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Valves and Fittings
Goals
• Calculate frictional losses in a system
containing valves, fittings, and sudden
expansions and contractions
• Express frictional losses in terms of velocity
head
• Assess relative contributions of different
sources to total viscous dissipation
Sudden Expansion
Frictional losses occur as result of turbulence generated
immediately downstream of the expansion
Sudden Expansion
Assume
2
2
a
e fe
V
K h =
Ke is the expansion loss coefficient which we will
attempt to describe in terms of flow properties.
How will we do that?
Macroscopic Balances
Sudden Expansion
Mass Balance
b b b a a a
S V S V µ µ =
b
a
a b
S
S
V V =
Sudden Expansion
Momentum Balance
( )
g w b b b a a a b b
F F S p S p V V m + ÷ ÷ = ÷ 
0 0
Assume turbulent: 
1
= 
2
= 1
What’s ‘wrong’ with this?
Replaced S
a
with S
b
Momentum Balance
( ) ( )
a b b a b
V V m p p S ÷ = ÷
( )
a b
b
V V
S
m
p ÷

.

\

= A ÷
( )
a b b
V V V ÷ = µ
 
b a b
V V V ÷ =
2
µ
Mechanical Energy Balance
( )
( )
f
a b
a a b b
h
p p
z g V V W +
÷
+ A + ÷ =
µ
o o
2 2
2
1
ˆ
Assume turbulent: o
1
= o
2
= 1
0 0
µ
µ
p V V
p p V V
h
b a
b a b a
f
A ÷
+
÷
=
÷
+
÷
=
2
2
2 2
2 2
Combining
( )  
b a b
b a
f
V V V
V V
h ÷ +
÷
=
2
2 2
1
2
µ
µ
( )
2
2
2
2
2 2
b a
b b a a
V V
V V V V
÷
=
+ ÷
=
Final Result
Recall Mass Balance Result:
b
a
a b
S
S
V V =
2
1
2
2
a
b
a
f
V
S
S
h


.

\

÷ =
Notes:
• Velocity head is based on smaller cross section
• What if flow becomes laminar in large pipe?
Sudden Contractions
At sudden contractions, flow streamlines converge causing
the downstream developed flow to have an area smaller
than the downstream pipe diameter. This flow constriction
is called the vena contracta. Viscous dissipation occurs in
the vortices developed in this area.
Sudden Contraction
Development of an expression for sudden contraction
proceeds in much the same way as that for sudden
expansion with the definition of a contraction coefficient.
2
2
b
c fc
V
K h =
For laminar flow experimentally, Kc < 0.1 and h
fc
is
usually neglected


.

\

÷ =
a
b
c
S
S
K 1 4 . 0 Turbulent (empirical):
Note: Calculations again based on small cross section.
Valves and Fittings
2
2
a
f ff
V
K h =
Note: Use the bulk
velocity upstream
of the fitting.
Globe valve, wide open K
f
= 6 Check valve (ball) K
f
= 70
Angle valve, wide open K
f
= 2 Check valve (swing) K
f
= 2
Gate valve: Foot valve K
f
= 15
wide open K
f
= 0.17 Butterfly valve (5° closed) K
f
= 0.24
half open K
f
= 4.5 Standard water meter K
f
= 7
Elbow Return bend K
f
= 1.5
90° K
f
= 0.75 Tee K
f
= 1
45° K
f
= 0.35
Summary for Fittings
For a group of fittings and expansions/contractions note that
the form of the equation for h
f
is the same, a coefficient
multiplied by the velocity head. As long a the bulk average
velocity is the same (same diameter piping) for a given pipe
segment, the following expression can be used for the
overall friction loss term.
2
4
2
V
K
D
L
f h
i
i f
(
¸
(
¸
+ =
¿
Alternate Method
The previous equation can be manipulated to change the
K
f
values into equivalent lengths of pipe (see attached
table) of diameter D. When this method is used the
equivalent lengths are add to the length of the actual pipe
sections and the equation becomes.
2
4
2
V
D
L
f h
total
f
(
¸
(
¸
=
Note: The values in the table are L/D and must be
multiplied by D to get equivalent lengths.
Velocity Heads
( )
2
4
2
V
K K K
D
L
f z z g
p p
f e c b a
b a

.

\

+ + + = ÷ +
÷
µ
The above expression shows that friction loss in a complicated flow
system can be expressed as a number of velocity heads. It is a measure
of momentum loss resulting from flow through the system. For instance in
making a 90° turn all xmomentum is turned into ymomentum.
6 1 = =
Globe Tee
K K
Valve Video Notes
Gate On/Off
Globe Flow Control (small system)
Plug On/Off
Ball On/Off
Butterfly Flow Control (large system)
Diaphragm Toxic or Corrosive Fluids
Check Flow Direction
Control Flow Control
Solenoid On/Off
V
a
l
v
e
T
y
p
e
s
a
n
d
U
s
e
s
Hydraulic Shocks
Bypass lines for High Ap Valves
Example
a
e
c
Tank 1
L
2
=10 ft
5” Sch. 40 Steel
P
e
= 30 psig
Tank 2
d
b
L
2
=90 ft
4” Sch. 40 Steel
∆Z
ab
= 10 ft
∆Z
bc
= +0.5 ft
∆Z
cd
= +75 ft
∆Z
de
= +15 ft
gate valve (open)
Water is pumped at 250 gpm from tank 1 to tank 2 as
shown. Calculate the required power input to the
pump assuming a pump efficiency of 70%.
Practical Use of Velocity Heads
In Making Design Calculations
2
4
2
V
K
D
L
f h
i
i f
(
¸
(
¸
+ =
¿
To calculate the importance of various terms in h
f
,
compare 4f(L/D) to K
i
. If 4f(L/D) >> Ki, then effect of
fittings can be neglected.
Suppose 4f(L/D) = 1. Then h
f
is equivalent to 1 velocity
head. Is there a quick way to determine the number of
velocity heads loss for a given length of pipe?
Friction Loss Estimates
4f(L/D) = 1 is equivalent to
f D
L
4
1
=
For turbulent flow, f typically varies from 0.002 – 0.01,
which corresponds to L/D values of 125 – 25. For
ordinary practice an average f of 0.005 is not unusual
and leads to L/D = 50.
This means that 50 pipe diameters will generate a friction
loss equal to about one velocity head.
Estimate of Friction Losses
To estimate friction loss in a actual pipe
system use the following equation:
50
#
D
L
heads velocity ~
Example
A 3in diameter pipe, 180 ft in length, contains one gate
valve (wide open) and a 90° elbow. Determine the largest
source of viscous dissipation by comparing velocity heads.
¿
=
=
=
92 . 0
75 . 0
17 . 0
90
i
valve
K
K
K
4 . 14
50
25 .
180
50
=
=
D
L
Fittings Pipe
Since 14.4 >> 0.92 friction losses in the pipe outweigh the
losses in the fittings and the fittings can be ignored. What if
L = 12 ft?
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