Brian Bain D03148736 Professor Wessels Physics 310 Pitot Tubes The general definition of a Pitot tube, also

known as a Prandtl, tube is a pressure measurement instrument used to measure fluid flow velocity. A Pitot tube is basically a tool that measures the pressure of a certain stream, current, and flow. Pilots also use the Pitot tube to control the speed of the aircraft. Pitot tubes are very useful in the industry today, they help us measure air and gas flow in things such as air ducts where other tools would not be practical to put up there. The Pitot tube was invented by the French engineer Henri Pitot in the early 1700s. Henri was born in Aramon France and lived from May 3, 1695 to December 27, 1771. Henri Pitot was a French hydraulic engineer who became interested in studying the flow of water at different depths. Henri disproved the theory that the speed of water changes as you get into deeper water. Pitot recognized something very significant when he was measuring water in the Seine River, ³Bring moving water to a halt and it'll drive a column of water up to exactly the height from which water would flow to gain that velocity. (Same for air.)´ (No.2213) Later, a man named Henri Darcy, came along and made some very significant improvements to the Pitot tube. Henri Darcy was also a French hydraulic engineer who made several contributions to hydraulics. Henri lived from June 10, 1803 to January 3, 1858 and was born in Dijon, France. In 1848 he became the chief engineer for the department Cote-d¶Or, he soon left there and was promoted to the chief director for water and pavements. While Henri was in this position he was able to clearly focus on his research in hydraulics. From there he focused on flow and friction loss in pipes, this is where he improved the design of the Pitot tube into what we use today. The Pitot tube is a simple design, on the aircraft the tube is around 10 inches long with a ½ inch diameter. Several small holes are drilled around the outside of the tube and one big hole is drilled down the center or the axis of the tube. The outside holes of the tube are connected to the side of a device called a pressure transducer. A pressure transducer is a transducer that converts pressure into an analog electrical signal. There are many different types of pressure transducers but, one of the most common is the strain-gage base transducer. The conversion of pressure into an electrical signal is done by the physical deformation of strain gages which are bonded into the diaphragm of the pressure transducer and wired into a Wheatstone bridge configuration. Once pressure is applied to the pressure transducer it produces a deflection of the diaphragm which introduces strain to the gages. This strain will produce an electrical resistance change proportional to the pressure. The center hole of the tube is kept separate from the outer holes of the tube and is connected to the other side of the pressure transducer. The pressure transducer works by measuring the difference in pressure between the two groups. This is called the strain and it is measured using a strain gauge that sits in a very thin element. The Pitot tube can be mounted on an aircraft or a wind tunnel such as air ducts. It is mounted with the center hole is always pointed in the direction of the airflow and the outside holes are mounted perpendicular to the center tube. On the next page is a diagram on how the Pitot tube works.

As you can see air flows into the center tube where it meets with the Pressure Transducer. The air is then pushed out of the smaller holes. With a design like this we can measure many different things such as the density, velocity and pressure of the air. It also has two different measurements, static pressure and dynamic pressure. With these two pressures we can find the total pressure. At the bottom of the schematic it shows us two different equations. The first equation is used to get the total pressure. The second equation is used to get the velocity of the air flow.

The Pitot tube measures two different types of pressures, the static pressure and the dynamic pressure. When we add these two pressures together we can get the total pressure or the

stagnation pressure of the system. , this equation is called the Bernoulli¶s equation and is what we would use in order to get the total pressure of the system. In this equation V is fluid velocity, pt is stagnation or total pressure, ps is static pressure, and is fluid density. Before we can work this equation we would have to get V or the velocity.

In order to do this we would use this equation, , V is fluid velocity, pt is stagnation or total pressure, ps is static pressure, and is fluid density. The static pressure in a Pitot tube is created from the outside holes. They run perpendicular with the direction of the air flow and are pressurized by the local random component of the air velocity. The center tube is pointed in the direction of the air travel and is pressurized by the random components and the air velocity. The pressure in this chamber measures the total pressure. Below is another model of the Pitot tube and it better explains how the Bernoulli equation works.

In the 1700¶s a man named Daniel Bernoulli investigated the forces that were present in moving fluids. The model on the previous page shows us one of the many forms of Bernoulli¶s equation. The equation states that the static pressure plus the dynamic pressure, or one half of the density r times the velocity V squared, will give us the constant throughout the flow. This constant is called the total pressure. The Pitot tube ranges in price from 60 dollars for the most basic Pitot tube to 5,450 for an aero instruments 12V heated Pitot tube. The price is so drastic between the two due to the fact that the basic 60 dollar one is meant for an average everyday person to use. The 5,450 Pitot tube is meant for an airplane where maintenance is very expensive. They also differentiate in price depending on the type of Pitot tube that you are looking to buy. The telescoping Pitot tube runs at right about 2,950 and the s style Pitot tube is 347 dollars. The Pitot tube was a great invention and led to even greater uses down the road. Henri Pitot created something that proved to be very useful as time passed on. We are now using the Pitot tube on many different aircrafts including airplanes and helicopters. The Pitot tube on these aircrafts helps us to control the speed by measuring the total pressure. An everyday person can purchase one of these instruments online for about 60 dollars. When they are for the aircrafts the price increases exponentially. Without the Pitot tube we would not know how to find the total pressure of moving winds or liquids. This invention has been able to help us greatly, especially in aircraft travel.

Works Cited "Bernoulli's Equation." NASA - Title... Web. 18 Aug. 2010. <>. "No. 2213: Henri Pitot." University of Houston. Web. 18 Aug. 2010. <>. "Pitot-Static (Prandtl) Tube." NASA - Title... Web. 18 Aug. 2010. <>. "Pitot Tube - Shop Sales, Stores & Prices at" TheFind - Shopped & Found. Web. 18 Aug. 2010. <[sortby]=price_desc>. "Pressure Transducers." Sensors, Thermocouple, PLC, Operator Interface, Data Acquisition, RTD. Web. 18 Aug. 2010. <>.