1985 13 Re)]]] Condasioas Rec:olDlllendations Based on tbis l'CVÍewando particularly. Ser¡hides' explicitand add in SOlDe cases and c:anc:eIin otber cases.C-2B+A ( equation for the friction factor migbt give a maximum error of fM percent. in view of the (19) inaa:uracy of the Colebrook equation. and 3 and Fig.781 muimum error of one pefceDtües between these extremes. 121 (16). Solving the Colebrook f [A.0300 0. :¡ .".7 Re [-3.'IA (171:) N". where A and B are defined as in equation (17). Equation (16) is the sccond iteration of cquation (13) obtained by Zigrangand Sylvester(8).0002 0. In . index Avg. 3. it is assumed tbat tbe EID 2. tbe wk of deciding + ~~]]] whetber a liven ap1icit equation is ureasonably" accur&te Equations (13) and (16) imply tbat additional iterations are would be re1ativelycuy. 107. It is of interest to compare tbe accuracies of equations (16) through (19) with the best of the equatioD.~ ".0023 peleent for tbe ranges of Re and ElD cOvered..7 1 282/ Vol.

FUlldilm""ols.. 4 WoocI.illftrill' CItmI. ASME. Vol. Vol. M. any of equations (12) through (19) are adequate for turbulent flows. p.." CivIl EII'IIIftr." Protftd'II.iMm. H. K. May 1976." TUNS.chnology JUNE 1985. 10 Olujic. 18(3)...:' ~ 1 Until more accurate experimental data is available or a more accurate correlation of existing data is obtained. Vol. December 14.. "Solutions of the CoIebrook. F. 01 Cillil EtlriMm. H. ASCE.. (6). References 1 CoIebrook. "TechDic:aJ Note 400: A Simple Explicit Formula for the Estimation of Pipc Fric:tioa F8CtOl. A. 1""11.. 3 MoocIy. Pan 2. 7 Chm.. J. EIec:uic Power Research Institute. L. 1984.. lOS. pp. J- ' ' Joumal O. 1979.. pp. 77. 1984. 1. No.. p. 8 Zi8l'U8. J. FIIII. Dec.En." Prot.factor EQuatioa Spans all Fluid Aow Rqimes. 641. '" 1982.. "A.. 1982. L. D. F.hides.. Vol.". Jllae 17.. 102. the Colcbrook equaUODshould cODunue tO scrve as the standard.ftdillrs 01 III~ ItUIII. Vol. Mar. Novcmber 7. 89. 16 Barr. In this regioD it is nearly as accurate as equauon (7) 8Od substantially simpler. ud Sylvestcr. pp.urce. "Fric:tion. dlUlnol En. 91." AICItE JOII.... F.. 1981.in«rs.rgy A. "Eslimale Friction FaCtolS Ac:curalel~'.i_. (7) or (11) will suffice. "Simple ud Explicit F_uIu for the Friction Factor in Turbolent Pipc FIow. 28.1977... "Turbulent FIows in Pipa.. 107/283 ." JOllfllolol Hydrr¡vlics Dill_II. Sylvestcr. J.." TaANs. 12 Wnnams. With Panicular Rcfercnce to the Transition Rttion Bctwcen Smooth ud Roup Pipc Laws. D. is recommended for calculation of all friction factors for turbulent flows for all roughness ratios 804 Reynold's numbers. 14 Huland. 7 Equation (lS). . Z. T. ud N. 6 1f the application is exclusively in the region of higher Reynold' s numbers (Re> 10000) and higher roughness ratios (dD> . S.White Funaion for ResiSlance tO Uniform Turbulent A-. pp. 01 Cillil E". Mar. I~ Ziaran. 296-297.illftnll. 79.".m~II"IIs.. "Friction Factors for Pipc Aow.S 01 lit. 1947. 198~. 1964. 11. J. 63-64. 49-55.cl:anle Explicil EQualion for Friction Fac:tor.illftnll' CIt~mislry. 01 Cillil EtI. Vol. N. p. which offers a reasonable compromise between complexity 8Od accuracy. 4 For many applications.mintl EII.iJtfwill" Match 5. C. Pan 2. pp.I. An Approximate Formula for Pipc Frictlon Fac:tors." JOllmill 01 ItUl. 60-61." Cltrmicrll EII.illftnll" LondoD. C. 529-S3S. 13 Chen. 3 Numerical solutions for friction factors based on the Colebrook equation can be obtained by iteration to any desired degree of precision. 9 Shacham. 1966. S 1f more predsion is required. W. IOO~. pp. Vol. K.. 11 Scr.004)." ". 1981." CIt~micrll EII. penoaal c:ommunic:alion.. ~ JIiD. ASME. 71. IndllSlruzl EII. L. 66. 6 Churchill. S. Vol. "Comments on Technical Note 400: A Simple Explicit Formula for the Estimation of Pipc Friaioa Factar. equation (S) is recommended. 1983. "An Explicil Equation for Friction Faclor ID Pipc. May 1980. 1939. D. HY~. D. . 01 Civil EII. N. E. Vol.. pp. D. "An Explicil Friction Factor Relationship. the simple explicit expressions of equations (S). "Explicit ApproJUmauons 10 the Solulion of Colebrook Friction Factor Equation. 2 Additioaal c:xplicit fric:tion factor eqlWiODS are DOt needed." Clt. pp. 2 MoocIy. 215-221." In. 133-U6. Vol. Vol. "Compute Friction Factors FUI for Pipc F\ow. . J. J. C." ASMEJOfImtlloIFlllitbEtrrillftnll. D. Vol. ." Protftdill" 01 1M IIUIII.. 228-229.. 69.