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School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering

MECH2410: Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics

Practical: Fan Scaling Law

Flow rate measurement

The ducted-fan equipment that you will be using uses an orifice plate to measure the flow rate through the duct. Figure 1 shows a sketch of the inlet
to the duct. The entrance to the duct is slightly smaller than the internal diameter of the duct. The stream tube passing through the orifice contracts to
an area Ac just behind the entrance, where the flow velocity is VC. A small region of stagnant flow is formed behind the orifice plate where there is a
pressure tapping. The stream tube expands to eventually fill the entire duct, where the flow speed is V. The flow passes through a flow straightener
before it reaches the fan (which is not shown in this sketch, but is further downstream (to the right in the sketch).

Figure 1: Schematic of the duct entrance

Apply Bernoulli's equation (see the appendix) from a point upstream to the point just inside the orifice to derive an expression for VC in terms of the
pressure difference between the tapping pressure and atmosphere pressure ∆Po (the gauge pressure just behind the entrance). Assume that the
pressure across the duct just behind the orifice is constant. Show that the flow downstream of the flow-straightener may be expressed in the form:

Q  CA (1)

Hint: the flow rate Q = V×A, so you need to relate V to VC by considering the change in area from Ac to A.

Characteristic Pressure and Flow Rate

The fan is operating at a frequency f (cycles/sec, Hz) in a duct of diameter D.

 Assuming a negligible clearance between the fan and the duct wall what is the fan tip speed (the characteristic speed of the fan)? vchar ≈
 Assume that the average airflow velocity through the fan can be no more than the fan tip speed. Make an estimate of the maximum possible
volumetric flow rate1 for this fan. Call this the `characteristic flow rate': Qchar ≈
 What is the maximum dynamic pressure of the airflow through the fan? Assume that this dynamic pressure is the maximum possible rise in
air pressure that the fan can produce. Convert this dynamic pressure to an equivalent `head' of air2.Call this the `characteristic head' of the
fluid: Hchar ≈

1 The mass flow rate of a fluid moving with average speed V through a duct with cross-sectional area A is . For a fluid with a
constant density ρ we can express the flow rate as volume of fluid per second Q (m3/s), given by Q = V A. The density of air in low speed (subsonic) flow is very nearly

2 Dynamic pressure' of a moving fluid is given by , where ρ is the fluid density kg/m3 and V is the flow speed (m/s). Dynamic pressure is proportional to the
force required to bring the moving fluid to rest, the force you feel when a jet of water is directed against your chest, for example. The equivalent `head' of fluid for a
given pressure is the height H (m) of a column of the fluid, which produces a hydrostatic pressure ρgH equal to the given pressure.

 Let measured pressure rise across the fan be ΔP, which can be expressed as an equivalent `head' of air H. Express the measured head H as a
fraction of the characteristic head calculated above. Thus, by dropping all numerical constants show that the pressure rise across the fan can
be expressed in non-dimensional form as the `head coefficient' given below. Similarly express the measured volumetric flow rate Q as a
fraction of Q char to derive the `flow coefficient given below.

a. Head coefficient:   gH /(f 2D2 )  P /(f 2D2 )  H / Hchar

b. Flow coefficient:   Q /(fD3 )  Q / Qchar

Check that  and  have no units (are pure numbers).

Note: you will measure the pressure difference across the fan, and use the `head coefficient' in the form ΔP / (½f2D2). Check this equals gH= (f2D2).


Under the guidance of the tutor, familiarize yourself with the software, which controls the fan. Find it under `programs/armfield/axial fan'. The green
`go' icon records a single data point. Try the other icons. The lab software assumes, in effect, a constant value of C (the `discharge coefficient') in Eq.
1, which has been determined by calibration experiments. Note that when the `go' icon is clicked the data is added to a spreadsheet. The software also
produces some graphs similar to those you are required to produce in this report. You can save the spread sheet as and *.xls file

Go to University website3 (`Google `UQ weather') to determine the local atmospheric pressure, which should be entered into the software (for each
fan speed you do) and recorded here:

Table 1: Atmospheric Presuures

Fan Speed Atmospheric Pressure (kPa)

Low (30%)

Medium (50%)

High (100%)

Fan Performance: ΔP vs. Q

Collect data for three different fan settings (fan speeds): low, medium and high. (For each fan speed)

1. Zero the pressure gauges either side of fan with the fan off (zero flow speed and zero pressure rise across fan) click on the `zero icon' on the
control panel. Check the atmospheric pressure and enter into the control panel (and table above).
2. Start with the exit fully open and record the pressure increase across the fan ΔP and volumetric flow rate Q.
3. Close the exit obstruction by a small amount, wait a few moments for the flow to settle and record the new values of ΔP and Q.
4. Repeat step 2 (10 times), but do not close the outlet aperture to smaller than about 5mm diameter.
5. Plot the ΔP vs. Q data for this fan speed similar to what is shown in Figure 2. Use a different symbol for each fan speed.


Figure 2: Plot Data for different fan speeds

Note: you should use computer software to produce your own plot, which you can attach later.

Non-Dimensional Curve

The theory of `dimensional analysis' indicates that the head coefficient  should be a function of only the flow coefficient  and the Reynolds
number, i.e.

Here v is the kinematic viscosity of air. Check that the Reynolds number has no units (is a pure number).

Figure 3: Plot the data in non-dimensional form

Note: you should use computer software to produce a plot, which you can attach later. Add a ‘Best Fit’ approximation to the curve = ().

In many flows, the effect of Reynolds number is small over a large variation in Reynolds number. In that case, we can expect that  will be a
function of  only = ().

Present all your data in non-dimensional form of head coefficient  vs. flow coefficient  (Plot this data on Figure 3). The internal diameter of the
duct is 123mm.

Note: convert the measured Q in liters/s to m3/s.

Sketch a best fit  vs.  line on the graph. Find the values of  corresponding to values of  (convenient values of  which can be reliably
interpolated from your best-fit curve). Put these values into Table2.

Table 2: Non-dimensional Curve

For fan speed f= (Hz) Cycle/min = (rpm)

From Set Predict from Measures

Flow () Head () Q (m3/s) ΔP (N/m2) ΔP % Error

Flow rate Q corresponds to given value of . Head  corresponds to flow rate  (from non-dimensional curve in Fig. 3). Head  corresponds to
predicted pressure rise ΔP. Show measured pressure and deviation from predicted value (`error'). You may use other values of  in the first column,
provided they do not correspond exactly to any data point you measured and showed on Fig. 3, i.e. do not repeat exactly a previous measurement.

1. Choose a fan speed different from the values for which you collected data. For this fan speed determine the flow rate Q corresponding to
any other convenient values of . Enter these values into Table 2. Predict the values of ΔP you expect in each case and enter these in the
table as well.
2. Set this new fan speed and close the aperture until the flow rate corresponds to  2. Compare the measured flow rates to the values you
3. Complete Table 2

Dimensional analysis is a powerful tool that indicates the best way to present experimental data that depends on many variables. Your different fan-
performance curves for different fan speeds in Figure 2 should have ‘collapsed’ into a single non-dimensional curve in Figure3. By estimating the
empirical form of the non-dimensional relationship you should have been able to predict the relationship between the pressure rise ΔP and flow rate
Q for a given fan speed, even though you had taken no data at that fan speed.

Your Report should include the following:

Cover page, Aims and Objectives, Introduction, Method, Results and Discussions, Conclusions, Appendix (Should include pre-work), and

The ideal gas law is the equation of state of a hypothetical ideal gas. It is a good approximation to the behavior of many gases under many conditions.

P   RSpecific T

Where ρ is density of gas, R Specific is equal to 287.05 (J/kg.K) and T is temperature of gas (K).

Bernoulli's equation relates the pressure and flow speed and gravitational potential energy of the fluid along a streamline. For horizontal flow (such
as in the ducted fan) the gravitational potential energy is constant (the elevation is constant) and Bernoulli’s equation for a constant density fluid can
be written as:

1 2 P
V   e0  Cons tan t along streamline
2 
V 2  P  P0  Cons tan t along streamline

Where V is the flow speed, P is the fluid pressure and ρ is the fluid density and e0 (J/kg) and P0 (Pa) are constants along any streamline. The first
form says the kinetic energy per unit mass of the flowing fluid (½ V2) is converted to `pressure energy' per unit mass (the potential of the pressure to
do work) or vice versa as the flow speed changes along the streamline. The second equation says the same thing in another way: the fluid pressure P
may be converted to fluid `dynamic pressure' ½ ρV 2 or vice versa.

In the fan duct (Figure 1) the pressure drops as the flow speeds up to enter the duct, so the pressure just behind the orifice entrance is less than
atmospheric (a negative gauge pressure).



Student Safety Declaration Form for Practical Class Work

This form must be completed by the Student and given to the Tutor, Lecturer or Course Coordinator
during the first practical class. (Some Schools require online submission of this form e.g. SCMB).
No experimental work should start until this form has been completed.

Name: (Please print)

Student Number:
Course Code:

Yes No
I have read and I understand the Occupational Health and Safety in the Laboratory guidelines
(Undergraduate Student Edition)
I am aware of my Workplace Health and Safety responsibilities.
I understand that personal protective equipment (PPE) may be required for this course and I agree to
wear it as directed by the tutor.
I understand that if I am not wearing appropriate PPE, I can be excluded from the laboratory for
that class.
I agree to follow all safety procedures explained to me by the tutor.
I understand that I must not eat food or drink in the laboratory.

I understand that inappropriate conduct can result in the denial of further laboratory access.

I understand that all accidents, including ‘near miss’ incidents need to be reported to the lecturer
or tutor immediately.

I understand that all faulty or broken equipment needs to be brought to the attention of my tutor

I understand the procedures outlined in this guideline regarding emergency evacuation. I agree to
follow the instructions of my tutor, UQ Security and other competent persons during emergencies.
I agree to familiarize myself with the local emergency arrangements of the laboratory, including the
location of the eyewash and safety shower.

I understand the procedures outlined in this guideline regarding pregnancy.

I agree to advise the course coordinator of any known allergies / sensitivities to chemicals or
other substances relevant to my undergraduate coursework.

I agree to advise the course coordinator of any physical or mental disability, or personal
circumstance that may negatively impact safety in the laboratory.

Student Signature: ………...…………………………………………………………...

Date: ……………………………………………………………………..

OH&S in the Laboratory (Undergraduates - Declaration) Page 1 of 1

OHS Division Reviewed 22 January 2013

School of Mechanical and Mining engineering
MECH2410: Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics
Practical: Fan Scaling

Marking Criteria Sheet No:

Criteria Good Satisfactory /Unsatisfactory Poor

Perfectly outlined scope, aims Successfully/unsuccessfully outlined Very limited or no defined scope
and objectives scope, aims and objectives and objectives
15 11 10 8<-][-> 7 5 4 0

Comprehensively presented
Procedure/ Completely/incompletely presented Very limited or no procedure and
procedure and list of
Assumptions procedure and list of assumptions list of assumptions

15 11 10 8<-][-> 7 5 4 0

Results/ Extensively presented results and Correctly/incorrectly presented results Very limited or no results and
Discussions discussions and discussions discussions
30 21 20 15<-][-> 14 11 10 0

Properly/improperly summaries Very limited or no summary of

Conclusions Clearly summaries outcomes
outcomes outcomes
15 11 10 8<-][->7 5 4 0

Use of course
Comprehensive use of course Complete/incomplete use of course Very limited or no use of course
materials and
materials and references materials and references materials and references
15 11 10 8<-][->7 5 4 0

Layout and
High quality presentation and Acceptable/unacceptable presentation Low quality presentation and
standard of
attention to details and attention to details attention to details
10 9 8 7<-][->6 5 4 0

Total : / 100