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Journal of Hydraulic Research

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Discharge equation of a circular sharp-crested

Prabhata K. Swamee & Nimisha Swamee
To cite this article: Prabhata K. Swamee & Nimisha Swamee (2010) Discharge equation
of a circular sharp-crested orifice, Journal of Hydraulic Research, 48:1, 106-107, DOI:
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Published online: 18 Mar 2010.

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Date: 12 October 2016, At: 04:53

Journal of Hydraulic Research Vol. 48, No. 1 (2010), pp. 106 107
# 2010 International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research

Technical note

Discharge equation of a circular sharp-crested orice

PRABHATA K. SWAMEE, Professor of Civil Engineering, National Institute of Tech. Jalandhar, Jalandhar,
144 011, India.
Email: (author for correspondence)
NIMISHA SWAMEE, Executive, Railway Infrastructure, Railway Business Unit, Larsen and Toubro, Faridabad,
121 003, India.
The discharge of circular sharp-crested orices is commonly obtained by using experimental data of the discharge coefcient. This procedure is
subjected to errors in graph reading. Further, such a procedure also cannot be used for analytical purposes. Presented herein is a high-accuracy explicit
equation of the orice discharge. The equation unies viscous and potential ows.

Keywords: Discharge coefcient, discharge measurement, explicit equation, ow rate, orice, viscous effect

2 Analytical considerations


For small [d(gh)1/2/n], the relationship Cd versus[d(gh)1/2/n] is

linear on a double logarithmic plot (Fig. 1), namely

Orices are used as an emptying device for tanks. The classical

discharge equation for circular orice ow from a side of a large
tank is
Q Cd d 2 2gh



0:0268d gh


For very large [d(gh)1/2/n], the asymptotic discharge coefcient may be tted to

where Q is the discharge, Cd the discharge coefcient, d the

orice diameter, g the gravitational acceleration and h the depth
of orice centre below free surface. The discharge coefcient
varies with d(gh)1/2/n, where n is the kinematic uid viscosity.
Lea (1938) explored the relation of Cd versus [d(gh)1/2/n] by
utilizing various classical test data. These tests were conducted
using mixtures of water and glycerin and a number of oils,
resulting in Leas (1938) curve for Cd (Fig. 1). This curve was
considered so important that it was redrawn by Rouse (1946)
on a different abscissa (Vd/n) with V Q/(pd2/4) being the
average orice ow velocity. For large [d(gh)1/2/n] the limit
value of Cd 0.592 is reached, whereas for large (Vd/n) or
[d(gh)1/2/n] the plot of Rouse (1946) reaches Cd 0.611 for
potential ow. Thus, Rouse rejected data with Cd , 0.611 for
large [d(gh)1/2/n]. Figure 1 follows Rouse by using the asymptotic value of Cd 0.611.

4:5n 0:882
Cd 0:611 1 p
d gh


Following Swamee (1988) by combining Eqs (2) and (3) and

tting the test data of Lea (1938) results in



4:5n 1:26
1 p
: (4)
Cd 0:611 87 p
d gh
d gh

Equation (4) is shown in Fig. 1, which is fairly accurate to

predict Cd as the errors involved are well within +1.0%.

Revision received 6 October 2009/Open for discussion until 31 August 2010.

ISSN 0022-1686 print/ISSN 1814-2079 online

Journal of Hydraulic Research Vol. 48, No. 1 (2010)

Discharge equation of a circular sharp-crested orice


indicating that for highly viscous ow the orice discharge is

proportional to the operating head h, and proportional to 1.5
power of the opening area. Thus, whereas by doubling the area
the discharge is the double of inviscid ow, it is almost three
times for viscous ow.


A unied equation for the discharge coefcient of a sharp-crested

orice ow was established providing a smooth transition
between viscous and potential ows.
Figure 1 Leas (1938) averaged curve for Cd versus [d(gh)1/2/n]


Combining Eqs (1) and (4), the orice discharge is nally


4:5n 1:26
1 p
Q 0:679d gh 87 p
d gh
d gh



Putting n 0 for potential ow, Eq. (5) reduces to

Q 0:679d 2 gh

Cd discharge coefcient
d orice diameter
g gravitational acceleration
h hydraulic head
Q discharge
V average ow orice velocity
n kinematic uid viscosity


A perusal of Eq. (6) reveals that for very high Reynolds

numbers, the orice discharge varies directly with the opening
area, and as a square root of the operating head. In turn, by
putting n ! 1 for highly viscous ow, Eq. (5) reads

0:0298d 3 gh


Lea, F.C. (1938). Hydraulics for engineers and engineering

students, 6th ed. Arnold, London.
Rouse, H. (1946). Elementary mechanics of uids. Wiley &
Sons, New York.
Swamee, P.K. (1988). Generalized rectangular weir equations.
J. Hydraul. Eng. 114(8), 945949.