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Experiment 2

H34 Losses in Pipe Fittings

Laboratory Manual

Contraction

Expansion

Bend

Elbow

Mitre

Information of the

piping system

College of Engineering

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY

Nomenclature

SYMBOL

DESCRIPTION

UNITS

m2

gravitational acceleration

hd

hu

Vd

m/s

Vu

m/s

V2 / 2g

m/s2

velocity head

Background Theory

Almost all runs of pipework contain fittings such as bends, changes in diameter, junctions

and valves. The constrictions and changes in direction of flow through such fittings cause

frictional losses, which are additional to those due to friction at the pipe wall. Since these

losses at fittings usually contribute significantly to the overall loss through the pipework,

it is important to have reliable information about them.

Figure 1 shows a fluid flowing at speed, Vu, along a pipe of diameter, Du, through a pipe

fitting such as a bend or a valve, but shown for simplicity as a simple restriction in the

cross-section of the flow. Downstream of the fitting, the water flows along a pipe of some

other diameter, Dd, along which the velocity of flow is Vd. The figure indicates the

variation of pressure head along the pipe run, as would be shown by numerous pressure

taps at the pipe wall. In the region of undisturbed flow, far upstream of the fitting, the

distribution of velocity across the pipe remains unchanged from one cross-section to

another; this is the condition referred to as 'fully developed pipe flow'. Over this region,

the piezometric head falls, with a uniform, mild gradient, as a result of the effect of

constant friction at the pipe wall in fully developed pipe flow. Close to the fitting,

however, there are sharp and substantial local disturbances to the piezometric head,

caused by rapid changes in direction and speed as the fluid passes through the fitting. In

the downstream region, these disturbances die away, and the line of piezometric head

returns asymptotically to a slight linear gradient, as the velocity distribution gradually

returns to the condition of fully developed pipe flow.

If the upstream and downstream lines of linear friction gradient are now extrapolated to

the plane of the fitting, a minor loss of pressure head, h, due to the fitting is found and

is defined as,

h = hu hd

(1)

velocity heads in the upstream and downstream runs of pipe. From the figure it is clear

that:

Vu2 Vd2

H = h +

2g 2g

(2)

through by the velocity head, thus

K=

H

V 2 2g

(3)

For the case where Du = Dd, as for bends and elbows, the flow velocities in the upstream

and downstream are identical, so either velocity may be used. However, when an

expansion (Du < Dd) or contraction (Du > Dd) is encountered, it is customary to use the

larger velocity head (i.e. the side with the higher velocity).

Characteristics of Flow through Bends

Figure 2(a) illustrates flow round a 90 bend, which has a constant circular cross-section

of diameter D. The radius of the bend is R, measured to the centerline. The curvature of

the flow as it passes round the bend is caused by a radial gradient of piezometric head, so

that the piezometric head is lower at the inner surface of the pipe than at its outer surface.

As the flow leaves the bend, these heads start to equalize as the flow loses its curvature,

so that piezometric head begins to rise along the inner surface. This rise causes the flow

to separate, so generating mixing losses in the subsequent turbulent reattachment process.

Additionally, the radial gradient of pressure head sets up a secondary cross-flow in the

form of a pair of vortices, having outward directed velocity components near the pipe

center, and inward components near the pipe walls. When superimposed on the general

streaming flow, the result is a double spiral motion, which persists for a considerable

distance in the downstream flow, and which generates further losses that are attributable

to the bend.

Clearly, the value of the loss coefficient K will be a function of the geometric ratio R/D;

as this ratio increases, making the bend less sharp, we would expect the value of K to fall.

The smallest possible value of R/D is 0.5, for which the bend has a sharp inner corner.

For this case, the value of K is usually about 1.4. As R/D increases, the value of K falls,

reducing to values which may be as low as 0.2 as R/D increases up to 2 or 3. There is also

a slight dependence on Reynolds Number Re, but for most purposes this is small enough

to be ignored.

Figure 2(b) shows the flow in a sudden enlargement. The flow separates at the exit from

the smaller pipe, forming a jet which diffuses into the larger bore, and which reattaches to

the wall some distance downstream. The vigorous turbulent mixing, resulting from the

separation and reattachment of the flow causes a loss of total head. The piezometric head

in the emerging jet, however, starts at the same value as in the pipe immediately

upstream, and increases through the mixing region, so rising across the enlargement.

These changes in total and pressure head, neglecting the small effect of friction gradient,

are illustrated in the Fig. 2(b).

The theoretical loss coefficient K is, in this case, best related to the upstream velocity Vu,

so that:

(V Vd )2

K= u

Vu2 2 g

2g

V

A

= 1 d = 1 u

Vu

Ad

(4)

Consider lastly the case of the sudden contraction shown in Fig. 2(c). The flow separates

from the edge where the face of the contraction leads into the smaller pipe, forming a jet,

which converges to a contracted section of cross-sectional area, Ac. Beyond this

contracted section there is a region of turbulent mixing, in which, the jet diffuses and reattaches to the wall of the downstream pipe. The losses occur almost entirely in the

process of turbulent diffusion and re-attachment.

The best choice of reference velocity in this case is Vd, regardless of piezometric head, so

the theoretical loss coefficient K becomes,

V

K = u

Vd

Ad

=

Ac

(5)

However, since the actual diameter of the contracted section is not known or measurable

during the experiment, the loss coefficient must be empirically determined.

Note that, for the case of the enlargement and of the contraction only, the loss of

total head, H, is not equal to the differential pressure reading, h.

Experimental Apparatus and Procedure

Experimental Procedure

1. Note the diameters of the pipes and fittings around the flow circuit in the apparatus.

2. Close the exit valve on the left side of the flow circuit, and then turn on the water

source.

3. Slowly open the exit valve on the apparatus, and watch the water levels in the

manometer tubes.

4. Admit or release air from the manometer manifold to keep all of the readings within

the range of the scale.

5. When the maximum feasible flow rate is achieved,

a) Determine the flow rate of the liquid by measuring the time it takes to fill a

known volume. Perform the time measurement at least three times and average

the results.

b) Record the differential pressure readings across each of the fittings.

6. Repeat step (5) to obtain data for at least five different flow rates by adjusting the exit

valve or the valve at the source. Additional air pressure may need to be added to the

manifold as the flow rate is decreased. Make all flow rate changes slowly.

Note: The flow rates need to cover an adequate range for the analysis. The exit

valve will not provide an adequate range of flow rates alone.

All dimensions of pipes and fittings (see chart on apparatus)

Differential Pressure Head Readings:

Mitre (Taps 12)

Elbow (34)

Enlargement (56)

Contraction (78)

Bend (910)

Calculate and present the following parameters:

Flow velocities in both pipe diameters, Vu and Vd

Reynolds Number for both pipe diameters.

Velocity heads in both pipe diameters, Vu2/2g and Vd2/2g

For each fitting, calculate the total loss of head, H.

Note: For all fittings other than the sudden contraction, the velocity head in

the upstream pipe is used for calculating and plotting the loss

coefficient.

For the sudden contraction, the velocity head in the downstream pipe

is used.

Plot the Total Head Loss H (y axis) vs. the Velocity Head (x axis) for all fittings

on the same plot:

The mitre, elbow, and bend

The sudden expansion

The sudden contraction

For each set of data, fit a line through the data points and determine the slope of

the line, which is the empirical value of the loss coefficient as Equation (3).

Determine or research the theoretical loss coefficient and compare to the

empirical values found from the data.

Note:

Make sure the units are consistent so that the loss coefficient is nondimensional.

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