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The objective of the lab was to illustrate the influence of Reynold’s Number on pipe
flows. To illustrate this influence, six different Reynolds numbers were observes: two laminar
numbers (Re<2100), two transitional numbers (2100<Re<4000), and two turbulent numbers
(Re>4000). When a flow is laminar, the flow should be streamline. When a flow is turbulent,
the flow should be very chaotic and wavy. When a wave is transitional, it contains
characteristics from both turbulent and laminar flow. The figures taken at each Reynolds
number were fairly similar to the ideal images portrayed in figure 7. However, there were
several places where error could have occurred throughout the experiment.


The necessary flow rates for each targeted Reynolds Numbers were calculated using
equations 1-3. With the targeted Reynolds Number along with mu, density, and diameter, the
velocity was able to be calculated using equation 1. From there, equation 2 was used to calculate
the area of the pipe and finally, equation 3 was used to calculate the necessary flow rate. This
process was repeated for each target Reynolds Number. The flow rates are recorded in Table 1
in the appendix and the images of the resulting flows are shown below in figures 1-6.

Figure 1: Laminar Flow at 1200

Figure 2: Laminar Flow at 1500

Figure 3: Transitional Flow at 2300

Figure 4: Transitional Flow at 3000

Figure 5: Turbulent Flow at 4300

Figure 6: Turbulent Flow at 5000

Analysis and Discussion

For this lab, the objective was to observe the influence that Reynolds number has on the
flow of fluids in a pipe. To observe the effects of Reynolds number, six different Reynolds
numbers were selected; 1200 and 1500 for laminar, 2300 and 3000 for transitional, and 4300 and
5000 for turbulent. The flow of the dies were to be compared to Figure 7 in the appendix. With a
number of 1200, the flow rate was 0.3635 GPM. The die flow is shown in Figure 1 above and
was pretty accurate to laminar; however, the farther the die traveled from the nozzle there was a
little disturbance in the flow. At 1500, the flow rate was 0.4543 GPM. This die flow was a little
less laminar than 1200; however, the flow would still be considered laminar, die flow is shown in
Figure 2. For transitional, the value used was 2300, which had a flow rate at 0.6967 GPM. This
was very accurate to the ideal transitional flow where the laminar flow is beginning to become a
little wavy, die flow is shown in Figure 3. At the second transitional number of 3000, the flow
rate was 0.9087 GPM, die flow shown in Figure 4. This die flow was a little in between
transitional and turbulent flow, because when compared to the ideal transitional flow the flow
was pretty wavy but not wavy enough to be considered turbulent. For turbulent, one value used
was 4300 with a flow rate of 1.3025 GPM, die flow shown in Figure 5. The die flow at 4300 was
the most accurate to the ideal turbulent flow, where the die flow was just passed transitional.
Finally, the last value for turbulence was 5000 with a flow rate of 1.5145 GPM, die flow shown
in Figure 6. This represents turbulence flow to an extreme when compared to the ideal turbulence
flow because the die is beginning to blend with water very early in the flow.
The reasons why all the flows did not match the ideal flows shown in Figure 7 was
because of a significant amount of errors in the system. The first error was related to the
Reynolds number directly. When calculating Reynolds number, the density of the fluid plays a
factor as shown in Equation 1 below. For this lab the density of the fluid, water, was kept
constant, which was not true. As the water ran in loops going through the motor and the pump
repeatedly, heat would have been added to the water by the pump which would have changed the
density of the water. Another factor that would have changed the density of the water was the die
being added to the water. The die would not have had the same density as water, so as more and
more die was blended with the water the density would have changed.
Another error in the system could have been from the vibrations from the motor. Even if
the vibrations were not serve, they could have caused enough disturbance in the flow of the
liquid to not allow the die flow to look ideal. A third potential error could have been related to
the water pump’s accuracy. If the water pump was not outputting the correct amount of fluid it
would have affected the flow of the fluid.
To better understand the nature of fluid flow, Z. Warhaft uses an example of water
coming out of a faucet. When a faucet is barely turned on the flow of the fluid would be low
speed and almost look glassy which would represent flow being laminar. Then for the opposite if
the faucet is turned on all the way the flow of the fluid would be high speed and the pattern of
the flow is always changing which would represent turbulence. So then through multiple
experiments Warhaft suggested that “...laminar flow occurs for low speeds, small diameters, low
densities and high viscosities, while turbulent flows occur for the opposite conditions: high
speeds, large diameters, high densities and low viscosities.” Then for transitional flow, it is just
the case of laminar changing to turbulence. (Z. Warhaft,1997)

Summary and Conclusion

The overall objective of this lab was to observe how Reynolds number and fluid flow
related to one another. Through observation, it can be concluded that as fluid flow increased
when the pipe diameter was held constant, Reynolds number will increase. Then if fluid flow is
increased enough, the fluid flow will change from laminar flow to turbulent flow. As depicted in
Figure 7, laminar flow occurs when Reynolds number is less than 2100, transitional flow occurs
between 2100 and 4000, and turbulence flow occurs at values greater than 4000. This lab proved
that Reynolds values held true, however because of error sources the results were not perfect. To
better improve the lab, the density of the water will have to be more accurate. By including the
density of the ink, it will help values become more accurate.
Department of Mechanical Engineering. ME 335 – Lab 5 Theory. Ames, IA: Iowa State

Munson, Young and Okiishi’s Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics, 8th Edition. (2016).

Warhaft, Z. “Transition and Turbulence.” ​Princeton University,​ The Trustees of Princeton

University, 1997,

Figure 7: Laminar, Transitional, Turbulent Flows

Equation 1- Reynolds Number

Re = ρLV

Equation 2: Area
A = π4 (D)2

Equation 3: Volumetric Flow Rate


Table 1: Target Flowrates

Target Mu Density D (m) V Flowrate Flowrate Calculated
Re (N-s/m^2) (kg/m^3) (m/s) (m^3/s) (gpm)

1500 0.001 998.2 0.0243 0.0618 2.866E-05 0.4543

3000 0.001 998.2 0.0243 0.1237 5.733E-05 0.9087

5000 0.001 998.2 0.0243 0.2061 9.555E-05 1.5145

2300 0.001 998.2 0.0243 0.0948 4.395E-05 0.6967

1200 0.001 998.2 0.0243 0.0495 2.293E-05 0.3635

4300 0.001 998.2 0.0243 0.1773 8.217E-05 1.3025

Figure 8: Example Calculations