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Dimensionless number

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

In dimensional analysis, a dimensionless number (or more precisely, a number

with the dimensions of 1) is a pure number without any physical units; it does not
change if one alters one's system of units of measurement, for example from
English units to metric units. Such a number is typically defined as
a product or ratio of quantities which do have units, in such a way that all units

List of dimensionless numbers

There are infinitely many dimensionless numbers. Some of those that are used
most often have been given names, as in the following list of examples (in
alphabetical order, indicating their field of use):

 Abbe number: Dispersion in optical materials

 Archimedes number: Motion of fluids due to density differences
 Bagnold number: Flow
of grain [5] (
 Biot number: Surface vs volume conductivity of solids
 Bodenstein number: Residence-time distribution
 Bond number: Capillary action driven
by buoyancy [6] (
 Brownell Katz number: Combination of capillary number and Bond number
 Capillary number: Fluid flow influenced by surface tension
 Damköhler numbers: Reaction time scales vs transport phenomena
 Darcy friction factor: Fluid flow
 Deborah number: Rheology of viscoelastic fluids
 Drag coefficient: Flow resistance
 Eckert number: Convective heat transfer
 Ekman number: Frictional (viscous) forces in geophysics
 Euler number: Hydrodynamics (pressure forces vs. inertia forces)
 Fanning friction factor: Fluid flow in
pipes [7] (
 Feigenbaum's delta: Period doubling in chaos
theory [8] (
 Fourier number: Heat transfer
 Fresnel number: Diffraction at a
slit [9] (
 Froude number: Wave and surface behaviour
 Graetz number: Heat flow
 Grashof number: Free convection
 Hagen number: Forced convection
 Knudsen number: Continuum approximation in fluids
 Laplace number: Free convection with immiscible fluids
 Lockhart-Martinelli parameter: flow of wet
gases [10] (
 Lift coefficient: amount of lift available from given airfoil at given angle of attack
 Courant-Friedrich-Levy number: Non-hydrostatic
dynamics [11] (
 Mach number: Gas dynamics
 Magnetic Reynolds number: used to compare the transport of magnetic lines of
force in a conducting fluid to the leakage of such lines from the
fluid [12] (
 Manning roughness coefficient: see Manning
equation [13] (
 Nusselt number: Heat transfer with forced convection
 Ohnesorge number: Atomization of liquids
 Peclet number: Competition between viscous and Brownian forces
 Peel number: Adhesion of microstructures with
substrate [14] (
 Pressure coefficient: Coefficient of pressure experienced at a point on an airfoil
 Poisson's ratio: Load in transverse and longitudinal direction
 Power number: Power consumption by agitators
 Prandtl number: Forced and free convection
 Rayleigh number: Buoyancy and viscous forces in free convection
 Reynolds number: Characterizing flow behaviour (laminar or turbulent)
 Richardson number: Effect of buoyancy on flow
stability [15] (
 Rockwell scale: Mechanical hardness
 Rossby number: Inertial forces in geophysics
 Schmidt number: mass transfer, and diffusion in flowing
systems [16] (
 Sherwood number: Mass transfer with forced convection
 Sommerfeld number:
Boundary lubrication [17] (
 Strouhal number: Continuous and pulsating
flow [18] (
 Coefficient of static friction: Friction of solid bodies at rest
 Coefficient of kinetic friction: Friction of solid bodies in translational motion
 Stokes number: Dynamics of particles
 Strouhal number: Oscillatory flows
 Weaver flame speed number: laminar burning velocity relative
to hydrogen gas [19] (
 Weber number: Characterization of multiphase flow with strongly curved
 Weissenberg
number: Viscoelastic flows [20] (
 Womersley number: continuous and pulsating
flows [21] (

Nusselt number
the ratio of convective to conductive heat transfer across (normal to) the boundary.

Reynolds number
the ratio of Inertial forces to the Viscous forces.

Primarily used to analyse different flow regimes i.e. Laminar, Turbulent, or Transient Flow.

Prandtl number
the ratio of momentum diffusivity to thermal diffusivity.
Graetz number
In fluid dynamics, the Graetz number (Gz) is a dimensionless number that characterizes laminar
flow in a conduit.

DH is the diameter in round tubes or hydraulic diameter in arbitrary cross-section ducts
L is the length
Re is the Reynolds number and
Pr is the Prandtl number.`

When used in connection with mass transfer the Prandtl number is replaced by the Schmidt
number, Sc, which expresses the ratio of the momentum diffusivity to the mass diffusivity.

The quantity is named after the physicist Leo Graetz.

Grashof number
the ratio of the buoyancy to viscous force acting on a fluid, used in fluid dynamics and heat

Heat transfer

Free convection is caused by a change in density of a fluid due to a temperature change or

gradient. Usually the density decreases due to an increase in temperature and causes the fluid to
rise. This motion is caused by the buoyancy force. The major force that resists the motion is
the viscous force. The Grashof number is a way to quantify the opposing forces.[3]

g is acceleration due to Earth's gravity
β is the coefficient of thermal expansion (equal to approximately 1/T, for ideal gases)
Ts is the surface temperature
T∞ is the bulk temperature
L is the vertical length
D is the diameter`
ν is the kinematic viscosity.

Mass transfer

There is an analogous form of the Grashof number used in cases of natural convection mass
transfer problems. In the case of mass transfer, natural convection is caused by concentration
gradients rather than temperature gradients.


g is acceleration due to Earth's gravity
Ca,s is the concentration of species a at surface
Ca,a is the concentration of species a in ambient medium
L is the characteristic length
ν is the kinematic viscosity
ρ is the fluid density
Ca is the concentration of species a
T is the temperature (constant)
p is the pressure (constant).