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# 400 Friction Pressure Drop

Abstract
This section presents equations for calculating the relationship between flow rate
and pressure drop for incompressible flow, two-phase flow, compressible flow, and
gas flow at high pressure drop (choked flow).

Contents Page
410 Incompressible Flow 400-2
411 Fitting Loss Coefficients
412 Pipe and Tube Friction Losses
420 Two-phase Flow 400-7
421 Pressure Drop Calculations
422 Friction Pressure Drop Correlations
423 Fitting and Bend Losses
424 Acceleration Pressure Loss
425 Elevation Losses
426 Accuracy of Friction Pressure Drop Calculation
427 Liquid Holdup Correlation
430 Compressible Flow 400-17
440 Gas Flow At High Pressure Drop (Choked Flow) 400-19
441 Assumptions
442 Use of Design Charts
443 Sonic Flow
444 Choked Flow
445 Temperature Variations
446 Effects of Valves and Fittings
447 Deviation from Assumptions
450 References 400-25

400 Friction Pressure Drop Fluid Flow Manual

## 410 Incompressible Flow

The Darcy-Weisbach Equation (Equation 400-1) expresses the relationship
between flow rate and friction pressure drop for incompressible flow in pipes and
tubes. It is accurate for both liquids and gases, and for any length of pipe over which
fluid properties are relatively constant.
2
fL V
h = ------ -------
D 2g
(Eq. 400-1)
where:
f = Darcy friction factor
L = pipe length, ft
D = pipe inside diameter, ft
V = fluid velocity, ft/sec
g = gravitational constant (32.17 ft/sec2)
The Darcy-Weisbach Equation can be rewritten in terms of pressure drop in psi,
flow rate in pounds per hour, and a constant that combines all the unit conversions,
as in Equation 400-2.
2
fL W
P = ------ ---------------------------------------
D D ( 7.4 10 10 )
4

(Eq. 400-2)
where:
P = pressure drop, psi
W = mass flow rate, lbm/hr
= fluid density, lbm/ft3

## 411 Fitting Loss Coefficients

Fitting loss coefficients (see Section 500) are dimensionally equivalent to the term
fL/D and can be added to pipe friction losses using Equation 400-3. Fitting loss
coefficients include both friction and acceleration effects.
2
P = K + ------ ---------------------------------------
fL W
D D 4 ( 7.4 10 10 )
(Eq. 400-3)
where:
K = fitting loss coefficient (from Section 500)

Fluid Flow Manual 400 Friction Pressure Drop

## 412 Pipe and Tube Friction Losses

For pipe and tube flow, the friction factor is a function of the Reynolds number and
the flow regime. In the turbulent flow regime it is also a function of pipe roughness.
Reynolds number can be written using units consistent with Equation 400-3, as
follows:

0.526W
Re = -------------------
D
(Eq. 400-4)
where:
Re = Reynolds number
= absolute viscosity, cp
There are no sharp divisions between the laminar, transition, and turbulent flow
regimes. For design purposes, the recommended boundary between laminar and
transition flow is Re = 1600. The recommended boundary between transition and
turbulent flow is Re = 3400. These values provide relatively smooth transitions
between regimes for calculated friction factors, and produce conservative results
(tend to overpredict pressure drop) around the laminar-to-transition flow boundary.
The friction factor for laminar flow (Re < 1600) can be derived analytically
(without experimental components) to give:

f = 64/Re
(Eq. 400-5)
The friction factor for transition flow (1600 < Re < 3400) cannot be predicted accu-
rately. The following conservative value (overprediction) is recommended for most
cases:

f = 0.04
(Eq. 400-6)
The Moody Diagram (Figure 400-1) presents experimentally derived friction
factors for turbulent flow (Re 3400). In turbulent flow the friction factor is a func-
tion of pipe roughness as well as the Reynolds number. At high Reynolds numbers
the friction factor is a function of only relative roughness (absolute roughness/diam-
eter). Figure 400-2 gives the relative roughness for various diameters and types of
pipe.

400 Friction Pressure Drop Fluid Flow Manual

Fig. 400-1 Moody Diagram Crane Technical Paper 410-C, 1984, Flow of Fluids. Courtesy of Crane Valves

Fluid Flow Manual 400 Friction Pressure Drop

Fig. 400-2 Relative Pipe Roughness (/D) and Friction Factors (f) for Complete Turbulence Crane Technical Paper 410-
C, 1984, Flow of Fluids. Courtesy of Crane Valves

400 Friction Pressure Drop Fluid Flow Manual

Many equations have been proposed to approximate the Moody Diagram friction
factors. One of these is the Chen Equation (Equation 400-7), which is simple, accu-
rate, and stable when used on small computers:

2
f = -------------------------------------------
2
4 log (A1-A2)
10
(Eq. 400-7)
where:

----
D
A1 = ----------------
3.7065

5.0452
A2 = ---------------- log 10 ( A3 )
Re

---
1.1098
-
D 0.8981
A3 = - + 7.149
---------------------- -------------
2.8257 Re
= absolute pipe roughness, ft
D = pipe diameter, ft
-
--- = relative roughness
D

## Pipe Absolute Roughness,

Plastic 0.000005 ft
Smooth Steel, New 0.00015 ft
Galvanized Steel 0.00042 ft
Cast Iron, Asphalted 0.00042 ft
Transite 0.00042 ft
Cast Iron, Uncoated, New 0.00083 ft
Steel, Concrete Lined 0.00083 ft
Concrete 0.0083 ft
Riveted Steel 0.025 ft

Where accurate performance data are required, pressure losses should be deter-
mined by test. If test measurements are not possible, the friction factor can be found
with the Moody Diagram or calculated with the Chen Equation (Equation 400-7).

Fluid Flow Manual 400 Friction Pressure Drop

## 420 Two-phase Flow

This section presents a method for calculating gas-liquid two-phase flow pressure
drop. Lines carrying flashing mixtures, solid-liquid mixtures, or gas-solid mixtures
must be analyzed more thoroughly than this method allows. The special cases of
(1) mixture flow in column and furnace transfer lines, and (2) flashing water are
covered in the Fired Heater and Waste Heat Recovery Manual and Utilities Manual,
respectively.

Limitations
The method described here applies to isothermal gas-liquid flow, not to situations in
which a phase change occurs; that is, constant gas-liquid ratios (by weight) are
assumed.
This method has not been verified for very long vertical piping (such as in oil wells)
nor has the accuracy been established for horizontal piping more than 5-1/2 inches
in diameter. In these cases the method should be used with caution, for vertical
piping, PIPEPHASE will yield better results. In addition, the limited experimental
data available indicate that when the mixture velocity is less than 3 ft/sec the accu-
racy of the friction pressure drop calculations is very poor.
This method is not fully applicable to flow of water-oil-gas (WOG) mixtures
(so-called three-phase flow). This case requires the more powerful calculation
methods of PIPEPHASE.

General References
Reference 1 (see Section 450) contains a more detailed discussion of two-phase
flow. Reference 2 contains an extensive bibliography of two-phase literature.

## 421 Pressure Drop Calculations

As in single-phase flow, pressure drop in two-phase flow consists of several compo-
nents, as shown in Equation 400-8.

## Ptotal = Pfriction + Pfittings + Pacceleration + Pelevation

(Eq. 400-8)
The components of this equation, Pfriction, Pfittings, Pacceleration, and Pelevation
are discussed in the following sections. The total pressure drop is calculated by
evaluating each component individually and summing.

## 422 Friction Pressure Drop Correlations

More than 25 correlations for two-phase friction pressure drop have appeared in
print. Because these correlations contain empirical factors obtained from limited
experimental data, they cannot be applied with confidence beyond their particular
experimental bases.

400 Friction Pressure Drop Fluid Flow Manual

The five most widely used correlations are compared in Reference 3 using experi-
mental data from a number of investigators. The data were carefully screened to
eliminate unreliable measurements. The screened data, about 2600 points in all,
cover pipe diameters from 1 to 5-1/2 inches and liquid viscosities from 1 to
20 centipoise. Of the five the most reliable correlation over this range of experi-
mental conditions was the Lockhart-Martinelli correlation (see Reference 4).
Another somewhat better correlation with the screened experimental data was
achieved using similarity analysis (see Reference 5). This method is based on calcu-
lating a two-phase density, tp, and viscosity, tp, evaluated at the pipe entrance
pressure and temperature and assumed constant for the friction and fitting pressure
drop calculation, as follows:
tp = l () + g (1.0 - )
(Eq. 400-9)
tp = l () + g (1.0 - )
(Eq. 400-10)
where:
= fluid density, lbm/ft3
= absolute viscosity, cp

tp = two-phase

l = liquid phase

g = gas phase
= liquid volume fraction at pipe entrance
Equations 400-9 and 400-10 assume that both phases flow at the same velocity.
The two-phase Reynolds number Retp is expressed as follows:
V m D tp 0.527W t
Re tp = --------------------- = ---------------------
tp D tp
------------
1490
(Eq. 400-11)
where:
Vm = velocity of mixture, ft/sec
D = pipe inside diameter, ft
Wt = mass flow rate of total fluid, lbm/hr
For new steel pipe, two-phase Reynolds numbers should be used with the Moody
diagram (Figure 400-1) to determine the friction factor f. If different pipe condi-
tions exist or a more accurate determination is desired, the Colebrook formula
(Equation 400-12) may be used.

Fluid Flow Manual 400 Friction Pressure Drop

1- 2.51
----- = 2 log 10 ------------ + -----------------
f 3.7D Re tp f
(Eq. 400-12)
where:
= absolute pipe wall roughness, ft
The need to proceed by trial and error is an inconvenience when using this equation
for hand calculation, but a computer or Moody chart eliminates this problem. The
equation reduces to the smooth tube equation when the wall roughness (left term in
bracket) approaches zero or to Nikuradses Formula at high Reynolds numbers
(when the right term in bracket approaches zero). The same absolute wall rough-
ness, , should be used for both single-phase and two-phase flow calculations. The
pressure drop due to friction may then be calculated as follows:

2
L tp V m
P friction = f ---- --------- -----------
D 144 2g o

2
11 L Wt
= 1.35 10 f ------- ---------
D tp
5

(Eq. 400-13)
where:
P = pressure drop, psi
f = friction factor
L = pipe length, ft
go = gravitational constant (32.174 lbm ft/lbf sec2)
Wl = flow rate of liquid, lbm/hr
Wg = flow rate of gas, lbm/hr
Wt = Wl + Wg
This method of calculating friction pressure drop has the following characteristics:
It reduces to the single-phase flow equations if the flow rate of either phase is
zero.
Except for the assumptions concerning two-phase density and viscosity (Equa-
tions 400-9 and 400-10), no empirical factors from two-phase flow data have
been used.
It is reasonably accurate for all flow patterns (see Section 426).

400 Friction Pressure Drop Fluid Flow Manual

## 423 Fitting and Bend Losses

For two-phase flow, as for single-phase flow, pressure drop due to bends and fittings
can be expressed in terms of velocity head loss. However, for two-phase flow, the
velocity head is based on the pipe inlet mixture density, rtp, from Equation 400-9, as
follows:
2 2
K tp V m 11 KW t
P fittings = ------------ ----------- = 1.35 10 ---------------
144 2g o 4
D tp
(Eq. 400-14)
where:
K = single phase velocity head loss

## 424 Acceleration Pressure Loss

Acceleration losses also contribute to the total pressure drop. In most cases this loss
is relatively small, and may be neglected if only a rough estimate is required.
However, when the total pressure drop along the line is large, the acceleration losses
can be significant and should be calculated. In this case, the gas expands and the
mixture occupies a larger volume at a lower pressure. This causes the mixture to be
accelerated to a higher velocity in order to maintain the same mass flow. The
expression for acceleration pressure drop, as given in Reference 5, is as follows:
13
1.87 10 W t W g ZRT
P acceleration = --------------------------------------------------------- P tp
4
D P1 P2
(Eq. 400-15)
where:
Z = compressibility factor
T = temperature, R
R = gas constant
P1 = upstream pressure, psi
P2 = downstream pressure, psi
D = pipe inside diameter, ft

## 425 Elevation Losses

The calculation of two-phase density using Equation 400-9 is an approximation that
assumes the velocities of the liquid and gas phases are equal. However, the actual
density of the gas-liquid mixture is needed to calculate the elevation pressure drop
for upwards flow. One cannot assume that the velocities of the two phases are equal.

Fluid Flow Manual 400 Friction Pressure Drop

The actual flow density depends on how the liquid and gas are distributed in the
pipe. The flow density in a short section of pipe of length L is given by
Equation 400-16:

LA g g + LA 1 1
tp = ----------------------------------------- = R g g + R 1 1
LA
(Eq. 400-16)
where:
= actual density in pipe section
Ag = area gas
Al = area liquid
Rg = gas volume fraction
Rl = liquid holdup
Rg is the fractional volume of the pipe filled with gas and Rl is the fractional volume
of the pipe filled with liquid. Rl is called liquid holdup (see Equation 400-22).
Because of the difference in velocity of the two phases, liquid holdup is greater
downstream than at the entrance. Therefore, to calculate the actual flow density, the
liquid holdup Rl has to be known along the pipe. The available correlations for
liquid holdup were checked against experimental data from Reference 3. The corre-
lation developed by Hughmark (see Reference 7, and below in this section, Liquid
Holdup Correlation) was the best.
The effects of bends and fittings on liquid holdup and, therefore, the flow density
cannot be predicted at this time. Therefore, it is assumed that the same holdup corre-
lation can be used even if the pipe contains bends and fittings.
In two-phase flow, as in single-phase flow, the elevation head loss is expressed as
follows:

tp
P elevation = --------- h
144
(Eq. 400-17)
where:
h = static elevation, ft
The flow density is calculated using Equation 400-16, where the gas density is eval-
uated at the average pressure. The elevation pressure drop term is included only in
vertical upward flow.
A conservative evaluation of acceleration pressure loss for vertical downward flow
cannot take credit for the elevation pressure component in the downward section.
Therefore, sections where the flow is downward should be treated as horizontal
piping. No provisions have been made to handle inclined piping.

400 Friction Pressure Drop Fluid Flow Manual

## 426 Accuracy of Friction Pressure Drop Calculation

The friction pressure drop calculation was checked against carefully screened exper-
imental data from a number of investigators. Partial results of the comparison are
shown in Figure 400-5. A more extensive discussion of the calculations and a statis-
tical analysis of the errors are available in References 3 and 5.
The values shown in Figure 400-5 represent the percent deviation between the
calculated pressure drop and experimental data, as shown in Equation 400-18.

P calc P exp
%dev = ------------------------------------- 100
P exp
(Eq. 400-18)
Figure 400-6 can be used to estimate the accuracy of a calculated friction pressure
drop for any flow regime. For example, the calculated friction pressure drop for
horizontal slug flow is within -18.0 to +12.0 percent of the actual value.
Equation 400-18 may be restated as follows:

P calc
P exp = ------------------------
% dev
1 + ---------------
100
(Eq. 400-19)
Based on the range of deviation for horizontal slug flow, the actual value of a calcu-
lated pressure drop of 10 psi would be (approximately) between the following
values:

10
P = --------------------------- = 12.2 psi
1 + ( 0.18 )
(Eq. 400-20)
and

10
P = ------------------- = 8.9 psi
1 + 0.12
(Eq. 400-21)
A comparison between calculated and experimental friction pressure drop for
vertical flow is not available.

## 427 Liquid Holdup Correlation

The density of two-phase mixtures at any section in the pipe may be calculated if
the liquid holdupthe fractional volume of the pipe occupied by the liquidis
known. Correlations have been developed to predict the holdup as it changes along
the pipe. That developed by Hughmark (Reference 7) is the most accurate. This
correlation relates the flow parameter Y to the variable X as shown in Figure 400-6.

Fig. 400-3 Flow Pattern Map for Horizontal Two-Phase Flow O. Baker: Multiphase Flow in Pipelines Nov. 1958. Courtesy of the Oil and Gas Journal
March 2001

## 400 Friction Pressure Drop

400-13
Fig. 400-4 Flow Pattern Map for Vertical Two-Phase Flow From Two Phase Slug Flow by Griffith & Wallis. Journal of Heat Transfer, Transactions of ASME Series
400-14

## 400 Friction Pressure Drop

C83 (Aug., 1961). Courtesy of ASME

## Fluid Flow Manual

March 2001
Fluid Flow Manual 400 Friction Pressure Drop

Fig. 400-5 Calculated vs. Experimental Frictional Pressure DropHorizontal Flow Dukler,
Wicks and Cleveland, Frictional Pressure Drop in Two-Phase Flow: A Compar-
ison of Existing Correlations for Pressure Loss and Hold-up. From AlChE Journal
Vol. 10, #1m 1964. Used by permission.
Flow Regime Range of Deviation (%)
Plug -22.3 to -2.3
Stratified -25.3 to +24.7
Wave -21.0 to +39.0
Slug -17.9 to +12.1
Annular -59.2 to +15.8
Dispersed -24.4 to +30.6
Bubble not given

Fig. 400-6 Correlation for the Flow Pattern Y From Holdup in Gas-Liquid Flow by G.A. Hughmark, Chemical Engi-
neering Progress, Vol. 58, April, 1962, p. 62

400 Friction Pressure Drop Fluid Flow Manual

The relationship between the flow parameter Y and the gas volume fraction Rg
assumes that Rg is distributed radially across the pipe, with the largest value at the
center. The relationship is expressed in terms of the gas volume fraction Rg and
liquid holdup Rl, as follows:
Y
R g = 1 R 1 = -----------------------------------
g 1
----- ---- 1 + 1
X 1
(Eq. 400-22)
The variable X in Equation 400-22 is defined as follows:
1--- 1---
6 8
Re Fr
X = ----------------------
1---
4

(Eq. 400-23)
where:
Fr = Froude number = V2/Dg
= liquid volume fraction at pipe entrance
D = diameter, ft
g = gravitational constant (32.174 ft/sec2)
The dimensionless numbers used in the variable X are shown in Equations 400-24
and 400-25.
D Gm
-------------------------------------
( R1 1 + Rg g )
Re = -------------------------------------
1490
(Eq. 400-24)
where:
Gm = tpVm
= mass velocity mixture (lbm/ft2-sec)
Re Retp (from Equation 400-11)
2 2
Vm ( ( Q1 + Qg ) A )
F r = ----------- = -----------------------------------------
gD gD
(Eq. 400-25)
W1 1 Q1
= ------------------------------------ = --------------------
W1 1 + Wg g Q1 + Qg
(Eq. 400-26)
where:
= specific volume

Fluid Flow Manual 400 Friction Pressure Drop

The calculation procedure is to evaluate Re, Fr, and using Equations 400-24,
400-25, and 400-26. The variable X is then evaluated using Equation 400-23, and
the flow parameter Y is determined from Figure 400-5. Using the flow parameter Y,
the liquid holdup is found from Equation 400-22. An iterative calculation is required
since the gas density used in Equation 400-22 is evaluated at the average pressure.
The gas volume flow rate Qg used in Equations 400-25 and 400-26 is the inlet value
evaluated using the inlet density.
The actual flow density calculated using Equation 400-16 is then used to determine
the elevation pressure drop in upwards vertical flow.
The deviation between the calculated (Figure 400-6) and experimental
(Reference 3) values of the liquid holdup varies by 25%. For vertical flow not as
much experimental data are available. For the available data the deviation between
experimental and calculated liquid holdup does not exceed 10 percent (see
Section 450, Reference 7).

## 430 Compressible Flow

Pressure drop in gas transmission lines can be calculated in four ways, as follows:
Using the PIPEPHASE program, discussed in Section 1000
Applying the widely used Weymouth and Panhandle fundamental flow equa-
tions (see Figure 400-7 on page 400-19)
Using the PCFLOW program, discussed in Section 1000
Using COMFLOW, a computer program developed for Chevron Pipeline
Company by CRTC. COMFLOW solves for pressure drop in branched gas
pipeline systems. See Section 1100 for further discussion.
Of these options only COMFLOW and PIPEPHASE consider heat transfer, and
only PIPEPHASE considers condensation. Condensation due to heat transfer is
common in hot gas transmission and can significantly affect the friction pressure
drop. Section 420 discusses two-phase flow pressure drop.

400 Friction Pressure Drop Fluid Flow Manual

## Weymouth and Panhandle Equations

The general formula for compressible flow has the following form:

(Eq. 400-27)
where:
Q = flow rate, SCFD
To = standard absolute temperature, R
Po = standard pressure, psia
D = pipe ID, in.
P1 = upstream pressure, psia
P2 = downstream pressure, psia
S = fluid specific gravity (air = 1)
T = fluid absolute temperature, R
L = length of pipeline, miles
C1 through C7 = constants as shown in Figure 400-7
This equation can be derived from basic pressure drop relations, but in the literature
it is often presented in simplified form with certain empirical components. The two
most widely accepted forms are the Weymouth Equation and the Panhandle Equa-
tion.
The Weymouth Equation, in which friction is a function of the diameter, applies at
high Reynolds numbers. The Panhandle Equation, in which friction is a function of
the Reynolds number, applies at lower Reynolds numbers. The break point is
defined as follows:

Re = 9031D2.449
(Eq. 400-28)
where:
D = inside diameter, in.
The constants (C1 through C7) for the Weymouth and Panhandle equations are
shown in Figure 400-7 both as presented in the literature and as derived without
empirical components.

Fluid Flow Manual 400 Friction Pressure Drop

## Fig. 400-7 Weymouth and Panhandle Equation Constant

Equation C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 Source
Weymouth 433.45 Z 1 2.667 1 1 0.5 1
Weymouth 433.50 1 1 2.667 Z 1 0.5 2
Panhandle 435.87 E 1.0788 2.6182 1 0.8539 0.5394 3
Panhandle 503.30 1 1 2.695 1 0.77 0.565 2
where
E = pipeline efficiency, ranging from 0.94 (new pipe) to 0.88 (old rough pipe)
Z = compressibility

0.41P r A 8
= 1 ------------------ + ( 0.29 ) P (From Source 4.)
4.04 r
Tr
Accurate within 10% if Pr<0.8 and Tr>1.0
or if Pr>0.8 and Tr>1.1

A = Tr16
Tr = T/Tc
Tc = critical temperature, R
T = operating temperature,R
Pr = P/Pc
Pc = critical pressure, psia
P = operating pressure, psia
Sources:
(1) Natural Gas Processors Suppliers Association, Engineering Data Book, 1972.
(2) Derived by W.A. Ebert, Chevron Engineering Department, 1984.
(3) Baumeister and Marks, eds., Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers, McGraw-Hill, 1967.
(4) Heat Transfer Research Inc., Computer Program Support Volume, pg. E1-47, 1976.

## 440 Gas Flow At High Pressure Drop (Choked Flow)

A compressible fluid flowing through a pipe at high pressure drop approaches
maximum velocity at a critical value of downstream pressure. Reduction of pres-
sure below this value will not increase velocity. This maximum gas velocityin a
pipe of constant cross-sectional areais limited to the velocity of pressure wave
propagation in the fluid (the speed of sound).
This section presents a method for determining pressure drop and flow rate in such
situations. Some applications for this method include design of gas pipelines, pres-
sure reduction lines, and relief lines.
Theoretical methods for calculating high pressure drop are available, but are usually
long and complex. However, C. E. Lapple (Section 450, Reference 15) has devel-
oped a graphical solution, which is the basis for Figure 400-10.

400 Friction Pressure Drop Fluid Flow Manual

441 Assumptions
The charts in Figure 400-10 (and Lapples analysis) are based on the following
assumptions:
The friction factor (f) is constant along the length of the pipe.
For the entire range of each chart, either the Perfect Gas Law applies or the
compressibility factor (Z) and the ratio of specific heats (K) of the gases are
constant.
The charts are based on horizontal flow through constant cross-sectional area.

## 442 Use of Design Charts

The design charts in Figure 400-10 are for gases with values of K (the ratio of
specific heats cp/cv) equal to 1.0 (isothermal flow of any gas) and 1.4 (flow of air
and diatomic gases, H2, O2, N2). For the other gases with K values between 1.0 and
1.4, a visual interpolation between the charts may be made. Figure 400-8 gives
approximate values of K for various gases.

## Fig. 400-8 Ratios of Specific Heats (cp/cv)

Low Pressure Gas K-value
C2H6 1.2
CO2, SO2, H2O, H2S, NH3, Cl2, CH4, C2H2, C2H4 1.3
Air, H2, O2, N2, NO, HCl 1.4

The design charts in Figure 400-10 are used when upstream conditions (usually
static conditions within a vessel or reservoir) are known and either the discharge
rate or downstream pressure are required for a given pipe size. In Figure 400-9, the
typical problem is to determine mass flow rate G or pressure P2, given P0, T0, P3, L,
and D. The velocity at Section 0 is assumed to be zero.

Fluid Flow Manual 400 Friction Pressure Drop

## Fig. 400-9 Flow Conditions High Pressure Gas

In Figure 400-29, flow rates are expressed as a ratio of the actual mass velocity, G,
to a hypothetical maximum isothermal mass velocity through a nozzle, Gmax. Thus,
it is first necessary to calculate Gmax from known conditions:

(Eq. 400-29)
where:
G = mass velocity, lbm/ft2sec
gc = conversion factor (32.17 lbm ft/lbf sec2)
MW = molecular weight, lbm/mole
e = base of natural logarithm (2.718)
R = gas constant, 1546 ftlbf/lbmoleR
T = absolute temperature, R, at location designated by subscript
P = absolute pressure, lbf/ft2, at location designated by subscript
V = specific volume, ft3/lbm, at location designated by subscript
The friction factor (f) must also be established (see Section 410) prior to using the
charts, although variations in f affect the answer very little. The initial value of f is
usually assumed to be 0.0143 for gas flow.

400 Friction Pressure Drop Fluid Flow Manual

Fig. 400-10 Design Charts for Gas Flow at High Pressure Drop (1 of 2) Perry and Chilton, Engineers Handbook, 5th
Ed. Used by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
1. To use design charts in Figure 400-10:
a. Calculate an overall effective length L of straight pipe of diameter D, including equivalent length for valve and
fitting losses (see Section 500).
b. Assume a friction factor f for gas flow (usually assumed 0.0143) and calculate fL/D parameter.
c. Calculate the hypothetical maximum mass velocity, Gmax, from
g c P o 0.5 g c MW
0.5
lb m
G = ----------- = P o ----------------- ------------------
max ev o eRT o ft 2 sec

## d. Estimate K (ratio of specific heats) from Figure 400-8.

e. Enter appropriate chart to determine P2/P0 or G/Gmax and solve for pressure P2 or mass flow.
2. Values for P2/P0 are valid only above the critical pressure ratio line which defines the point of sonic flow and
maximum mass flow. Ratio P3/P0 is, however, valid over the entire range shown.
Examples:
Given: Air within a reservoir at 80F and 200 psig is discharging to the atmosphere through 20 feet of three-inch,
schedule 40 pipe which includes two standard 90 long radius elbows.
Determine: Discharge rate to the atmosphere
Solution:
1. Calculate fL/D parameter (use consistent units)
f = 0.0143; assumed D=3.068 in. = 0.256 ft
L = 20 + L = 20 + (2)(0.256)(23) = 31.8 ft (see Section 500)
2. Calculate maximum mass velocity, Gmax
To = 460 + 80 = 540R
Po = (200 + 14.7)(144) = 30,900 lbf/ft2
MW = 29 lbm/mole
( 32.17 ) ( 29 ) 0.5 lb m
G max = 30, 900 ------------------------------------------------- = 627 ------------------------
( 2.718 ) ( 1546 ) ( 540 ) 2
( sec ) ( ft )
3. Find Flow Rate
P3 = (14.7)(144) = 2120 lbf/ft2
P3/Po = 2120/30,900 = 0.0685
G/Gmax = 0.76 (K=1.4)
G = (627)(0.76) = 476 lbm/(sec)(ft)2
A = (0.256)2/4 = 0.0515 ft2
Flow Rate = (G)(A) = (476)(0.515) = 24.6 lbm/sec

Fluid Flow Manual 400 Friction Pressure Drop

Fig. 400-10 Design Charts for Gas Flow at High Pressure Drop (2 of 2) Perry and Chilton, Engineers Handbook, 5th
Ed. Used by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

g P 0.5 g MW 0.5 lb
c o c m
G max = ------------ = Po ----------------
- -------------------
ev o eRT o 2
ft sec

400 Friction Pressure Drop Fluid Flow Manual

## 443 Sonic Flow

After considering these preliminaries, use of the charts is generally self-explana-
tory. However, caution is advised concerning the area on each chart below the diag-
onal line labeled critical pressure ratio. This line defines the minimum possible
pressure within the pipe at the exit for a particular fL/D flow parameter. That is, P2
will remain constant at this minimum despite further decrease in discharge reser-
voir pressure, P3. A sonic flow condition is said to exist at the pipe exit, since the
exit gas velocity equals the velocity of sound in the fluid. Therefore, any further
reduction in P3 cannot be transmitted back to the pipe exit to result in further pres-
sure reduction within the pipe. The excess pressure energy in such a case (P2 - P3) is
dissipated in turbulence from the rapid lateral expansion of gases leaving the pipe.

## 444 Choked Flow

For the same reasons, the flow rate is at its maximum under critical pressure ratio
conditions and will remain so regardless of any further decrease in P3. This limiting
phenomenon can result in choking of a vent relief or pressure reduction line. A
relief valve might be sized to handle the required flow only to have an inadequate
vent line choke or limit the discharge rate at the critical pressure ratio.

## 445 Temperature Variations

In the case of adiabatic flow, a drop in gas temperature from T0 to T2 may also be
estimated from the design chart (for K = 1.4). Temperature ratios T2/T0 are shown
as diagonal lines intersecting the fL/D parameter curves. For known reservoir
temperature T0 and flow rate or pressure drop, the gas temperature T2 at the pipe
exit may easily be calculated.

## 446 Effects of Valves and Fittings

The increased pressure drop through valves and fittings should be taken into
account by the equivalent length method of Section 500. The equivalent length L,
of the valve or fitting is added to the actual length of straight pipe to yield the effec-
tive overall length used to calculate the fL/D parameter.

## 447 Deviation from Assumptions

Various deviations from the assumptions in Lapples analysis (listed previously) will
affect the accuracy of the design charts. One such deviation is the variation from the
perfect gas laws under high pressure. Allowance for such variation may be made by
multiplying the gas constant R by the compressibility factor Z (a measure of varia-
tion from perfect gas properties) before calculating the hypothetical maximum
discharge mass velocity, Gmax. Since the compressibility factor Z will vary along
the length of the pipe, calculations should be made at stepped intervals and the
results added together. Further discussion and techniques for handling such devia-
tions are included in the references.

Fluid Flow Manual 400 Friction Pressure Drop

450 References
1. Scott, D. S. Properties of Concurrent Gas-Liquid Flow. Advances in Chemical
Engineering, Vol. 4, p.199. New York: Academic Press, 1963.
2. Gouse, W. S., Jr. An Index to the Two-Phase Gas-Liquid Flow Literature. MIT
Report No. 9. MIT Press, 1966.
3. Dukler, A. E., M. Wicks III, and R. G. Cleveland. Frictional Pressure Drop in
Two-Phase Flow: A. A Comparison of Existing Correlations for Pressure Loss
and Holdup. AIChE Journal 10 (1964), p. 38.
4. Lockhart, R. W., and R. C. Martinelli. Proposed Correlation of Data for
Isothermal Two-Phase, Two-Component Flow in Pipes. Chemical Engineering
Progress, 45 (1949), p. 39.
5. Dukler, A. E., M. Wicks III, and R. G. Cleveland. Frictional Pressure Drop in
Two-Phase Flow: B. An Approach Through Similarity Analysis. AIChE Journal
10 (1964), p. 44.
6. Streeter, V. L. Fluid Mechanics. 2nd Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1958.
7. Hughmark, G. A. Holdup in Gas-Liquid Flow. Chemical Engineering Progress
Vol. 58 (April 1962), p. 62.
8. Baker, O. Multiphase Flow in Pipelines. Oil and Gas Journal, 10 (Nov, 1958).
9. Griffith, P., and G. B. Wallis. Two-Phase Slug Flow. Journal of Heat Transfer,
Transactions of ASME Series C 83 (Aug 1961), p. 307.
10. California Research Corporation Standard Technical Books. California
Research Corporation, Richmond, California, 1960.
11. Marks Mechanical Engineers Handbook. 6th Edition. New York: McGraw-
Hill, 1958.
12. Perrys Chemical Engineers Handbook. 4th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill,
1963.
13. Technical Data Book - Petroleum Refining. New York: American Petroleum
Institute, Division of Refining, 1966.
14. S I Engineering Data Book. Tulsa: Gas Processors Suppliers Association, 1987.
15. Lapple, C.E. Isothermal and Adiabatic Flow of Compressible Fluids. Transac-
tions of AIChE, Vol. 39 (1943), pp. 385-432.
16. Loeb, M. B. Graphical Solution of Compressible Fluid Flow Problems.
NASA/Kennedy Space Center Document TR-256D, 1965.
17. Loeb, M. B. New Graphics for Solving Compressible Flow Problems. Chem-
ical Engineering, Vol. 76, No. 11 (May 19, 1969).
18. Shapiro, A. H. The Dynamics and Thermodynamics of Compressible Fluid
Flow, Vol. I. New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1953.