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Osbourne Reynolds experiment is used to investigate the characteristic of the flow of the liquid
in the pipe which is also used to determine the Reynolds Number for each state of the flow. The
design of the apparatus allowed studying the characteristic of the flow of the fluid in the pipe, the
behavior of the flow and also to calculate the range for the laminar and turbulent flow where the
calculation is used to prove the Reynolds number is dimensionless by using the Reynolds
Number formula.

For the first and second objectives, it involve running the Osborne Reynolds equipment with
different of water volume flow rate. In this experiment we fix the time, which is 5 second to
collect the amount of water. At the same time we also observe the characteristic of the flow, there
are laminar, transition and turbulent flow. From the data collected we made calculation to
estimate the range for laminar and turbulent flow. To prove that the Reynolds number is
dimensionless, we calculate by using the units only and using the appropriate formula, it is
proved that the Reynolds number is dimensionless


The experiment is conducted mainly to study the criterion of laminar, transition and turbulent
flow. In fluid mechanics, internal flow is defined as a flow for which the fluid is confined by a
surface. The flow may be laminar or turbulent. Osborne Reynolds (23 August 1832 21February
1912) was a prominent innovator in the understanding of fluid dynamics and mechanics.
Osborne Reynolds Apparatus consists of water resource for the system supply, fix-head water
input to big and small transparent pipes, dye input by injection unit, and water output unit to
determine water flow rate. The laminar, transition and turbulent flows can be obtained by varying
the water flow rate using the water outlet control valve. Water flow rate and hence the flow
velocity is measured by the volumetric measuring tank. The supply tank consists of glass beads
to reduce flow disturbances. Flow patterns are visualized using dye injection through a needle
valve. The dye injection rate can be controlled and adjusted to improve the quality of flow


1. To observe the characteristics of laminar, transition and turbulent flow.

2. To prove that the Reynolds number is dimensionless by using the formula;



In Fluid Mechanics, Reynolds Number ( ) is a dimensionless number that is expressed as

pV 2 V
the ratio of inertial forces ( L ) to viscous forces ( L2 ). Thus, the Reynolds number can

be simplified as followings:
pV 2 / L
= V / L2


Where p is the density of the fluid, V is the mean fluid velocity, L is a characteristic linear
dimension, and is the dynamic viscosity of the fluid. When a fluid flows through a pipe the
internal roughness (e) of the pipe wall can create local eddy currents within the fluid adding a
resistance to flow of the fluid. Pipes with smooth walls such as glass, copper, brass and
polyethylene have only a small effect on the frictional resistance. Pipes with less smooth walls
such as concrete, cast iron and steel will create larger eddy currents which will sometimes have a
significant effect on the frictional resistance. The velocity profile in a pipe will show that the
fluid at the centre of the stream will move more quickly than the fluid towards the edge of the
stream. Therefore friction will occur between layers within the fluid. Fluids with a high viscosity
will flow more slowly and will generally not support eddy currents and therefore the internal

roughness of the pipe will have no effect on the frictional resistance. This condition is known as
laminar flow.

Reynolds number basically determines the transition of fluid flow form laminar flow to turbulent
flow. When the value of Reynolds number is less than 2300, laminar flow will occur and the
resistance to flow will be independent of the pipe wall roughness (e). Meanwhile, turbulent flow
occurs when the value of Reynolds number is exceeding 4000.

For large viscous force, whereby Re value is less than 2300, viscous effects are great enough to
damp any disturbance in the flow and the flow remains laminar. The flow is called laminar
because the flow takes place in layers. Any combination of low velocity, small diameter, or high
kinematic viscosity which results in Re value of less than 2300 will produce laminar flow. As Re
increases, the viscous damping of flow disturbances or perturbations decreases relative to the
inertial effects. Because of a lack of viscous damping, disturbances are amplified until the entire
flow breaks down into in irregular motion. There is still a definite flow direction, but there is an
irregular motion superimposed on the average motion. Thus, for turbulent flow in a pipe, the
fluid is flowing in the downstream direction, but fluid particles have an irregular motion in
addition to the average motion. The turbulent fluctuations are inherently unsteady and three
dimensional. As a result, particles which pass through a given point in the flow do not follow the
same path in turbulent flow even though they all are flowing generally downstream. Flows with
2000 < Re < 4000 are called transitional. The flow can be unstable and the flow switch back and
forth between turbulent and laminar conditions.


1. Osbourne Reynolds Apparatus

2. Beaker
3. Measuring Cylinder
4. Stopwatch

Figure 1: Osbourne Reynolds Apparatus


1. The apparatus is set up and diameter of pipe and also room temperature is measured and
noted down. The aluminum well is filled with dye. The metering tap (dye flow control
valve) and drain cock must be closed.

2. The pump is switched on, the control valve above the pump carefully opened and the tap
is adjusted to produce a constant water level in the reservoir. After a time the test pipe
section is completely filled.

3. The drain cock slightly opened to produce a low rate of flow into the test pipe section.

4. The metering tap is opened and the dye is allowed to flow from the nozzle at the entrance
of the channel until a colored stream is visible along the test pipe section. The velocity of
water flow should be increased if the dye accumulates around the nozzle.

5. The water flow is adjusted until a laminar flow pattern which is a straight thin line or
streamline of dye is able to be seen along the whole test pipe section.

6. The time in seconds for the 10 liters volume of colored waste water that flows down at
the outlet pipe is collected. The volume flow rate is calculated from the volume and a
known time.

7. Steps 5 6 is repeated with increasing rate of flow by opening the drain cock and the
flow pattern of the fluid is observed as the flow changes from laminar to transition and
turbulent. Five to six readings is taken till the dye stream in the test pipe section breaks
up and gets diffused in water.

8. All the apparatus is cleaned after the experiment is done.


Inside diameter of pipe section, d = 0.010 m

Cross sectional area of the pipe, A = m

Density of water, = m

Kinematics viscosity of water at room temperature, v = s

Average room temperature, = C

Flow rate, Q Velocity, v

Volume, v Reynolds Number
Time , t Types of
3 2
(m ) (s) m m Re Flow
( ) ( ) (
s s



u D
= v

u =

= Av

Re < 2100
1. Laminar flow [

Re[ 1]
[ 1.02105 ] [0.0156]
= [1.91 104 ] [0.89 106 ]

= 936

Re[ avg]
= 3

= 911

Re < 4000
2. Transitional flow [2100

Re[ 1]
[2.70 105 ] [0.0156]
= [1.91 104 ] [0.89 106 ]

= 2478

2478+ 2386+2570
Re[ avg]
= 3

= 2478

Re > 4000
3. Turbulent flow [

Re[ 1]
[ 7.00 105 ] [0.0156]
= [1.91 104 ] [0.89 106 ]

= 6423

6423+ 6516+6423
Re[ avg]
= 3

= 6454






1. Laminar flow

Re[ 2]
[ 0.96 105 ] [0.0156]
= [1.91 104 ] [0.89 106 ]

= 880

Re[ 3]
[ 1.00 105 ] [0.0156]
= [1.91 104 ] [0.89 106 ]

= 917

2. Transitional flow

Re[ 2]
[2.60 105 ] [0.0156]
= [1.91 104 ] [0.89 106 ]

= 2386

Re[ 3]
[2.80 105 ] [0.0156]
= [1.91 104 ] [0.89 106 ]

= 2570

3. Turbulent flow

Re[ 2]
[7.10 105 ] [0.0156]
= [1.91 104 ] [0.89 106 ]

= 6516

Re[ 3]
[7.00 105 ] [0.0156]
= [1.91 104 ] [0.89 106 ]

= 6423