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The orifice consists of a flat plate with a hole drilled in it. When a fluid passes
through an orifice, the discharge is often considerably less than the amount
calculated on the assumption that the energy is conserved and that the flow through
the orifice is uniform and parallel. This reduction in flow is normally due to a
contraction of the stream which takes place through the restriction and continues for
some distance downstream of it, rather than to any considerable energy loss.
With the flow through apparatus, arrangements are made to measure the
extent of the reduction in flow, contraction of the stream and energy loss, as water
discharges into the atmosphere from a sharp-edged orifice in the base of a tank.

Description of Apparatus
The apparatus is designed to be used with the Hydraulic Bench. Additional
orifices can be fitted in the apparatus.
The diagram below shows the arrangement of the tank which is fed from the
bench supply valve through an adjustable vertical pipe terminated in a water settler
just beneath the water surface. An overflow pipe directs the surplus water onto the
bench top and thence to drain. The water passes down the tank and leaves through
a sharp-edged orifice which is fitted into the base of the tank in such a way that there
is no unevenness along the inner surface. The emerging jet passes through the
bench top directly back into the measuring tank.
There is a tapping in the base of the tank which connects with a plastic tube
mounted in front of a vertical scale showing directly the level of water in the tank
above the plane of the orifice. A second plastic tube is connected to a Pitot tube
which may be introduced into the discharging jet to measure the total head of the jet.
The Pitot tube may be traversed across the jet by revolving a graduated nut which
works along a lead screw having a pitch of 1 thread per mm; each complete
revolution of the nut moves the Pitot tube a distance of 1 mm. This traverse enables
the diameter of the jet to be measured by traversing the sharp blade, supported from
the tube, from one side of the jet to the other.
Theory of Flow through the Orifice
The diagram below shows the essential features of flow through the orifice.
The tank is assumed to be sufficiently large for the velocity of flow in it to be
negligibly small except close to the orifice. In the vicinity of the orifice, the fluid
accelerates towards the centre of the hole, so that as the jet emerges it suffers a
reduction of area due to the curvature of the streamlines, as typified by the
streamline MN indicated in the diagram. The reduction in area due to the curvature
may be taken to be complete at about half the orifice diameter downstream of the
plane of the orifice. The reduced section is usually referred to as the vena contracta.
The pressure everywhere on the surface of the jet is atmospheric; but within
the jet the pressure does not fall to atmospheric until the acceleration is complete,
i.e. until the vena contracta is reached.
Consider now the total head of the water at points M and N of a typical
streamline, M being in the surface and N being in the plane of the vena contracta.
From Bernoulli, the total head at M is:

u 2m Pm
+ + zm
2g w

and at N is:
u n2 P
+ n + zn
2g w
so that, if the energy were conserved, i.e. if there were no loss of total head:
u2 Pm u2 P
+ + zm = m
+ m + zm (1)
2g w 2g w
In this equation, Pm and Pn are equal, since both are at atmospheric pressure and
um is negligibly small according to our assumption. Moreover,
zm − zn = H o (2)
so that, from Equations (1) and (2), the ideal velocity at N is given by:
= Ho (3)
This result applies to all points in the plane of the vena contracta, so changing the
notation to let uo be the ideal velocity in the plane of the vena contracta, which would
occur if there was not energy loss.
u c2
= Hc (4)
Because of the energy loss, which in fact takes place as the water passes down the
tank and through the orifice, the actual velocity uc in the plane of the vena contracta
be less than uo, and may be calculated from the Pitot tube reading by the equation:
u c2
= Hc (5)
It is clear that (Ho – Hc) represents the energy loss. The ratio of actual velocity uc
and ideal velocity uo is often referred to as the coefficient of velocity Cu of the orifice.
From Equations (4) and (5), we obtain:
u Hc
Cu = c (6)
uo H o
In a similar sense, the coefficient of contraction Cc is defined as the ratio of the
cross-section of the vena contracta ac, to the cross-section of the orifice ao,
Cc = c (7)
Finally, the coefficient of discharge Cd is defined as the ratio of the actual discharge
to that which would take place if the jet discharged at the ideal velocity without any
reduction of area. The actual discharge Q is given by:
Q = u c ac (8)
and if the jet discharged at the ideal velocity uo over the orifice area ao, the
discharge Qo would be:
Qo = u o a o = a o 2 gH o (9)
So, from the definition of the coefficient of discharge,
Q u c ac
Cd = = (10)
Qo u o a o
or in terms of quantities measured experimentally,
Cd = (11)
2 gH o a o
From Equations (6), (7) and (10) it follows immediately:
C d = Cu Cc

Apparatus Data
Symbols: Suffixes:
D - diameter o - orifice
A - area c - contracta/contraction
H - head u - velocity
u - velocity d - discharge
C - coefficient
Ao = cross sectional area of orifice
Ac = cross sectional area of jet at plane of vena contracta
Ho = static (piezometer) head above plane of vena contracta
Hc = actual head above plane of vena contracta
g = gravity
Cu = velocity coefficient:
Cc = contraction coefficient:
Cd = discharge coefficient:
Qo = ideal discharge:
Qc = actual discharge:

Experimental procedure
1) The equipment is set on the bench and levelled so that the base of the tank is
2) The flexible supply pipe from the bench control valve is connected to the inlet
pipe of the apparatus which is positioned to discharge directly back to the weigh
tank, and the overflow of the apparatus is directed onto the bench top. To obtain
the steadiest readings adjust the vertical position of the inlet pipe so that it is just
3) Note the diameter of the sharp-edged orifice.
4) Water is admitted to the tank to fill it to the height of the overflow pipe, and the
inflow is regulated so that a small steady discharge is obtained from the overflow.
This ensures that the level in the tank remains constant while the measurements
are made.
5) To measure Cd the discharge is obtained by the collection of a 6 kg weight of
water from the orifice in the weighing tank, and recording the value of head Ho in
the orifice.
6) To measure Cu, the Pitot tube is inserted into the emerging jet close to the
underside of the tank, and the values of Pitot head Hc and head Ho on the orifice
are noted.
7) About eight different flow rates should be sufficient to establish the
relationship between discharge and head on the orifice.

Diameter of orifice, do (mm) =
Cross-sectional area of orifice , ao (m ) =

Sr. Head on orifice, Ho Time required to collect 6 kg of Pitot tube reading, Hc

No. (mm) water, t(s) (mm)

Discharge, Q (m3/s) =
10 × t
Coefficient of Discharge, Cd = a 2 gH
0 o

Coefficient of Velocity, Cv =
Coefficient of Contraction, Cc =


Sr. Discharge, Coefficient of Coefficient of Coefficient of

No. Q Discharge, Velocity, Contraction,
(m3/s) Cd Cv Cc

Draw a graph between Qact and Qthe.