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Flow is fluid in motion. Gases, like liquids, flow from one point to another depending on
pressure and temperature. When fluids flow, they mix easily because of the continual movement
between molecules. The rate that a fluid flows is a measure of how much fluid is flowing or
moving through a pipe or channel within a given period of time. The term flow is often used
interchangeably with flow rate in industry.
Fluid movement may be either laminar or turbulent depending on the path taken.

When the path is smooth and without obstruction, the flow is called, laminar flow, also
called streamlined flow since the molecules line out to a smooth flowing pattern.
Piping bends, corrosion, valves or any other obstruction to the flow inside a line causes
turbulence or turbulent flow. If a stream of water passes over rock formations, the water looks
like it is boiling and may even cause bubbles to form as air is entrained into the water from the
turbulence. If an airplane goes through a section of turbulent air flowing by the plane, then the
plane moves violently in response to the turbulence. At first this may seem undesirable, but in
most cases, the opposite is true. A turbulent flow is consistent and therefore manageable.
Reynolds Number
The Reynolds number can be used to identify whether a flow is laminar or turbulent. The
Reynolds number is a mathematical computation known as the fluid velocity profile that
describes flowing fluids numerically.
Types of Flow Measurement:
1. Direct and Indirect Flow Measurement
Total flow is a direct form of flow measurement as determined by totalizers. Flow
indicators such as flappers and paddlewheels seem to be direct but indicate the result of

an impinging fluid force, categorizing them as indirect flow measurement devices. Flow
rate is measured indirectly. Indirect flow measurement measures one variable in the
process to infer another. Although there are devices known as direct-read flow meters
(such as rotameters, weirs, etc.), these are still indirect methods when examined closely.
2. Positive Displacement Flow Measurement
Positive displacement flow measurement is used within industry where the
measurements of absolute volumes are required.
3. Percentage Flow Rate
Percentage flow rate is a common way to indicate a flowing process. A 100
percent flow rate is equated to an actual quantity such as gallons per minute (gpm).
4. Volumetric Flow Units
Volumetric flow units are instantaneous flow rate measurements for how much
volume passes through a certain location in a pipe or channel per unit of time.
5. Mass Flow Units
Mass flow rate is a measure of how much actual mass passes a certain location
per unit of time.

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Weir is defined as a barrier over which the water flows in an open channel. The edge or surface
over which the water flows is called the crest. The overflowing sheet of water is the nappe.

If the nappe discharges into the air, the weir has free discharge. If the discharge is partly under
water, the weir is submerged or drowned.
Types of Weirs.
A weir with a sharp upstream corner or edge such that the water springs clear of the crest
is a sharp-crested weir. All other weirs are classed as weirs not sharp crested. Sharp-crested
weirs are classified according to the shape of the weir opening, such as rectangular weirs,
triangular or V-notch weirs, and trapezoidal weirs. Weirs not sharp crested are classified
according to the shape of their cross section, such as broad-crested weirs, triangular weirs, and
trapezoidal weirs.
The channel leading up to a weir is the channel of approach. The mean velocity in this
channel is the velocity of approach. The depth of water producing the discharge is the head.
Sharp-crested weirs are useful only as a means of measuring flowing water. In contrast, weirs not
sharp crested are commonly incorporated into hydraulic structures as control or regulation
devices, with measurement of flow as their secondary function.


1) Rectangular Weir

The Francis formula for the discharge of a sharp-crested rectangular weir having a length b
greater than 3h is:
q = 3.33 (b - 0.2 h) h3/2
q = flow rate (ft3/s)
h = head on the weir (ft)
b = width of the weir (ft)

2) Triangular Weir

The discharge of triangular weirs with notch angles of 30, 60, and 90 is given by the formulas

Discharge of Triangular Weirs

Notch (vertex) angle Discharge formula






h is as defined above in the Francis formula.

3) Trapezoidal (Cipolletti) Weir

The Cipolletti weir, extensively used for irrigation work, is trapezoidal in shape. The sides slope
outward from the crest at an inclination of 1:4, (horizontal/vertical). The discharge is
where b, h, and Q are as defined earlier. The advantage of this type of weir is that no correction
needs to be made for contractions.