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# Experiment #2

Stephen Mirdo

## Report due September 23, 2010

Table of Contents

Object ………………………………………..………………………….………….…. p. 1

Theory …………………………………………………………………………….....…p. 1

## Appendix ……………………………………………………..…….………………pp. 5-6

Object
The object of this fluid property experiment was to determine the viscosity of a
particular homogenous fluid using the falling sphere viscometer method.

Theory
Viscosity is a fluid property defined as the fluid’s resistance to an externally
applied shear. From this definition, it is implied that a fluid will resist any change in
form. If a solid object is placed in a fluid that has a lesser density, the object will fall
through the fluid medium. As the object falls, it exerts a shear force on the fluid. Thus,
the fluid is displaced and exerts a force on the object. The forces present during this
process are weight due to gravity, the buoyant force and the drag force as shown below in
a force balance equation (Equation 1, below).

## ρsg(4/3)πR3 – ρg(4/3)πR3 - 6πμVR = 0 (Equation 2)

Equation 2 is a less general form of the force balance equation and illustrates the
importance of the falling object’s geometry and motion in relation to the forces present.
A graphical representation of the above equations can be seen in Figure 1. The
components of the equation are as follows:

## ρs – density of the object

ρ – density of the fluid
g – gravitational acceleration
R – radius of the object
µ – viscosity of the fluid
V – terminal velocity of the object

## The force of weight in Equation 2 is due to the gravitational acceleration of the

object and acts in the downward direction. The density of the object is directly related to
the magnitude of this acceleration. The more dense an object is, the greater the weight.

The buoyant force in Equation 2 is caused by the pressure gradient exerted by the
fluid on the object. The lateral forces of this pressure are equal and opposite and therefore
negate one another. The pressure on the submerged object acting in the vertical is lesser
on the top than on the bottom and exerts a net upward force on the object.

The drag force in Equation 2 acts in the opposite direction of the relative motion
of the object traveling through the fluid. Therefore, the force acts in the direction of the
fluid flow. The cause of the drag force is due to the viscous effects of the fluid on the
surface of the submerged object.

1
Procedure
Equipment:

## Figure 2: 9.52 mm diameter

Stainless Steel Sphere
ρs = 8000 kg/m3
Figure 3: Digital Stopwatch

## Figure 1: Cylinder filled with

Salon Care Professional brand
White Tea Ginger Shampoo
with attached scale. ρ = 1032 Figure 4: Digital Calipers
kg/m3

Experiment:
1) Measure the diameter of the stainless steel ball bearings with the digital calipers
and record the measurements onto a data sheet. It is better to select bearings that
have identical diameters. Make note of the density of the material used in the
bearings.
2) Make note of the ambient temperature where the experiment is being performed,
as density is a function of the temperature of the fluid.
3) Fill a transparent tube with a particular fluid of a known density. Affixed to the
tube should be a ruler so that velocity measurements can be made. The tube
should be topped with a cap that has a hole in the center large enough for the
bearing to ensure that the bearing will travel down the center if the cylinder.
4) Drop one stainless steel bearing into the fluid filled cylinder and observe the
position relative to the ruler at which the bearing achieves terminal velocity. Let
this point be the initial point from which time measurements are made. Assign
another arbitrary point at which the time measurement will cease.
5) After the distance for time measurement has been assigned, proceed to drop
another bearing into the fluid. When the bearing reaches the assigned point for
beginning time measurements, start a stopwatch. Stop the stopwatch when the

2
bearing has reached the assigned terminus. Record the time taken to travel
between the two assigned points. Repeat this step four more times and record the
times.
6) Average the times recorded from Step 5. Use this time to determine the terminal
velocity of the falling sphere by the assigned distance by the averaged time. This
velocity will be used to determine the drag force.
7) Use the terminal velocity calculated in Step 6, the respective densities of the fluid
and sphere, radius of the sphere and gravitational acceleration in Equation 2.
Rearrange the expression algebraically to solve for the viscosity, µ.

Results

## Table 1: Initial Measurements

Stainless Steel Ball Bearing Density ρs = 8000 kg/m3
Stainless Steel Ball Bearing Diameter d = 9.52 mm
Shampoo Density ρ = 1032 kg/m3
Displacement on Scale z = 0.244 m
Ambient Lab Temperature T = 23 oC

## Table 2: Time Trials

Trial # Time (s)
1 3.86
2 4.03
3 3.19
4 4.75
5 4.09
tavg = 3.98 s

Initial conditions seen in Table 1 were measured with the exception of the density
of the stainless steel bearings. The value for this density was pulled from a professionally
published source. The density of the shampoo was measured using a hydrometer. The
displacement on the scale was measured in English units as 8/10 ft. This value was
converted to SI units as shown in Table 1. The lab temperature was also recorded for the
purposes of ascertaining the temperature of the shampoo used in this experiment.

After dropping the stainless steel sphere into the fluid filled cylinder five
successive times and averaging the recorded times, the terminal velocity was calculated.

## V = z/tave  V = 0.224 m / 3.98 s  V = 5.63 x 10-2 m/s

3
The terminal velocity was the remaining unknown value for Equation 3.
Substituting this value into the equation calculates the viscosity of the shampoo.

## Discussion & Conclusion

The terminal velocity of two different size spheres would not be identical.
Assuming the spheres were made of the same material, a change in the geometry of the
sphere would alter its weight and therefore alter the force it exerted on the fluid. For this
experiment, a smaller sphere dropped from the same height would reach a higher terminal
velocity due to the smaller amount of surface area in contact with the viscous material.
In turn, a larger sphere would have a larger surface area and would therefore have more
surface contact with the viscous fluid and have a lower terminal velocity. (1 & 2)

The viscosity would be the same for spheres of varying size because viscosity is a
property of the fluid and not of the sphere. The geometry of the sphere will influence the
terminal velocity, which is proportional to the radius of the sphere. Therefore a larger
sphere, with increased mass, would travel at a higher velocity. (3)

There are various shortcomings in the measurements taken for this experiment.
Due to human error, the time measurements for this experiment are not exact. An
observer must “eyeball” the entirety of the sphere’s travel across the displacement.
Introducing automation to this experiment for the purposes of timing would increase its
accuracy. (4)

The temperature for this experiment needs to be recorded because it will affect the
density of the liquid medium. The higher the temperature, the less dense the material will
become. This is the result of thermal expansion. The opposite can be said of a cold fluid,
which will be denser. The density of the fluid has a direct correlation with its viscosity,
which can be deduced by Equation 2. (5)

This method can be used for gases; however, it would not produce desirable
results. It would be difficult without automation to record the velocity of the object over a
short distance such as that in this experiment. (6)

This method could be used for opaque fluids, though it would require specialized
instrumentation. In order to perform a falling sphere viscometer experiment with opaque
fluids, some sort of imaging technology would be required to keep track of the falling
object. It is possible to do this using, for instance, thermal imaging. If the sphere were at
a different temperature than the fluid, it could be tracked as it passed through the fluid.
As long as the sphere has a higher density than the test fluid, this experiment can be
performed on a variety of opaque fluid. However, this method will not work on
inhomogeneous fluids such. (7 & 8)

4
Appendix

Data Usage
The following is the calculation used to obtain the terminal velocity of the falling sphere:
V = z/tave  V = 0.224 m / 3.98 s  V = 5.63 x 10-2 m/s

Bibliography
Introduction to Fluid Mechanics, 3rd Edition
W.S.Janna (1993)

## Fundamentals of Material Science and Engineering: An Integrated Approach

W.D. Callister, Jr and D.G. Rethwish (2008)