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# BSEN 3310 Flow Meter Discharge Coefficient Estimation

## John Zackery Hall, Group 2

Abstract. A flow meter is an instrument used to measure mass or volumetric flow rate of
a liquid or a gas. Loss due to frictional force and other irrecoverable losses in the system
Cd
are the discharge coefficient,
. This experiment yielded a discharge coefficient of
1.13 for the Venturi flow meter and 0.755 for the orifice flow meter. The relative error
was 15.3% and 20.4%, respectively. Human error was present in the experiment. The
flow meter discharge coefficient is important in any engineering process .
Introduction and Objective
Flow meters are instruments used to measure linear, nonlinear, mass, or volumetric
flow rate of a liquid or a gas. Types of flow meters include: Venturi, orifice, and
rotameter flow meters. An orifice meter is a restricted channel that creates a pressure drop
by gradually increasing the pressure, dropping the pressure until it has reached the vena
contracta, and then gradually increasing pressure again until the maximum pressure point
is reached. The venturi meter is a type of orifice that is able to handle higher velocity
flows and cause less head loss due to the gradual contraction and expansion (Herschel,
1899). A rotameter consist of a tapered tube and float that measures the flow rate by
matching the position of the cylinder against the graduated flow scale outside of the
tapered tube. Virtually all meters experience some degree of head loss.
The Bernoulli equation assumes that friction is negligible; however, friction is usually a
factor in real life. There are always energy losses when a fluid flows through a pipe
(Cengel and Cimbala, 2006). These losses must be accounted for in order to keep the
Cd
fluid moving the distance desired. The discharge coefficient,
, is of great
importance to fluid transportation. It is defined as a dimensionless ratio of the actual
discharge to the theoretical discharge. This correction factor has a value of less that one
and depends on the Reynolds number (Re) and the diameter ratio ( ). The discharge
coefficient is important in order to stay accurate in measurements. Flow meters are
important devices for fluid measurements, but the head loss must be taken into account.
The main objectives are to estimate the discharge coefficients for venture and orifice
meters and quantify energy losses due to flow through venture, orifice, and rotameter
flow meters. Plots of data, trendline, and equations are used to reach the objectives. A
better understanding of flow meter discharge coefficient estimation is to be formed.
Materials and Methods
Equipment used included: FNE18 Flow Meter Module from Edibon. The system
consisted of eight manometric tubes. Tubes one through three represented the venturi,
tubes four through six represented the rotameter, and tubes five through eight represented

the orifice. Two valves were used simultaneously to control the water through the system.
The right valve controlled the first four tubes while the left valve controlled the last four
tubes. The two valves increased the flow rate and released pressure, respectively. The
release of pressure helped avoid pressure buildup that would eventually cause a water
overflow. After the valves were turned simultaneously to a desired position, the water
height was recorded in millimeters and converted to meters for tubes one through eight.
Water was released with the dump valve and volume was recorded from the reading of
the manometer associated with the dump valve system in liters (L) after sixty seconds.
These steps were all repeated five times, each time moving the valves to different
positions simultaneously.

Tube
1
(m)

Tube
2
(m)

Tube
3
(m)

Data Collected
Tube Tube Tube
4
5
6
(m)
(m)
(m)

Tube
7
(m)

Tube
8
(m)

Vf
VV (L)
(L)
250.
4.0
0 0.342 0.338 0.340 0.338 0.104 0.106 0.100 0.102
0
375.
7.0
0 0.366 0.360 0.362 0.360 0.126 0.128 0.112 0.116
0
500.
9.5
0 0.392 0.382 0.386 0.386 0.150 0.156 0.130 0.138
0
750.
15.
0 0.380 0.356 0.372 0.360 0.128 0.134 0.074 0.090
0
875.
21.
0 0.406 0.372 0.398 0.380 0.144 0.154 0.070 0.092
0
1125
24.
.0 0.450 0.398 0.440 0.412 0.172 0.186 0.052 0.088
0
The data collected during the experiment. Tube 1-3 (venture), tube 4-5 (rotameter), tube
6-8 (orifice).

Energy loss was calculated by plugging in final height and initial height of the tubes
for the venture (1-3), rotameter (4-5), and orifice tubes (6-8) into Equation 1. Density of
water and gravity was also required.
Energy loss=

hi gh f g
/1000

(kJ/kg)

(1)
3

The flow rate was found by converting the VV from liters to m /s . Energy loss versus
the flow rate was plotted in Figures 1-3 for venture, rotameter, and orifice, respectively.

Vf

## seconds was also required.

Q=

V f V i
1.667 X 105
t

( m /s

(2)
The square root of pressure drop was calculated by plugging in the final and initial height
of the tubes for the venture (1-3), rotameter (4-5), and orifice tubes (6-8)into Equation 3.
Density of water and gravity was also required.
Square root of pressure drop= g hig h f

(3)

Volumetric flow rates (Q) versus square root of pressure drops across the Venturi, orifice,
and rotameter meters were plotted in Figure 4.
The trendlines for volumetric flow rate (Q) versus square root of pressure drops for the
Venturi (1-3) and orifice (6-8) plots were used to find the slopes that were then plugged
into Equation 4 in order to find the discharge coefficients.
Slope =Cd A 2

2
2

[ ]

A
(1 2 )
A1

(4)
water ( kg/m 2)

A 1 (m2)

Venturi

1000 8.04X10-4

Orifice

1000 9.62X10-4

A 2 (m2)
3.14X104
2.83X104

Estimated discharge coefficients are compared to theoretical values. The theoretical value
for the Venturi meter is 0.98, and the theoretical value for the orifice meter is calculated
from Equation 5.
C d=0.5959+ 0.0312 2.10.184 8 +

## Tables and Graphs

91.71 2.5
0.75

(5)

Figure 1: Energy loss versus flow rate for the Venturi meter.

Figure 2: Energy loss versus flow rate for the rotameter meter.

0
0
f(x) = 8161.33x^2 + 0.72x - 0
R = 1

0
0
0
0
0

## Flow Rates (m^3/s)

Figure 3: Energy loss versus flow rate for the orifice meter.

0
0
0

f(x) = 0x
R = 1

f(x) = 0x
R = 0.95

Venturi

Q (m^3/s) 0

Linear (Venturi)
Rotameter

Orifice
Linear (Orifice)

0
0
0

10

20

30

40

50

60

## Spuare Root of Pressure Drop (kPa)

Figure 4: Q versus square root of pressure drop across Venturi, rotameter, and orifice
meters.
Results and Discussions
The positive trend in Figure 1 demonstrated that when a fluid flows faster, there will be
more energy loss. Friction between fluid and the surface of a pipe is mainly caused by
viscosity. When the velocity increased the shear stress increased as well to cause the
energy loss. (Frank, 2003). In a Venturi flow meter, the energy loss will rise almost
linearly with volumetric flow rate increases.
Figure 2 demonstrated with horizontal lines that, in a rotameter flow meter, the
pressure drop would stay around the same with the volumetric flow rate increased. The
variable cross section played a part to make shear stress constant and keep the energy loss
the same level.
The upward trend in Figure 2 demonstrated that a Venturi and an orifice flow meter are
similar. In the orifice meter, the energy loss started to rise faster instead of staying more
linear. This was shown by the upward trend of the figure.
Figure 4 was plotted in order to estimate the discharge coefficient of the flow meters.
The slope of the Venturi flow meter was 0.00002, and the slope of the orifice flow meter
was 0.00001. The rotameter did not have a slope because the energy loss did not change
C d=
as the volumetric flow rate increased.
1.13 and 0.755 for the Venturi and orifice
flow meters, respectively. The theoretical value for the Venturi flow meter was 0.98, and
the theoretical value for the orifice flow meter was 0.627. A relative error of 15.3% was
found for the discharge coefficient of the Venturi flow meter, and a relative error of

20.4% was found for the discharge coefficient of the orifice flow meter. Both relative
errors there could have been minor human error present in the experiment.

Conclusion
The analysis of the collected data from the discharge coefficient
estimation allowed for a sufficient overview of the rules of fluid
transportation and measurement. The energy loss of a fluid flowing
across Venturi and orifice flow meters would increase while the
volumetric flow rate increased. The fluid through the orifice flow meter
would have a higher energy loss. The energy loss would keep constant
with the volumetric flow rate increased in a rotameter. Through
calculation, the discharge coefficient of Venturi and orifice flow meters
was 1.13 and 0.755, respectively. The relative error was 15.3% and
20.4%, proving that human error is possible. The precision of reading
and operation need to be improved to reduce errors. The flow meter
discharge coefficient is important in any engineering process.

References
Cengel, Y.A. and Cimbala, J.M. Fluid Mechanics: Fundamentals and Applications.
Boston. McGraw-HillHigher Education, 2006. Print.
Frank M. W. Fluid Mechanics, 7th Edition, McGrawHill Series in Mechanical
Engineering, 2003. Print.
Herschel, Clemens. The Venturi Water Meter. New York. Cassier Magazine Co, 1899.
Print.