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Osborne Reynolds Experiment (Laminar and Turbulent Flow)

Determine whether the flow of a liquid is laminar or turbulent.
Determine the velocity ranges of the laminar and turbulent flow regimes.
Prove that the Reynolds Number is Dimensionless.

The experiment is conducted mainly to study the criterion of laminar, transition and turbulent
flow. In fluid mechanics, internal flow is defined as a flow for which the fluid is confined by a
surface. The flow may be laminar or turbulent. Osborne Reynolds (23 August 1832 - 21
February 1912) was a prominent innovator in the understanding of fluid dynamics and
mechanics. Osborne Reynolds Apparatus consists of water resource for the system supply, fix-
head water input to big and small transparent pipes, dye input by injection unit, and water
output unit to determine water flow rate. The laminar, transition and turbulent flows can be
obtained by varying the water flow rate using the water outlet control valve. Water flow rate
and hence the flow velocity is measured by the volumetric measuring tank. The supply tank
consists of glass beads to reduce flow disturbances. Flow patterns are visualized using dye
injection through a needle valve. The dye injection rate can be controlled and adjusted to
improve the quality of flow patterns.

Clayton T. Crowe, Donald F. Elger and John A. Roberson, Engineering Fluid
Mechanics, 8 th ed., Wiley, 2005
Robert W. Fox and Alan T. McDonald, Introduction to Fluid Mechanics, 5 th ed., Wiley.

The flow velocity V averaged over the cross section at which laminar pipe flow changes to
transitional flow, or transitional flow changes to turbulent flow, is believed be a function
primarily of the pipe diameter d, and fluid kinematics viscosity . In mathematical terms, V=V
(d, , ).Using dimensional reasoning, one can show that the relation among the parameters
parameters must be

The dimensional parameter Re is called the Reynolds number. It is a ratio of the inertial force
to the viscous damping force. As Re increases, the inertial forces grow relatively larger, and the
flow gets destabilized into full-blown turbulence. The Reynolds Experiment determines the
critical Reynolds number at which laminar flow becomes transitional, and transitional flow
becomes turbulaent.The advantage of using a critical Reynolds number, instead of a critical
velocity, is that the result of the experiment are applicable to all Newtonian fluid flow in round
in pipes of all diameters.
Reynolds carried out experiments to decide limiting value of Reynoldss number to a
Quantitatively decide whether the flow is laminar or turbulent. The limits are as given below

Laminar when Re < 2300

Transition when 2300 < Re < 4000
Turbulent when Re > 4000


Hydraulic bench Osborne Reynolds Demonstration

Stop Watch Thermometer

Dye Measuring Cylinder


Firstly, the apparatus were set up and measured the diameter of pipe and also room
temperature. Fill the aluminum reservoir with dye, the metering tap (dye flow control
valve) and drain cock must be closed.
Open bench inlet valve and slowly fill the head tank to the overflow level, then close
the inlet valve was open and close flow control valve to admit water to the flow
visualization pipe. Allow the apparatus to stand at least ten minutes before proceeding.
Open the inlet valve slightly until water trickles from the outlet pipe. Fractionally
opened the control valve and adjusted dye control valve until slow flow with dye
indication was achieved .measure and note the flow rate.
The coloured water that flowed from the outlet pipe was collected during 120 seconds by
our group members. The volume flow rate was calculated from the volume and a known
Repeat step 6 with increasing flow rates by progressively opened the flow control valve.
Take a specific measurement of flow rate at the critical condition.

Finally the apparatus were cleaned after the lab practical.


Volume = 290x10-6m3
Time =120s
Flow rate = Time (s)

= 120

= 2.4x10-6m3s-1
d 3.14 ( 0.01 )
Cross sectional area (A) = 4 = 4 = 7.854x10-5m2

Flow Rate 0.00000241

Velocity = Area = 0.00007854 = 3.0710-2ms-1


= 399.2 s-2


Run No Volume, V Time, t Flow rate, Velocity, V Reynolds Type of

(m3) (s) Q (m3/s) (m/s) Number Flow

1 29010-6 120 2.410-6 3.0710-2 399.2 LMN

2 19010-6 120 1.5810-6 2.0110-2 261.5 LMN

3 30010-6 120 2.5010-6 3.210-2 413.9 LMN

4 31010-6 120 2.5810-6 3.310-2 427.7 LMN

5 46010-6 120 3.8310-6 4.8810-2 634 LMN

6 124010-6 120 12410-6 1.57910-2 20533 TRB

Average room temperature ( = 32 C

Density of water =1000kgm-3

Cross Sectional Area of pipe = 7.85410-5m2
Viscosity of water = 0.76910-6m2s-1

Inner diameter of the test pipe section = Inner diameter of the out flow section.

Density is different for mixed dye water.
Kinetic viscosity of water is changed by temperate in different times.

We have observed the laminar, transitional and turbulent flow for the
Reynoldss Experiment but through calculation, we found out that our value
does not tally with the theoretical demonstration done by Osborne Reynolds may
be due to various errors occur during the experiment. The laminar,
transitional and turbulent flow has different characteristics from each other.