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ENGR 3300 - Fluid Mechanics

Derek Bretey and Michael Klein

Fun with Siphons Part 1
Initial Test Plan
Siphons are tubes that are used to transfer fluid from one container to
another that is at lower elevation. The siphon tube is placed into the donating
container, then looped up and over to the receiving container. Once the flow
through the tube is initially established by some method of suction, fluid will
continue to flow through the siphon if the proper conditions are maintained.
Once the fluid has been sucked to the highest point in the tube, gravity will
pull down on the leg of the tube that is the longest. As gravity pulls down on the
fluid in the longer leg, draining the fluid into the receiving container, an area of low
pressure (lower than atmospheric) is established at the highest point in the tube
(the apex). The pressure in the donating container is maintained at atmospheric
pressure (or greater, if the pressure is measured at the bottom of the bucket), so
the greater pressure in the donating container pushes water into the lower pressure
apex of the siphon and gravity pulls it down into the receiving container. The
process continues as long as the fluid does not run out and the longer leg of the
siphon is maintained over the receiving bucket.
Materials will be set up in the configuration shown in the sketch below. Water will be
added to the manometer. Fluid flow will be initiated by sucking on the receiving end
of the siphon tube. Once flow has begun, flow rate will be measured using the
volume markings on the pitchers and a timer. With this setup, we will perform the
following tests:

The apex will be set at two different heights. The difference in height (h)
between the two pitchers will be kept constant. The flow rate will be
To observe the effects of changing the relative height of the pitchers, we will
maintain the lower pitcher at a constant height while adjusting the height of
the higher pitcher. The flow rate will be recorded.
A manometer will be created by adding a section of tubing connected by the
T-joint to the apex of the siphon as shown in the sketch. Fluid will be added
to manometer, providing a qualitative pressure sensor (compared to
atmospheric) at the apex.

Throughout the procedure, the relative height of the fluid in the

manometer will be observed, providing qualitative data about the
pressure in the apex under different siphoning conditions.


Describe Sketch, Describe manometer and how its going to work

Expected Results

We expect the flow rate to be directly proportional to the difference in height

between the two buckets. As the height difference is increased, the pressure
difference between the apex and receiving bucket with increase, creating
lower and lower pressures at the apex, increasing the flow from the donating
We dont expect the height of the apex above either container to affect the
flow rate. Because varying the height of the apex will not affect the relative