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The Reynolds Experiment

I.

Introduction
i.
Principles/ Relevant Equations
- The Reynolds experiment
- Kinds of Flow
- Equation for Reynolds Number
- Reynolds No. Values
ii.
Significance of the Experiment
- Derive from the thesis.
iii.
Objectives of the experiment.
- To compare the visual images of the different types of flow
- To evaluate the Reynolds Number (NRE) for each type of flow.
- To verify if the type of flow corresponds to the Reynolds number
obtained

Introduction Proper
Over time, there had been countless experiments that had been formulated
in order to visualize the way fluids flow. Amongst all these experiments, Osborne
Reynolds experiment that he performed almost a century ago (Cengel, 2006) was
the most famous.
His experiment consisted of a glass tube in which dye was injected in
different points in the flowing stream (de Nevers, 1991). He was able to see that
the injected dyes, at the different points, tend to have different visual
characteristics ranging from a straight line to being completely scattered. From
there he characterized different kinds of flow: laminar, turbulent, and transition
flows.
Laminar flow is characterized by flow in one direction (axial) only. It is called
such because it is observed that the fluid moves in layers (lamina). Turbulent flows,
from the name itself, are characterized by chaotic flow across different directions
(de Nevers, 1991). The transition period, on the other hand, is the short amount of
time wherein the flow is constantly changing between laminar and turbulent flows.
Osborne Reynolds furthered his work when in the 1880s he managed to
discover that the kind of flow undergone by the fluid is just the ratio of its initial and
viscous forces (Cengel, 2006). His discovery is now commonly known as the
Reynolds number (NRE). It is important to note that the Reynolds number is
dimensionless.
For a circular pipe, it is derived as:

N =

inertial forces V avg D


=
(Equation 1.1)
viscous forces

Where:
= density
Vavg = average velocity
D = diameter (or hydraulic diameter)
= viscosity of fluid

For non-circular pipes, the hydraulic diameter can be calculated as:

D h=

4 Ac
P

(Equation
1.2)

Where:
Ac = cross sectional area
P = wetted perimeter
It is improbable to assign specific values for determining the kind of flow
using the Reynolds number. It is usually sufficient to give a range of numbers to
determine the kind of flow that is being undergone (Cengel, 2006). The table below
summarizes the ranges Cengel (2006) described different kinds of flow.
Table 1.1 Range of Reynolds Number for different flow regimes
FLOW
REYNOLDS NUMBER (NRE)
Laminar Flow
NRE 2300
Turbulent Flow
2300< NRE<4000
Transition Flow
4000 NRE
The Reynolds Experiment and the Reynolds number has been
important in the field of chemical engineering . . . (insert significance
here)
At the end of the experiment, the students should be able to compare the
visualizations of the different kinds of flow. They should also be able to evaluate the
Reynolds number for different flow patterns. They also need to verify if the flow
regime is correspondent to the computed Reynolds number.

References:
CENGEL, Y.A., CIMBALA, J.M.
applications. New York: McGrawHill.

(2006).

Fluid

mechanics:

fundamentals

and

DE NEVERS, N. (1991). Fluid mechanics for chemical engineers (2 nd ed.). Singapore:


McGraw-Hill.