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Flow in Pipe

Friction Factor Expressions - Implicit and Explicit by quark

Friction factor is calculated, generally, by any one of the three implicit equations of
Colebrook. The equation, I use, is of the form

1/(f)1/2 = -2.0log((e/D)/3.7 + 2.51/Re(f)1/2)

Note : This is applicable for Re>3000. For laminar flows, Re<2100, Poiseuille's law (f =
64/Re) is used.
Engineers, who think that it is difficult to solve this equation, use Moody's chart to get values
of 'f'. But, if you go through next FAQ (Spreadsheet for Friction Factors), you will find out
how easy it is to solve the implicit equation by some simple calculations in Excel.

To make our life easier, some great engineers developed explicit expressions for the friction
factor. As I went on reading the subject, I came to know that there were many explicit
expressions that equal no. of hairs on my head (no, I am not bald FYI). Out of those, the
following are the famous equations.

Serghides Equation (for Re>2100 and any e/D)


f = [A – [(B-A)2/(C-2B+A)]]-2
A = -2.0 log((e/D)/3.7 + 12/Re)
B = -2.0 log((e/D)/3.7 + 2.51A/Re)
C = -2.0 log((e/D)/3.7 + 2.51B/Re)

Moody Equation (4000<Re<107 and e/D <0.01)


f = -3
5.5x10 (1+ 4
(2x10 e/D + 106/Re)1/3)

Wood Equation (Re>4000 and any e/D)


f = 0.094(e/D)0.225 + 0.53(e/D) + 88(e/D)0.44 x Rea
a = -1.62(e/D)0.134

Jain Equation (for 5000<Re<107 and 0.00004<e/D<0.05)


1/f1/2 = 1.14 – 2.0 log (e/D + 21.25/Re 0.9)

Churchill Equation (for all values of Re and e/D)


f = 8((8/Re)12 + 1/(A+B)1.5)1/12
A = (-2.457ln((7/Re)0.9 + 0.27e/D))16
B = (37530/Re)16

Chen Equation (for all values of Re and e/D)


1/(f)1/2 = -2.0log((e/D)/3.7065 – 5.0452A/Re)
A = log((e/D)1.1098/2.8257 + (5.8506/Re0.8981))

Zigrang and Sylvester Equation (for 4000<Re<108 and 0.00004<e/D<0.05)


1/(f)1/2 = -2.0log ((e/D)/3.7 – 5.02A/Re)
A = log[(e/D)/3.7 – (5.02/Re)log((e/D)/3.7 + 13/Re)]

Comments
After my discussion with Art Montemayor and Katmar, I would dare putting the following
comments for member perusal.

1. The friction factor 'f' is Darcy's friction factor(thanks to katmar for pointing out)

2. The comparison of accuracies of these equations is done based upon the presumption that
Colebrook's equation is perfect and flawless.

3. Serghides opines that Zigrang equation and his own equation have the higher accuracies
(and this is tested by Art Montemayor, Katmar and myself)

4. Away from the critical region, the inaccuracy of any of the above equations is insignificant
(as observed by Katmar). I easily accepted this observation due to two facts. The first one is
that, the easily available pipes have diameters in steps(i.e if our flowrate requires a pipe just
bigger in size than a 3" pipe, our option is 4") . Second one is that, we engineers generally
require generous FOS for future expansion and other kind of things.

5. Member Katmar developed a brilliant expression for friction factor by modifying


Chruchill's equation, which is in perfect agreement with Serghides and Zigrang as far as
accuracies are concerned.

6. Within the critical region, where 2100<Re<3000, one should dare to take the responsibility
of calculating friction factor oneself.

7. Katmar opines that Churchill Equation (and so his version of Churchill equation,
obviously) is the better one to use for all conditions as it gives a continuous curve when the
data is represented graphically. This seems to be a strong point to me.

8. As pointed out by Katmar, one should be careful while using any of these equation for
laminar flow or the critical zone. So, instead of using Chen equation for laminar flows, better
go with Poiseuille.

9. Please note that Zigrang's equation in Serghides paper is misquoted(first pointed out by
TD2K and then I checked it from Zigrang's original paper)

10. Please inform me incase of any mistakes, misinterpretations and misconduct as far as this
FAQ is concerned.
Les ingénieurs, qui pensent qu'il est difficile de résoudre cette équation, utilisent le graphique
de Moody's pour obtenir des valeurs de «f». Mais, si vous passez par une FAQ (Feuille de
calcul pour les coefficients de frottement), vous découvrirez combien il est facile de résoudre
l'équation implicite par des calculs simples dans Excel.
Pour rendre notre vie plus facile, certains grands ingénieurs ont développé des expressions
explicites pour le facteur de friction. Au cours de la lecture du sujet, je suis venu à savoir qu'il
y avait beaucoup d'expressions explicites que non égal. De cheveux sur la tête (non, je ne suis
pas chauve FYI). Parmi ceux-ci, voici les équations célèbres.