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Fluid Flow

Introduction ................................................. 2 Compressible Flow Transmission Equations ..... 11

Data Required .............................................. 2 Nomenclature ............................................. 12
General Procedure ......................................... 3 Compressible Flow Adiabatic ....................... 12
Recommended Velocity ................................... 3 Visual Basic Subroutines for Pressure Drop
Equivalent Length ......................................... 6 Due to Friction ........................................... 12
Shortcut Equation for Pressure Drop Orifices ..................................................... 19
Due to Friction ............................................. 9 Control Valves ............................................ 20
Reynolds Number .......................................... 9 Partially Full Horizontal Pipes ........................ 21
Friction Factor ........................................... 10 Two-Phase Flow .......................................... 22
Incompressible Flow ..................................... 10
Compressible Flow Isothermal ...................... 11

Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers. 1

DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-387785-7.00001-3
Copyright 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
2 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers


Chemical engineers who are designing plants and multiple uses of the same system (such as production
specifying equipment probably face more uid ow followed by ushing and cleaning), and future de-
problems than any other. Pressure drop calculations help bottlenecking. Ensure that all of the components, such
the engineer size pipes and ducts, determine performance as control valves, account for these variations.
requirements for pumps and fans, and specify control How might the chemical composition and tempera-
valves and meters. And although the underlying theory is ture change? Again, different production scenarios
rather simple, its practical application can be confusing may result in wide variances in chemicals in use, and
due to the empirical nature of important correlations, in temperatures. It may be prudent to create material
multiple methods for expressing parameters, many vari- and energy balances for different scenarios, and
able inputs, and alternative units of measurement. perform uid ow calculations on several of these.
This chapter presents formulae and data for sizing Gaseous systems are especially sensitive to compo-
piping systems for incompressible and compressible ow: sition and temperature changes.
Are the piping specications xed, or is there exi-
Friction factor, which is an empirical measure of the
bility to optimize material selections? Construction
resistance to ow by a pipe or duct.
materials may affect the pressure drop calculations due
Equivalent Length of a pipe segment, which char-
to differences in their surface roughness and dimen-
acterizes bends and ttings as an equivalent length of
sions. Specied wall thicknesses may be adjusted to
straight pipe.
save money (thinner walls reduce initial capital cost
Pressure drop due to friction for liquids and gases,
and potentially operating cost since the pressure drop
both isothermal and adiabatic.
will be lower at otherwise identical ow conditions).
Restriction orices.
What are the status of ow diagrams, piping and
Control valves.
instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), general arrange-
Two-phase ow.
ment drawings, and elevation drawings? Each of
A successful design requires much more analysis than these are needed for a thorough analysis. But
a set of mathematical results. Consider these questions: preliminary results from uid ow calculations may
be needed to complete the drawing.
What is the required ow range, now and in the
future? Plant systems often operate at a range of ows, An Excel workbook with VBA function routines
due to production rate variances, start-up differences, accompanies this chapter.

Data Required

Design Documents Material and Energy Balance

Block ow diagram (minimum requirement) For each pipe in the analysis, the material composition,
Process Flow Diagram (PFD) (highly recommended) ow, and temperature are needed. Various scenarios
P&ID (desirable) might be needed.
General Arrangement drawing with major equipment Physical Properties of the Materials
from the P&IDs shown, in scale, in plan and elevation
Piping specications. Minimum requirements are For liquids, the density, coefcient of thermal expan-
materials of construction, pressure and temperature sion, and viscosity at owing temperature(s) are required.
limits, and dimensional specications (e.g., acceptable For gases, provide molecular weight, ratio of specic
diameters, wall schedule vs. diameter, long or short elbow heats (Cp/Cv), and compressibility factor, Z. Z is needed at
radius). high pressures and/or low temperatures. Chapter 27
discusses the determination of Z.
Fluid Flow 3

General Procedure

1. List the pipes that are included in the analysis. They 4. Calculate pressure drop due to friction for selected
are usually the lines shown on the P&IDs. scenarios. This step is used to determine the
2. Using the General Arrangement drawings, estimate optimum size for the pipe during early design work,
the length of each line and the number of each type and to support sizing pumps and control valves
of tting (elbow, tee, etc.). If the drawings are during detailed design.
already completed in CAD, and piping is already 5. Size pumps, fans, and control valves. Iterate through
drawn, then an actual take-off of the piping should all of the steps as information is developed.
be obtainable from the CAD system. For conceptual 6. Create system curves (see Chapter 5).
or preliminary work, a very quick take-off of each 7. Update the P&IDs and General Arrangement
pipe is made by roughly measuring the distance drawings.
from the origin to the destination of the pipe using 8. Conduct Process Hazards Analyses (PHAs), espe-
x-y-z coordinates, then adding a contingency factor cially when ammable or toxic chemicals are being
of about 25%. See sidebar Quickly estimating pipe processed (see Chapter 20).
3. If the piping is not yet sized, use velocity to tenta-
tively select pipe diameters.

Quickly Estimating Pipe Lengths

Heres a simple way to get started on a project. The objective is Example: Refer to the sketch in Figure 1-0.
to create a list of pipe segments, with size and length for each, which Line 215 length 2 m 2.5 m 4.5 m (ignore liquid level in
can be used for preliminary calculations and cost estimation. R-200)
1. From a Process Flow Diagram and conceptual or preliminary Line 216 length 6 m 2.5 m 6 m 10 m 1.5 m for
General Arrangements, make a sketch that mimics the PFD 26 m
in both Elevation and Plan.
2. Write down measurements in x-y-z coordinates. Physical Total
3. Use those measurements to estimate the physical length of Line Length Contingency Subtotal Fittings Equiv L
each pipe segment.
215 4.5 m 1m 5.5 m 3m 8.5 m
4. Add a factor of 25% to account for errors in this highly
(14 ft) (3 ft) (17 ft) (10 ft) (27 ft)
conceptual procedure.
216 26 m 5m 30 m 15 m 45 m
5. Add an additional factor of 50% to 100% to account for
(85 ft) (15 ft) (100 ft) (50 ft) (150 ft)
ttings. Alternatively, if ttings are considered to be fairly
well known (elbows, tees, valves, instruments, and orices)
then refer to the Equivalent Length section in this chapter to
obtain data.

Recommended Velocity

Engineers determine pipe sizes by analyzing perfor- of available equipment, such as pumps and control valves.
mance and economic parameters. Over the years, an Its reasonable, then, to begin a new design project using
enormous number of systems have been designed, existing system designs as a starting point.
installed, and operated. Those systems often share similar Therefore, a Rule of Thumb is to use tables of sug-
characteristics since they were built from the same catalog gested velocity for an initial determination of pipe size.
4 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers

Figure 1-0.
Fluid Flow 5

The values in the tables have been widely disseminated, to the power n, where n is usually 2 or 3 depending on the
and have long since lost their original source. Also, the properties of the sediment.
suggested velocities are often given as ranges. You are Corrosive uids, dened as those that chemically
cautioned to use the information judiciously and perform attack the pipe if the naturally protective layer is absent
your own analysis as your piping system design develops. (such as with passivated stainless steel), should be treated
Factors to consider regarding velocity: as if they are erosive. Its important that the owing uid
does not scour the passivation layer.
Low velocity may indicate a larger pipe diameter
Pipe material must be factored into the analysis. Softer
than is necessary which raises cost.
materials, such as thermoplastics and copper, are more
Low calculated velocity may result in the pipe
susceptible to erosion than hard materials, such as
running partially full in horizontal runs.
austenitic stainless steels.
Low velocity can lead to laminar ow conditions
which may promote fouling and will denitely hinder
heat transfer (if applicable).
High velocity may be noisy. Tip: For gaseous flow problems, be absolutely sure
High velocity can cause damage to the pipe due to that velocity is calculated using the pressure and
erosion. temperature at flowing conditions. Reduce ambiguity
Certain components such as check valves and control by expressing the flow rate in mass, rather than
valves are designed to operate with a specic ow volumetric, units. See Table 1-1.
range; manufacturers of the components recommend Table 1-1
minimum lengths of pipe of specied diameter Suggested starting point for pipe sizing using fluid
upstream and downstream of their device. velocity or pressure drop criteria

Some more comments by type of service: Velocity, m/s or Velocity, ft/s or

Clean single-phase uids (gas or liquid) tolerate the Service Other Criteria Other Criteria
widest range of velocity. Generally use 1.5 to 4.0 m/s (5 to
Air, compressed 20 to 30 65 to 100
12 ft/s) for liquids, or 15 to 40 m/s (50 to 120 ft/s) for Gas, dry 15 to 40 50 to 120
gases as a starting point. Use a Net Present Value (NPV) Gas, wet 10 to 18 30 to 60
economic analysis to balance the initial capital cost for the Petrochemicals 1.5 to 4 5 to 12
Sodium hydroxide, 0e30% 1.8 6
piping with energy cost for moving the uid. Sodium hydroxide, 30e50% 1.5 5
Steam systems are generally designed with higher Sodium hydroxide, 50e73% 1.2 4
velocity in the headers than the branch lines. Recom- Steam, dry, high pressure 50 150
(> 2 bar, superheated)
mendations are based on comparison with sonic velocity Steam, saturated, low 30 100
and vary with the system pressure. pressure (< 2 bar)
Hot uids, whose vapor pressure is near the system Steam, small branch lines 15 50
pressure, require careful analysis to ensure the uids wont Steam, wet 10 to 15 30 to 50
Vacuum, below 50 mm Hg Max 5% pressure
ash inside the pipe. This is particularly important on the absolute pressure loss
suction side of pumps, where a Net Positive Suction Head Vapor lines, general Up to 0.3 Mach
(NPSH) calculation must be performed. See the Pumps Water, average service 1.5 to 3 5 to 10
Water, boiler feed 1.5 to 4.6 5 to 15
chapter for more information on NPSH. Water, pump suction 0.3 to 1.5 1 to 5
Two-phase systems include solid-liquid, liquid- Water, sea and brackish 1.5 to 4 5 to 12
gaseous, and liquid-liquid. Generally, higher velocity Water, wastewater, pump 1 to 1.8 3 to 6
threatens pipe damage due to erosion, especially at bends Water, wastewater, pump 1 to 2.5 3 to 8
and components such as valves. Lower velocities may discharge
allow the heavy phase to drop out of the ow and collect at Water, wastewater, gravity 0.6 to 2.5 2 to 8
low points or coat the pipe surface. The velocities rec-
ommended for clean uids apply, but try hard to avoid
excursions. Erosion is proportional to the impact velocity
6 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers

Compressible Flow of a Gas API 14E states that the minimum velocity for two-
phase ow should be about 3 m/s (10 ft/s).
The maximum velocity of a gas is equal to the speed of
sound at owing conditions. This is generally at the
Check Valves
discharge end of a pipe, but may be at an intermediate
location where there is a ow restriction such as a valve or
Check valves are a special case, as reported in detail by
orice. Its good practice to design for a velocity that is
Crane [10]. There is a certain minimum velocity needed
less than 30% of the speed of sound (0.3 Mach). For
to keep check valves fully open. If the velocity drops
adiabatic ow, the equation is:
r below this, then the valve will partially close. Crane
Z g gc R T states that:
Umax (1-1)
most of the difculties encountered with check
Z Compressibility Factor 1 for an ideal gas valves, both lift and swing types, have been found to
g Ratio of Cp/Cv be due to oversizing which results in noisy operation
and premature wear of the moving parts.
Oil/Gas Mixtures The formula for minimum pipe velocity (determined by the
nominal pipe size of the check valve, not the ow opening
A widely used formula is published in API 14E [1], but in the valve) is:
this has been challenged by Salama as being overly Umin C b2 V (1-3)
conservative [21]. It is intended to give the maximum
velocity for crude oil/gas mixtures, owing in two phases
C coefcient, see Table 1-2.
(that may contain sand sediment), to avoid excessive
b ratio of ow opening in the valve to pipe size
V specic volume of uid (inverse of density)
U p (1-2)
Table 1-2
Coefficients for equation 1-3 [10]
U velocity, m/s or ft/s
r gas/liquid mixture density, kg/m3 or lb/ft3 Check Valve Type C, kg0.5/m0.5 s C, lb0.5/ft0.5 s
C1 coefcient specic to piping material and quality
of the uid. Coefcient for SI units (multiply by 0.82 Swing Check, angled disk
Swing Check, vertical disk
for US Customary units): Lift Check, horizontal plug 49 40
Steel pipe, clean uid (no sand), continuous service: Lift Check, angled plug 170 140
122 Tilting Disk, 5 angle 98 80
Tilting Disk, 15 angle 37 30
Steel, clean uid (no sand), intermittent service: 152 Globe Stop Check, straight 67 to 73 55 to 60
Steel, clean uid, non-corrosive, continuous service: Globe Stop Check, angle 73 to 91 60 to 75
180 to 240
Use lower (unspecied) values for sand-containing

Equivalent Length

There are two prevalent methods to characterize the In the Equivalent Length method, ttings are assigned
ow resistance of a pipeline with its ttings. a resistance value expressed in terms of length of straight
The much easier and more convenient Equivalent pipe. Alternatively, ttings are assigned a resistance
Length method computes a pressure drop that is 10% to expressed as equivalent length divided by diameter.
20% higher for a typical pipeline compared to the A long radius elbow in a DN 50 (2-inch) pipe offers the
K coefcient method. same resistance to ow as about 1 meter (3.4 feet) of
Fluid Flow 7

straight pipe. Sum the equivalent length of all ttings in ow, velocity increases as pressure decreases. Therefore,
the pipe, add to the actual length of the pipe (including a rigorous analysis requires tting-to-tting pressure drop
distance through ttings) and use the resultant as the calculations to enable evaluation of the velocity at each
Length factor in the equations in the following sections. tting.
For new designs, where ttings have not yet been Convert K to equivalent length with this relationship:
determined, a rule of thumb is to estimate the total length KD
of the pipe (see sidebar) then add 50% to 100% as a factor L (1-5)
for ttings [2].
In the K coefcient method, each tting is evaluated Where L and D are in the same units (m or ft) and fT is the
according to the velocity head equation: Darcy friction factor with fully turbulent ow, given by:
r U fT 
DP K (1-4) 
gc 2 =D 2
K geometry and size dependent loss coefcient
Coefcients are found in the literature, such as Crane surface roughness, m or ft
[10], or are provided by the tting manufacturer. D pipe diameter, m or ft
The pressure drops for all of the ttings are summed From Crane [10], the resistance coefcients for various
and added to the pressure drop calculated for the total ttings are listed in Table 1-3. Note that for most types of
length of pipe (including distance through ttings) as ttings the coefcient is related to fT . Therefore, the equiv-
described in the following sections. For systems where the alent length of those ttings is the factor multiplied by the
density and velocity remain constant, simply sum the K pipe diameter (e.g., for a standard elbow, L 30 D).
factors for all of the ttings, then multiply by the density
and velocity terms.
K coefcients are more accurate than equivalent length, Example: Equivalent Length
because the ow resistance of a tting is nearly insensitive
to the friction factor and the K coefcients are computed What is the equivalent length of a 4-inch, Schedule 40
using a standardized fully turbulent ow assumption. pipe segment that contains two elbows (r/d 1.5), one full-
Results from the equivalent length method are propor- port gate valve, and a length of 25 feet as measured through
tional to the friction factor. Note that for compressible the centerline of the pipe? Use the data in Table 1-3.

Table 1-3
Resistance coefficients [10]

Fitting Description Resistance Coefficient, K

90 Elbow Standard, threaded or socket welded K 30 fT

90 Bend Flanged or butt-welded, with radius/diameter ratio of
r /d 1 K 20 fT
r /d 1.5 K 14 fT
r /d 2 K 12 fT
45 Elbow Standard, threaded or socket welded K 16 fT
TEE Flow through the straight run K 20 fT
Flow through the branch (same size as straight run) K 60 fT
Crane reports new research that accounts for differences between converging or diverging flow, diameter ratio of the straight
and branch legs of the tee, and angle of the branch leg [10]
180 Return Bend Close pattern, threaded or socket welded K 50 fT
Pipe Entrance Inward projecting K 0:78
Flush with sharp edge K 0:5
Flush with entrance radius/diameter ratio of r/d 0.1 K 0:09
Pipe Exit Projecting, sharp edge, or rounded K 1:0
8 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers

Table 1-3
Resistance coefficients [10]dcontd

Fitting Description Resistance Coefficient, K

Pipe Coil Multiple 90 bends connected together to form a continuous coil. This K includes the physical length of the coil. The term n is the
number of 90 bends comprising the coil. K1 is the coefficient for a single bend which is dependent on the radius/diameter
ratio. The formula reported by Crane is:
K n  10:25 fT p r =d 0:5 K1 K1  2
0:04 d 2
Valve Any valve for which the manufacturer has specified K
a flow coefficient

SI Units: valve coefficient Kv flow of water at 20 C
in m3/h with a pressure drop of 1 bar (d pipe ID, mm)  2
29:84 d 2
US Units: valve coefficient Cv flow of water at 60 F K
in gal/min with a pressure drop of 1 psi (d inches)
Gate Valve Full port valve K 8 fT
Globe Valve Full port valve with port 90 to pipe direction K 340 fT
Angle Valve Full port valve with 90 connections (i.e., flanges) K 150 fT
Ball Valve Full port valve K 3 fT
Swing Check Disc is vertical in the pipe K 50 fT
Lift Check Disc is horizontal in the pipe, full port K 600 fT

Solution: The equivalent length method is based on the for ows at high Reynolds numbers, but is important for
nominal diameter of the pipe, so the wall thickness is laminar ow situations with many ttings.
irrelevant. The frictional term cancels (fT). Therefore, the Calculate K from the three parameters in Table 1-4.
equivalent length of this segment is: L (2) (14) !
(4/12) (8) (4/12) 25 37 feet. K
Ki 1 0:3
Darby [12] recommends his more rigorous 3-K method NRe dnom
that makes an adjustment to the K coefcients depending
on the tting size and the owing Reynolds number. The Where dnom is the nominal pipe diameter in inches (e.g.,
practical difference between the K methods is insignicant 1 inch, not 1.049 the actual inside diameter).

Table 1-4
3-K Constants for loss coefficients [20]

Fitting Description r /d Km Ki Kd

Elbows e 90 Threaded, standard 1 800 0.14 4.0

Threaded, long radius 1.5 800 0.075 4.2
Flanged, welded, or bends 1 800 0.091 4.0
2 800 0.056 3.9
4 800 0.066 3.9
6 800 0.075 4.2
Mitered, 1 weld (90 ) 1000 0.27 4.0
Mitered, 2 welds (45 ) 800 0.136 4.1
Mitered, 3 welds (30 ) 800 0.105 4.2
Elbows e 45 Threaded, standard 1 500 0.071 4.2
Threaded, long radius 1.5 500 0.052 4.0
Mitered, 1 weld (45 ) 500 0.086 4.0
Mitered, 2 weld (22.5 ) 500 0.052 4.0
Elbows e 180 Threaded, close return bend 1 1000 0.23 4.0
Flanged 1 1000 0.12 4.0
Threaded, flanged, or welded 1.5 1000 0.10 4.0
Tees Through branch (as elbow)
Threaded 1 500 0.274 4.0
Threaded 1.5 800 0.14 4.0
Fluid Flow 9

Table 1-4
3-K Constants for loss coefficients [20]dcontd

Fitting Description r /d Km Ki Kd

Flanged 1 1000 0.28 4.0

Stub-in branch 1000 0.34 4.0
Threaded 200 0.091 4.0
Flanged 150 0.05 4.0
Stub-in branch 100 0 0
Angle Valve 45 angle, full line size b1 950 0.25 4.0
90 angle, full line size b1 1000 0.69 4.0
Globe Valve Standard b1 1500 1.70 3.6
Plug Valve Branch flow 500 0.41 4.0
Straight through 300 0.084 3.9
Three-way (flow through) 300 0.14 4.0
Gate Valve Standard b1 300 0.037 3.9
Ball Valve Standard b1 300 0.017 3.5
Diaphragm Dam-type 1000 0.69 4.9
Swing Check See velocity requirement, p. 6 1500 0.46 4.0
Lift Check See velocity requirement, p. 6 2000 2.85 3.8

Shortcut Equation for Pressure Drop Due to Friction

A handy relationship for pressure drop in commercial compressible uids if the pressure drop is less than 10% of
steel pipe is: the inlet pressure, and choking does not occur. For smooth
For SI Units, use equation 1-7 with units bar/100 m, kg/h, tubes, the SI factor should be 3,610 instead of 4,150 and
mPa-s, mm, and kg/m3: the US factor 23,000 instead of 20,000.
The equation was derived from the Fanning equation
4150 W 1:8 m0:2
DPF (1-7) for US units:
d 4:8 r
2 f U2L r
For US Units, use equation 1-8 with units psi/100 ft, lb/h, 32:2 D
cP, in., and lb/ft3:
and the approximate relationship [24]:
W 1:8 m0:2 0:0054
DPF (1-8) f
20000 d 4:8 r NRe0:2

This relationship holds for Reynolds numbers above

2,100 (i.e., turbulent ow) and is applicable for liquids and

Reynolds Number

The Reynolds number, NRe, is a dimensionless number D pipe diameter, m or ft

that relates inertial and viscous forces. It is used in the G
U average uid velocity, m/s or ft/s
friction factor correlation, to determine the resistance to r
ow by a pipe. m uid dynamic viscosity, kg/m-s or lb/ft-h
rDU r density of liquid, kg/m3 or lb/ft3, or gas
NRe (1-9)
m RT
10 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers

Friction Factor

The friction factor is a measure of the resistance to Table 1-5

ow by a pipe. It was developed in the 1930s and Recommended surface roughness values for various
remains the basis for computing pressure drop due to piping materials
friction [18].
Surface Surface
There are two avors of friction factor; the Darcy (or Pipe Material Roughness, m Roughness, ft
Moody) friction factor is equal to four times the Fanning
friction factor. Its imperative to specify which factor you Copper, drawn, tubing 0.000002 0.0000067
Glass, drawn tubing 0.000002 0.0000067
are using to avoid confusion. Darcy friction factors are Plastic, drawn tubing 0.000002 0.0000067
often in the range of 0.01 to 0.03 while Fanning friction Brass, drawn 0.000002 0.0000067
factors are 0.002 to 0.008. Iron, cast e new 0.0003 0.0021
Iron, wrought e new 0.000045 0.00017
The Darcy friction factor is used throughout this book. Iron, galvanized 0.00015 0.0005
Churchill [9] developed an expression for the friction Iron, asphalt coated 0.00015 0.0005
factor that spans all ow regimes (laminar, turbulent, Steel, new 0.000045 0.00015
and transitional). It agrees with the original Colebrook- Steel, lightly corroded 0.0003 0.00125
Steel, heavily corroded 0.002 0.0067
White equation, which requires an iterative or graphical Steel, galvanized 0.00015 0.0005
solution, while also obtaining the correct result for Steel, polished (hygienic) 0.000002 0.0000067
Reynolds numbers below 2,000 (laminar ow regime). Steel, stainless, drawn tubing 0.000002 0.0000067
Sheet metal ductwork, smooth 0.00003 0.0001
The Darcy friction factor according to Churchills joints
equation is: Concrete, very smooth 0.00004 0.00013
"  #1=12 Concrete, wood floated, 0.0003 0.001
8 12 1 brushed
f 8 (1-10) Concrete, rough, visible form 0.002 0.0067
NRe a b3=2 marks
Rubber, smooth tubing 0.00001 0.000033
Where: Rubber, wire reinforced 0.001 0.0033
" #16
Never use a value less than 0.0000015 m or 0.000005 ft, which are the
a 2:457 ln limiting values that define smooth pipe [11].
7=NRe 0:9 0:27 =d
37530 16 actual measurement of the roughness of a piping material.
b Use Table 1-5 for the values. Contingency factors may be
added, especially if the pipe is old and has signs of wear or
surface roughness, m or ft corrosion. For example, in a new piping system with steel
pipe, compare the results of using the tabulated value with
those when the tabulated value is inated by, say, 30%.
Surface Roughness Consider specifying a pump that could handle the higher
calculated demand, possibly with an impeller change.
The surface roughness value used in Equation 1-10 is
empirically derived and should not be confused with

Incompressible Flow

Use this incompressible ow equation for liquids; it can For gases, better accuracy is obtained by using
also be used for gases when the pressure drop is less than the velocity and density computed at the average pressure
10 percent of the upstream pressure. (upstream and downstream). First compute the pressure
f L U2r drop using upstream conditions. Then, average the
DP (1-11) upstream and computed downstream pressure. Re-evaluate
2gc D
Fluid Flow 11

velocity and density at the average. Finally, calculate the Additional pressure changes due to elevation differ-
pressure drop again using the new values. ences of the pipe ends and pressure at the upstream
For liquid applications with signicant temperature reservoir or downstream receiver may also need to be
change, in heat exchangers for example, use the density of accounted for. This is discussed in Chapter 5.
the uid averaged from inlet and outlet temperatures.

Compressible Flow Isothermal

Most gaseous pipe ow problems can be treated as R T Z G2 f L P1
DP ln (1-12)
isothermal. Temperature change due to steady ow is P M gc 2 D P2
minimal unless the critical velocity is approached or there W
is a sudden acceleration through a nozzle, valve or, orice. G mass ux, kg/s-m2 or lb/s-ft2
3600 A
The isothermal equation [17] is easier to solve than the P1 P2
P average pressure
adiabatic equations presented in the next section. When 2
solving for G (given P1 and P2), an initial guess deter- Z Compressibility Factor 1 for an ideal gas (see
mines the Reynolds number and friction factor. A few page 415)
iterations on the guess will rene the result.

Compressible Flow Transmission Equations

Three equations commonly encountered in the natural Weymouth Equation

gas industry are the Panhandle A, Panhandle B, and
Weymouth equations. Often cited for use in calculating US Units:
pressure drop in long transmission pipelines, they each  2 0:5
Tb 8= P1  P2 2  Hc
incorporate a friction factor term so the friction factor is Q 433:49 D 3e (1-13)
not calculated independently. The advantage of doing this Pb L G Ta Za
is that the pressure drop is correlated directly with ow
rate. The drawback is that the friction factor term is rela-
tively inaccurate when compared with the Darcy factor,
especially at low ow rates (i.e., in the laminar region). Panhandle A Equation
But, in each case, at low ow they are conservative and
under-predict ow while at high ow they are overly  1:0788  2 0:5394
Tb P1  P2 2  Hc
optimistic and over-predict ow. The primary difference Q C D 2:6182
between the equations is where the low and high ow are Pb L G0:8538 Ta Za
dened [23]. (1-14)
The equations assume isothermal ow. If temperature
Where C 435.87 for US units, and 0.0045965 for SI
change is dened (due to heat transfer through the pipe
wall, not from adiabatic expansion), the average temper-
ature is used in the equation. To account for surface
roughness in the pipe, as well as other factors such as
bends and ttings, an efciency factor is introduced, Panhandle B Equation
typically ranging from 0.85 to 0.92. As a pipe corrodes,
the efciency decreases. This is because the equations are  1:02  2 0:51
Tb P1  P2 2  Hc
arranged to return the ow rate for a given set of condi- Q C D 2:53
e (1-15)
tions, including pressure drop. Thus, rougher pipe means Pb L G0:961 Ta Za
lower ow. Where C 737 for US units, and 0.010019 for SI units
12 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers

Nomenclature L [ pipe length, km or miles

2 P1 P2
D [ pipe inside diameter, mm or in. Pa P 1 P2 
e [ efciency, dimensionless 3 P1 P2
G [ gas specic gravity (compared to air), average pressure for calculating Hc and Za
C2 G H2  H1 Pa Pb [ pressure base, standard conditions, kPa or psia
Hc P1 [ inlet pressure, kPa or psia
Za Ta
P2 [ outlet pressure, kPa or psia
head correction; kPa or psia Q [ ow rate, standard m3/day or standard ft3/day
Ta [ average temperature, K or R
Where C2 0.0375 for US units, and 0.06835 for SI units
Tb [ temperature base, standard conditions, K or R
H1 [ elevation of pipeline at origin, m or ft
Za [ average compressibility factor, dimensionless
H2 [ elevation of pipeline at terminus, m or ft

Compressible Flow Adiabatic

g  1
This section gives equations for computing pressure X 1 NMa
drop due to friction for adiabatic ow [17]. An iterative 2
solution is required, but this is easy using the Solver tool
in Excel, or in a VBA subroutine. Use the following
3. Calculate the downstream temperature:
procedure to solve for the ow rate (given upstream and
downstream pressures) or one of the pressures (given the X1
T2 T 1 (1-18)
ow rate and the other pressure). X2
1. Calculate the Mach number, dened as the ratio of 4. Solve the following equation by iteration of the
the velocity of the gas in a pipe to the speed of sound unknown ow or pressure, simultaneously with
in the gas at owing conditions (temperature and equations 1-16, 1-17, and 1-18.
pressure). Use the upstream (given) temperature for !!
the initial guess of the downstream temperature. f L 1 1 1 g 1 2 X
NMa2 1
s  2  ln
D g NMa1
2 NMa2 2 2 X
NMa1 2
NMa (1-16)
gc g R T Z=M (1-19)

2. Calculate an intermediate value for each of the two The next section includes a VBA function that sol-
Mach numbers: ves this problem.

Visual Basic Subroutines for Pressure Drop Due to Friction

The VBA functions listed here are used in conjunction third as output (P1 ; P2 ; or W). The functions and
with an Excel spreadsheet to solve for pressure drop due to examples are provided in the accompanying Excel
friction in circular pipes running full. There are three workbook.
functions, designed to work in SI units. Incompressible After entering the code into a VBA Module, call the
and adiabatic compressible ow problems are modeled in functions from an Excel worksheet using the syntax given.
a single function, with two of three values as input and the Each function returns a single value as described.
Fluid Flow 13

Reynolds Number If IsMissing(p) Then p 1000 'kPa

' Convert temperature to deg K
Syntax: NReSIW ; m; d ; r; t; M; P Tin Tin 273.15
Returns: Reynolds number ' Convert pressure to Pa
Required: mass flow rate, viscosity, pipe diameter p p * 1000
Either density or temperature, molecular weight and pressure ro p * Mw/(R1 * Tin)
Example: Figure 1-1 End If
If Val(ro) 0 Then
If IsMissing(Tin) Then Tin 20
If IsMissing(Mw) Then Mw 29
If IsMissing(p) Then p 1000 'kPa
Function NReSI(W, mu, d, Optional ro, Optional Tin, ' Convert temperature to deg K
Optional Mw, Optional p) Tin Tin 273.15
' W Flowrate in kg/h ' Convert pressure to Pa
' mu Viscosity in mPa-s p p * 1000
' d PipeID in mm ro p * Mw/(R1 * Tin)
' ro density in kg/m3 (required for liquid) End If
' Tin temperature, deg C (required for gas) - default ' Calculate velocity
20 deg C U W/ro/(Pi * (d/2) ^ 2)
' Mw molecular weight (required for gas) - default 29 NReSI ro * U * d/mu
' p pressure, kPa (required for gas) - default 1000 kPa End Function
' NRe ro U L/mu
' ro density
' U velocity Darcy Friction Factor
' L length (or pipe diameter)
Syntax: FrictionSI(; NRE ; d )
' mu viscosity
Returns: Darcy friction factor
' Convert viscosity to units kg/m-h
Required: pipe roughness, Reynolds number, pipe diameter
mu mu * 0.001 * 3600
Example: Figure 1-2
' Convert pipe diameter to meters
d d/1000
Pi 3.141592654
R1 8314.47 ' gas constant
If IsMissing(ro) Then ' assume this is a gas calculation Function FrictionSI(epsilon, NRe, d)
If IsMissing(Tin) Then Tin 20 ' epsilon Surface roughness is in units m
If IsMissing(Mw) Then Mw 29 ' d PipeID is in units mm

Figure 1-1.
14 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers

Then, use Goal Seek to nd a value for Guess that equals

the calculated rates.
Actually, this is overkill given the inherent uncertainty
in the friction factor to begin with. There is nothing wrong
with calculating a friction factor based on an initial guess
then just going with it. An example ow rate calculation is
shown in Figure 1-4.
Function PDSI(W, Pin, Pout, d, L, f, Optional Density,
Optional Tin, Optional Mw, Optional Gamma, Optional
' Pressure Drop due to friction in a round pipe
' with the following arguments
' Specify two of the following three; function will
compute the third
' W mass flow rate, kg/h
' Pin inlet, or upstream, pressure, kPa
' Pout outlet, or downstream pressure, kPa
Figure 1-2. ' Pipe properties
' d pipe diameter, mm
' convert diameter from mm to m ' L pipe length, m
d d/1000 ' f Darcy friction factor
' Churchill, S.W., "Friction Factor Equation Spans all ' Fluid properties
Flow Regimes," ' Density (optional) -- specify for liquids, kg/m3
' Chemical Engineering, 84:24, p 91, 1977. ' Tin (optional) -- specify for gas, inlet temperature,
a (2.457 * Log(1/((7/NRe) ^ 0.9 (0.27 * epsilon/ deg C (default to 20)
d)))) ^ 16 ' Mw (optional) -- specify for gas, molecular weight
b (37530/NRe) ^ 16 (default to 29 for air)
FrictionSI 8 * ((8/NRe) ^ 12 1/(a b) ^ 1.5) ^ (1/12) ' Gamma (optional) -- specify for gas, ratio of Cp/Cv
End Function (default to 1.4)
' Isothermal (optional) -- any value forces isothermal
compressible calc, if missing then adiabatic
Pressure Drop Due to Friction ' Establish constants
gc 1 ' conversion constant, m/sec2
R1 8314.47 ' gas constant, m3-Pa/kgmol-K
Syntax: PD(W ; P1 ; P2 ; d ; L; f ; r; T1 ; M; g) Pi 3.1415926
Function PD(W, Pin, Pout, d, L, f, Optional Density, Optional Tin, ' Convert d to meters
Optional Mw, Optional Gamma) d d/1000
Returns: Downstream pressure, upstream pressure, or flow ' convert temperature to deg K
Required: Two of the three parameters: downstream pressure,
If IsMissing(Tin) Then Tin 20
upstream pressure, or flow
Tin Tin 273.15
Pipe parameters diameter, equivalent length, and friction
factor. When solving for flow, an additional iteration is ' Determine which unknown to solve for - Flow, Inlet
needed on the Reynolds number. See the example for Pressure, or Outlet Pressure
an explanation. On Error Resume Next
Either density or temperature, molecular weight If IsMissing(W) Then W 0
and gamma If IsMissing(Pin) Then Pin 0
If IsMissing(Pout) Then Pout 0
On Error GoTo 0
Note: As written, limited to perfect gas behavior. The If W 0 Then opt opt 1
compressibility factor, Z, could be added wherever the If Pin 0 Then opt opt 3
term R * T appears (change to R * T * Z); in this case, add If Pout 0 Then opt opt 5
If opt 0 Then
Z to the list of arguments.
PDSI "Input Err"
Example, see Figure 1-3: GoTo PDEnd
Create a cell formula that computes the difference End If
between the guess and the calculated (E26) ow rate. ' Limited input checking
Fluid Flow 15

Figure 1-3. Calculation of downstream pressure given upstream pressure and mass ow rate.

' If Density input is greater than 30 then assume this is PDSI "Input Err - Liq"
a liquid pressure drop calculation End Select
If Not IsMissing(Density) Then GoTo PDEnd
If Density > 50 Then ' do the liquid pressure drop End If
calculation then exit the function End If
' hf f (L/D) x (v2/2gc) '
' Constant for the liquid pressure drop equation ' The rest of the function performs compressible ow
' to gather conversion factors and gc together calculations
' converting hf in feet of liquid to psi If IsMissing(Mw) Or Mw > 300 Then Mw 29
PDConst (1/3600 ^ 2) * (1/(Pi * (d/2) ^ 2)) ^ 2 * (1/(2 * If Mw > 300 Or Mw < 2 Then Mw 29
gc)) * 0.001 If IsMissing(Gamma) Then Gamma 1.4
Select Case opt If Gamma > 1.8 Or Gamma < 1.1 Then Gamma 1.4
Case 1 'solve for W (liquid) If IsMissing(Isothermal) Then Isothermal "No"
W ((Pin  Pout)/(PDConst * (f * L/d/Density))) ^ 0.5 If Isothermal -1 Then Isothermal "No"
PDSI W If Isothermal <> "No" Then 'ANY value results in
Case 3 'solve for Pin (liquid) isothermal calculation
Pin Pout PDConst * f * L/d * W ^ 2/Density opt opt 1
PDSI Pin End If
Case 5 'solve for Pout (liquid) Select Case opt
Pout Pin - PDConst * f * L/d * W ^ 2/Density ' Solve for W
PDSI Pout Case 1 'solve for W, adiabatic
Case Else ' convert pressure to Pa
16 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers

Figure 1-4. Calculation of ow rate given upstream and downstream pressures. Two-step method is illustrated. First, guess the
ow rate (Cell E8); the accuracy of the guess is unimportant. The Reynolds number and friction factor are calculated using the
guessed ow rate.
Fluid Flow 17

Pin Pin * 1000 ' Be sure convergence was reached, otherwise return an
Pout Pout * 1000 error message
' Tout can be calculated directly for adiabatic ow If j > 100 Then WGuess "Not converged!"
Tout Tin * (Pout/Pin) ^ ((Gamma - 1)/Gamma) PDSI WGuess
' start by estimating W using the isothermal '
calculation (Case 2) Case 2 'Solve for W, isothermal
A f * L/(2 * d) ' convert pressure to Pa
Pavg (Pin Pout)/2 Pin Pin * 1000
' calculate mass ux, kg/s-m2 Pout Pout * 1000
G ((Pin - Pout) * Pavg * Mw/(A Log(Pin/Pout))/(R1 * A f * L/(2 * d)
Tin)) ^ 0.5 Pavg (Pin Pout)/2
' solve for W ' calculate mass ux, kg/s-m2
WGuess G * 3600 * (Pi * (d/2) ^ 2) G ((Pin - Pout) * Pavg * Mw/(A Log(Pin/Pout))/(R1 *
' Assume answer is within 50% of the initial guess Tin)) ^ 0.5
Wup WGuess * 1.5 ' solve for W
Wlow WGuess/1.5 W G * 3600 * (Pi * (d/2) ^ 2)
' Calculate left hand side of equation, fL/d ' Mach number at outlet and choking W conditions
LHS f * L/d ' for this purpose, assume isothermal
j0 DensityOut Pout * Mw/(R1 * Tin)
A 1/Gamma Vout G/DensityOut
Do MachOut (Vout ^ 2/(gc * Gamma * Tin * R1/Mw)) ^ 0.5
j j 1 'counts iterations If MachOut > 1 Then
' calculate mass ux, kg/s-m2 PDSI "Choked W"
G WGuess/3600/(Pi * (d/2) ^ 2) GoTo PDEnd
' Mach number at inlet conditions End If
DensityIn Pin * Mw/(R1 * Tin) PDSI W
Vin G/DensityIn ' Solve for Pin
MachIn (Vin ^ 2/(gc * Gamma * Tin * R1/Mw)) ^ 0.5 Case 3 'Solve for Pin, adiabatic
' Mach number at outlet conditions ' convert pressure to Pa
DensityOut Pout * Mw/(R1 * Tout) Pout Pout * 1000
Vout G/DensityOut ' calculate mass ux, kg/s-m2
MachOut (Vout ^ 2/(gc * Gamma * Tout * R1/Mw)) ^ 0.5 G W/3600/(Pi * (d/2) ^ 2)
' With downstream pressure, calculate Mach and then RHS ' Mach number at outlet and choking W conditions
' where the RHS is comprised of 4 parts ' for this purpose, assume isothermal
' RHS A * (B - C - DD) DensityOut Pout * Mw/(R1 * Tin)
' A 1/Gamma Vout G/DensityOut
' B 1/MachIn^2 MachOut (Vout ^ 2/(gc * Gamma * Tin * R1/Mw)) ^ 0.5
' C 1/MachOut^2 If MachOut > 1 Then
' DD (Gamma1)/2 * ln(num/den) PDSI "Choked W"
' num MachOut^2 * (1 ((Gamma-1)/2) * MachIn^2) GoTo PDEnd
' den MachIn^2 * (1 ((Gamma-1)/2) * MachOut^2) End If
' Iteratively solve for Tguess and FlowGuess ' Calculate left hand side of equation, fL/d
' starting with Tguess Tin LHS f * L/d
B 1/MachIn ^ 2 ' With a guessed upstream pressure, calculate Mach and
c 1/MachOut ^ 2 then RHS
num MachOut ^ 2 * (1 ((Gamma - 1)/2) * MachIn ^ 2) ' where the RHS is comprised of 4 parts
den MachIn ^ 2 * (1 ((Gamma - 1)/2) * MachOut ^ 2) ' RHS A * (B - C - DD)
DD (Gamma 1)/2 * Log(num/den) ' A 1/Gamma
RHS A * (B - c - DD) ' B 1/MachIn^2
If RHS > LHS Then ' C 1/MachOut^2
Wlow WGuess ' DD (Gamma1)/2 * ln(num/den)
WGuess (Wup WGuess)/2 ' num MachOut^2 * (1 ((Gamma-1)/2) * MachIn^2)
Else ' den MachIn^2 * (1 ((Gamma-1)/2) * MachOut^2)
Wup WGuess ' Iteratively solve for TOut and MachOut
WGuess (Wlow WGuess)/2 ' starting with TOut Tin
End If Pin Pout * 200 ' Arbitrarily high initial guess
Loop While (Abs(RHS - LHS)/LHS) > 0.00000001 And j < 100 Pup Pout * 400 ' Arbitrarily higher limit
18 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers

Plow Pout ' PIn cannot be less than POut Else

j0 Pup Pin
A 1/Gamma Pin (Plow Pup)/2
' Iterative solution for Pin End If
j0 Loop While Abs((RHS - LHS)/LHS) > 0.0000001 And j < 1000
Do Pin Pin/1000
jj1 ' Be sure convergence was reached, otherwise return an
' Calculate Tout from Adiabatic Expansion equation error message
Tout Tin * (Pout/Pin) ^ ((Gamma - 1)/Gamma) If j > 100 Then Pin "Not converged!"
' Using Pout and Tout, calculate the velocity PDSI Pin
Vout G/(Pout * Mw/(R1 * Tout)) ' Solve for Pout
' Now calculate MachOut Case 5 'solve for Pout, adiabatic
MachOut (Vout ^ 2/(gc * Gamma * R1 * Tout/Mw)) ^ 0.5 ' convert pressure to Pa
' Using Pin and Tin, calculate the inlet velocity Pin Pin * 1000
Vin G/(Pin * Mw/(R1 * Tin)) ' calculate mass ux, kg/s-m2
' Now calculate MachIn G W/3600/(Pi * (d/2) ^ 2)
MachIn (Vin ^ 2/(gc * Gamma * R1 * Tin/Mw)) ^ 0.5 ' Mach number at inlet W conditions
B 1/MachIn ^ 2 DensityIn Pin * Mw/(R1 * Tin)
c 1/MachOut ^ 2 Vin G/DensityIn
num MachOut ^ 2 * (1 ((Gamma - 1)/2) * MachIn ^ 2) MachIn (Vin ^ 2/(gc * Gamma * Tin * R1/Mw)) ^ 0.5
den MachIn ^ 2 * (1 ((Gamma - 1)/2) * MachOut ^ 2) ' Stagnation temperature
DD (Gamma 1)/2 * Log(num/den) Tst Tin * (1 MachIn ^ 2 * (Gamma - 1)/2)
RHS A * (B - c - DD) ' Calculate left hand side of equation, fL/d
If RHS < LHS Then LHS f * L/d
Plow Pin A 1/Gamma
Pin (Pup Plow)/2 B 1/MachIn ^ 2
Else ' RHS A * (B - C - DD)
Pup Pin ' A 1/Gamma
Pin (Pup Plow)/2 ' B 1/MachIn^2
End If ' C 1/MachOut^2
Loop While (Abs(RHS - LHS)/LHS) > 0.00000001 And j < 100 ' DD (Gamma1)/2 * ln(num/den)
Pin Pin/1000 ' num MachOut^2 * (1 ((Gamma-1)/2) * MachIn^2)
' Be sure convergence was reached, otherwise return an ' den MachIn^2 * (1 ((Gamma-1)/2) * MachOut^2)
error message LHS LHS/A - B
If j > 100 Then Pin "Not converged!" ' Now, RHS -C-DD
PDSI Pin ' multiply both sides by -1
' LHS LHS * (-1)
Case 4 ' Isothermal Equation for Pin ' Now, RHS CDD
' convert pressure to Pa ' Assume an initial value for Pout and its limits
Pout Pout * 1000 Pup Pin
' calculate mass ux, kg/s-m2 Plow Pin/((Gamma 1)/2) ^ (Gamma/(Gamma - 1))
G W/3600/(Pi * (d/2) ^ 2) Pout (Pup Plow)/2
' solve iteratively, starting with initial guess that Tout Tin * (Plow/Pin) ^ ((Gamma - 1)/Gamma)
Pin Pout * 20 ' Iterative solution for Pout
Pup Pout * 20 j0
Plow Pout Do
Pin (Pup Plow)/2 jj1
A f * L/(2 * d) ' Calculate Tout from Adiabatic Expansion equation
RHS R1 * Tin * G ^ 2/Mw Tout Tin * (Pout/Pin) ^ ((Gamma - 1)/Gamma)
j0 ' Using Pout and Tout, calculate the velocity
Do Vout G/(Pout * Mw/(R1 * Tout))
jj1 ' Now calculate MachOut
Pavg (Pin Pout)/2 MachOut (Vout ^ 2/(gc * Gamma * R1 * Tout/Mw)) ^ 0.5
LHS (Pin - Pout) * Pavg/(A Log(Pin/Pout)) c 1/MachOut ^ 2
If RHS > LHS Then num MachOut ^ 2 * (1 ((Gamma - 1)/2) * MachIn ^ 2)
Plow Pin den MachIn ^ 2 * (1 ((Gamma - 1)/2) * MachOut ^ 2)
Pin (Pup Plow)/2 DD (Gamma 1)/2 * Log(num/den)
Fluid Flow 19

RHS c DD j0
If RHS < LHS Then Do
Plow Pout jj1
Pout (Pup Plow)/2 Pavg (Pin Pout)/2
Else LHS (Pin - Pout) * (Pavg * Mw)/(A Log(Pin/Pout))
Pup Pout If RHS < LHS Then
Pout (Pup Plow)/2 Plow Pout
End If Pout (Pup Pout)/2
Loop While (Abs(RHS - LHS)/LHS) > 0.00000001 And j < 100 Else
PDSI Pout/1000 Pup Pout
' Pout (Plow Pout)/2
Case 6 ' Isothermal Equation for Pout End If
' convert pressure to Pa Loop While (Abs(RHS - LHS)/LHS) > 0.0000001 And j < 100
Pin Pin * 1000 Pout Pout/1000
' calculate mass ux, kg/s-m2 ' Be sure convergence was reached, otherwise return an
G W/3600/(Pi * (d/2) ^ 2) error message
' Pavg (PinPout)/2 If j > 100 Then Pout "Not converged!"
' (Pin - Pout) RTG^2/PavgM (fL/2D ln(Pin/Pout)) PDSI Pout
' solve iteratively, starting with initial guess that '
Pout Pin/2 Case Else 'error
Pout Pin/2 PDSI "Input Error"
Pup Pin End Select
Plow 0 ' Output the answer
A f * L/(2 * d) PDEnd:
RHS R1 * Tin * G ^ 2 End Function


The Bernoulli principle shows that pressure and orice diameter required to achieve a specic pressure
velocity are related. When uid is accelerated through an drop. The relationship holds for orices from 20% to 80%
orice, the pressure is reduced. Downstream of the orice of the pipe diameter.
the ows velocity slows again and the pressure increases, The rst term in the equation is the pressure difference
to near where it was upstream of the orice. This principle between taps located one pipe diameter upstream and half
is used for inferring ow rate from pressure readings a pipe diameter downstream of the front face of the orice
upstream and at the orice, and is also applied to other (i.e., radius taps). The second term is the portion of
ow instruments such as venturi meters and ow nozzles. pressure loss that is permanent. When the Reynolds
The permanent pressure drop caused by an orice, number in the pipe upstream of the orice is greater than
largely due to friction as the uid passes through, is about 20,000, the pressure difference between the taps is
important to know. Whether the orice is primarily insensitive to the orice hole diameter. It doesnt matter if
intended as a ow meter, or if it is designed to purposely the orice actually has radius taps; Equation 1-20 is
restrict ow, the permanent pressure drop should be simply using the radius tap locations in the computation
considered when designing the piping system. for permanent pressure drop.

Incompressible Flow (Liquids)  w 2

DP C A 1  b2 (1-20)
For preliminary design work, assume the orice has 2 gc r
a coefcient of discharge, C 0.62. Then, calculate the
approximate permanent pressure drop through the orice
with Equation 1-20 (derived from equations 5-12 and 5-24 DP permanent pressure loss, Pa or lb/ft2
in Ref [19]). Rearrange this equation to determine the w mass ow rate, kg/s or lb/s
20 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers

C coefcient of discharge (use 0.62 or calculate with P1 Pressure upstream of orice, Pa or lb/in.2
Equation 1-21 until manufacturers data is known) P2 Pressure at minimum pressure point at orice
A orice hole cross sectional area, m2 or ft2 discharge
gc conversion factor 1 for SI units or 32.17 ft/s2 g ratio of specic heats, Cp/Cv
r density, kg/m3 or lb/ft3
b orice diameter divided by pipe diameter When g 1.4, the critical ratio is 0.53. Thus, if the
orice is discharging to atmosphere, the upstream pressure
The coefcient of discharge can be calculated using the must be less than about 1 barg to avoid choking ow. If
Stolz equation [25]. Although replaced in ISO [16] by the pressure is higher, then ow is choked by the sonic
a more complex relationship, the Stolz formula is more velocity and further increases in upstream pressure will
than adequate for normal design work. not result in increased ow through the orice.
C 0:5959 0:0312 b2:1  0:184 b8 For critical ow, estimate the mass quantity using
 6 physical property values (temperature and pressure) at the
10 b4
0:0029 b2:5 0:09 L1  L2 b3 point just upstream of the orice.
NRe 1  b 4 s
(1-21) lM 2
w C A P1 (1-24)
ZRT g1
For radius taps, L1 1 and L2 0.47.
Crane [10] gives a relationship for the ow coefcient, For subsonic compressible ow, equation 1-20 applies
K, that can be used along with K coefcients for ttings: with the addition of the expansion factor, Y.
2q 32  w 2
1  b4 1  C2
K 4  15 (1-22) DP Y C A 1  b2 (1-25)
C b2 2 gc r
DP=1  b2
Y 1  0:41 0:35 b4 (1-26)
g P1
Compressible Flow (gases)

Calculate the critical pressure ratio with:

P2 2
P1 crit g 1

Control Valves

Valves are usually installed for one of the following (4-inch) and smaller. For larger pipe sizes, its
purposes: usually more economical to use two open/closed
valves, one on each branch.
1. Open/closed. The valve is either fully open or fully
3. Regulating. The valve is partially closed and either
closed and is intended to allow ow through a pipe.
actively regulated or manually set so the ow
Gate, plug, buttery, and ball valves are most
through the pipe is maintained at a certain rate. This
common in this service.
installation may be designed to balance the ow
2. Diverting. The valve is used to split a ow between
through a complex piping system, or to allow the
two branch lines, or to fully divert the ow to one
use of a slightly oversized pump, taking up the
branch or the other. Three-way plug or ball valves
slack with the valve and anticipating increasing
are used in small diameter piping, about DN 100
Fluid Flow 21

pressure drop through the piping over time as it Assume the valve will dissipate, at the maximum
corrodes or fouls. controlled ow rate, 10% to 15% of the total pressure
4. Controlling. A control loop actively adjusts the valve drop through the pipeline, or 70 kPa (10 psi),
opening so the ow or pressure downstream of the whichever is greater.
valve meets a specic set point. Every type of valve Select a valve that operates between 10% and 80%
may be used, but ow characteristics may favor one open at anticipated ow rates.
type over another. This is discussed in this section. Choose a valve that is no smaller than half the pipe size.
A typical globe-type control valve has a rangeability
Valve manufacturers specify the pressure drop with
the ratio of maximum to minimum controllable ow
a ow coefcient that is specic to a particular valve. In SI
rate of 50:1 [22].
Units the ow coefcient, Kv ow of water at 20  C in
Circumstances that can lead to oversizing a control
m3/h with a pressure drop of 1 bar. In US Units the ow
valve include [22]:
coefcient, Cv ow of water at 60 F in gpm with
An additional safety factor has been added to
a pressure drop of 1 psi. See Table 1-3.
the system calculations (see recommendations on
To determine the desired ow coefcient from a known
page 3).
pressure drop:
Sizing routines include operational factors such as
SG an overzealous allowance for fouling or corrosion.
Kv or Cv Q (1-27) The calculated valve coefcient is only slightly
higher than the coefcient for a standard valve and
Where SG is the specic gravity of the owing uid the next larger size must be selected.
relative to water.
Rules of thumb for control valve selection include:

Partially Full Horizontal Pipes

The equations in the previous sections are, of course, 2. Find the equivalent diameter
intended for use with full pipes. Durand [13] provides De H
a rapid way to estimate whether a horizontal pipe carrying 0:01130 3:040
liquid is full. This method is intended for gravity drains,  2  3  4
not pumped systems that have no entry point for vapors.  3:461 4:108 2:638
With Q ow rate in gallons per minute, and d pipe D D D
diameter in inches, the criteria are:
This is an empirical way to avoid getting De from
Q cross sectional area
If 2:5  10:2 the pipe is full. De
d wetted perimeter
Q Note that for 1.0 > H/D > 0.5 that De /D > 1. My
If < 10:2 do a partially full ow analysis as calculations and all references conrm this. De is
d 2:5
follows: substituted for D in subsequent ow analysis.
Q D diameter of pipe
1. Let x ln 2:5 and nd the height of the liquid H liquid level in the pipe
in the pipe by: Example:

0:446 0:272 x 0:0397 x2  0:0153 x3 Given: horizontal pipe, d 4 inches ID, Q 100 gpm
D Find: Is the pipe full? If not, what is the liquid height? Also, what is
the pipes equivalent diameter?
 0:003575 x4
22 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers

Calculations: H/D 0.779

Q/d2.5 100/32 3.125 H 0.779 (4) 3.12 in
Not full since Q/d2.5 < 10.2 De /D 1.227
X ln(3.125) 1.1394 De 1.227 (4) 4.91 in

Two-Phase Flow

Two-phase ow is difcult to model and extreme potential energy is reversible. This is usually not true
caution is recommended. Published pressure drop corre- in two-phase gas-liquid ows.
lations are applicable for specic situations. Blindly Due to the large density difference between vapor
applying a correlation may result in orders of magnitude and liquid, buoyancy greatly affects the ow regime,
error. distribution of void fraction, and pressure drop. Flow
For gas-liquid ows, consider how the stream might regimes found in horizontal ow are illustrated in
behave as it travels through the piping system: Figure 1-5.
Low pressure zones at pump suctions and behind
Elevation changes are important due to the great
orice plates and valves are prone to localized
difference in density between the vapor and liquid
vaporization and condensation, called cavitation,
phases. With a single-phase liquid ow, only the
which can cause excessive wear, vibration, and noise.
terminal point elevations are considered since
See Chapter 5 for the discussion of NPSH.

Figure 1-5. Flow regimes in horizontal pipes [6].

Fluid Flow 23

Flashing ow may cause choking. For example, if Then,

saturated water is owing at about 6 m/s velocity,  
DPl 1=2
choking conditions occur if about 35% of this ashes X (1-28)
to steam. This is the reason that relief systems,
especially those designed for runaway reactions, Y 4:6 X 1:78 12:5 X 0:68 0:65
require scrutiny. See Chapter 20, Safety, for
information on this topic. 8
Condensing ow improves owability as vapor DP Y DPl (1-30)
converts to much denser liquid.
Gas-liquid systems that are essentially immiscible,
such as air-water, ow in different patterns depend-
Homogeneous Model
ing on the relative quantities of the gas and liquid
phases, the ow rate, and the direction of ow rela-
Awad and Muzychka [4] showed that a liquid-vapor
tive to earths gravity.
stream can be treated as a homogenous uid. This is
Its also important to understand how the relative conceptually true if the vapor is considered to be
quantity of the two phases is determined. For example, the uniformly dispersed in the liquid as tiny bubbles, and the
two-phase ow of a pure compound, such as water or two phases are owing together at the same velocity. The
refrigerant, is often characterized by its quality, dened model treats the two phases as a liquid with average uid
as the mass fraction of ow that is vapor. Pressure drop properties that depend on the relative quantity of vapor
due to friction varies linearly with the uid quality; a small and liquid (i.e., quality).
error in estimating the vapor content greatly affects the Using the inlet pressure, or an average pressure in the
predicted result. pipe segment (obtained iteratively), calculate the homog-
This section presents four different models for calcu- enous mixture density and viscosity:
lating two-phase (liquid-vapor) pressure drop due to
friction. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, but for !1
well-behaved ows where the velocity is less than 30% of x 1x
rm (1-31)
critical velocity they return very similar results. After the rg rl
presentation of the four models, an apples-to-apples
comparison is given. !1
x 1x
Nomenclature in the models includes subscripts that are mm (1-32)
dened as follows: mg ml

g vapor portion of the flow Next, calculate the Reynolds number (page 9) and
l liquid portion of the flow Darcy Friction Factor, fm , for the homogenous mixture.
m homogenous mixture
Use the total ow rate (vapor liquid), the full pipe size,
and the density and viscosity for the mixture.
Finally, using the following form of the incompressible
Lockhart-Martinelli ow formula (page 10), calculate the pressure drop:
The Lockhart-Martinelli model [15] is probably the fm L G2
DP (1-33)
most well-known method, commonly used in refrigeration 2 D rm
and wet steam calculations and recommended by ASH-
RAE [2].
First, calculate the pressure drop in the pipe considering Split Bounds Model
the liquid and vapor components separately. In each case,
the calculation is performed with the full pipe diameter as This is a separated ow model, where the vapor and
if the other phase disappears. Thus, if the total ow is 100 liquid are treated separately. Awad and Muzychka [5]
and the quality is 0.2, calculate the pressure drop for presented equations to represent the highest and lowest
a liquid ow of 80 and a vapor ow of 20. pressure drops, or bounds, that a system is likely to
24 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers

experience. They suggest using the arithmetic average of In this method a tting parameter, p, is used to calibrate the
the bounds as an acceptable prediction of pressure drop. prediction to actual data. The tting parameter must be
The lower bound is: determined using a least squares t. Awad and Muzychka
0:158 L G1:75 1  x1:75 m0:25 give examples where p ranges from 0.25 to 0.8.
DPlower l
First, calculate the pressure drop in the pipe considering
D1:25 rl
the liquid and vapor components separately. In each case,
" ! #
 x 0:7368 r 0:4211 m 0:1053 2:375 the calculation is performed with the full pipe diameter as
 1 l
if the other phase disappears. Thus, if the total ow is 100
1x rg ml
and the quality is 0.2, calculate the pressure drop for
(1-34) a liquid ow of 80 and a vapor ow of 20.
The asymptotic pressure drop is:
The upper bound is: h i1=p
0:158 L G1:75 1  x1:75 m0:25 DP DPpl DPpg (1-36)
DPupper l
D1:25 rl
" ! #
 x 0:4375 r 0:25 m 0:0625 4 Comparison of the Two-Phase Models
l g
1x rg ml
Using the exact same input data, Figure 1-6 and
(1-35) Figure 1-7 chart results from the four models. For the
split bound model the graph only includes the average
value. The models allow results even when velocity in
Asymptotic Model the pipe would exceed the critical velocity, so it is clear
that extreme care must be taken when using them.
Awad and Muzychka [3] presented a semi-theoretical Figure 1-7 is on a log-log scale; the Lockhart-Martinelli
method for modeling two-phase ow that is especially prediction is at least 50% greater than the Awad and
suitable for systems for which measured data are available. Muzychka values.

Figure 1-6. Comparison of two-phase models over a range of vapor quality from 0 to 1.
Fluid Flow 25

Figure 1-7. Comparison of two-phase models over a range of ow rates at constant vapor quality, including actual measured
data from Hashizume [5].

Nomenclature U [ average uid velocity at local conditions, m/s or

A [ cross-sectional area of pipe, m2 or ft2 ft/s
C [ coefcient of discharge, dimensionless w [ mass ow rate, kg/s or lb/s
Cp [ heat capacity, constant pressure W [ mass ow rate, kg/h or lb/h
Cv [ heat capacity, constant volume X [ Lockhart-Martinelli two-phase parameter
d [ pipe diameter, mm or in. Y [ Lockhart-Martinelli two-phase multiplier
D [ pipe diameter, m or ft Z [ compressibility factor 1 for a perfect gas
f [ Darcy friction factor, dimensionless b [ diameter ratio, dimensionless
W [ surface roughness, m or ft
G [ mass ux, kg/s-m2 or lb/s-ft2
3600 A g [ ratio of specic heats, Cp/Cv
gc [ conversion factor, 1 m/s or 32.17 ft/s2
m [ uid dynamic viscosity, kg/m-s or lb/ft-h
H [ liquid level, m or ft r [ density of gas at local conditions, kg/m3 or
K [ ow coefcient, dimensionless PM
L [ pipe equivalent length, m or ft lb/ft3
M [ molecular weight
NMa [ Mach number, dimensionless
NRe [ Reynolds number, dimensionless References
P [ absolute pressure, Pa or psia
Q [ volumetric ow rate, m3/h or gal/min [1] American Petroleum Institute. Recommended Prac-
R [ gas constant, 8314.5 m3-Pa/kgmol-K or tice for Design and Installation of Offshore Produc-
10.73 ft3-psi/lbmol-R tion Platform Piping Systems, API Recommended
t [ temperature,  C or  F Practice 14E, March 2007.
T [ absolute temperature,  K or  R
26 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers

[2] American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air- [14] Geankoplis CJ. Transport Processes and Separation
Conditioning Engineers. 1997 ASHRAE Hand- Process Principles (Includes Unit Operations),
book, Fundamentals. 4th ed. Prentice Hall; 2003.
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IMECE04 2004 ASME International Mechanical Symposium Series, 1949;45(1): 3948.
Engineering Congress and Exposition. Anaheim: [16] International Organization of Standards (ISO 5167-1)
California, USA; November 1320, 2004. Amendment 1. Measurement of uid ow by means
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tional Multiplier Calculation Method. Proceedings nozzles, and Venturi tubes inserted in circular cross-
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2nd ed. New York: Marcel Dekker; 2001. 16, 2001.
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