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1.3 THEORY 3-5





1.8 DISCUSSION 11-12

1.9 CONCLUSION 12-14



2.2 APPENDICES 17-19


Osborne Reynolds experiment is used to investigate the characteristic of the flow of the
liquid in the pipe which is also used to determine the Reynolds Number for each state of the
flow. The design of the apparatus allowed studying the characteristic of the flow of the fluid in
the pipe, the behavior of the flow and also to calculate the range for the laminar and turbulent
flow where the calculation is used to prove the Reynolds number is dimensionless by using the
Reynolds Number formula. For the first and second objectives, it involve running the Osborne
Reynolds equipment with different of water volume flow rate. In this experiment we fix the time,
which is 5 second to collect the amount of water. At the same time we also observe the
characteristic of the flow, there are laminar, transition and turbulent flow. From the data
collected we made calculation to estimate the range for laminar and turbulent flow. To prove that
the Reynolds number is dimensionless, we calculate by using the units only and using the
appropriate formula, it is proved that the Reynolds number is dimensionless.


Osborne Reynolds (23 August 1842 – 21 February 1912) was a prominent innovator in
the understanding of fluid dynamics. Separately, his studies of heat transfer between solids and
fluids brought improvements in boiler and condenser design.

Reynolds most famously studied the conditions in which the flow of fluid in pipes
transitioned from laminar flow to turbulent flow. From these experiments came the
dimensionless Reynolds number for dynamic similarity — the ratio of inertial forces
to viscous forces. Reynolds also proposed what is now known as Reynolds of turbulent flows,
where quantities such as velocity are expressed as the sum of mean and fluctuating components.
Such averaging allows for 'bulk' description of turbulent flow, for example using the Reynolds-
averaged Navier-Stokes equations.

His publications in fluid dynamics began in the early 1870s. His final theoretical model
published in the mid 1890s is still the standard mathematical framework used today. Examples of
titles from his more groundbreaking reports:
➢ Improvements in Apparatus for Obtaining Motive Power from Fluids and also for
Raising or Forcing Fluids. (1875)
➢ An experimental investigation of the circumstances which determine whether the
motion of water in parallel channels shall be direct or sinuous and of the law of
resistance in parallel channels. (1883)
➢ On the dynamical theory of incompressible viscous fluids and the determination
of the criterion. (1895)

Reynolds' contributions to fluid mechanics were not lost on ship designers ("naval
architects"). The ability to make a small scale model of a ship, and extract useful predictive data
with respect to a full size ship, depends directly on the experimentalist applying Reynolds'
turbulence principles to friction drag computations, along with a proper application of William
Froude's theories of gravity wave energy and propagation. Reynolds himself had a number of
papers concerning ship design published in Transactions of the Institution of Naval Architects

In fluid mechanics, the Reynolds number Re is a dimensionless number that gives a

measure of the ratio of inertial forces to viscous forces and consequently

quantifies the relative importance of these two types of forces for given flow conditions. The
concept was introduced by George Gabriel Stokes in 1851, but the Reynolds number is named
after Osborne Reynolds (1842–1912), who popularized its use in 1883.

Reynolds numbers frequently arise when performing dimensional analysis of fluid

dynamics problems, and as such can be used to determine similitude between different
experimental cases. They are also used to characterize different flow regimes, such
as laminar or turbulent flow: laminar flow occurs at low Reynolds numbers, where viscous
forces are dominant, and is characterized by smooth, constant fluid motion, while turbulent flow
occurs at high Reynolds numbers and is dominated by inertial forces, which tend to produce
chaotic eddies, vortices and other flow instabilities (2.1.8).

To observe the characteristics of laminar, transition and turbulent flow

To prove that Reynolds number is dimensionless by using the formula:

Re = ρvdμ


Fluid flow can be characterized as laminar, turbulent, or transitional. The dimensionless

Reynolds’s number (Re) can be used to determine the fluid flow condition. The Reynolds’s
number is defined as

where ρ = the fluid density, V = the velocity of the fluid, L = an important length dimension for
the flow, µ = the dynamic viscosity, and ν = the kinematic viscosity where ν = µ / ρ. For pipe
flow, L is taken as the pipe diameter (D) (2.1.10).

Re can be interpreted as the ratio of the flow's inertial forces to its viscous forces. For
large viscous forces (low Re, normally Re < 2000 for pipe flows), viscous effects are great
enough to damp any disturbances or perturbations in the flow and the flow remains laminar. Any
combination of low velocity, small diameter, or high kinematic viscosity which results in Re <
2000 for pipe flow will produce laminar flow. The flow is called "laminar" because the flow
takes place in layers. The only mixing that occurs is molecular mixing between the layers or
between different parts of the flow. For large inertial forces (large Re, normally Re > 4000 for
pipe flows), there is not enough viscous damping to remove any disturbances in the flow. Again,
any combination of V, D, and n giving Re > 4000 will produce turbulent flow. As Re increases,
the viscous damping of flow disturbances or perturbations decreases relative to the inertial
effects. Because of a lack of viscous damping, disturbances are amplified until the entire flow
breaks down into in irregular motion. There is still a definite flow direction, but there is an
irregular motion superimposed on the average motion. Thus, for turbulent flow in a pipe, the
fluid is flowing in the downstream direction, but fluid particles have an irregular motion in
addition to the average motion. This effect is illustrated by the pathlines in Figure 1.3a; pathlines
give a Lagrangian description of flow. The turbulent fluctuations are inherently unsteady and
three dimensional. As a result, particles which pass though a given point in the flow do not
follow the same path in turbulent flow even though they all are flowing generally downstream.

Figure 1.3a Lagrangian pathlines in turbulent flow

Since the velocities of all fluid particles are continually changing, the Eulerian velocities
at a point or at several points are also changing. This effect is shown in the next two figures.
Figure 1.3b shows the time averaged velocity distribution across a diameter of a pipe and then
illustrates the unsteadiness in the turbulent components of the velocities. Figure 1.3c shows the
time-averaged velocity at a point and the continual variation of instantaneous velocity due to the
turbulent fluctuations.

Figure 1.3b Eulerian velocity distributions at different times

Figure 1.3c Time history of Eulerian velocity at a point

The instability or unsteadiness in turbulent flows is sometimes viewed as being due to

parcels of fluid that are rotating in an irregular fashion as the fluid flows. This rotating parcel of
fluid are sometimes called billows or eddies. Time-lapse pictures of clouds moving across the
sky illustrate the billowing or eddy character of turbulent flows.

Flows with 2000 < Re < 4000 are called transitional. The flow can be unstable and the
flow switch back and forth between turbulent and laminar conditions. This transitional flow was
seen in the first lab with water flow from the 1/4 in. copper tube. The pulsating jet of water from
the end of the tube was an indication of the transitional flow with the flow switching back and
forth between being laminar and turbulent (2.1.7).

Osborne Reynolds Apparatus comprise of a re-entrant bell mouthed glass experimental tube
of 16 mm bore and approximately 790 mm long mounted horizontally in a 103 mm bore perspex
tube. This apparatus was designed purposely to view the flow of three regimes, laminar,
transition and turbulent.

The experiment includes water supply from a tank with clear test section tube and “bell
mouth” entrance, dye injector with needle valve control to ensure the precision metering of the
dye, rotameter flow meter to measure the water flow rate and a bottle of dye containing red
coloured dye.

All the apparatus is mounted on the Hydraulic Bench (P6100) on the locating spigots of the
working surface so that the unit straddles the weir trough and the outlet feeds into the measuring
tank. A water supply is then connected from the P6100 Hydraulic Bench to the variable height
header tank, which should be mounted midway on its support stand.

Next, the water supply is turn on and make sure that all air in the system is displaced prior to
proceeding with the investigation. The water flow is regulated to give steady flow in the system
with water just trickling out of the header tank overflow. After that this overflow is directed to
into the Hydraulic Bench. The water level is ensured to be above the level in the inner bell
mouthed glass tube. Measurement of the flow rate of the water is achieved by using the
Hydraulic Bench volumetric measuring tank or a smaller graduated vessel and the collection of
water of 100 ml is timed by collecting the water in a container.

1. The apparatus is set up with the dye reservoir fitted and filled and with a steady flow of
water through the inner tube.
2. The small cock is opened on the base of reservoir to permit dye to flow from the nozzles
at the entrance of the cannel. This will be visible as a colored stream along the passage. If
the dye accumulates around the nozzle, increase the velocity of water flow in the passage
and / or regulate the flow from the dye reservoir. N.B Dye flow adjustments are made
using the tube outlet tap.
3. The stream will be visible along the whole length of the passage under laminar flow
conditions. If it is not so, reduce the water flow until a continuous stream of dye is visible
along the passage.
4. The outlet water flows are taken for five seconds and the volume are recorded.
5. Steps 3-4 are repeated for transition and turbulent flow.
6. Clean all the apparatus completed of any trace of water containing dye before returning
the apparatus to store.

Time Volume Volume Flow Area of Velocity, Re Condition Log f hf Log

(s) (mL) (m )
rate pipe v (m/s) v hf/l
(m /s)
(m )

5 98 9.80 x 1.96 2.011 x 0.097 1730.9 Laminar - 0.0370 0.00087 -

x 10 -5
10 -4
8 1.013 6 2.955

5 97 9.70 x 1.94 2.011 x 0.096 1713.1 Laminar - 0.0374 0.00086 -

x 10 -5
10 -4
4 1.018 7 2.960

5 98 9.80 x 1.96 2.011 x 0.097 1730.9 Laminar - 0.0370 0.00087 -

x 10 -5
10 -4
8 1.013 6 2.955

5 163 1.63 x 3.26 2.011 x 0.162 2890.9 Transition - 0.0431 0.00284 -

x 10 -5
10 -4
2 0.790 7 2.443

5 161 1.61 x 3.22 2.011 x 0.160 2855.2 Transition - 0.0432 0.00278 -

x 10 -5
10 -4
3 0.796 3 2.453

5 164 1.64 x 3.28 2.011 x 0.163 2908.7 Transition - 0.0430 0.00287 -

10-4 x 10-5 10-4 7 0.788 5 2.439

5 243 2.43 x 4.86 2.011 x 0.242 4318.5 Turbulent - 0.0390 0.00574 -

x 10 -5
10 -4
4 0.616 8 2.138

5 244 2.44 x 4.88 2.011 x 0.243 4336.3 Turbulent - 0.0389 0.00578 -

x 10 -5
10 -4
8 0.614 1 2.136

5 242 2.42 x 4.84 2.011 x 0.241 4300.6 Turbulent - 0.0390 0.00570 -

10-4 x 10-5 10-4 9 0.618 0 2.142

Sample of calculations for first data recorded:-

Density of water, ρ = 1000 kg / m3

Diameter of tube, d = 0.016 m

Length of tube, l = 0.79 m

Viscosity of water, µ (assume 25 ºC) = 8.966 x 10-4 Ns / m2

Cross-sectional area of the pipe, A=πd24


= 2.011 x 10-4 m2

Flow rate = Volume (m3)Time (s)

= 9.80 x 10-5 / 5

= 1.96 x 10-5 m3 / s

Velocity, v = Flow rate (m3s)Area (m2)

= 1.96 x 10-5 / 2.011 x 10-4 m2

= 0.097 m / s

Reynolds number, Re = ρvdμ

= (1000 x 0.097 x 0.016) / (8.966 x 10-4)

= 1730.98 < 2000

= Laminar
Friction factor, f = (for laminar)


= 0.0370

Friction factor, f = (for transition and turbulent)


Re 4

Head loss, hf =
flv 2
2 Dg

= 0.000876

The Osborne Reynolds has developed a theory about the flows of fluid in a system. He
used the dimensionless parameter called Reynolds number (Re) to check whether the fluid flow
is laminar or turbulent. If the Re is less than 2000, therefore the fluid is in laminar condition.

Laminar flow, sometimes known as streamline flow, occurs when a fluid flows in parallel
layers, with no disruption between the layers. In fluid dynamics, laminar flow is a flow regime
characterized by high momentum diffusion and low momentum convection and in nonscientific
terms laminar flow is "smooth."

While doing this experiment, we can see that the red dye flows smoothly in a straight
line. The laminar flow actually follows the curve surfaced of the airfoil smoothly in layers. With
lower rate of water, the closer the fluid layers to the airfoil surface hence they move slower.
Therefore the water particles follow a straight line parallel to the axis of the pipe without any
disturbance to the flowing condition that we can see as almost a straight line. Moreover the fluid
layers slide over one another without any changes between the layers.

As we increase the flow rate of water flow, it will disturb the stable flow pattern of
laminar. This disturbed flow of fluid known as transition flow. In this case, the fluid can be said
that at the middle of transformation from laminar to turbulent. Hence, the flow pattern consists of
not very smooth laminar and the beginning form of turbulent flow. The Re for transition flow is
between 2000 and 4000.

As the flow rate of water is further increased, the turbulent flow occurred with the Re
number is greater than 4000. As the speed increases, at some point the transition is made to
turbulent flow. The small disturbances becoming extreme and result in totally unsteady flow
throughout the cross section. Straight line can no longer be observed as the dye broke the line
into a turbulent flow. The dye mixes rapidly and completely and it is difficult to see by the naked
eyes. Besides that, the average motion is in the direction of flow and the fluctuation is very
difficult to detect. As a result of this mixing, the velocity gradient at the wall is higher than that
seen in a laminar flow at the same Reynolds number, so that the shear stress at the wall is
correspondingly larger. Turbulent flow is not restricted to flow in the pipe. It occurs as well in
flow over surfaces or objects. In fact, it may occur in every type of flow provided that the
Reynolds number is sufficiently high. In some cases, turbulent flow will appear “naturally” in
laminar flow as in smoke rising in the air and sometimes it can occur by causing disturbances in
the laminar flow.


As a conclusion, we can know the type of fluid flow of laminar, transition and turbulent
by using the dimensionless parameter, Reynolds number (Re). For laminar flow, Reynolds
number is bellow 2000 while transition is between 2000 and 4000. Turbulent flow has Reynolds
number more than 4000. This Reynolds number can be obtained by calculation based on the
formula derived by Osborne Reynolds in 1883. From the calculation it is proven that the
parameter is dimensionless.

Each type of the fluid flow have their own characteristics:

Laminar flow

a) The Re below 2000

b) They move with low
c) Dye does not mix with water
d) Fluid particles move in straight lines
e) Simple mathematical analysis possible
f) Rare in practice in water systems
g) Small shear stress
Transitional flow

a) Re between 2000 and 4000

b) Move with medium velocity
c) Dye stream wavers in water and start mixes slightly
d) Medium shear stress
e) There is a small disturbance occurred in the fluid

Turbulent flow

a) Re over 4000
b) Move with high velocity
c) Dye mixes rapidly and completely with water
d) Large shear stress
e) Large disturbance occurred in the fluid
f) Average motion is in the direction of the flow
g) Cannot be seen by the naked eye
h) Changes/fluctuations are very difficult to detect, must use laser.
i) Mathematical analysis very difficult - so experimental measures are used
j) Most common type of flow

The velocity or rate of water flow in the tube can affect the types of flow. When the
velocity is high, the rapid water flow will break the dye line to become turbulent flow.
Oppositely, laminar flow will occur when the rate of water flow is at the lowest. The dye can be
viewed as a straight line. Average velocity during the interchange between the laminar to
turbulent flow will give transition condition. Transition flow can be observed as a combination
between straight lines and curved line.

From the experiment, Reynolds concludes that the type of flow dependent on:

i. the average velocity of the fluids

ii. the pipe diameter
iii. the viscosity of the fluids
iv. the density of the fluids

Compare with the result diagram in the laboratory, there are bit different between the
results collected. This might be some of parallax error such as the slow response during
collecting the water, the position of eyes during taking the value of water volume, time taken for
the volume of water and regulating the valve which control the flow rate of water unstably.

During the experiment there are several precaution steps that need to be alert. The
experiment should be done at suitable and unshaken place. To get appropriate laminar smooth
stream flow, the clip and the valve which control the injection of red dye must be regulate slow
and carefully. When removing the beaker from the exit valve, we notice that some water still
enter the beaker because of the slow response between the person who guide the stop watch and
collecting beaker. So to avoid this parallax error, it is better to take same person who guard the
stop watch and the collecting beaker.

Lastly, do this experiment at steady place, control the clip and valve carefully to get long
thin of laminar dye flow, and remove the beaker which uses to collect the amount of water at
sharp when the time is up, to avoid error flow rate error.

(2.1.1)Bruce R. Munson, Donald F. Young, John Wiley & son, Inc, FUNDAMENTAL
OF FLUID MECHANICS, 2nd edition, 22,413, 414.
(2.1.2)Turbulent Flow in Engineering, John Wiley and Son
(2.1.6)B.S.Massey. Mechanics of Fluids. Second Edition. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.
1970. New York(pg 122)
(2.1.7)Reuben M. Olson. 1980. Essentials of Engineering Fluid Mechanics. 4th Edition. New
York. Harper & Row Publishers. Page 465 – 472
(2.1.8)Tasos. C. Papanastasiou. 1994. Applied Fluid Mechanics. United States of America.
Prentice-Hall, Inc. Page 24-26
(2.1.9)Frank P. Incropera, David P. DeWitt, 2002, Fundamental of Heat and Mass
Transfer, United State of America, 5th Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc
(2.1.10)Eckert.E.R.G. Introduction To Heat and Mass Transfer. McGRAW Hill Book
Company.1963. New York.(pg7-9)

Figure 2.2a Flows of fluid

Figure 2.2b Osborne Reynolds Apparatus

Figure 2.2c Graph of Log hf/l vs Log v