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Queen Mary University of London

School of Engineering and Materials Science

DEN101 - Fluid Mechanics 1


Flow Rate Measurement Experiment

Muhammad Arslan Badr


Student Number: 161155500

05 January 2017
Abstract

The experiment was conducted to measure the experimental volumetric flow rate of air. Demonstration of
Bernoulli principle was done measuring the change in pressure using venturi meter and the pitot tube, and
calculating the net flow rate of air which would prove the Bernoulli principle if it turned out to be close to the
known flow rate. As the Results and Discussion sections later clarify and provide more detail, the experimental
flow rate had large errors due to the non-ideal behaviour of air, and particularly because of turbulence at high
speed settings, which greatly contributes to an inaccurate reading of the pressure difference in venturi, and the
point velocity in the pitot tube.

Table of Contents

Abstract ...................................................................................................................................... 2
1. Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 3
1.1. Writing ...................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
1.2. Editing and formatting .............................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.
2. Background and theory....................................................................................................... 3
3. Apparatus ............................................................................................................................ 5
4. Test ................................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
5. Experimental procedure ...................................................................................................... 5
6. Results ................................................................................................................................ 6
7. Discussion ........................................................................................................................... 7
8. Conclusions ........................................................................................................................ 7
9. References ........................................................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
10. Appendix A: Marking criteria ......................................................................................... 8
1. Introduction
1.1. Overview

This experiment was conducted to measure the flow rate of air by using a pressure transducer and a manometer
to calculate the pressure difference across a venturi of known entry and exit diameters and compare the
calculated flow rate with the one calculated by determining the velocity profile of the flow using the pitot
tube.

1.2. Aims and Objectives

1. To measure the ow of air in a pipe using a Venturi.


2. To compare this result with the ow rate calculated from a velocity traverse of the pipe using a Pitot tube.

3. To comment upon any dierences between these values and draw appropriate conclusions.

2. Background and theory


2.1.Bernoulli and Venturi Effect

This experiment exploits the venturi effect to measure the volumetric flow rate by employing a venturi meter
and a Pitot tube, whose nozzle (or the open end) is positioned parallel to the streamlines.
The flow rate can be calculated by establishing a relation between pressure and velocity of a fluid with the
cross-sectional area of the vessel in which it flows. In accordance with the continuity equation, a fluid flowing
through a gradually narrowing constriction increases in velocity with a corresponding decrease in pressure.
(Schaschke, 2014). The decrease in pressure can be justified by the energy form of the Bernoullis equation
which establishes that increasing in the fluid velocity consequently reduces the static pressure. (Massey, 1994).
We assume the flow to be steady, and that the Venturi is maintained at a uniform height such that the changes
in potential energy - and hence the hydrostatic pressure of the fluid particles remain zero (h=0). The venturi
initially diverges up to a radius r1 and then converges to a radius r2. Taking the entry and exit velocities to be
v1 and v2 and static pressures to be P1 and P2 respectively we get,

1 1 (1)
1 + 1 2 = 2 + 2 2
2 2
Where 1 = 1 2 and 2 = 2 2 due to circular cross section of the venturi meter.
Re-arranging for the continuity equation (1 1 = 2 2 ) for 1 we get,
2 2 (2)
1 =
1
Now substituting the value of in (1) and rearranging to find we get,
(3)
2 1
2 = .
1 2
1( )
2 2
Where = (1 2 ), which gives the difference in pressure (provided by the water manometer).
We know that according to the continuity equation 1 1 = . Solving for 2 we have,

(4)
2 =
2
Solving (33) 33333and (4) for , we get:

2 2 (5)
= .
1 2
1( )
2 2


We can also establish that as = = = ( ) = . ( ) where , , and
correspond to the mass of the fluid, time, volume and density of the fluid respectively. We can also clearly
relate from the result stated above that = = / . Therefore, from (5), we can write,

2 2 (6)
= .
1 2
1 ( 2)
2

2.2.Venturi

The volume flow rate of the fluid can be ideally calculated using the above result by easily calculating the
cross-sectional areas pertaining to the converged and diverged radii of the venturi meter, the pressure
difference by measuring the height of water column in the manometer and the density of air using a standard
barometer.

2.3.Pitot-Tube

One of the others ways we can use to calculate the volumetric flow rate is by using the Pitot tube. The Pitot
tube is an open-ended tube, placed in a fluid flow with the open end aligned with the flow facing upstream,
which senses the stagnation pressure of the flow (Escudier, 2014).
To calculate the flow rate, we determine the velocity due to the stagnation pressure at the tip of the Pitot
(where 2 = 0). To derive the equation for the velocity, we consider two points 1 and 2 at the same level,
point 1 being away from the tube, and point 2 being immediately in front of the open end where the fluid
velocity is zero due to stagnation of the particles, so that Bernoullis equation gives:

1 1 (7)
1 + 1 2 = 2 + 2 2 = 2
2 2
Solving the above equation for 2 and using 1 = 1 and 2 = 2 we have,

1 = 2(2 1 ) (8)

If we consider the datum point to be the surface of the tube such that 2 becomes zero and 1becomes negative
as we move downwards from our datum line, we can infer that:
1 = ()2(1 ) = 21

Where, from Bernoulli Equation,

(9)
() = 2

Generally, the velocity, because of friction, is lowest near the sides of the duct, and greatest at the centre.
Therefore, a Pitot tube traverse of the duct (which accounts for this phenomenon) is required to calculate the
average velocity in the duct at the point of traverse (Sugarman, 2006).

2.4.Determination of Flow-Rate

The volumetric flow rate is determined by writing the equation for the volumetric flow rate across an
infinitesimal element of the flow area then integrating the equation over the cross-sectional area of the pipe.
We use a very small elemental flow area because of the variation of velocity across the cross-section. Over
this area, the velocity can be assumed to be uniform, and the variation with is catered for in the integral. A
typical element is a strip perpendicular to the axis (and therefore perpendicular to ,) with an inner radius r
and outer radius + where is infinitesimally small. To the first order in , the area of this element is
equal to 2 (Holland, n.d.). The volumetric flow rate across this area is therefore:

= 2. () (10)

The total volumetric flow rate through the pipe is obtained by integrating the element equation over the whole
cross section of the pipe, that is, from = 0 to = . Integrating over this range, taking ~ and using the
value of () we find the flow rate by the trapezium rule (see Appendix).

3. Apparatus
The experimental setup consists of three components, the variable speed Air Pump (a1) is used for blowing
the working fluid (air) through the horizontally connected Venturi through the inlet of radius r1. A horizontal
pipe of a uniform radius r is connected to the other end of the Venturi with outlet radius r 2 as shown in the
figure. This tube is inserted with a pitot probe such that the nozzle is orthogonal to the flow direction and its
height h1 is variable in the vertical axis for taking various measurements to calculate the velocity profile. The
setup also consists of an inclined water manometer, connectable to either the Venturi or the Pitot tube, and a
pressure transducer (T), used to take pressure measurements for Venturi at different speeds and for the pitot
at different heights.

4. Experimental procedure
4.1.Experimental steps:
1. First, note down the temperature and pressure using the standard barometer provided in the lab and
calculate the exact density of air.
2. Make sure that the experimental setup is placed on a fairly horizontal surface. Make sure it is
stabilized and does not give way with small vibrations.
3. Make sure that the inclined water manometer is stabilized and reads zero. As the water gives a fairly
concave meniscus, remember to read the lower meniscus for sharp readings, while keeping eyes
horizontally level.
4. By switching the valves across the Venturi, calibrate the Water manometer with the pressure
transducer, ensuring that both of the instruments give the same result for pressure at a particular
speed.
5. Adjust Blower speed to measure 20mmH2O on the manometer. Now ensuring that this value
remains constant on the manometer, press hold repeatedly for 5 values on the pressure transducer
with 2 second intervals and calculate the mean value across the Venturi.
6. Repeat step 5. For the Pitot tube, ensuring that the blower is kept at the same speed setting.
7. Now traverse the Pitot tube in the downward direction initially by 2mm for the first 10mm by
employing the standing Vernier callipers provided in the apparatus. Decrease steps to 1mm after
the initial 10mm to increase accuracy and accommodate for a steeper velocity profile near the edges
due to no-slip condition.
8. Repeat steps 4. 7. by using blower speeds that correspond to 40mmH2O and 60mmH2O and
calculate the flow rate from pressure readings for each cycle.

4.2.Limitations:
Although the conditions in which the experiment was performed were far from ideal, there are a number of
factors due to the nature of the equipment provided that limited the accuracy of the result. Arguably, the most
critical limitation was that of the air pump itself, which could not exceed speed corresponding to a pressure
drop of 65 mmH2O across the tube.
Apart from the venturi, the pitot tube could not slide into required position very easily. Also, the head of the
pitot was not infinitesimally narrow as compared to the diameter of the uniform pipe, hence contributing to
the error in the overall measurement of the velocity profile. Although ideally more readings should have been
taken to provide a better approximation, but due to time constraints, was not possible.

5. Results
5.1.Flow Rate Venturi:
Using initial readings for pressure and temperature from the barometer in the lab, the density of air can be
calculated using the Gas equation. Appendix 1.1 shows the density of air was calculated to be 1.241 kgm -3.

To calculate the flow rate, we use a sample calculation for the venturi. Using equation (6) and taking sample
data we calculate Q as follows:
These calculations are provided in the Appendix, and using the result, we can compile the results for different
pressure values for the venturi, given in the table on the right, with average values of the flow rate.

5.2.Flow Rate Pitot:


To calculate the flow rate, the velocity profile was first calculated using equation (9) which provided values
for velocities at different heights. This was also used to create a graph which intuitively provides the velocity
gradient as a function of height and makes it easy to visualize the changes in velocity at different vertical
heights.

The graph is provided on the right. We can observe that for all 3 blower speeds, the velocity increases as the
pitot tube is gradually moved upwards to near the centre of the uniform tube.
Finally, we can employ the trapezium rule for consequent calculations of flow rate using equation (10). Using
calculations provided in the appendix, we arrive at our result which gives the value for flow rate calculated
using the Pitot probe.
6. Discussion
Implications of the Apparatus and time limitations bring out a significant difference in the values of flow rate,
provided by venturi and the Pitot probe. The table provided on the right highlights the percentage difference
in the mean values calculated using the two instruments.
The difference in the values can be attributed to the following three significant factors:

6.1.Turbulence:
At high blower speeds, a significant amount of turbulence is observed in the flowing air which is highest near
the walls of the tube. The effects of this turbulence can be significantly felt with increased air speeds, which
interacts with the laminar streamlines near the centre of the tube and hence relates to an error in the
measurements for point velocity using the pitot. It is worth mentioning that this phenomenon affects the results
less at low blower speeds, thereby providing much more accurate results.

6.2.Friction:
Although much effort was taken by manufacturers to keep the friction of the apparatus low by designing the
apparatus with smooth materials, however, friction near the walls of the apparatus causes a relatively steep
pressure drop, and hence adds to the error in the calculation of the velocity profile.

6.3.Personal, Systematic and Random Errors:


A relatively small amount of error is also caused by the persons in charge of taking the readings by observing
pressure values and moving the pitot up or down by accurately calculated measurements but some negligence
due to time constraints cannot be ruled out, which contributed to errors and approximations. The use of pitot
probe with a thick nozzle diameter has already been pointed out in Section 4.2 hence termed as a source of
error generation in the experiment. The viscid and compressibility issues in the flow of air also contributes to
the total error.

7. Conclusions
In general, the experiment failed to demonstrate the Bernoullis principle due to large values of error in the
measurements as pointed out in Section 6. However, the experiment points out various factors that contribute
to these errors, thereby pointing out the areas of improvement which may be necessary to implement for the
experiment to be repeated with a higher accuracy.
The experiment also provides a relatively accurate result of the flow rate when calculating it using Venturi as
it is less likely to be affected by most of the errors which cause disparity in the final result.

8. References
Escudier, T. A. (2014). A Dictionary of Mechanical Engineering.

Holland, F. B. (n.d.). Fluid Flow for Chemical Engineers (2nd Edition) - 1.10 Volumetric Flow Rate and Average
Velocity in a Pipe.

Massey, B. (1994). Mechanics of Fluids (6th ed.). Chapman and Hall.

Schaschke, C. (2014). Dictionary of Chemical Engineering. Oxford University Press.

Sugarman, S. C. (2006). Testing and Balancing HVAC Air and Water Systems ((4th Edition) ed.).
9. Appendix
9.1. Basic Data
Table-2: Table shows initial data taken from the experiment site before starting experiment. The
Density of water at 20oC was taken from (Sugarman, 2006).

Temperature (T) 200C

Pressure (P) 1.20 KPa

Inlet Diameter for Venturi (r1) 144.54mm

Internal Diameter Venturi (r2) 50.56mm

Density of Mercury (mer) 13593 Kg/m3

Density of Water 998.2 Kg/m3

9.2.Density of Air
Using the Ideal Gas Equation and taking R to be 286.9JKg-1K-1, we have for air,

=

mer 9.810.769
=
286.9(20 + 273)

= 1.233 /3

9.3.Volumetric Flow Rate: Venturi


Using Equation (6) we have,

2 2
= .
1 2
1( )
2 2

Table-3: Area of cross-section of the pipes

Area of the larger pipe, A1 (1 )2 0.00142


4
Area of the smaller pipe, A2 (2 )2 0.0004511
4

Table 4: Flow rate from Venturi

Pressure Difference (mH2O) Flow Rate

0.02 0.0112

0.04 0.0184

0.06 0.0235
9.4.Velocity Calculations: Pitot
Velocity can be calculated using Equation (9) and plugging in values to calculate different answers.
Table 5- Different values of velocities corresponding to various pressure differences.

20mmH20 40mmH20 60mmH20


Pressure Pressure Pressure
Radius Differenc Velocity Radius Differenc Radius Velocity Differenc
(m) e (m/s) (m) e Velocity (m) (m/s) e
0 0 62.0103 0 46.7 86.16069 0 70.9 106.1632
0.0005 23.6 61.25009 0.0005 46.3 85.7909 0.0005 70.3 105.713
0.001 23.6 61.25009 0.001 46 85.5125 0.001 69.8 105.3364
0.0015 23.5 61.12018 0.0015 45.8 85.3264 0.0015 69.4 105.0341
0.0019 23.3 60.85954 0.0019 45.5 85.04649 0.0019 68.7 104.5031
0.023 22.7 60.07083 0.023 45 84.57791 0.023 67.6 103.6631
0.027 19.5 55.676 0.027 43.4 83.0607 0.027 57.8 95.85497
0.029 16.9 51.83153 0.029 38.7 78.43433 0.029 49.2 88.43685
0.03 14.2 47.51108 0.03 37.1 76.79583 0.03 44.3 83.91751

9.5.Volumetric Flow Rate: Pitot


To calculate the volumetric flow rate, trapezium rule is implemented.