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WANG, Denise 28229215

Part II, FEEG2003: Fluid Dynamics

Laboratory 1: Boundary Layer Flow

Objective:
To indirectly measure the velocity profile in a laminar and
turbulent layer flow and assess the accuracy of analytic
approximations.

Background:
As a result of the no-slip condition, in viscous flows, the
adjacent molecules to a solid surface of a wall will travel at speed of
the surface. This in turn, will create a region where the velocity of
the fluid will vary from zero (relative to the surface) to the free
stream velocity known as a boundary layer.
Boundary layers have great significance in determining
whether the flow is turbulent or laminar, which both in turn have
advantages in different scenarios. The boundary layer is
determined by two factors, the environment, and the Reynolds
number. The Reynolds number is described as the ratio of inertial
forces to vicious forces, which can be generalised by the
relationship ( Re = U e l / , where l is a characteristic length scale and
is the kinematic viscosity). Generally, fluids with low Reynolds
numbers and low background disturbances, the flow is smooth and
steady. Fluids with high Reynolds numbers or with high background
roughness, the flow is turbulent with unsteady eddies.
The average velocity within a boundary layer can be
calculated by the following expressions:

Experimental method
The Bernoulli Equation states the velocity, is a function of the
change of pressure. Thus, to measure the velocity profile of the
boundary layer, the pressure difference from the solid surface to
varying points of the boundary layer will be recorded and later
converted into velocity.
1. Firstly, the initial laboratory temperature and pressure must
be noted as this will affect the viscosity of the air through the
wind tunnel. To start, the laminar results will be recorded and
so the leading edge of the plate must be smooth to allow the
devilment of the boundary layer.
2. For the experiment to be comparable, the wind velocity must
be kept as reading of 12 throughout the experiment.
3. Starting from the maximum displacement from the plate
surface, note the pressure difference from p0-p (Pa). The
manometer will not be straight and so measure the angle of
inclination. Using the angle, convert the pressure difference,
and compute the free stream velocity outside the boundary
layer.
4. Manoeuvre the probe across the boundary layer and record
the pressure difference at small intervals to attain an
WANG, Denise 28229215

accurate plot. Manoeuvre the probe until the pressure

difference reaches a constant with the surface pressure.
5. Stop the wind tunnel so that the procedure can be repeated
with a turbulent flow. Fix a piece of glass paper to trip the
leading edge to attain a plot for turbulence.
6. Repeat steps 2-4 to attain results for the turbulent case.

Graphs to show Velocity against Y for the Laminar case and

Turbulent case

Figure 1

For the laminar case, the last velocity value to stop changing is
23.9727ms-1, (the free stream velocity,) at 0.004064M. Thus, the
boundary layer thickness, (99% of 0.004064M), is 0.004023M away
from the surface.
WANG, Denise 28229215

Figure 2

For the turbulent case, the free stream velocity is 23.5606ms-1 at

0.008255M. For the turbulent case, I am going to use linear
interpolation between the last value before the free stream velocity
and the velocity value to find the boundary layer thickness.

X = boundary layer thickness

Y is 0.99Ue = 23.32ms-1
= 22.61 and =23.41 (the two values closest to 23.32ms-1)
= 0.00572M and = 0.00699M, corresponding pilot values
Thus, x is 0.00682M, 6.82mm

In the following two graphs a theoretical value can be found for the
average velocity within boundary layers. Equation (1) is the
calculated value for a laminar flow, and equation 2 for the turbulent
flow.
3 4
U y y y
= 2 2 + Laminar flow (1)
Ue

1/n
U y
= Turbulent flow (2)
Ue
The following graphs (figure 3 and 4) will display the experimental
and theoretical value in comparison.
WANG, Denise 28229215

Figure 3

It is noted that as the pilot height of the probe is increased, the

difference between the two velocity values decreases and produces
a more accurate result. To attain the best fit curve, I have adjusted
to be 0.00394M. At the lowest pilot value, at 0.00635M, or the
normalised y/ value of 0.078, the percentage difference is of 95%.
At the furthest distance from the surface, the percentage difference
is of 0.0823477%.
WANG, Denise 28229215

Figure 4

In the turbulent case, the theoretical value gives a good

approximation of the experimental case. The best value of n, to
optimise the best fit of the line is 5. The largest percentage
difference is of 13.61% and the smallest, 0.806147%.

Calculating Reynolds Number

Rex =Uex/, based on the distance from the leading edge of the
plate to the measuring location.

Laminar: 395,806 = 23.97*0.245/14.833x10 -6

Turbulent: 389,001 = 23.56*0.245/14.838x10 -6

assume that

x, distance from leading edge = 0.0245M

The kinematic viscosity of air, at 288K, 1 Bar is 14.838x10 -6 m2 s-1]
**
Ue, laminar: 23.97ms-1
Ue, turbulent 23.51ms-1

Laminar Re : 6385 = 23.92*0.00394/14.833x10 -6

Turbulent Re : 10,828 = 23.51* 0.00682/14.833x10 -6
WANG, Denise 28229215

In most general cases, the flow is laminar when Re <2300, transient

when 2300 <Re < 4000 and turbulent when Re> 4000.

Theoretical Percentage difference/

value/ Experimental %
M value/M
100
5.83x6385.21-0.5 =
Laminar 0.00232 0.00394
95.8
0.375x6255.77-0.2
Turbulent = 0.00712 0.00682

x
(Equation 3)

= 0.375Re x 0.2 (a rough approximation for turbulent flow)

x
(Equation 4)

Discussion of results

In the graph of the normalised U, (U/Ue) laminar experimental to

theoretical results, we can see that as the pilot height increased,
the accuracy of values increases. At the minimum pilot value,
0.000635m away from the surface, the theoretical value was a poor
estimate for the experimental value. 0.613854 experimental and
0.30844 theoretical respectively.

In the calculation of the Reynolds number based on the distance

from the leading edge, Rex were both similar in value. The similarity
suggests at this measuring point, it is outside the boundary layer.

With the second Reynold number calculation, based on boundary

layer thickness, the values were greater than expected. The laminar
Reynolds number was 6365 whereas the turbulent is 10828. Later
in the report, the sources of errors will be discussed.

Typically, the Reynolds number determines the velocity profile of a

boundary layer. In increasing the Reynolds number, the inertial
forces are so large, that the viscous forces are not sufficiently
damped. Fluids with a low Reynolds number, laminar flow, are
described when every particle flows under a consistent course. The
flow is slow enough so that the friction between the layers allow the
flow to be smooth. (Figure 5)
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Figure 5 - The arrows are all in one general direction, the boundary layer is
smaller than the turbulent case
To ensure that initial flow before entering the wind tunnel was
smooth, the entrance of the wind tunnel is covered in small holes.
The flow is thus initially perpendicular and uniform to the surface .
By tripping the surface of the flat plate, we induce a high Reynolds
number with turbulence. The flow is no longer perpendicular to the
surface and the flow contains different substructures. (Figure 6)

In regards to estimating the laminar boundary layer, the

experimental value is 1.5 times the calculated value, with a
percentage difference of 99.996%. For the turbulent case, the
percentage difference was of 95.781%. On the other hand as the
boundary Thus, in this instance, equation 3 and 4 are not suitable
for estimating the boundary thickness.

In this experiment, the boundary layer thickness was not as

accurate as anticipated. A source of error may have been due to the
obstruction of air from other members walking past the flow. This
would have reduced the initial air velocity and decreased the free
stream velocity. Although the wind tunnel velocity was set at the
WANG, Denise 28229215

maximum speed, the reading was a little under the reference value
12 and was not constant through the experiment. To improve on
this, minimal movement from peers should be demonstrated.

When noting the manometer reading, parallax error may have been
introduced by not aligning the human eye in line with
measurement. To reduce this, a right-angle triangle can be used to
take the reading. In addition, the manometer was set at an angle of
11 so that the values could be read over a larger range. The
precision of manometer was therefore increased.

Another was the calibration of the pilot tube. Due to the age of
equipment, at zero height from the plate, the probe bent and
provided inaccurate results. In an ideal situation, the probe is to be
calibrated by a technician before the experiment.

A smaller error was that the kinematic viscosity of air may have
been different to what was used in the calculation. The air
temperature and pressure may not have been constant.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the experiment gave good insight in the difference

between the turbulent and laminar flow. The laminar boundary is a
smooth and each layer slides past the adjacent layer. In the
turbulent boundary layer vortices and eddy currents are present
and so is thicker boundary layer. Thus, an increase in the Reynold
number gives a transition from a laminar to turbulent flow. On the
other hand, the accuracy of the analytic calculations were
significantly different from the old age of the equipment.
Nevertheless, the theoretical results provided a rough indication
considering the sources of errors, and the small size of the
boundary layer.

Bibliography

 [online] Peacesoftware.de. Available at:

http://www.peacesoftware.de/einigewerte/calc_luft.php5 [Accessed
18 Feb. 2017].
 Difference between Laminar Flow and Turbulent Flow. (2017).
[online] Difference Between. Available at:
http://www.differencebtw.com/difference-between-laminar-flow-and-
turbulent-flow/ [Accessed 19 Feb. 2017].