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# Similitude and Dimensional Analysis I

Hydromechanics VVR090

Motivation
Often difficult to solve fluid flow problems by analytical or
numerical methods. Also, data are required for validation.
The need for experiments

## Difficult to do experiment at the true size (prototype),

so they are typically carried out at another scale
(model).

## Develop rules for design of experiments and

interpretation of measurement results.

Fields of Application
aerodynamics
naval architecture
flow machinery (pumps, turbines)
hydraulic structures
rivers, estuaries
sediment transport

## To solve practical problems, derive general

relationships, obtain data for comparison with
mathematical models.

## Example of Model Experiments

Wind-tunnel

Spillway design

Towing tank

Sediment transport
facility

## Model Experiments in Hydraulics I

Construction of model

Discharge at
model spillway

Model gates

## Model Experiments in Hydraulics IV

surge chamber

pump intake

Hydraulic arrangements

Lule lv

Lilla Edet

## Water power plants

Lule lv

Terminology
Similitude: how to carry out model tests and how to transfer
model results to protype (laws of similarity)

## Dimensional analysis: how to describe physical relationships in

an efficient, general way so that the extent of necessary
experiments is minimized (Buckinghams P-theorem)

## Example: Drag Force on an Submerged Body

Drag force (D) depends on:
diameter (d)
velocity (V)
viscosity (m)
density ()

D = f ( d , V , , )

Dimensional analysis:

Vd
D
= f
= f (Re)
2 2
V d

geometric
kinematic
dynamic

## All of these must be obtained for complete similarity

between model and prototype.

Geometric Similarity
Ratios between corresponding lengths in model and
prototype should be the same.

dp
dm

lp
lm

d l
= p = p = 2
Am d m lm
Ap

Kinematic Similarity
Flow field in prototype and model have the same shape and
the ratios of corresponding velocities and accelerations are
the same.

V1 p
V1m

V2 p
V2 m

a1 p
a1m

a2 p
a2 m

## Geometrically similar streamlines are kinematically similar.

Dynamic Similarity
To ensure geometric and kinematic similarity, dynamic
similarity must also be fulfilled.
Ratio between forces in prototype and model must be
constant:

F1 p
F1m

F2 p
F2 m

F3 p
F3m

M pap
M m am

(vector relationships)

## Also, Newtons second law:

F1 p + F2 p + F3 p = M p a p
F1m + F2 m + F3m = M m am

## Important Forces for the Flow Field

pressure (FP)
inertia (FI)
gravity (FG)
viscosity (FV)
elasticity (FE)
surface tension (FT)

Parameterization of Forces

FP = pA = pl 2
V2
= V 2 l 2
l
3
FG = Mg = l g
FI = Ma = l 3

dV
V
A = l 2 = Vl
dy
l
FT = l
FV =

FE = EA = El 2

(convective acceleration: V

dV
)
dx

## Dynamic similarity: corresponding force ratios the same in

prototype and model

FI FI
V 2 V 2
=
=

FP p FP m p p p m
FI FI
Vl Vl
= =
=

FV p FV m p m
FI FI
V 2 Vl
= = =

FG p FG m gl p m
FI FI
V 2 V 2
=
=

FE p FE m E p E m
FI FI
lV 2 lV 2
=
=

FT p FT m p m

Dimensionless Numbers
Reynolds

Froude

Cauchy (Mach)

Weber

Euler

Vl
Vl
=
/
V
Fr =
gl
Re =

C=

V2
V2
= 2 = M2
E / c

lV 2

E =V
2 p
W=

## Dimensionless numbers same in prototype and model

produces dynamic similarity.

## Only four numbers are independent (fifth equation from

Newtons second law).

## In most cases it is not necessary to ensure that four numbers

are the same since:

## all forces do not act

some forces are of negligable magnitude
forces may counteract each other to reduce their effect

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Reynolds Similarity I
Low-speed flow around air foil (incompressible flow)

Vl
Vl
= Re p = Re m =
p
m

Osborne Reynolds

## Same Re number yields same relative drag force:

D D
V 2l 2 = V 2l 2

p
m

Reynolds Similarity II
Flow through a contraction (incompressible flow)

Vl
Vl
= Re p = Re m =
p
m
(also geometric similarity)

## Same Euler number yields same relative pressure drop:

p p
V 2 = V 2

p
m

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Froude Similarity I
Flow around a ship (free surface flow)
William Froude

V
V

= Frp = Frm =

gl p
gl m
(frictional effects neglected)

## Same Re number yields same relative drag force:

D D
V 2l 2 = V 2l 2

p
m

Froude Similarity II
Flow around a ship, including friction

V
V

= Frp = Frm =

gl p
gl m
Vl
Vl
= Re p = Re m =
p
m
Fulfill both:

lp
=
m lm

3/ 2

(typically not
possible)

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## Reynolds Modeling Rules

Same viscosity in prototype and model

Re p = Re m

Vp

Vm
Vp
Vm

lm
= 1
lp

lp / tp
lm / tm

tp

tm

= 2

Similarly:

Qp
Qm

l 3p / t p
3
m

l / tm

= 3

1
=
2

## Froude Modeling Rules

Same acceleration due to gravity

Frp = Frm

1/ 2

lp

=
Vm lm
Vp

Vp
Vm

lp / tp
lm / tm

= 1/ 2

tp
tm

= 1/ 2

Similarly:

Qp
Qm

l p3 / t p
3
m

l / tm

= 3

1
= 5/ 2

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## Summary of Different Model Rules

Distorted Scale
The vertical and horizontal scale is different (e.g., model of
an estuary, bay, lagoon).

lp
lm

= h ,

yp
ym

Froude rule:

Vp
Vm

lp / tp
lm / tm

= v
1/ 2

yp
=
Vm ym
Vp

tp
tm

Vml p
V p lm

= 1/v 2

h
v

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Movable-Bed Models
Model sediment transport and the effect on bed change:
General river morphology
River training
Flood plain development
Bridge pier location and design
Local scour
Pipeline crossings
Additional problem besides similarity for the flow
motion is the similarity for the sediment transport
and the interaction between flow and sediment.

Sediment Transport
Interaction between fluid flow (water or air) and its loose
boundaries.
Strong interaction between the flow and its boundaries.

## Professor H.A. Einstein: my father had an early interest in

sediment transport and river mechanics, but after careful
thought opted for the simpler aspects of physics

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Gravel

Cohesive
material

## Important Features of Sediment Transport

initiation of motion
bed features
transport mode
transport magnitude
slope stability

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