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Experiment V Viscosity of Oil by the Rotating

Cylinder Method
Brendan Arnold
27th April 2003

Abstract
We measured the viscosity, (), of Energol oil using Searles original rotating cylinder method but with significant improvements in data
collection. We determined to be 0.1228 0.0130 dyne second centimetres at room temperature (18.6o C) by immersing the cylinder in
various depths. Following that we investigated how the viscosity varies
with temperature. We varified the relationship exp(Ea /kb ) where
Ea , the activation energy, was found to be (1.3130.071)1025 joules.

Introduction

Viscosity is a measure of the internal friction of a fluid. For water, this was
determined by allowing it to flow through a narrow tube, however this technique is problematic for more viscous fluids. Dr G. F. C. Searle developed an
accurate method for such fluids, (in particular Lyles Golden Syrup). Our
setup is fundamentally identical to Searles apparatus save the fact that our
data was taken electronically thus reducing much of the human error in time
measurement. In addition our apparatus was furnished with a system for
evenly heating the oil to a variety of temperatures allowing us to investigate
the effects of heat on viscosity.
Knowing the viscosity of a fluid is critical when dealing with problems
of lubrication. Motor oil, for example, has its viscosity rated as well as how
it varies with temperature which is essential for engineers who design car
engines and other high performance machinery.

2
2.1

Setup
Equipment

Our apparatus is illustrated in figure 1 below.


Rotating arm

Pulley wheel

Optoelectronic switch

Spindle

Water In

Oil

Inner cylinder

Water jacket

4 bit counter
(see fig. 2)

Weight
Water Out

Baffle plate
Screw to adjust
depth of immersion

Outer cylinder

Figure 1: The main apparatus


Searles menthod involves a rotating inner cylinder partially immersed in
the sample fluid contained in the outer cylinder. The inner cylinder is under
a constant, known, torque provided by two weights connected to a spool
on the inner cylinder via a pair of pulleys. When the weights are released,
the angular velocity of the cylinder increases until it reaches a stage where
the resistive force due to the viscosity of the fluid equals the force due to
the weights and the angular velocity remains constant. By measuring this
velocity, we can calculate the viscosity of the fluid.
The apparatus which we used also featured a water jacket around the
outer cylinder through which water of varying temperatures could be pumped.
This helped us to maintain a constant temperature in the oil (avoiding the
effects of frictional heating) and also enabled us to investigate the effects
of temperature on the viscosity. The water was pumped through from an
adequately large reservoir which could be heated using an electronic element. Although it featured it own thermomenter it was imprecise for our
2

purposes and so the temperature was taken using a seperate electric thermometer. The reservoir was mixed by a paddle connected to an electric
motor to ensure even heating.
The depth of immersion of the inner cylinder can be adjusted by loosening a screw and working the outer cylinder up or down around the inner
cylinder. The inner cylinder had a scale etched onto it calibrated in millimetres allowing us to easily obtain the correct depth. The baffle plate below
the inner cylinder prevents the fluid in the area below from rotating with
the cylinder and causing an unwanted whirlpool effect.
All diameters were measured using calipers and masses were measured
using the Sartorus balance in the level 2 laboratory. Because it is difficult
to measure the outer cylinder width directly, the width was calculated by
taking the diameter of the entire apparatus and substracting the width of
the water jacket.
2.1.1

The timer and interface

The opto-electric switch was connected to a timer via a 4 bit counter interface. The interface featured two array of four switches, one array set the
number of rotations at which the timer starts, the other set the number
of rotations at which the timer stops. The basics of the interface unit are
shown in figure 2.
From optoelectric
switch

4 binary select
switches

Reset button

Conditioning and
divide by two

4 bit digital
comparator

Output P

4 bit digital
comparator

Output Q

Counter/Timer

4 bit digital
counter

Instrument

Timer Interface Unit

4 binary select
switches

Figure 2: The timer and interface


The four binary switches can recognise a total of sixteen distinct states.
To allow for up to thiry two rotations, each state corresponded to two rotations, hence the divide by two step. However, this meant we were restricted
to setting an even number of rotations.
Both the counter and timer had to be reset after each trial.

2.2

Procedure

To find the viscosity of the oil at room temperature, we experimented with


the oil at various depth of immersion and with various weights applying the
torque. Care was taken that the temperature did not vary too much within
the oil whilst trials took place. We then experimented with a depth of 4cm
and various temperatures and weights using the water jacket. We took the
average of ten measurements for each experiment to reduce random error.

3
3.1

Theory
Newtons Law of Viscous Flow

Imagine that liquid flows in layers over a flat surface. It has been shown
experimentally that the layer at x + dx distance from the surface flows at a
greater relative velocity than a layer of liquid at distance x from the surface.
If we call the difference in velocities between the layers dv then we get a
velocity gradient of dv/dx, see figure 3.
v
dx
dv

Surface

Figure 3: Illustration of laminar flow


Resisting this relative motion between layers is what is known as the
internal friction of viscosity which is a force proportional to the velocity
gradient. This can be written
dv
(1)
dx
where F is the internal friction of viscosity between layers of area A and
is known as the coefficient of viscosity of the liquid and has units N.s/m 2 .
Equation 1 is known as Newtons Law of Viscous Flow[2]. Note that this
only holds for the flow of liquid described above, known as laminar flow.
F = A

3.2

Application to the Rotating Cylinder Apparatus

We need to apply Newtons Law of Viscous Flow to a rotating cylinder. The


fact that the oil is stationary and that it is the surface (the cylinder) that
moves is irrelevant. We substitute the velocity v for rd, where is the
angular velocity of the fluid and r is the distance the fluid is from the axle
in cm. For the sake of convenience we also convert to the c.g.s units of
dyne.s/cm2 or poises. To avoid confusion, we now write it as . Equation
1 can then be written
d
(2)
dr
The rest of this subsection is closely based on a derivation described in
Searles original paper[1].
F = rA

a
b

dv Outer cylinder

wall

Inner Cylinder

Figure 4: Key measurements


When the cylinder reaches its equilibrium angular velocity, , the moment, (Force perpendicular distance), due to the weights on the spindle
G is equal to the moment exerted on the cylinder by the viscous action of
the oil. Assuming the cylinder is radius r cm and immersed to a depth h
cm, we get
d
.r
dr

(3)

G 1
d
=
. .
dr
2h r 3

(4)

G = r2rh
or

The solution to this is


=

G
1
. 2 +C
2h 2r
5

(5)

where C is a constant such that = 0, when r = a (i.e. at the outer


cylinder wall). Hence


G
1
1
=

.
(6)
4h r 2 a2
When r = b, the angular velocity is , and so


1
1
G

.
=
4h b2 a2

(7)

Rearranging, we get

G a2 b 2
=
(8)
4ha2 b2
We know G to be the torque produced by the weights on the spool. If
the spool has radius D cm and the total mass of the two weights is M grms.,
then G = DM g. The angular velocity, , is 2/T , where T is the time for
one rotation in seconds. Hence we finish with the formula


gD a2 b2
MT
(9)
=
8 2 a2 b2
h+k
where k is an offset of h due to the drag induced by the bottom of the
inner cylinder. To determine k we use the fact that M T (h + k) for a
given . By plotting a graph of M T against h, we find k as the point where
the line crosses the h axis.
k induces a moment according to the area of the bottom of the cylinder
(b2 ). This will be less than the moment induced by a similar area on
the side of the cylinder (2bh) because of the overall shorter moment arm.
Equating the two, we find a valid range for k to be
b
2
which can use this to varify our experimental results.
0<k<

3.3

Variation of with temperature

A fluids viscosity arises from intermolecular forces. An increase in temperature of a fluid gives the molecules greater kinetic energy and weaken these
forces. Hence viscosity decreases with temperature.

Although subject to much investigation, there is no universal formula


which encompassess all fluids, however, an approximate relationship which
can be derived[4] that would suit our purposes is listed below.
Ea

= Ae kb

(10)

Where A is a pre-exponential constant, k b is the Boltzman constant,


is temperature in Kelvins and Ea is known as the activation energy, a value
which corresponds to the energy needed for a molecule to move past its
neighbours in a liquid[7].

3.4

Non-laminer flow

Equation 9 based on the assumption of laminar flow. However, laminar flow


can break down once a critical velocity is passed. The particular type of
flow in this experiment is prone to what are known as Taylor Vortices, see
figure 5.

Inner, rotating
cylinder

Outer cylinder
wall

Figure 5: Taylor Vortices


As the oil spins, the centripetal force acts outwards on the fast moving
oil nearer the centre. This is balanced by the pressure gradient. At lower
velocities, any tiny radial movement due to, say, a lorry passing outside, is
absorbed by the viscosity of the slower moving oil further out. At high speed
however, the movement outwards may be quick enough so that the angular
momentum is preserved, the velocity increases and hence does the cetripetal
force. If this is greater than the pressure gradient, we get outward flow. 1
1

For a more mathematical explanation, see reference, [5]

Although calculation of the actual velocity at which Taylors Vortices


appear is beyond the scope of this experiment, we should be able to observe
an uncharacterstic reduction in equilibrium velocity should non-laminar flow
occur, since a great deal of energy is dissapated in vortices.

Results

We intended to take results over twenty two rotations, however we failed to


check the equipment between laboratory sessions. After much investigation,
it is apparent that after the first two sets of data the results were taken over
twelve rotations. For the analysis we have assumed that this was the case,
although of course we cannot be certain.
Below is a table of measured constants and their determined errors.
Constant
a
b
D
m

Description
Outer cylinder radius
Inner cylinder radius
Spool radius
Total mass of pans

Value
(2.53 0.050) cm
(1.87 0.025) cm
(0.96 0.025) cm
(13.779 0.001) grms

After a few trial runs we collected data for room temperature (18 o C) at
different depths and weights. For a given depth, M T is constant, hence we
took an average over a range of weights. We plotted our results in a graph
of M T against h (figure 6). We find the value of k to be (0.537 0.093)
cm which fits within our expected range.
50
45
40

MT (grms.S)

35
30
25

f(x)=10.096x+5.422

20
15
10
5
0
1

k=0.537cm

2
h (cm)

Figure 6: Determining k, the end correction value

4.1

Variation of with temperature

The rest of our data was taken with a constant depth of 4 cm and a variety
of temperatures and weights. Our experimental values for viscosity, e are
tabulated below along with the manufacturers value, m 2 .
Temp. (o C)
18.6
18.6
18.6
18.6
18.6
25.0
30.0
35.0
40.0

Depth (cm)
0.5
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0

e (Dyne.S/cm2 )
0.125 0.018
0.123 0.014
0.124 0.012
0.117 0.010
0.126 0.011
0.082 0.007
0.049 0.003
0.035 0.003
0.028 0.003

m (Dyne.S/cm2 )
0.137 0.018
0.137 0.018
0.137 0.018
0.137 0.018
0.137 0.018
0.080 0.005
0.057 0.002
0.038 0.001
0.027 0.001

ln[] (1/ln[Dynes.S/cm2])

0.25

0.3

0.35

0.4

0.45

0.5

0.55

15

20

25

30
Temp (Deg. C)

35

40

45

Figure 7: The linear relationship between 1/ ln() and temperature


1/ ln() was plotted against temperature to establish the E a /kb from the
gradient. The activation energy was found to be (1.3130.071)10 25 joules.
The full relationship between temperature and is shown in equation 11.
= 4.771e
2

1.3131025
kb

For a full list of calculated values, including weights, see appendix B

(11)

4.2

Typical sample of results

The following is a sample of typical results for various weights at room


temperature. This one in particular is for room temperature (18.6 o C) at a
depth of 1cm.
Weight (g)
13.779
23.779
33.779
47.779
53.779

(Dynes.S/cm2 )
0.168 0.020
0.123 0.014
0.108 0.013
0.110 0.013
0.106 0.012

Discussion

Our results at room temperature show an obvious linear relationship between depth, h, and the value M T . This yields a value of k that satisfies
0 < k < b/2. Our results for the reciprocal of the log of viscosity against
temperature also show, a less striking, linear relationship. This however can
be explained by the fact that the measurement of temperature was relatively
imprecsise with an estimated accuracy of 1 o C and the exponential relationship between temperature and viscosity meant that this could make a great
deal of difference. Nonethless the experimental values for closely resemble
those of the manufacturers with most results falling within a margin of one
or two errors. These slight differences could be due to contamination of the
oil with dust or other airbourne particles or maybe wear has affected the
properties of the oil.
As we can see from our typical sample of data for room temperature, the
viscosity decreased as the trials went on, when it should have remained the
same. This is also echoed by a consistantly lower than expected value for
the viscosity in all the room temperature trials. This is almost certainly due
to the effect of heating by the rotation of the cylinder since during the room
temerature trials we did not use the stabalising effect of the water jacket.
Taking the first trial for 1cm depth at room temperature, the manufacturers
data suggest that it was at a temperature of 18.4 o C, taking the final result
in this set of data the manufacturers data suggests a temperature of 22 o C,
an increase of around 3.5o C. For future experiments it would be advisable
to have water flowing through the jacket at all times to act as a heatsink.
It is interesting to note that in most cases the viscosity drops sharply to
begin with but then decreases much more slowly. This is probably due to
10

Newtons Law of Cooling whereby the rate of cooling is proportional to the


difference in temperature. The temperature increased to a point where the
rate of cooling was equal to the rate of heating due to the movement of the
cylinder.
Despite worries about the possibility of turbulence, none of the results
for are uncharacteristically high. If there were vortices present during
experimentation then they were relatively tame and did not affect our results
to an unacceptable degree.
It could be argued that precision in our results could be improved by consistantly taking results over a large number of rotations. However, thanks
to the electronic timer, precision is already high in this aspect of the experiment and also the longer the weight falls for, the greater the heating will
be. The greatest improvement in precision would be to be able to ensure a
more accurate temperature. If time permits, the oil temperature should be
left to cool back to its desired temperature between experiments.

Conclusions

Searles viscometer is undoubtedly a viable apparatus for determining the


viscosity of a liquid. However maintaining a constant temperature is difficult, especially with time constraints. Given more time and the benefit of
hindsight, I am confident that we could repeat this experiment to obtain a
significantly higher degree of accuracy.

11

References
[1] Dr. G. F. C Searle, A simple viscometer for very viscous liquids May 1912
[2] Champion & Davy, Properties of Matter The Students Physics Vol. 3, 1943
(Blackie & Son), Pages 243 259
[3] Halliday, Resnick & Krane, Physics 4th Edition Vol. 1, 1992 (Wiley), Pages
407 411 & 398
[4] Newman & Searle, General Properties of Matter 1948, (Arnold), Page 219
[5] A. R. Paterson, A first course in fluid dynamics 1997, (Cambridge), Pages 144
to 148
[6] NIST website http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Constants/
[7] E. Lee & R. Sisson, Liquid Viscosity Models Project
http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/ceng402/proj02/beckys/

12

Appendix Equipment Details


Searle Viscometer V3 Main apparatus, located in room 1.36 of second
year laboratory.
Energol Oil GR-XP 320 Oil used in the experiment, obtained from
BP Oil, PO Box 159, Bristol.
European Instruments Sartorus Balance BP2103 Measuring the mass
of the pans, located in second year laboratory.
Racal Dana Timer 9902/9906 Timer unit used to take results
Steel Calipers used to measure legths and diameters, located in second year laboratory.

13

Appendix Full Data

Each of the following is the average of ten trials.

Temperature 18.6 o C
Depth (cm)
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
2.0
2.0
2.0
2.0
2.0
2.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0

Weight (grms.)
43.779
53.779
33.779
23.779
13.779
13.779
23.779
33.779
47.779
53.779
17.779
23.779
33.779
43.779
53.779
63.779
17.779
23.779
33.779
43.779
53.779
63.779
17.779
23.779
33.779
43.779
53.779
63.779

14

(Dyne.S/cm 2 )
0.113 0.016
0.112 0.016
0.114 0.016
0.121 0.017
0.166 0.024
0.168 0.020
0.123 0.014
0.108 0.013
0.110 0.013
0.106 0.012
0.154 0.015
0.131 0.013
0.123 0.012
0.114 0.011
0.113 0.011
0.110 0.011
0.146 0.013
0.127 0.011
0.114 0.010
0.108 0.010
0.105 0.009
0.103 0.009
0.171 0.015
0.130 0.011
0.119 0.010
0.114 0.010
0.111 0.010
0.108 0.009

Temperature 25o C
Depth (cm)
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0

Weight (grms.)
17.779
23.779
33.779
43.779
53.779
63.779

(102 Dyne.S/cm2 )
9.854 0.868
8.709 0.752
8.032 0.693
7.719 0.666
7.537 0.650
7.421 0.641

Weight (grms.)
17.779
23.779
33.779
43.779
53.779
63.799

(102 Dyne.S/cm2 )
5.085 0.441
4.944 0.427
4.877 0.421
4.852 0.419
4.836 0.417
4.864 0.421

Weight (grms.)
17.779
23.779
33.779
43.779
53.779
63.779

(102 Dyne.S/cm2 )
3.410 0.295
3.484 0.301
3.504 0.303
3.525 0.304
3.603 0.311
3.605 0.312

Weight (grms.)
17.779
23.779
33.779
43.779
53.779
63.779

(102 Dyne.S/cm2 )
2.910 0.252
2.864 0.248
2.755 0.240
2.721 0.235
2.505 0.588
2.865 0.247

Temperature 30o C
Depth (cm)
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0

Temperature 35 o C
Depth (cm)
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0

Temperature 40 o C
Depth (cm)
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0

15

Error Calculation
Measurements with calipers had an assumed error of 0.05 cm.
Measurements of weight had an assumed error of 0.0005 grammes.
The temperature of the oil was no more accurate than 1 o C.
Errors in the period were calculated by taking the standard deviation
of results.
Error in k and Ea were determined using Gnuplot3 which uses an
implementation of the non-linear least-squares Marquardt-Levenberg
algorithm.
The errors in the manufacturers data are from reading off a logarithmic
graph.
Error in was found using Maple and the following generic formula
f2

a2

f
a

2

See http://www.gnuplot.info

16

b2

f
b

2

...