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16. Measurement of Fluid Velocity with a Pitot Tube

Introduction • Measurement of air velocity is a common use of pitot tubes.2 1. the pitot tube measures the difference between stagnation pressure and static pressure. . but they can be used to measure the velocity of other fluids as well. A value for the fluid density is also needed. • In order to determine velocity.

for example. • Pitot tubes (also called pitot-static tubes) are used. . Introduction (cont.) • Pitot tubes are used in a variety of applications for measuring fluid velocity.3 1. inexpensive method for measuring velocity at a point in a flowing fluid.. This is a convenient. to make airflow measurements in HVAC applications and for aircraft airspeed measurements.

stagnation pressure and dynamic pressure is very helpful in the explanation of pitot tubes. Definitions • Understanding of the terms. . so they are being defined in this section. static pressure.4 2.

.5 2. Definitions (cont.) • Figure 1 .

6 2. . • It is measured through a flat opening that is parallel with the fluid flow. Definitions (cont.. It’s a measure of the amount that fluid pressure exceeds local atmospheric pressure.) • Static pressure is what is commonly called simply the pressure of the fluid. • Static pressure measurement is illustrated with the first U-tube manometer in the diagram at the left.

but it includes the effect of the fluid velocity converted to pressure. . • Stagnation pressure (also called total pressure) measurement is illustrated with the second U-tube manometer in the diagram at the left. • It is measured through a flat opening that is perpendicular to the direction of fluid flow and facing into the fluid flow.7 2.) • Stagnation pressure is also a measure of the amount that fluid pressure exceeds local atmospheric pressure.. Definitions (cont.

8 2.. . • Its measurement is illustrated with the third U-tube in the diagram at the left.) • Dynamic pressure (also called velocity pressure) is a measure of the amount that the stagnation pressure exceeds static pressure at a point in a fluid. Definitions (cont. • It can also be interpreted as the pressure created by reducing the kinetic energy to zero.

is often used for static pressure.9 3. Dynamic pressure is given by the expression. The stagnation pressure is then given by the following equation: • Pstag = P + ½ rV2 + gh • . P. Relationships • The symbol. ½ ρV2.

With the specified units for the other parameters. h is the height above a specified reference plane (ft).) • Where: r is the fluid density (slugs/ft3). V is the average velocity of the fluid (ft/sec). g is the specific weight of the fluid (lb/ft3). .10 3. Relationships (cont. pressure will be in lb/ft2..

Velocity Measurement with a Pitot Tube • Figure 2 .11 4.

which can be rearranged to: (2DP/r)1/2 • Where ΔP = Pstag – P. so the equation stagnation pressure becomes: • Pstag = P + ½ rV2 . • the the for V= .) • For pitot tube measurements and calculations.. Velocity Measurement with a Pitot Tube (cont. reference plane is taken to be at the height of pitot tube measurements.12 4.

(or Pstag – P).) • The pressure difference. Velocity Measurement with a Pitot Tube (cont. This is a concentric pitot tube. The inner tube has a stagnation pressure opening (perpendicular to the fluid flow) and the outer tube has a static pressure opening (parallel with the fluid flow). .13 4. can be measured directly with a pitot tube like the third Utube in Figure 1. ΔP.. or with a pitot tube like that shown in Figure 2.

The air is at 85 oF and 16 psia. The pitot tube registers a pressure difference of 0. Calculate the velocity of the air at that point in the duct? . Example Calculation • Consider a pitot tube being used to measure air velocity in a heating duct.14 5.021 inch of water (Pstag – P).

• Now V can be calculated: V = (2ΔP/ρ)1/2 = [(2)(0.002468 slugs/ft3. to be 0.1093 psf • The density of air at 85oF and 16 psia can be calculated using the ideal gas law.15 5.021)(5.021 inches of water = (0.021 inches of water to lb/ft2 (psf) using the conversion factor. • 0.1093)/0.204) psf = 0.) • Solution: Convert the pressure difference of 0.204 psf/in water. 5.. Example Calculation (cont.002468]1/2 = 9.41 ft/sec .

Apparatus • Pitot-Static Tube .16 6.

the fluid velocity can be calculated with the equation: V = (2ΔP/ρ)1/2. as measured with a pitot tube.17 7. . Summary • For a fluid with known density and measured difference between stagnation pressure and static pressure (ΔP).

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