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Fully Developed Laminar Flow in Circular Tubes consider a steady laminar ow of a viscous uid inside a circular tube, as shown in Fig. 5-1.

Fig. 5-1: Development of the velocity prole in the hydrodynamic entry region of a pipe.

let the uid enter with a uniform velocity over the ow cross section. as the uid moves down the tube a boundary layer of low-velocity uid forms and grows on the surface because the uid immediately adjacent to the surface must have zero velocity. a particular and simplifying feature of viscous ow inside cylindrical tubes is the fact that the boundary layer must meet itself at the tube centerline, and the velocity distribution then establishes a xed pattern that is invariant thereafter. we refer to the hidrodynamic entry length as that part of the tube in which the momentum boundary layer grows and the velocity distribution changes with length. we speak of the fully developed velocity prole as the xed velocity distribution in the fully developed region. it should be added that we are assuming that the uid properties, including density, are not changing along the length of the tube. without yet worrying about how long the hydrodynamic entry length must be in order for a fully developed velocity prole to obtain, let us evaluate the fully developed velocity distribution for a laminar ow with constant viscosity. the applicable equation of motion must evidently be the momentum equation for axisymmetric ow in a circular tube, which is u dP 1 u + vr = + x r dx r r u r


however, by denition of a fully developed velocity prole, it is apparent that vr = 0 and u/x = 0, and u is a function of r alone. Thus Eq. (1) becomes 1 dP + dx r r u r



since the pressure is independent of r, Eq. (2) can be integrated directly twice with respect to r to yield the desired velocity function. 1

applying the boundary conditions u = 0 at r = 0 r u = 0 at r = rs and integrating Eq. (2), we readily obtain
2 rs 4


dP dx

r2 2 rs


Eq. (3) is the familiar parabolic law. However, it proves more useful to express the velocity in terms of a mean velocity V rather than the pressure gradient. if we designate the ow cross-sectional area of a tube as Ac , the mass rate of ow across an elemental segment of that area dAc is, (by m = GA = V A in note 2)

dm = udAc then the total mass ow rate through the tube is

m =


let us dene a mean velocity V such that m Ac

m = V Ac , then 1 Ac

V =


V =



or, since the density is constant, 1 Ac

V =



2 for axisymmetric ow in a circular tube dAc = 2rdr and Ac = rs . Thus

2 V = 2 rs




if we now substitute Eq. (3) into Eq. (7) and integrate, we obtain
2 rs 8

V =

dP dx


equation (8), together with (4), can be used directly to calculate pressure drop. we can also combine (8) with (3) to obtain a simpler expression for the local velocity: r2 2 rs

u = 2V


the shear stress at the surface can be evaluated from the gradient of the velocity prole at the surface. From equation of shear stress in note 3, u r 2rs 2 rs 4V rs

s =

= 2V
r = rs


to provide consistency with procedures to be used later, it is worth noting an alternative procedure to evaluate shear stress. consider a stationary control volume as shown in Fig. 5-2.

Fig. 5-2: Control volume for analyzing fully developed ow in a pipe.

let us apply the momentum theorem, Rate of creation of momentum= F in note 2, in the x direction, noting that, because of the fully developed nature of the ow, there is no net change in momentum ux. Thus dP x r2 2rx dx dP dx

0 = P r2 P +

= and s =

r 2


rs 2

dP dx


equations (11) and (12) are equally applicable to a fully developed turbulent ow, as long as it is understood that refers to an apparent shear stress that is the linear combination of the viscous stress and the apparent turbulent shear stress. also, r = s rs (13)

note, then, that in a fully developed pipe ow, whether laminar or turbulent, the apparent shear stress varies linearly from a maximum at the surface to zero at the pipe or tube centerline (Fig. 5-3). 3

Fig. 5-3: Shear-stress distribution for fully developed ow in a pipe.

nally, Eq. (12) can be combined with Eq. (8), and we again obtain Eq. (10). we can express the surface shear stress in terms of a non-dimensional friction coecient Cf denes as Cf = s 1 2 2 u

let us base the denition arbitrarily on the mean velocity. Thus s = cf V 2 2 (14)

then, employing (10) and considering the absolute value of the shear stress, to preserve the fact that surface shear is always opposite to the ow, we get Cf = 4V /rs 8 16 = = V 2 /2 rs V 2rs V /

we note for the fully developed velocity prole that Cf , the local friction coecient, is independent of x. the non-dimensional group of variables in the denominater is the Reynolds number Re. Thus Re = 2rs V DV DG = = (15)

where D = 2rs , the pipe diameter, and G = m/A c , the mean mass velocity. Thus Cf = 16 Re (16)

Fully Developed Laminar Flow in Other Cross-sectional Shape Tubes laminar velocity prole solutions have been obtained for the fully developed ow case for a large variety of ow cross-sectional shapes. the applicable equation of motion for steady, constant property, fully developed ow with no body forces, and with x the ow direction coordinate, can be readily deduced from the Navier-Stokes equation in note 3 Du/Dt = P/x + 2 u + X . Thus 0= dP + 2 u dx (17)

by assuming dP/dx to be constant over the ow cross section, this equation has been solved by various procedures, including numerically, for various shapes of tube. in most cases the shear stress will vary around the periphery of the tube; but if a mean shear stress with respect to peripheral area is dened (and this is the stress needed to calculate pressure drop), a friction coecient can be dened in terms of Eq. (14). on Fig. 5-4 the fully developed friction coecients for the family of rectangular tubes, extending from the square tube to ow between parallel planes, are plotted.

Fig. 5-4: Friction coecients for fully developed laminar ow in rectangular tubes.

Fig. 5-5 gives similar results for ow between concentric annuli where the denition of Cf for the annulus is given by the area-weighted average based on the inner surface, Ai and the outer surface, A0 , as Cf = i Ai + 0 A0 /(V 2 /2) Ai + A0

Fig. 5-5: Friction coecients for fully developed laminar ow in circular-tube annuli

for ow through an equilateral triangular tube Cf Re = 13.33 the Reynolds number in all these results is dened as ReDh = 4rh G Dh G = (18)

where the hydraulic radius and hydraulic diameter are dened by Ac L cross-sectional area = A wetted perimeter Dh = 4rh Ac = cross-sectional area rh = L = tube length A = total tube surface area in length L G = mean mass ux, m/A c it has been found by experiment that if Eq. (18) is used for the Reynolds number, laminar ow is obtained for ow inside a round tube as long as the Reynolds number is less than about 2300, and this criterion appears to be a good approximation for smooth tubes regardless of tube cross-sectional shape. 6

above this Reynolds number, the ow becomes unstable to small disturbances, and a transition to a turbulent type of ow generally occurs, although a fully establish turbulent ow may not occur until the Reynolds number reaches about 10 000.