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Southern Methodist University

Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering


CEE 2342/ME 2342 Fluid Mechanics
Roger O. Dickey, Ph.D., P.E.

II. HYDROSTATICS
A. Pressure Measurement and Units
B. Pressure Variation in a Static Fluid
Reading Assignment:
Chapter 2 Fluid Statics, Sections 2.1 through 2.7
A. Pressure Measurement and Units
Pressure is expressed as a difference from a
reference datum. Common reference datums are:
Complete vacuum absolute zero pressure
Local atmospheric pressure
Definitions,
Absolute pressure the difference between the
pressure at the point and absolute zero pressure
Gauge Pressure the difference between the
pressure at the point and local atmospheric
pressure
Most pressure measuring devices, called pressure
gauges, measure the fluid pressure relative to local
atmospheric pressure, hence the term gauge
pressure.
Absolute pressures > 0
Gauge pressure < 0 a partial vacuum exits
Gauge pressure > 0 pressurization above
atmospheric pressure
Common pressure measuring devices include:
Piezometer tube
U-tube manometer
Differential U-tube manometer
Inclined tube manometer
Bourdon tube pressure gauge
Diaphragm-strain gauge pressure transducers
Figure 2.9 (p. 52)
Piezometer tube.
Figure 2.10 (p. 53)
Simple U-tube manometer.
Figure 2.11 (p. 54)
Differential U-tube
manometer.
Figure 2.12 (p. 56)
Inclined-tube manometer; used for accurate
measurement of low differential pressures.
Figure 2.13 (p. 57)
(a) Liquid-filled Bourdon pressure gages for various
pressure ranges. (b) Internal elements of Bourdon
gages. The C-shaped Bourdon tube is shown on the
left, and the coiled spring Bourdon tube for high
pressures of 1000 psi and above is shown on the right.
(Photographs courtesy of Weiss Instruments, Inc.)
Figure 2.14 (p. 58)
Pressure transducer which combines a linear
variable differential transformer (LVDT) with a
Bourdon gage. (From Ref. 4, used by permission.)
Figure 2.15 (p. 59)
Diaphragm-strain gauge
pressure transducer (a) photo,
(b) schematic diagram
(b)
(a)
Local atmospheric pressure is measured with a
device called a barometer (mercury barometer
invented by Toricelli in 1644).

Standard
Atmospheric
Pressure
(absolute pressure)
14.7 psi
2,116 lb/ft
2
29.92 inches of mercury
33.91 ft of water
1 atm
760 mm of mercury
101.325 kPa
10.34 m of water
Figure 2.8 (p. 51)
Mercury barometer.
Aneroid barometers are
similar in design to Bourdon
tube pressure gauges, but
with the interior of the
sensing element evacuated to
near absolute zero pressure.
The sensing element then
deflects in response to
changing ambient
atmospheric pressure. Aneroid barometer
Any gauge pressure measurement can be
converted to absolute pressure as follows,


Convention:
All pressures are gauge pressures unless
specifically indicated as absolute (e.g., psia).
atmosphere gauge absolute
P P P + =
B. Pressure Variation in a Static Fluid
Pascals Law (stated in 1653 by Blaise Pascal),
The pressure is the same in all directions at
any point in a fluid with no shear stresses
(i.e., t = 0).
From Newtons Law of Viscosity,



t = 0
dy
du
t =
du/dy = 0, i.e., the fluid is at rest
= 0, i.e., the fluid is non-viscous
Since pressure at a point in a static fluid is
independent of direction, pressure is a scalar
quantity. Conversely, pressure forces exerted on
surfaces by fluids are vectors, always acting in a
direction normal to the surface.
Vector a physical quantity having both
magnitude and direction, and that
obeys the rules of vector algebra.
Corollary to Pascals Law relating to pressure
transmission,
In a closed fluid system, a pressure change
applied at one point in the system will be
transmitted throughout the system.
The phenomena of pressure transmission in a
fluid system is widely applied in hydraulic
systems:
Brakes
Aircraft control surfaces
Jacks and lifts
Presses



Auto
Hydraulic
Brakes
Aircraft Hydraulic Systems
Control Surfaces, Landing
Gear
Manual Hydraulic Press
Hydraulic Jack
Construction Equipment
Cherry Pickers
In analysis of pressure transmission in hydraulic
systems, the variation in pressure with elevation
is usually neglected.
Refer to Handout II.B. Hydraulic Lift
Example for a simple example problem.
For deriving a general equation describing
pressure variation in a static fluid, consider the
free-body diagram for an arbitrary cylindrical
fluid element having constant cross-sectional
area, A, and length, l, inclined at an arbitrary
angle u from the horizontal within a static fluid
mass:
u
y
z
x
W
Free Surface
Apply Newtons 2
nd
Law of Motion along the
longitudinal axis of the cylindrical element, i.e.,
in the l-direction:


Thus,

ma F =

0, for static fluids


0 =

F
There are no shear stresses in a static fluid.
Hence, the only forces acting on the fluid
element are: (i) gravity, i.e., weight of the
element, W, acting in the z-direction, (ii) fluid
pressure force, pA, acting normal to the lower
end of the element in the +l-direction, and (iii)
fluid pressure force, (p+p)A, acting normal
to the upper end of the element in the l-
direction. Summing the forces in the l-direction:
( ) 0 = A A + A

W A p p A p
W
l
is the component force of the weight acting
in the l-direction:
u u sin sin W W
W
W
= =

u
W u
The total weight of the cylindrical fluid element
is given by:
( ) A A = A W
Specific
Weight of
the Fluid
Cylinder Volume = Base Area Height

Thus, W
l
is:


Substituting into the equation resulting from
application of Newtons 2
nd
Law:
( ) u sin

A A = A W
( ) ( ) 0 sin = A A A A + A u A A p p A p
Dividing through by A:


Subtract out p, divide through by l and
rearrange:
0 sin = A A u p p p
u sin =
A
A

p
Now consider that:




By definition:
u
z
A
A
=
z
u sin
2 2
y x A + A
Substituting z/l for sin u in the equation
resulting from application of Newtons 2
nd
Law:


Multiplying through by l and rearranging:
A
A
=
A
A z p

=
A
A
z
p
Taking the limit as z0 yields,


where,
p = pressure [F/L
2
]
z = distance in vertical direction above a
horizontal datum [L]
= specific weight of the fluid [F/L
3
]
Basic Equation of Fluid
Statics, Equation (2.4), p. 44;
applies to both compressible
and incompressible fluids
=
dz
dp
Given that the derivation was based on an
arbitrary fluid element, several general
conclusions may be drawn from this result:
When moving along a path in a static fluid,
pressure changes occur only when there is a
change in elevation (i.e., movement in the
vertical, or z-direction)
There is no change in pressure along any
horizontal plane through a static fluid
The greatest pressure gradient is achieved
when following a vertical path (i.e., when
moving in the z-direction)
dp/dz < 0 since > 0, revealing that moving
upward (z increasing) through a static fluid
results in a pressure decrease, and moving
downward (z decreasing) results in a
pressure increase
Increasing pressure with greater depth results
from the increasing weight of the overlying
fluid column
No limitations were placed on the
compressibility of the fluid, therefore, the
basic differential equation holds for both
compressible and incompressible fluids;
= f(z), for compressible fluids
= constant, for incompressible fluids
Reconsider the Basic Equation of Fluid Statics,


Solve this first-order, linear, ordinary differential
equation by separation of variables, integrating
between two points at differing elevations z
1
and
z
2
having pressures p
1
and p
2
, respectively:
=
dz
dp
} }
=
2
1
2
1
z
z
p
p
dz dp
For incompressible fluids, is constant and may
be factored from the integral on the right-hand
side of the equation; integration then yields:


Where p
1
and p
2
are pressures at points located at
vertical elevations z
1
and z
2
, respectively, above
a horizontal reference plane (the xy-plane) as
illustrated in Figure 2.3, p. 44 in the textbook:
( )
1 2 1 2
z z p p =
Basic Equation of
Hydrostatics;
incompressible fluids only
Figure 2.3, p. 44 Modified
Free Surface (pressure = p
0
)
( )
1 2
z z z = A
Point 2
Point 1
Divide both sides of the Basic Equation of
Hydrostatics by and rearrange, yielding another
common form of the equation,


Each term has dimensions of [L]. For the p/ terms:
2
2
1
1
z

p
z

p
+ = +
Alternate form of the
Basic Equation of
Hydrostatics;
incompressible fluids only
| | L
L F
L F

3
2
In this latter form of the equation:
1. p/ is referred to as the pressure head,
i.e., the equivalent depth of liquid having
specific weight that produces the
pressure, p.
2. z is referred to as the elevation head, i.e.,
the gravitational potential energy per unit
weight of fluid.
* Important Points
1. Both forms of the Basic Equation of
Hydrostatics apply between any two points
in a continuous, incompressible, static fluid
mass.
2. Fluids adhering to the Basic Equation of
Hydrostatics are said to have a hydrostatic
pressure distribution.
When applying the Basic Equation of
Hydrostatics where there is a free surface
exposed to atmospheric pressure, it is usually
convenient to choose the free surface as the
horizontal reference plane, defining an alternate
coordinate system based on depth, h, below the
surface. Notice that (z
2
z
1
) = (h
1
h
2
):
Figure 2.3, p. 44 Modified
Free Surface (pressure = p
0
)
( ) ( )
2 1 1 2
h h z z z = = A
h
h
2
h
1
Point 2
Point 1
Write the Basic Equation of Hydrostatics starting
from an initial point located at an arbitrary depth h
below the surface, having pressure p and elevation
z, moving upward to a second point on the free
surface (i.e., at zero depth) having pressure p
0
and
elevation z
0
,

as defined on the following sketch:
( ) z z p p =
0 0

z

z
0
pressure = p

h = (z
0
z)

h
z
x
y
Free Surface (pressure = p
0
)
Transform to the new coordinate system by
substituting h for (z
0
z) ,


Solve for the pressure, p, at depth h,
h p p =
0
0
p h p + =
Equation (2.8), p.45
When a barometer reading is used to set p
0
equal
to local atmospheric pressure, the previous
equation yields the absolute pressure at depth h
below the surface. Setting p
0
= 0 yields the
gauge pressure at depth h:
Gauge pressure at depth h
below a free liquid surface
h p =
*Important Point
Pressure in a fluid having a hydrostatic pressure
distribution depends only on the depth of the fluid
relative to some horizontal reference plane, it is
not influenced by the size or shape of the fluids
container. For example, the pressure is constant at
all points along horizontal Plane A-B through the
irregularly shaped but continuous, homogenous
fluid mass illustrated in the following figure:
Fluid equilibrium in a container of arbitrary
shape.
Example applications of the Basic Equation of
Hydrostatics are presented in Handout II.B.
Hydrostatics Examples.
Homework No. 4 Pressure, application of the
Basic Equation of Hydrostatics, and manometry.
Manometry
Manometers are pressure measuring devices
that employ liquid columns in vertical or
inclined tubes. Common types include:
1. Mercury barometers
2. Piezometers
3. U-tube manometers
4. Differential U-tube manometers
1. Mercury barometer,
Figure 2.8 (p. 51)

m
z
Apply the Basic Equation of Hydrostatics from
Point B to Point A for the mercury barometer:

But here,
p
A
= p
vapor
the vapor pressure of
mercury in the head space at the
ambient temperature
p
B
= p
atm
local atmospheric pressure
h = (z
A
z
B
)
( )
B A m B A
z z p p =
Substituting,

Then solving for p
atm
yields:

Mercury has a very low vapor pressure at
normal ambient temperatures, hence, it is often
assumed negligible yielding,
h p p
m atm vapor
=
vapor m atm
p h p + =
h p
m atm
~
h
1
2. Piezometer Tubes
A

1
z
Apply Equation (2.8), p. 45 from Point A to the free
surface at the open end (Point 0) of either piezometer
tube shown on the previous slide:

Set p
0
= 0 to yield the gauge pressure at Point A,

Notice that Point A inside the pipe and Point (1) in
the piezometer bend are at the same elevation, hence,
p
A
= p
1
.
0 1 1
p h p
A
+ =
1 1
h p
A
=
Piezometer Wells
3. U-tube manometer,
Figure 2.10 (p. 53)
*Manometer Problem Solving Hints
When following a path through a continuous
column of static manometer fluid having
constant , use the following sign convention
and assumptions for rapid problem solution:
1. h > 0 when moving downward (pressure
increases)
2. h < 0 when moving upward (pressure
decreases)
3. h = 0 when moving horizontally (pressure
unchanged because h unchanged)
4. 0 for gases without introducing
significant error
Analyze the simple U-tube manometer in Figure
2.10, p. 53 using the rapid problem solving hints,
starting with the pressure at Point A, p
A
, and then
proceeding along a path through the manometer
tube to the free surface where the pressure is zero
(i.e., atmospheric pressure):
First, there is no change in pressure when
moving horizontally along the path between
Point A and Point (1), hence,
p
1
= p
A
When moving downward along a path
from Point (1) to Point (2), the pressure
increases by an amount +
1
h
1
such that,
p
2
= p
A
+
1
h
1

There is no change in pressure when
proceeding from Point (2) to Point (3)
through the tube because these points lie in
the same horizontal plane passing through
the gauge fluid, thus p
3
= p
2
, that is,
p
3
= p
A
+
1
h
1
When moving upward from Point (3) to the
free surface (Point 0), the pressure
decreases by an amount
2
h
2
such that,
p
0
= p
A
+
1
h
1

2
h
2

Set p
0
= 0, and solve for the unknown
gauge pressure p
A
,
p
A
=
2
h
2

1
h
1

Equation (2.14), p. 53
If the fluid in the pipe at Point A is a gas,
then
1
0 when compared to
2
for the
liquid gauge fluid, then,
p
A

2
h
2

4. Differential U-tube
manometer, Figure 2.11
(p. 54)

Analyze the differential U-tube manometer in
Figure 2.11, p. 54, using the rapid problem
solving hints, starting with the pressure at Point
A, p
A
, and then proceeding along a path through
the manometer tube to Point B where the pressure
is p
B
:
First, there is no change in pressure when
moving horizontally along the path between
Point A and Point (1)

When moving downward along a path
from Point (1) to Point (2), the pressure
increases by an amount +
1
h
1

There is no change in pressure when
proceeding from Point (2) to Point (3)
through the tube because these points lie in
the same horizontal plane
When moving upward from Point (3) to
Point (4), the pressure decreases by an
amount
2
h
2

When moving upward from Point (4) to
Point (5), the pressure decreases by an
amount
3
h
3

There is no change in pressure when
moving horizontally along the path
between Point (5) and Point B
The pressure at Point B, p
B
, is determined by
summing the pressure changes while proceeding
along the path through the manometer tube
between Points A and B:
p
A
+
1
h
1

2
h
2

3
h
3
= p
B

The differential pressure, Ap = p
A
p
B
, is then,
Ap =
2
h
2
+
3
h
3

1
h
1

Refer to Handout II.B. Manometry
Examples for additional example problems.
Homework No. 5 Pressure, pressure
measurement, force due to pressure, and
manometry.