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Energy losses in pipe flows are the result of friction between the fluid and the pipe walls and
internal friction between fluid particles. Minor (secondary) head losses occur at any location
in a pipe system where streamlines are not straight, such as at pipe junctions, bends, valves,
contractions, expansions, and reservoir inlets and outlets.


The objectives of this experiment are as follows:

1. Measure head losses through bends, transitions, and fittings.

2. Estimate the loss coefficients for each transitions or fittings using the measurements
for head losses through bends, transitions and fittings.


The energy balance between two points in a pipe can be described by the Bernoulli equation,
given by

p1 V12 p2 V2
 z1    z2  2  hL , (1)
 2g  2g

where pi is static pressure (in Pa) at point i, is specific weight of the fluid (in N/m3), zi is the
elevation (in meters) of point i, Vi is the fluid velocity (in m/s) at point i, g is the gravitational
constant (in m/s2), and hL is head loss (in meters). The term pi/ is referred to as the static head;
zi is the elevation head; and Vi/2g is the dynamic (or velocity) head. The summation of the
static head and the elevation head, pi/ + zi, is referred to as the piezometric head. The
piezometric head is what is measured with the piezometer (manometer) board on the apparatus
for this experiment.

Head loss, hL, includes the sum of pipe friction losses, hf, and all minor losses,

hL  h f  h ,
i 1n
i (3)
where hi is the minor head loss (in meters) for the ith component and n is the number of
components (fittings, bends, etc.). Pipe friction losses are expressed as the Darcy-Weisbach
equation given by

L V2
hf  f , (2)
D 2g

where f is a friction factor, L is the pipe length, and D is the pipe diameter. Pipe friction losses
are assumed to be negligible in this experiment.

Minor losses occur at any bend, transition, or fitting where the streamlines are not straight and
are proportional to the velocity head. For all components, head loss is given by

hi  Ki , (5)

where Ki is the loss coefficient (dimensionless) for the ith component and V is the fluid velocity
as it travels through the pipe component. For the expansion and contraction, the V used in
Equation (5) is the velocity of the fluid in the smaller-diameter pipe.

In this experiment, the loss coefficients for different pipe components will be experimentally
determined by calculating the minor head loss using Equation (1) and utilizing Equation (5) to
find the loss coefficient. In Exercise B a pressure difference across a gate valve is measured
from a pressure gauge in units of bars and must be converted to an equivalent head loss using
the following relationship

1 bar = 10.2 m water. (6)


The equipment is mounted on a free-standing framework, which supports the test pipework
and instrumentation. The following typical pipe fittings are incorporated for study: miter bend,
90° elbow, swept bends (large and small radius), sudden contraction and sudden enlargement.
All are instrumented with upstream and downstream pressure tapping. These tapping are
connected to a bank of 12 water manometer tubes, mounted on the framework. Pressurization
of the manometers is facilitated by a hand pump. A gate valve is used to control the flow rate.
A separate gate valve is instrumented with upstream and downstream pressure tapping, which
are connected to a differential gauge on the edge of the framework. The unit stands on the
working top of the Hydraulics Bench, which is also used as the source of water supply.

Figure 1. Actual image of an "Energy loss apparatus"

Figure 2. Schematic figure of an "Energy loss apparatus"


Exercise A

1. Setup the Energy Losses in Bends (ELB) accessory on a hydraulic bench with its base
level. This is necessary for accurate height measurements from the manometers.

2. Connect the quick disconnect of the ELB Accessory to the bench flow supply in the basin
of the hydraulics bench and run the outlet extension tube into the volumetric tank. Make
sure both ends are secure to prevent water from spraying everywhere. If you can see the
ball bearings on the quick disconnect of the hydraulics bench, the inlet tube is not secure.
3. On the hydraulics bench, completely close (i.e. turn all the way clockwise) the valve for
the pump, and then open the valve about one turn. (If the valve is fully open when you
turn on the pump, the water exits too quickly through the exit tube and sprays water all
over the lab). Do NOT turn on the pump yet!

4. On the head loss apparatus, completely open (i.e. turn all the way counter clockwise) the
gate valve fitting, located just below the pressure gauge, and the flow-control valve,
located on exit of the module.

5. Check that the pressure taps from either side of the mitre bend are not clamped by the
white clamps.

6. Attach a piece of plastic tubing to the air-bleed valve (Figure 1). Point the air-bleed tube
into the hydraulics bench.

7. Turn on the hydraulics bench pump.

8. Slowly open the air-bleed screw completely to purge the manometer board of all air

a. Be sure the air-bleed tube is pointing into the reservoir.

b. Slowly close the flow-control valve (not all the way!) on the exit of the head loss
apparatus to force the water out the air-bleed tube until the manometer board readings are
be completely full of water (no air bubbles).

9. Close the air-bleed screw.

10. Remove the air-bleed tube and attach the bicycle pump to the air-bleed valve.

11. Close the flow-control valve, located on exit of the module.

12. Quickly, open the air-bleed screw and pressurize the manometer board by forcefully
pumping air until the water levels are near 320 mm.

13. Immediately close the air-bleed screw and remove the bicycle pump. Be sure the water
levels are still near 320 mm.
14. Slowly open the flow-control valve on the head loss apparatus to select a flow rate of
approximately 18-20 L/min. . The maximum flow rate that can be obtained while keeping
all manometer levels at a recordable level is 20 liters per minute.

a. The flow-control valve and the pump valve of the hydraulic bench may be adjusted, but
do not use the gate valve.

b. Make sure that the difference between the first and second manometer readings is at least
8mm so that the pressure difference is significantly higher than the measurement error.
Be sure to maintain this difference at lower flow rates where the two measurements start
to converge.

c. Monitor the manometer board to make sure the sixth manometer reading does not
exceeding the manometer range and the twelfth reading does not drop too low as to be
off the manometer board. These are the limiting cases for measurement range. The air-
bleed screw may need to be opened to add/release air from the manometer board to get
just the right reference pressure in order to maximize your measurement range for the
various flow rates.

15. Record the flow rate using the following procedure.

a. Close the dump valve via the dump valve handle on the Hydraulics Bench. The fluid will
start to rise in the volume measuring tank. Wait for the water level to reach zero on the
upper scale of the side tube scale (near the pump ON/OFF switch) before starting your
b. Using the side tube scale and a stopwatch, measure the volume change as a function of
time (at least 30 seconds to obtain an accurate flow rate measurement).
c. Once you have obtained your timed volume collection – reopen the dump valve to drain
the tank.

16. Record the level of water in each of the manometers using the included table. Also,
record to what location each manometer reading corresponds.

17. Repeat Steps 14-16 for four additional flow rates (total of five) that span the range from
approximately 10-20 L/min.

18. Continue directly to Exercise B.

Exercise B

19. Clamp the tubes running from the pressure taps on either side of the mitre bend with the
white, hose clamps in order to prevent air from getting into the system.

20. Close the gate valve completely.

21. Fully open the flow-control valve and the pump valve of the hydraulic bench.

22. Open the gate valve by approximately 50% of one turn (after taking up any backlash in
the valve—watch the pressure gauge for a change).

23. For each of five flow rates, measure the pressure drop across the valve using the pressure
gauge that is mounted above the valve.

a. Adjust the flow rate by use of the flow-control valve at the exit of the accessory. Do not
adjust the gate valve.

b. Determine the flow rate as in the previous exercise.

24. Repeat Steps 20-23 for the gate valve open approximately 70% and 85% of one turn.

Shut Down

25. Unclamp the white, hose clamps from the hoses of the mitre bend.

26. Open the gate valve completely.

27. Fully open the flow-control valve at the exit of the accessory.

28. Turn off the pump of the hydraulics bench.

29. Completely close the pump valve of the hydraulics bench.


Table 1. Raw Data for All Fittings Except Gate Valve

Piezometer Readings

Q nt Contraction Long Bend Short Bend Elbow Mitre Bend
n) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

(mm (mm (mm (mm (mm (mm (mm (mm (mm (mm (mm (mm
) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )
Table 2. Raw Data for Gate Valve

Valve-Gauge Readings

Q (L/min) Valve Position (% of 1 turn) Red (downstream) Black (upstream)

(bar) (bar)
Table 3. Minor Head Losses of All Fittings Except Gate Valve

Minor Head Losses

Q (L/min) Enlarge. Contract. Long Bend Short Bend Elbow Mitre Bend

(m) (m) (m) (m) (m) (m)

Table 4. Loss Coefficients for All Fittings Except Gate Valve

Loss Coefficients

Q (L/min) Enlarge. Contract. Long Bend Short Bend Elbow Mitre Bend

(m) (m) (m) (m) (m) (m)

Table 5. Equivalent Minor Head Loss and Loss Coefficient for Gate Valve

Q (L/min) Minor Head Loss of Valve (m) Loss Coefficient