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Laboratory 7

Velocity and Flow Rate

You are to evaluate methods of velocity and flow rate measurement with the aim of
understanding the characteristics of each device, limitations and sources of error.

1 Equipment
1.1 Air Velocity Measurement
1. Calibration air jet consisting of an electrically driven centrifugal fan with adjustable
inlet damper. The discharge passes through flow straightener tubes in a round pipe,
and forms a variable velocity air jet at the pipe exit.

2. Pitot-static tube connected to serve as both stagnation and pitot-static probes

3. Inclined manometers for stagnation and pitot-static pressures.

4. Constant temperature hot wire anemometer

5. Metal ruler

6. Mercury barometer

7. Thermometer

1.2 Air Flow Rate Measurement

1. Air flow rate calibration system consisting of several flow rate meters placed in series
along a pipe supplied by the building air compressor. The flow meters and their
output devices are:
a) Glass tube rotameter
b) ASME nozzle with 36” U-tube alcohol manometer
LAB 7 MEC E 301

c) ASME orifice plate with 60” U-tube alcohol manometer

d) Venturi meter with 200 mm H2 O Magnehelic gauge and 240 mm water combined
inclined /vertical manometer connected in parallel
e) Turbine meter with pulse output and frequency counter (multimeter)
f) “Laminar” flow element with inclined manometer

2. thermometer

3. DC power supply for turbine meter

4. tape measure

2 Procedure
2.1 Air Velocity Measurement
1. With the air jet fan off, center the pitot static probe by eye in the pipe and align it
with the flow direction. Clamp the probe in place with the protractor centered at 90◦
and the probe tip about 10 mm from the pipe exit. Move the hot film anemometer
probe out of the flow by sliding it up in the holder. Set the bubble levels on the
inclined manometers for proper instrument alignment and adjust the scales to read

2. Using the pitot-static probe, measure the velocity profile across the duct outlet. You
should take enough points across the duct to obtain a reasonable representation.

3. Try changing the position of the inlet flow damper to see if you can determine the
effect of flow resistance on the fan performance. What is the effect of putting more
flow resistance?

4. Read the mercury barometer, applying the appropriate temperature and gravity cor-
rections from the tables provided. This reading will be used to calculate air density.

2.2 Air Flow Rate Measurement

1. Check the zero on the magnehelic dial gauge and the level bubble and zero setting of
the inclined-vertical manometers. Turn on the compressed air supply valve and set
the maximum flow rate to 90 or 95% as indicated on the rotameter. The maximum
flow rate is limited by the range of the inclined manometers and excess flow will cause
the manometers to overflow.

LAB 7 MEC E 301

2. Divide the available range into ten approximately equal increments, as measured us-
ing the rotameter. Measure the output of the six different meters at each of these flow
settings, in decreasing order of flow rates. Readings should be made simultaneously
to allow accurate comparison of the meters. Measure the air temperature at the pipe
outlet for each flow setting. Note the resolution of each output device.

3 Assignment
You must chose a flow meter to calibrate flow measurement in a ventilation duct. Choose
one of the flow meters in the flow loop that will be attached in series to a 15 cm×20 cm air
duct expected to have mean velocities of 3 m/s. You must explain how you would use a
pitot tube to determine the airflow in the rectangular duct and compare it with a standard
flow meter upstream in a circular duct.

• Determine how you will integrate the pitot tube velocity profiles measured to deter-
mine flow rate. You will be expected to provide a very detailed explanation of how
you converted velocity to flow rate and what the associated uncertainty is.

• Choose a flow meter from the ones tested to assess the air flow. Explain why you
chose it.