Anda di halaman 1dari 44

TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 1

Topic 8 Frictional Losses in

Pipelines for Single Phase Fluids

1 FLOW IN A PIPELINE ....................................................................................................... 3
2 INCOMPRESSIBLE ONE DIMENSIONAL FLOW EQUATIONS .............................................. 3
2.1 THE CONSERVATION OF MASS ............................................................................................ 4
2.2 THE ENERGY EQUATION ...................................................................................................... 6
2.3 SOME TERMINOLOGY ASSOCIATED WITH FLOWING FLUIDS ..................................................... 10
2.3.1 Fluid Heads ............................................................................................................ 10
2.3.2 Fluid Pressures ....................................................................................................... 10
2.4 FLOW IN PIPES ................................................................................................................. 11
2.5 LAMINAR AND TURBULENT TYPES OF FLUID FLOW ................................................................. 13
2.5.1 Laminar Sub Layer ................................................................................................. 15
2.6 SMOOTH BORE PIPE FRICTION FACTORS ............................................................................... 16
2.7 THE EFFECT OF SURFACE ROUGHNESS ON FLUID FRICTION ...................................................... 16
2.7.1 Friction factor correlations .................................................................................... 18
2.7.2 Pipeline Roughness ................................................................................................ 18
2.7.3 Hydraulic Mean Diameter ..................................................................................... 18
2.8 PRESSURE LOSS DUE TO PIPELINE COMPONENT ..................................................................... 20
2.8.1 Flow in an Abrupt Enlargement ............................................................................. 21
2.8.2 Other Fittings ........................................................................................................ 22
2.9 .......................................................................................................................................... 24
3 PRESSURE LOSS OF COMPRESSIBLE FLUIDS, GASES ...................................................... 25
3.1 COMPRESSIBLE FLOW KEY ISSUES. .................................................................................... 25
3.1.1 The relationship between pressure and specific volume for real gases. ............... 25
3.1.2 Critical Pressure Ratio ........................................................................................... 25
3.2 COMPRESSIBLE FLOW IN A PIPELINE ..................................................................................... 26
3.2.1 Isothermal flow of compressible ideal gas along a pipeline ................................. 28
3.3 GENERAL GAS FLOW EQUATION ...................................................................................... 28
3.4 GAS FLOW EQUATIONS ..................................................................................................... 32
3.4.1 Common Gas Flow Equations ................................................................................ 33
3.4.2 The American Gas Association Equation ............................................................... 34
3.5 GAS PROPERTIES .............................................................................................................. 35
3.5.1 Molar mass of gas mixture ................................................................................... 36
3.5.2 Density .................................................................................................................. 36


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 2

3.5.3 Specific gravity ...................................................................................................... 36

3.5.4 Absolute and Gauge Pressure ............................................................................... 36
3.5.5 Viscosity of Gas Mixtures ...................................................................................... 37
3.5.6 Compressibility Factor ........................................................................................... 37
3.6 PIPELINE DIAMETERS AND RECOMMENDED VELOCITIES ........................................................... 40
4 LONG PIPELINE CALCULATIONS .................................................................................... 42
5 REFERENCES ................................................................................................................ 44


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 3

1 Flow in a Pipeline
Fluid Dynamics is the study of fluids in motion. It has applications to many products
and processes that have to be engineered. Fluids may have to be transported, as in
the distribution of water and gas supplies, or they could be used for heating or cooling
purposes, as in domestic heating systems. These applications cover a broad
spectrum of engineering industries. However, all of them require knowledge of how
fluids pass through lengths of pipes, valves, orifice plates and other pipeline
components, the topic of this section. In analysing these components, the problem
can be thought of in terms of knowing the inlet conditions to the component, i.e. the
pressure and velocity, and wanting to establish the exit conditions of pressure and
velocity. To do this the energy loss has to be found. Flow through these systems is
based on one-dimensional formulations of the mass, energy and momentum
equations, giving three unknowns and three equations, so that in principle, the system
is solved. In practice, some systems do not lend themselves to simple theoretical
treatment and require the use of empirical information to complete the analysis.

The basic expressions for fluid flow start with flow of fluid which is
Incompressible the density does not change with pressure and temperature
Homogeneous the properties are uniform and can be represented by single
One dimensional flow is in one direction
Steady State the flow properties are not time dependent.

But real fluids we deal with are anything but homogenous, or incompressible, and
often are 3 dimensional in their flow patterns. When we consider turbulent flow, then
the flow can be considered unsteady.

This topic will review basic fluid mechanics as applied to single phase,
incompressible, homogeneous systems in 1 dimension. We will then expand the
discussion to compressible flow. Topic 3 will continue with flows of multiphase

You may be familiar of course with the next chapter, and if you are 100% sure you will
not miss anything, the proceed to section 3.

2 Incompressible One Dimensional Flow Equations

Fluid motion is predicted in the same manner as solid motion, i.e. it is predicted by the
application of the conservation principles of mass and energy and by the application of
Newtons laws. The skills required in using these laws can be developed by analysing
some simple situations that, over time, can have their complexity gradually increased
until the model, the mathematical representation of the fluid flow, contains sufficient
detail for the physical processes to be satisfactorily described. Analyses can made
simple by making simplifying assumptions. Most assumptions are reasonably true in
some restricted circumstances. All analyses therefore have some applications. In fact,


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 4

knowing what level of complexity is required for a given calculation is an engineering

Two of the simplifying assumptions imposed in this section are
The flow is steady state, i.e. at any location in the flow field, all quantities such as
pressure and velocity do not vary with time.
The fluid is incompressible, i.e. the fluid density does not vary in time or space.

2.1 The Conservation of Mass

In the absence of a nuclear reaction, the quantity of matter that enters a process must
be either retained within it, or exited from it. If the problem is steady state, the rate that
matter enters a system must be the same as that leaving, i.e. the mass must move
through the system at a constant rate. A section of pipe has a cross-sectional area A
and is approached by a fluid of density that is moving at a velocity u, as shown in
Figure 1. The mass flow rate of fluid in the section is M.

Figure 1 -
Fluid flow
in a

In time t , the quantity of fluid that passes across face 1 is M t and the fluid that
was initially at position 1, reaches position 2. The fluid that passed across position 1
must therefore occupy the pipe volume shown. The mass contained within the pipe
volume is the product of the fluid density and the pipe volume, thus
M t = Ax
Since the leading fluid particles travel the distance x in time t the fluid velocity, u,
must be
The mass flow rate can therefore be found from
M = Au
The unit of mass flow rate is kg/s. Notice that the two parallel lines used to obtain this
result could be extended from any part of a pipe or pipeline component. This
relationship can therefore be applied anywhere in a pipeline.
The above argument applies equally to the volume flow rate, Q. This leads to the
result that
Q = uA
The volume flow rate is measured in m3/s and is only constant for incompressible
fluids. The mass flow at any point in the pipeline must be constant so we can write:
M1 = M 2
1 A1u1 = 2 A2u2


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 5

So for a pipeline where the fluid density does not change, ie. the fluid is
A1u1 = A2u2
In practice, the only assumption made in this analysis that is not entirely accurate, is
that the fluid velocity is not constant across the pipe cross-sectional area. In reality,
because of fluid friction, the fluid velocity is zero at the wall and achieves a maximum
at the pipe centre line. This is not a limitation to the use of the above equations
provided the average velocity is used.
So the velocity term in the equations above is often called the average velocity

Water passes along a pipe 25 mm in diameter at 6 m/s, as shown in Figure 2. If the
pipe diameter is suddenly increased to 37.5 mm, determine the fluid velocity in the
larger pipe. What is the volume and mass flow rates of water? Take the density of
water to be 1000 kg/m3.

Figure 2:

The continuity equation for an incompressible fluid requires that

A1u1 = A2u2
u2 =
Replacing the cross sectional areas by the pipeline diameters gives:
A1u1 d1 d 2
u2 = = u1 4 = 1
A2 2 d2
4 2
m 25mm
u2 = 6 = 2.665ms 1
s 37.5mm
The volumetric flowrate is
( 0.025m) x6 = 2.945x103 m3s 1
Q = A1u1 =
4 s
The volumetric flowrate is also 176.7 l/min


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 6

The mass flow rate is M = Q = 1000 3
x2.945x103 m3s 1 = 2.945kgs 1

2.2 The Energy Equation

At any location in a system, the fluid has a quantity of energy associated with it. In a
small time change, t , the mass that flows past that location is M t The energy that
this mass has takes several forms. These are categorised as follows.

Kinetic energy, KE: This is energy that the fluid has by virtue of its motion and
can be quantified as
KE =
M t u 2 )
Potential energy, PE: This is energy that the fluid has by virtue of its position in
the gravitational field. If the fluid is z above some reference point in a
gravitation field of acceleration g, the potential energy can be quantified as
PE = M t gz )
Internal energy, IE: This is the energy that the fluid has stored in the kinetic
energy of its molecules and, for a fluid of specific heat capacity C and
temperature T, can be quantified as
IE = ( M t ) CT
The total energy that the fluid has is E and is the sum of these energies. Thus,
E = KE + PE + IE = ( M t ) + gz + CT
Since the fluid is in motion, this mass must alter location. The components of energy
associated with that mass must also change. However, since the flow is steady state,
the energy that any similar mass has at that location must remain constant over time.
Suppose the fluid enters the diverging pipe section shown in Figure 3 at position 1.

Figure 3 -
for flowing

The energy that the fluid has is given by


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 7

( )
E1 = M t + gz1 + CT1
Some time later, the fluid mass has reached location 2 where its energy is
E2 = ( M t ) 2 + gz2 + CT2
During this time period the fluid received a heat transfer q per unit mass of flowing
( )
fluid, i.e. M t q of actual heat, and does work W per unit mass of flowing fluid, i.e.

( M t )W of actual work.

As the particles of fluid moved across boundary 1 they had to overcome the boundary
pressure, p1. Particles of fluid upstream of boundary 1 must therefore have done
some work on those entering to get them across it. This work is therefore a transfer of
energy into the system. This work, w1, can be found from the product of the force that
the work was done against and the distance that the work was done through. In time
t the particles will have moved a distance x , where
x = u1t
w1 = Fx = P1 A1u1t
However, the mass flow rate can be expressed as
M = A1u1
The work done by fluid particles upstream of boundary 1 is therefore
w1 = M t

Similarly, as the particles of fluid moved across boundary 2, they had to overcome the
boundary pressure, P2. Particles of fluid upstream of boundary 2, i.e. the fluid in the
system, must therefore have done some work on them to get them to cross boundary
2. This work is therefore a transfer of energy out of the system and can be evaluated
in exactly the same way as for the particles entering, thus,
w2 = M t

The first law of Thermodynamics states that energy must be conserved. For a steady
state system, all of the energy entering the system must balance with that leaving.
The energy entering the system is TE1, where
TE1 = w1 + ( M t ) q + E1 )
and the energy leaving the system is TE2, where
TE2 = w2 + ( M t )W + E2 )


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 8

P1 u12 P2 u22
( ) 2
( )
M t + q + + gz1 + CT1 = M t + W + + gz2 + CT2
P1 u12 P2 u22
( M t ) + q + 2 + gz + CT = ( M t ) + q + 2 + gz
1 1 2
+ CT2

This simplifies to the Steady Flow Energy Equation, i.e.

P1 u12 P u2
+ + gz1 = 2 + 2 + gz2 + C T2 T1 + W q
2 2
Note that the unit of each component of this equation is that of specific energy, J/kg.

This is a GENERAL equation which accounts for the energy for a fluid. The important
element of this equation is the three main terms on the left hand side and the first
three on the right:
P1 u12 P u2
+ + gz1 = 2 + 2 + gz2
2 2

This is then a special form of the energy equation, known as Bernoullis equation.
Bernoullis equation is one of the foundations of fluid flow. As we have no energy loss
terms, Bernoullis equation applies to a non-viscous fluid, with constant density.

But what about the other three energy terms?

Work transfers to or from a fluid are achieved by passing it through a pump or turbine
and so in a pipe flow equation, we associate this work done by an increase in the
other terms. If there is no work done, then we have:
P1 u12 P u2
+ + gz1 = 2 + 2 + gz2 + C (T2 T1 ) q
2 2
There are two types of fluid flows that can be analysed, ideal and real. An ideal fluid is
one with zero viscosity and undergoes zero change in entropy when it flows. For an
incompressible fluid this corresponds to the flow being isothermal, i.e. of constant
temperature, and adiabatic, i.e. no heat transfer. A real fluid is one that has a
viscosity. This viscosity causes the fluid to dissipate energy to internal energy, as
discussed in section 4. However, the resultant temperature rise is usually small. Heat
transfer causes the fluid temperature to change. In pipe flow problems, temperature
changes due to fluid friction are usually negligible in comparison to those produced by
a heat transfer.

However, it is important that the energy losses due to friction are taken into account.
The energy loss is therefore removed from the temperature rise and included as
energy lost as . Thus:


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 9

P1 u12 P u2
+ + gz1 = 2 + 2 + gz2 +
2 2
The unit of each component of this equation is that of specific energy, J/kg.

In practice, errors arise in the use of this equation because the velocity distribution
across the cross-sectional area is not constant. This gives a non-uniform distribution
of kinetic energy. Since kinetic energy does not vary linearly with pipe position, it is
sometimes insufficient to use an average value of velocity. In these circumstances a
velocity profile correction factor is used. In general an average velocity is used and is
sufficiently accurate for most engineering applications.

Water at a pressure of 2 bar, enters a short, convergent channel at 2.5 m/s, as shown
in Figure 4. If the upstream and downstream diameters of the channel are 50 mm and
30 mm respectively, determine the downstream pressure if energy losses can be
Take the density of water to be 1000 kg/m3.

Figure 4 -
through a
For an incompressible fluid, where there are no energy losses:
P1 u12 P2 u22
+ + gz1 = + + gz2
2 2
If the nozzle is short, or where the nozzle is level
P1 u12 P2 u22
+ = +
2 2
2 2
P2 = P1 + (u u2
2 1
The continuity equation can be applied to find the down stream velocity or we can
further simplify the energy balance:
Au d
u2 = 1 1 = u1 1
A2 d2

Replacing for the downstream velocity


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 10

2 2 d1
2 2
( )
P2 = P1 + u1 u2 = P1 + u1 u1
2 d 2

N 1000kg / m3 m
50mm 4
P2 = 2x10 2 + 5
x 2.5 1 = 1.79x10 N / m
5 2

m 2 s 30mm

2.3 Some Terminology Associated With Flowing Fluids

There are several definitions frequently encountered in fluid dynamics. These
definitions spring naturally from the energy equation, which was previously shown to
be of the form
P1 u12 P2 u22
+ + gz1 = + + gz2 +
2 2

2.3.1 Fluid Heads

If the energy equation is divided throughout by the gravitational constant, g, it
P1 u12 P2 u22
+ + z1 = + + z2 +
g 2g g 2g g

As is clear from the third term on either side of this equation, the units of this
equations components are that of height, i.e. m. When this form of the equation is
used, its component parts are known as,
The static head P / g
The dynamic head, u 2 / 2g
The hydrostatic head, z
The head loss, / g
The total, or stagnation head, P / g + u 2 / 2g + z

2.3.2 Fluid Pressures

If the energy equation is altered by multiplying it throughout by the density, it
u12 u 2
P1 + + gz1 = P2 + 2 + gz2 +
2 2
As is obvious from the first term on either side of this equation, the units of each
component are those of pressure, i.e. N/m . This leads to the following terminology,
The static pressure, p, i.e. the pressure of the fluid
The dynamic pressure, , i.e. the additional pressure that the fluid would
gain if it were brought to rest ideally
The hydrostatic pressure, gz


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 11

The pressure loss,

u 2
The total, or stagnation pressure, P + + gz i.e. the pressure that a fluid
could achieve if it was brought to rest ideally

2.4 Flow In Pipes

In a pipe flow wall friction is the dominant cause of energy loss. When a fluid is
dragged across a solid surface, work has to be done on that fluid to overcome friction.
Friction causes a shear force to exist between the fluid and the solid surface. This
produces a shear stress, w , between the pipe wall and the fluid, as shown in Figure

Consider an element of fluid of length L which is placed along the centre line as
shown below:

An element of the shear force, F , is given by the product of the shear stress and the
area that it acts over, thus
F = w A = w ( Dx )

Figure 5 -
Wall shear
stress in
element in
pipe flow

Work must be done against this force to move some fluid through some small distance
x . If the fluid has a velocity u and moves a distance x in time t , then
x = ut
The shear force can therefore be determined from
F = w ( D ) ut
The work done to move the fluid through this distance is w and is given by:


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 12

( ( ) )
w = Fx = w D ut x
This is the total work done on that element of fluid. What is required by the energy
equation is the specific work done, i.e. the work done per unit mass of fluid, The
mass of fluid that overcame the shear force, m , was
m = M t

The energy loss per unit mass of fluid is therefore

Dutx w Dux w Dux 4 w x
= w = Au = D 2 = D
M t
When fluid enters a pipe, the velocity distribution that it has depends on how it is
delivered. As the fluid progresses through the pipe, the effect of fiction works it way
from the wall to the pipe centre line, altering the shape of the velocity profile and
damping out any swirl as it goes. When it reaches the centre line, and any swirl has
gone, the velocity distribution achieves a shape that remains fixed thereafter. Once
this velocity profile shape is achieved, the flow is fully developed. In a laminar flow, the
length of pipe required to become fully developed is proportional to Reynolds number,
and can be up to 100 pipe diameters. A turbulent flow achieves it in about 30 pipe
diameters. A fully developed flow has a constant wall-shear stress.

If the wall shear stress is constant, the energy loss can be integrated over a pipe
length, L, to give
4 w L
The wall shear stress is a difficult quantity to obtain. A friction factor, f , is therefore
defined to relate the wall shear stress to the dynamic pressure, thus
w = u 2
It should be noted that this is the Fanning friction factor and is not the only definition in
use. Care should be taken to ensure that the definition chosen is consistent with the
equation used.
Choosing this definition of friction factor allows the energy loss to be written as
L u2
D 2
The alternative form is shown in the next equation below. Note the 4 multiplier rather
than the 2 above.
L 2
= 4 u
This equation is the energy loss per unit kg for a fluid flowing in a pipeline.

Notice that the energy loss increases in proportion to the pipe length. This gives a
linear pressure gradient.


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 13

To determine the energy loss due to friction, the friction factor has to be specified.
This is found to depend on two quantities:
The type of flowing the pipe, laminar or turbulent
The relative roughness of the internal pipe wall.

2.5 Laminar and Turbulent Types of Fluid Flow

There are two types of flow that exist, laminar flow and turbulent flow. The transition
between these flow types occurs at a critical velocity. Below the critical velocity the
flow is laminar, while above it, the flow is turbulent. Although we define a critical value,
the transition from laminar to turbulent flow occurs over a narrow range of flows.

Laminar flows move in planes concentric with the pipe wall. Turbulent flows have an
averaged motion that moves concentric with the pipe wall but they also have a large
random spin in them. In laminar flows viscous effects are dominant, whereas in
turbulent flows inertia effects are dominant. The transition from laminar flow to
turbulent flow is therefore determined from the ratio of the inertia force to the viscous
force. This ratio is known as the Reynolds number, Re. Thus,
Inertia Force F
Re = = I
Viscosus Force FV
A more useful expression can be obtained from a form of dimensional reasoning. A
more detailed account of dimensional analysis will be given elsewhere.
Reynolds number is defined as
Re =

The derivation of Reynolds number can be achieved by dimensional analysis, or by
looking at momentum flow and shear stress

In a famous experiment by Reynolds, the transition between laminar and turbulent

flow was established to be Re between 2000 and 3000.

If one imagines a stack of paper or thick card initially arranged as a rectangular block,
to be sheared as shown in Figure 6, it can be seen that the individual cards, or lamina,
slide over each other. There is no movement of material perpendicular to the shear

Figure 6 -
applied to


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 14

Similarly, in laminar fluid flow there is no mixing of the fluid and the fluid can be
regarded as a series of layers sliding past each other. If the flow is laminar a thin
filament of dye inserted in the fluid will remain as a thin filament as it follows the flow.

Consideration of a simple laminar flow allows us to define viscosity. Figure 7 illustrates

the velocity profile for a laminar flow of a fluid over a flat plate:

Free stream

Figure 7 - v
profile in
flow over a
flat plate

The absolute or dynamic viscosity of a fluid, , is defined by:


where is the shear stress. At the wall, the velocity of the fluid must be zero, and the
wall shear stress is given by:
w =
dy w
The kinematic viscosity of a fluid is defined:


In practice, laminar flow is observed at low speeds, in small tubes or channels, with
highly viscous fluids and very close to solid walls.

If the fluid layers seen in laminar flow break up and fluid mixes between the layers
then the flow is said to be turbulent. The turbulent mixing of fluid perpendicular to the
flow direction leads to a more effective transfer of momentum and internal energy
between the wall and the bulk of the fluid.


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 15

It should come as no surprise that man processes such as heat transfer and mass
transfer depend on the characteristics of laminar and turbulent flows are very different
in the two flow regimes.

2.5.1 Laminar Sub Layer

For flow over a flat plate, as shown in Figure 8 we may determine whether the flow in
the boundary layer is likely to be laminar or turbulent by applying the following
V x
Re x = < 10 5 Laminar flow

V x
Re x = > 10 6 Turbulent flow

where x is the distance from the leading edge of the plate

Figure 8 -
Development Laminar
Laminar Transition Turbulent
of the sublayer
layer over a
flat plate

For values of Reynolds number between 105 and 106 the situation is complicated by
two factors. Firstly, the transition is not sharp, it occurs over a finite length of plate. In
the transition region the flow may intermittently take on turbulent and laminar
characteristics. Secondly, the position of the transition zone depends not only upon
the Reynolds number, it is also influenced by the nature of the flow in the free stream
and the nature of the surface. Surface roughness or protuberances on the surface
tend to trip the boundary layer from laminar to turbulent.

Once the flow is fully developed, as would be some distance into a pipeline for
example, then the boundaries between the laminar sub layer and the turbulent core
will be uniform. Figure 9 illustrates what we imagine the temperature and velocity may
be doing in these regions.


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 16

Figure 9 -
and laminar
layers in

For flow in pipes, channels or ducts the situation is similar to that for a flat plate in the
entry region, but in long channels the boundary layers from all walls meet and fully
developed temperature and velocity profiles are established.

For fully developed flow in pipes or channels the transition from laminar to turbulent
flow occurs at a Reynolds number, based on the channel hydraulic diameter, of
approximately 2000. As with the boundary layer on a flat plate, the transition may
occur at higher or lower values of Red. If the flow at entry to the channel contains no
turbulence and the channel is very smooth, laminar flow may be sustained up to
Reynolds numbers of 5-10000. Turbulence may occur at values of Red as low as
1000, but at low Reynolds numbers will decay if induced by, for example, sharp

2.6 Smooth Bore Pipe Friction Factors

Re<2000, the friction factor is linear with Reynolds number:
Re>3000, friction factor is non-linear and depends on the roughness of the pipe wall.
For smooth bore pipelines, the friction factor is given by:
For 2.5x10-3<Re<105 = 0.0396 Re

( )
For 2.5x10-3<Re<107 0.5 = 2.5ln Re 0.5 + 0.3
Obviously, one of these equations (top) is easier to apply in calculations while the
other needs an iterative solution.

2.7 The Effect of Surface Roughness on Fluid Friction

Surface roughness only has an effect on pipe friction if the flow is turbulent. In
turbulent flows, the fluid velocity reduces towards zero as the wall is approached. A
laminar sub-layer therefore exists very close to the wall. If the surface roughness
protrudes beyond this layer it has an effect, otherwise the pipe is hydraulically smooth.


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 17

Surface roughness increased the friction loss because a form drag, discussed in
section 4, is superimposed on the skin friction drag. This arises because the fluid
close to the surface cannot follow the shape of the surface. The effect of surface
roughness on friction factor is shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10:

The Moody chart is a commonly recognised chart depicting the impact of fluid
velocity via the Reynolds number on he friction factor in horizontal pipes, with the
effect of pipe wall roughness. Unfortunately for us there are two friction factors, the
Moody friction factor and the Fanning friction factor. The conversion between the
two is given by:
where f is the Fanning friction factor that is given as the y-axis on the chart above.

There are three points to note about surface roughness. These are,
1. Roughness has no effect in the laminar flow regime.
2. Roughness increases the friction factor in the turbulent regime.
3. The friction factor is independent of Reynolds number for a rough tube if the
Reynolds number is sufficiently large. This is referred to as the fully rough

As with smooth bore pipes, there are correlations for rough pipes that are more
complex and some requiring iterative procedures to solve.
0.5 = 2.5ln 0.27 + 0.885Re 1 0.5


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 18

Although there is a lot of attention paid to friction factors, often in process applications
round the plant, pipelines are that small in length that frictional losses can often be
accounted for by a %age increase or x1.2 factor. However for long pipe runs such as
those carrying oil and gas from field to receiving terminal, the long length means that
friction factors and their estimation become one of the critical aspects of designing

2.7.1 Friction factor correlations

Due to the use of spreadsheets and other computer based tools, several authors have
attempted to give correlations for friction factor which dont rely on iteration.
Colebrooks equation is defined as
f 0.5 = 2ln + 2.51Re 1 f 0.5
Haaland (1983) re-defined this expression in explicit form
6.9 e 1.11
f = 1.8ln +
Re 3.7d
To be consistent with the pressure loss expression, remember

2.7.2 Pipeline Roughness

Internal roughness on the inside of a pipewall which is exposed to the flowing fluid is
thought to be a series of indentations and the size depends on the material of the
Pipeline Material Absolute Roughness (mm)
Drawn Tube
Commercial steel pipe
Stainless Steel
Cast Iron Pipe 0.26
Galvanized Iron 0.152
Concrete Pipe 0.3 to 3

2.7.3 Hydraulic Mean Diameter

All of the analyses carried out so far have been for flows in circular pipes. There are
many other cross-sectional areas used to transport fluids. Frictional losses for these
other configurations can be estimated by replacing the pipe diameter by the hydraulic


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 19

diameter, DH. This is defined as four times the ratio of the flow area to the wetted
perimeter, i.e.
4 flow area 4A
DH = = F
wetter perimeter PW
For a circular pipe of diameter D:
AF = D PW = D
The hydraulic diameter, DH, is therefore D, as may have been expected.
For a rectangular channel of height H and breadth B:
AF = BH PW = 2 ( B + H )
The hydraulic diameter is only used for determining the effect of friction but also
average velocities and is often used in heat transfer when looking at the flow over
bundles of tubes.

Water flows through a perfectly insulated, horizontal duct that discharges into the
atmosphere. The duct has a cross section of 100 mm x 125 mm and a length of 30 m.
The fluid velocity is 6 m/s. At some distance, x, from the duct exit the total head is 3.5
m of H2O. Determine,
a) The pressure of the water at the duct inlet,
b) The position x,
c) The temperature rise of the water as it flows through the duct.
Take = 1000 kg / m , = 0.001Ns / m ,Cp = 4.2kJ / kgK
3 2

a) For the channel hydraulic mean diameter is

4AF 4BH 2 0.1m 0.125m
DH = = = = 0.111m
PW (
2 B+H ) (
0.1m 0.125m )
The Reynolds number is therefore
kg m
uDH 1000 m3 6 s 0.111m
Re = = = 666700
0.001 2
Since Re>2000, the flow is turbulent and the friction factor is therefore:
= 0.0396 6667000.25 = 0.001386
The energy balance over the duct is
P1 u12 P2 u22
+ + gz1 = + + gz2 +
2 2
The frictional loss for the duct is then
L 30m kg m
= 4 f u 2 = 4 0.001386 1000 3 6 = 53935N / m2
D 0.111m m s


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 20

The energy loss per unit mass is then,

53935N / m2 J
= = 53.9
1000kg / m 3
Since the duct is horizontal and does not change in diameter, then we can write
P1 P2
= +

kN kN kN
P1 = P2 + = 101.325 2
+ 53.935 2 = 155.26 2 (abs)
m m m
The gauge pressure is therefore 53.76kN/m2.
b) The pressure at point x is 3.5m of water, which is equivalent to a gauge
pressure of:
kg m kN
PX = gh = 1000 3
9.81 2 3.5m = 34.34 2
m s m
P 53.9kN / m2
= = 1.798kN / m3
L 30m
So the distance from the end of the pipe where the pressure is 34.34 kN/m2 is:
34.34kN / m2
1.798kN / m =

so x=19.1m from end of the duct.
c) The energy lost due to friction will appear as heat, so the temperature rise is
going to be

53935N / m2
T = = = 0.0128K
C p 1000kg / m3 4200J / kgK

2.8 Pressure Loss Due to Pipeline Component

Fluids passing through a piping system may encounter pipeline components that
change the pipe size and/or the flow direction. Components that have a non-
streamlined geometry will produce eddies that can dissipate a significant quantity of
energy. Eddy-based losses usually occur in a pipeline component, such as an abrupt
enlargement, an orifice plate, an abrupt contraction or a valve.

If the fluid flow through a pipeline component is not ideal, an energy approach is only
possible if some estimate of the energy loss can be made. In general, theoretical
treatment is very difficult so that empirical results are commonplace. However, there is
a case which can be treated theoretically, the abrupt enlargement. The solution to this
problem leads to further solutions for the orifice plate and the abrupt contraction. The
type of solutions obtained from these analyses offer suggestions for correlating
empirically determined loss coefficients for other pipeline components.


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 21

2.8.1 Flow in an Abrupt Enlargement

An abrupt enlargement is a pipe section that increases in diameter over a negligible
length, as shown in Figure 11. The flow is unable to follow the abrupt area change and
energy dissipating eddies are set up in the corner of the enlargement.

Figure 11:
through an

To determine the fluid flow quantities a control volume is drawn as shown. The flow
can be considered in two regions, 1 to 2 and 2 to 3. In moving from 1 to 2 the fluid has
had no opportunity to enter the eddying region so that the flow is approximately ideal.
The fluid velocity at 2 is dependent on the flow area not the physical area. The flow
follows the mean path shown so that the flow area at 2 is approximately equal to the
pipe area at 1. Thus the velocity at 2 is approximately the same as that at 1. Also,
since energy losses are negligible in this region, the pressure at 2 must be the same
as that at 1. However, the pressure at 2 will act over all of the larger pipe area. The
momentum equation can therefore be applied to the control volume in the direction of
The force by the fluid upstream of the control volume, FP , is given by:

FP = P1 A3

The force by the fluid downstream of the control volume, FP , is given by


FP = P3 A3

The distances upstream and downstream of the area change are so small that
frictional and gravitational effects can be neglected.

Since the flow through region 1 is ideal, the momentum into section 2 must be the
same as that entering section 1. Thus, the change in momentum across the control
volume, J, is given by
J = M u = M ( u3 u1 )
The momentum equation therefore gives
P1 A3 P3 A3 = M u3 u1 )
The mass flow rate through the system can be determined from
M = A3u3 = A1u1
so that the momentum equation becomes


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 22

A1 A1
P1 P3 = u3 ( u3 u1 ) = u12 1
A3 A3
Thus, if a known flow rate is passed through an abrupt enlargement, the downstream
velocity can be found from the continuity equation and the pressure from the
momentum equation. The downstream quantities are therefore known and the loss of
energy can be determined. The energy equation is
P1 u12 P2 u22
+ + gz1 = + + gz2 +
2 2
By convention, the energy loss in a pipeline component is expressed as a fraction of
the largest kinetic energy between the inlet and outlet. Thus, for an enlargement, the
upstream value is used, i.e.
The energy loss coefficient can thus be determined from
2 P1 P2 u3
k= + 1
u12 u12
Using the Momentum and Continuity equations reduces this to
2 P1 P3 u32 A1 A1 A12
k = 2 + 1 2 = 2 1 + 1 2
u1 u1 A3 A3 A3

A12 A A
k = 2 2 1 + 1 = 1 1
A3 A3 A3
Notice that the loss coefficient is a function of geometry only. This is a common result
for pipeline components and the reason for defining k in this way. Notice also that if a
pipe were to discharge into a large tank, where A3>>A1, then k = 1, i.e. all of the fluids
kinetic energy would be dissipated.

2.8.2 Other Fittings

In the theoretical analyses so far considered, the energy loss coefficient has been
found to be geometry dependent only. It therefore seems reasonable to express all
energy losses in this way. For the more complicated geometries the loss coefficient is
found by empirical means, but it is usually expressed as a function of the fitting
geometry. A large amount of empirical data has been accumulated.

An alternative method to a loss coefficient is to think of the energy loss in terms of an

equivalent length of horizontal pipeline. The pressure drop along a length of pipeline
to be equal to the loss across a component. In order to express this as a useful
number the length of pipeline can be given by a number of pipeline diameters Table 1.
Be careful though, the values in Table 1 cover a range usually depended on the actual
pipe diameter. Always refer back to the manufacturers data sheet, or if for design
purposes, select the one that gives you the largest loss.


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 23

Fitting Number of Pipe Number of velocity

Diameters heads (u2/2g)
45 elbows 15 0.17 to 0.43
90 elbow standard radius 30-40 0.3 - 1.5
90 square elbow 60 1.2
180 Return bends 0.2 1.5
Entry from leg T-piece 60 1.2
Entry into leg T-piece 90 1.8
Sharp Reduction (Tank Outlet) 0.5 0.1 0.2
Sudden Expansion (Tank Inlet) 1 0.19 0.75
Unions and Couplings Very small Very small
Globe valve fully open 60-300 4.1 - 10
Gate valve fully open 7 0.15
Gate valve 75% open 40 0.26
Gate valve 50% open 200 2.1
Gate valve 25% open 800 17
Ball valve (100% open) 18 0.05 0.08
Ball valve (50% open) 5.5
Ball valve (25% open) 200 - 210
Check valve 150
Plug valve open 0.4 18
Table 1 List of minor loss terms for pipeline fittings

A pipeline connecting two tanks contains 3 standard elbows, a plug valve that is
normally fully open and two gate valves that are normally 75% open. The line is
commercial steel pipe, 30mm internal diameter. Length of the pipeline is 25m.
Properties of the fluid are density 990 kg/m3, viscosity 0.85 cP. Calculate the overall
pressure drop for a mass flowrate 4000 kg/hr.


( )
Cross-sectional area for flow is = 25x103 = 0.491x103 m2
4000 1hr m3
The volumetric flowrate is = hr x = 0.00112
kg 3600s s
990 3


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 24

So the average velocity in the line is

Q 0.00112 s m
u= = 2
= 1.59
A 0.000707m s
kg m
990 1.59 0.003m
ud m 3
Reynolds number is then Re = = = 55478
Absolute roughness for the pipeline is 0.046mm, relative roughness is then 0.046/30=
So the friction factor from the Moody chart is 0.0025
Using the equivalent length of pipeline:
Fitting Type Number No. Pipe Equivalent Pipe
Diameters Diameters
Elbow 3 35 3x35=105
Plug valve 1 18 18
Gate valve 2 40 =2x40=80
Tank 1 outlet 1 25 25
Tank 2 inlet 1 50 50
Total 278
The overall pressure drop is therefore
L 25m + 278 0.03m kg m N
Pf = 4 u 2 = 4 0.0025 990 3 1.59 = 27736 2
D 0.03m m s m



TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 25

3 Pressure Loss of Compressible Fluids, Gases

Unlike liquids, gases are compressible thats is to say their density is a function of the
pressure and temperature at which the gas exists at any particular point. The flow of
compressible flow is complex and to study ths properly, changes in enthalpy usually
needs to be taken account of. When gases expand there is often a temperature
change due to Joule-Thomson cooling depending on the type of gas.

The study of compressible flow normally starts in dedicated fluids teaching but also in
thermodynamics. Analysis of compressible flow depends on changes in enthalpy. For
a refresher, see the appendix.

When a gas flows along pipelines, the reduction in pressure due to friction, although
slight, will reduce the density and hence the volumetric flowrate will increase as will
the velocity. For long pipelines if the exit pressure is reduced too far by friction losses
then in theory the velocity of the gas could increase and reach critical values. In
practice the velocity is likely to increase to a level which exceeds the normal limit to
avoid erosion inside the line.

This section looks at pressure losses for a compressible fluid flowing along a pipeline.
The appendix provides basic theory leaving this chapter to concentrate on the
derivation of pressure loss and the engineering equations that are normally used.

3.1 Compressible Flow key Issues.

Two key issues with compressible flow of gases is:

3.1.1 The relationship between pressure and specific volume for real gases.

P k = P11k = P2 2k

The index gives the behaviour of real gases. Usually k is the polytropic or adiabatic

3.1.2 Critical Pressure Ratio

A cursory analysis of the mass flowrate expression shows that that G=0 when P1=P2,
and when P2=0 and again the mass flowrate will go through a maximum turning point.
In other words, there is some downstream pressure P2 which is lower than P1, where
the mass flowrate will be a maximum value.
" 2 % k1
c = $ '
# k +1 &
If the process is isentropic (ie a process that is adiabatic and which there is no
frictional loss when work/energy is transferred from the system to/from the


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 26

surroundings. The process is purely reversible), then we can replace the polytropic
index by the adiabatic index:

= =k

where cp and cv are the specific heat capacities of the gas at constant pressure and
constant volume.

3.2 Compressible Flow in a Pipeline

Flows through nozzles is straight forward to understand the theory but the application
to petroleum engineering is somewhat limited and orientated to safety and pressure
relief situations. A more relevant situation is flow along a pipeline. Compressibility of a
gas flowing in a pipe can have a significant effect on the relation between flow rate
and pressures at each end of the pipe. Changes in fluid density can arise as a result
of changes in either temperature or pressure, or both. The flow will be affected by the
rate of heat transfer between the pipe & surroundings; a particular issue if we have a
gas export line running along the sea bed, or flowlines from a well head to the
production platform.

Two limiting cases are of particular interest:- Isothermal & Adiabatic.

Unlike the orifice or nozzle, the pipeline maintains constant flow area but we need to
take into account friction losses on the pipe wall.

To start, consider the flow of gas from a reservoir where the pressure is maintained at
P1. At the other end of the pipe, there is a second reservoir at pressure P2.
If P1=P2 then there can be no flow and G=0
If P2 is reduced, then G becomes +ve and gas flows from one reservoir to the
other. The limiting case will be where the value of P2 drops below a critical
value when the end of the pipe effectively reaches a maximum or choking

As will nozzle flow, the first place to start is defining the governing equations as far as
we can. The energy balance is as it was but we have to account for energy loss due
to friction.
udu + gdz + vdp + dWs + dF = 0

For a fluid flowing through a length of pipe dl of constant cross-sectional area A:-


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 27

Our normal loss of energy due to friction of the fluid on the pipe wall is:
= 4 !

dWs = 0 , since no useful work is done.

And from the definition of average velocity we have

! ! !
= = using =
! ! !

Assuming that u is the average velocity and hence = 1, and if the pipe is horizontal
we have

+ + 4 ! = 0

To deal with the first term, we realise that the specific volume of the gas is a function
of the velocity (since the mass flowrate G and the cross sectional area of the pipe are
constant in this case). Therefore we have


And hence
+ + 4 =0

Collecting terms gives

! !

+ + 4 ! =0

Divide throughout by the specific volume to give:

! !

+ + 4 =0

The friction factor is a function of Reynolds number, which on the first glance is a
function of the velocity and density of the fluid. However, closer inspection shows that:


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 28

= = =

So for a constant mass flowrate and assuming the viscosity does not change, then
Reynolds number will be constant along the pipeline. This means that the friction
factor will also be constant along the length.

We can then integrate the expression above, now that we are confident that can be
! ! !!
+ + 4 =0
! !!

This is then the integral form of the energy equation for a compressible fluid flowing
along a pipe segment of length L. The final solution can only be found by knowing the
relation between pressure and specific volume, as we have done with the nozzle flow

3.2.1 Isothermal flow of compressible ideal gas along a pipeline

For the idea gas we have:
!! !!
1 !! !! !!
= = =
!! !! !! 2

Since we are at isothermal conditions, we have = ! ! = ! !

So the energy equation to integrate becomes

! ! !! !! !
+ + 4 =0
! 2! !
Likewise, with pressures to replace the specific volumes:

! !
! !! !!
+ + 4 =0
! 2! !

This gives us an implicit type of equation to solve and it can only be solved by
knowing either the upstream pressure or the downstream pressure. For non-ideal
gases, we can also include the compressibility factor.

3.3 General Gas Flow Equation

For a real fluid, a gas, we can use the compressibility factor to relate density to
pressure. The derivation that follows is known as the General Flow Equation and
applies to real gases flowing under some specific assumptions. This forms the basis
of all gas flow equations in long pipelines. Derivations can be found in journal papers


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 29

(eg (Coelho, et al., 2007)but the proof here builds upon what you will have seen in
other courses.

Returning to the initial energy balance, using density rather than specific volume, we
1 dP
udu + + gdz + dWs + dF = 0

We make the same assumptions as before:

No shaft work no addition of energy by external means Ws=0
Friction can be replaced by a friction factor term
We use alpha=1

We can multiply by density to give:

2udu + dP + gdz + 2dF = 0

Now we then integrate each term between two points along the pipeline:

First the pressure term:

P2 P2 P

P dP =
P ZRT dP =
Mwt 2

PdP =
1 Mwt 2
P2 P12 ( )
1 1 1

The temperature is assumed constant over the range the pressure will change. The
molar mass remains constant and we assume the compressibility factor remains at a
constant average value.

Next the potential energy term

z2 z2
MwtP Mwt 2Pavg

gdz = z ZRT gdz = Z2 R2T2 g z 2 z1

( )
z1 1 avg avg

Here we realise that the compressibility and temperature will change over the vertical
height so we replace this by an average value. We do the same with the pressure.
This may seem counter intuitive since the pressure will change with height but its a
simple device to solve the integral.

Now the friction loss term will be integrated as:

( )( ) = 4 ( u) 2
1 2 x 2 x1 2 L G L
x 4 du dL = 4 u = 4
2 2

d d A d


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 30

2 2
( u)
= =
( u)

The can be simplified down further as:

A A .

Finally we should deal with the kinetic energy term:

(( ) ( )) 1 G G
u2 2 2
1 2 2
u udu = 2 u 2 u = = 0
1 2 A 2 A 1

Some references may conclude the kinetic energy term is small and this is going to be
true but since we use the mass flowrate and since mass must be conserved, then
the kinetic term reduces to 0.

Putting all these terms together, we can show that

Mwt 2P2 G L
1 Mwt 2
P2 P12 + 2 2 avg2
ZavgR Tavg
)g z 2
z 1
+ 4 (
A d = 0 )
Lets collect like terms
0 +
P22 P12
Mwt Pavg
g z 2 z1 ( )
+ 4 =0
ZRT 2 ZavgR Tavg A d

Now since : = , we have

0 +
P22 P12 )
+ Pavgg z 2 z1 (

+ 4 =0
ZRT 2 A d
G L Mwt

= 0 +
P12 P22 (
Pavgg z 2 z1
) ( )

A d ZRT 2
Isolate the mass flowrate
Mwt (
P12 P22 )
Pavgg z 2 z1 (

) 4Ld
A = ZRT 0 + 2

( )
G Mwt P12 P22
= 0 +
Pavgg z 2 z1 ( )


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 31

( )
Mwt P12 P22 d2
G= 0 +
Pavgg z 2 z1 ( )

4L 4
We make some changes to the expression to relate the Mwt by a specific gravity
= =
air 29

( )
29 P12 P22 d2
G= 0 +
Pavgg z 2 z1 ( )
4L 4

Do a simplification stage, not because we have to but because its easier

( )

29 P1 P2
2 2
Pavgg z 2 z1 ( )

We can now make the assumption of horizontal pipe

( )
P2 P2
1 2 d2.5
G = 29

( )
29 P12 P22 d2.5
8 2 ZRTL

Lets look at the mass flowrate again: G = Q = sQs

( )
29 1 P2 P2
1 2 d2.5
Qs =
8 2 s ZRTL
Now we have a density and specific gravity term, that we can try and simplify down:

( )
29 P12 P22 d2.5
Qs =
8 2 s ZRTL

Mwt Mwt RTs R Ts

= = =
s 29 s 29 MwtPs 29 Ps


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 32

( )
29 R T P12 P22 d2.5

8 2 29 Ps
So collecting the constants together we have:

( )
Ts P1 P2
2 2
Qs = a
So a represents the numerical constants which include the molar mass of air and the
gas constant. The terms Ts and Ps are the pressure and temperature of the gas where
the volumetric flowrate is Qs.

Now if we think about what the friction factor is, we can make an assumption that at
high Reynolds numbers, the friction factors will more or less be independent of
velocity (lines on a Moody chart become horizontal). We could then incorporate this
into the constants. If we account for additional energy losses, we could use a pipeline
efficiency factor E

( )
Ts P1 P2 c
2 2

Qs = a d E
Ps ZavgRTavgL

This is known as the General Flow Equation.

Note that weve made it explicit that the compressibility factor and the temperature are
average values across the length L of the pipeline.

Terms a, b, and c are constants which vary depending who has looked at data sets
for particular pipelines.

3.4 Gas Flow Equations

The general gas flow equation was derived from the pressure loss across a horizontal
pipeline with a compressible gas. The basic assumptions are
a. The pipeline is horizontal although we need to assume an average pressure
value for us to incorporate a static head change.
b. We have an average temperature and so the gas flow equation is only valid for
small changes or isothermal flow.
c. We have neglected kinetic energy losses in the pipeline

As with all oil and gas industry equations, it is common to use field units mmscfd, d
in inches, L in miles, P is psi, T in Rankine. So we will find alternative constants to
take care of unit conversion. The General Gas Flow Equation has been quoted as the
Basic Flow Equation: as:


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 33


Q sc
= 38.774 sc
( )
P12 P22 d 5
P sc m m

Here we see the a constant becomes 38.774, there is also a factor f . These are
partly due to the unit conversion, and partly due to leaving the friction factor inside the
root term.

To simplify the equation so that friction factor can be removed, many companies and
researchers have fitted specific data sets on measured pipeline pressures and used
more detailed theoretical derivations to give a range of equations to use.

3.4.1 Common Gas Flow Equations

Four of the common ones are:
Weymouth Formula 0.5

Q sc
= 433.49 sc
P12 P22 d 5.333

) E

Psc LTm Z m

Panhandle A 1.0788 0.5394

Q sc
= 435.87 sc

P12 P22 d 4.854

(Imperial) Psc LTm Z m

( )
Panhandle A T
P2 P2 d4.854
2 1
Qsc = 0.0045965 sc 0.8536 E
(metric) Psc LTmZm

Panhandle B 1.02 0.51

(Imperial) Q sc
= 737 sc

P12 P22 d 4.961

Psc LTm Z m

( )
Panhandle B 0.51
(Metric) T
P2 P2 d4.961
Qsc = 0.010019 sc 1 0.961 2 E
Psc LTmZm

( )
IGT Equation 5/9
T P1 P2
2 2
Qsc = 92.66 sc 0.8 0.2 d8/3E
Psc LTm

( )
IGT Equation 5/9
Tsc P1 P2
2 2
Qsc = 0.0012753 0.8 0.2 d8/3E
Psc LTm

Note each on the these equations uses an efficiency factor E. This is meant to
account for frictional losses since the equations do not have a term for friction factor.
As a consequence, pipe roughness is not accounted for.


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 34

There are some 20 different friction factor correlations giving 20 different pressure
drop type relationships. Unfortunately many of these are for the US/Imperial unit


Symbol Definition Imperial Metric

Units Units
P 1, P 2 are upstream and downstream pressures psi kPa
Qsc Gas flowrate at Psc and Tsc scf/d m3/day
Psc Standard pressure psi kPa
Tsc Standard temperature (absolute) R K
Tm Flowing Temperature (absolute) R K
L Pipeline Length miles km
d Diameter in mm
Gas viscosity lbfs/ft2 Pas

Other terms that do not have units are:

E Efficiency factor
Zm Compressibility factor
Specific gravity

3.4.2 The American Gas Association Equation

The American Gas Association (AGA) uses what is called a Transmission Factor
that replaces the friction factor.

( )
Ts P1 P2
2 2

Qs = a F d2.5
F is the Transmission Factor

The AGA uses the general flow equation and puts in the friction factor, thats defined
from the type of flow pattern:
a) Turbulent flow F = 4log10 where is the absolute roughness of the


b) Partially turbulent flow F = 4log10
1 0.6



TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 35

Calculate the outlet pressure in a natural gas pipeline, NPS 18 with 0.250 in. wall
thickness, 20 miles long, using Panhandle A and B equations. The gas flow rate is
150 MMSCFD at a flowing temperature of 70F. The inlet pressure is 1000 psig and
the gas gravity and viscosity are 0.6 and 0.000008 lb/ft-sec, respectively. Assume
base pressure = 14.7 psia and base temperature = 60F. Assume that the
compressibility factor Z = 0.85 throughout and the pipeline efficiency is 0.95. Compare
the results using the Weymouth Equation. Neglect elevation effects.

Inside diameter D = 18 2 x 0.250 = 17.50 in
Gas flowing temperature Tf = 70 + 460 = 530 R Upstream pressure P1 = 1000 + 14.7
= 1014.7 psia Base temperature Tb = 60 + 460 = 520 R
Base pressure Pb = 14.7 psia
Using the Panhandle A Eq. (2.34), we get:

Solving, P2 = 970.81 psia

Using the Panhandle B Eq. (2.36), we get:

Solving for the outlet pressure P2, we get:

P2 = 971.81 psia

Thus, both Panhandle A and B give results that are quite close. Next using the
Weymouth Eq. (2.30) we get:

Solving for the outlet pressure P2, we get:

P2 = 946.24 psia

It can be seen that the outlet pressure calculated using the Weymouth equation is the
smallest value. Hence we conclude that for the same flow rate, Weymouth gives a
higher pressure drop compared to Panhandle A and Panhandle B equations.

Therefore, Weymouth is considered to be more conservative than the other two flow

3.5 Gas Properties

In the gas pressure equations, we used several physical properties. Since many of our
gases will be mixtures, it is worth spending some time reviewing the properties of gas


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 36

mixtures and how to calculate these. First lets look at a few definitions, then some
properties of pure single component gases then for gas mixtures.

3.5.1 Molar mass of gas mixture

Remember the molar mass of a gas mixture is given by
Mwt mix = yiMwt i )
Calculate the apparent molecular weight of a natural gas mixture that contains 80%
methane 12% ethane, 5% propane and 3% normal butane.
Molar mass
Component Mole % y x Mwt
Methane (C1) 80 16.01 0.8x16.01
Ethane (C2) 12 30.10 0.12x30.10
Propane (C3) 5 44.10 0.05x44.10
n-Butane (nC4) 3 58.10 0.03x58.01
Avg Mol.Mass 20.37 kg/kmol

3.5.2 Density
Density comes from:
where Z is the compressibility factor.

3.5.3 Specific gravity

This is defined as density of the gas divided by density of air at the same temperature
and pressure as the gas:

sg or = = =
air 29P 29

3.5.4 Absolute and Gauge Pressure

It is important to specify if the pressure is gauge or absolute. Always use the proper
units e.g
psia or pisg

kPa (abs) kPa (gauge)


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 37

3.5.5 Viscosity of Gas Mixtures

Viscosity of pure gases with temperature is shown as a graph below

For mixtures, the following can be used:

( y i i
Mwt i )
mix =
(y i
Mwt i )
where y is the mole fraction of component i
Mwt is the molar mass of component i

All pure viscosities should be taken at the same temperature and pressure

3.5.6 Compressibility Factor

The compressibility factor for gases is usually given as functions for the reduced
pressure and temperature:
Pr = Tr =
Pcritical T
and critical

where all values are absolute


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 38

for gas mixtures, the mixture critical values come from:

Pcritical mix = yiPci ) and T
critical mix (
= yiTci )
Compressibility factor would come from equations of state or be given by correlations
or graphical means. Some of the relations for hydrocarbon systems are given as

1) Natural Gas
As the gas from oil fields will be very similar to natural gas, properties of natural gas

The usual prediction tool is the graph by Standing and Katz


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 39

The California Natural Gas Association (CNGA) for natural gas for pressures above
100 psig is given as

344400P 101.785
1+ avg )


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 40

where Pavg is the gas pressure (psig)

T is the gas temperature (deg R)
is the gas specific gravity

For pressures below 100 psig, assume Z=1

Calculate the pseudo-critical temperature and the pseudo-critical pressure of a natural
gas mixture consisting of 85% methane, 10% ethane, and 5% propane.
Component Critical temp Critical Pressure
deg R Psia
Methane 343 666
Ethane 550 707
Propane 666 617

Tpc = (0.85 343) + (0.10 550) + (0.05 666) = 379.85 R

Ppc =(0.85666)+(0.10707)+(0.05617)=667.65 psia

3.6 Pipeline Diameters and Recommended Velocities

The diameter of a pipeline is normally determined to minimise the overall
pumping/compression costs over the lifetime of the project. However as a first trial,
there are a series of rules of thumb that industry uses. Often the selection of pipeline
diameter is one of the more troublesome parts of pipeline deign especially at the
beginning of a project. Industry rules of thumb often come into the designers mind or
at least should.

There are a couple of thoughts adapted from (Silowash, 2010) on pipeline sizing are:
1. Pipeline size is usually a function of velocity
2. Keep in mind that the larger the pipe, installation costs will be higher as will
availability of the pipeline.
3. Standard lengths for pipes made offsite, these have to be transported by
road/rail so the length and diameter can be limited by what can be carried
4. Silowash says that it doesn't cost that much to increase the pipeline diameter
to reduce friction loss and to allow for future increases in capacity.
5. Just as you need to be aware of high velocities to protect against erosion, you
need to be aware of low velocities which could affect sedimentation especially
for slurries or fluids with any kind of solids

Some typical values are given below

Fluid Application Typical Velocity Typical Velocity


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 41

Values (ft/s) Values (m/s)

Low High Low High
Air Air or flue ducting 10 35 3 10
Air Centrifugal compressor 50 100 15.2 30
Air Piston Compressor 70 100 21 30
Chlorine Dry gas 33 83 10 25
Chlorine Dry Liquid 5 1.5
Natural Gas 75 psig 35 115 10 35
Natural Gas Cross Country 80 250 24 76
Oil Gravity Flow 2 3 0.6 0.9
Oil Heavy Viscosity 2 3 0.6 0.9
Oil Light Viscosity 3 6 0.9 1.8
Steam Boiler 100 135 30 41
Steam Long run 135 200 41 60
Steam Saturated to 15 psig 17 70 5.2 21.3
Steam Saturated to 50 psig 100 167 30 51
Steam Saturated to 200 psig 167 300 51 91
Water Centrifugal Pump 10 17 3 5.2
Water Centrifugal Pump Suction 2 5 0.6 1.5
Water Fire Hose 10 3
Water General Service 4 10 1.2 3
Water Gravity 2 3 0.6 0.9
Water Sea Water 5 12 1.5 3.7


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 42

4 Long Pipeline Calculations

We realise that the flow equations use average pressure and temperatures so that the
compressibility factor and the temperatures may change along the length of a very
long pipeline. So to solve this type of problem its best to split the pipeline into


A natural gas pipeline, AB is 100 miles long and is NPS16, 0.250 in. wall thickness.
The elevation differences may be neglected and the pipeline assumed to be along a
flat elevation profile. The gas flow rate is 100 MMSCFD. It is required to determine the
pressure at the inlet A, considering a fixed delivery pressure of 1000 psig at the
terminus B. The gas gravity and viscosity are 0.6 and 0.000008 lb/ft-s, respectively.
The gas flowing temperature is 70 deg F throughout. The base temperature and
pressure are 60 deg F and 14.7 psia respectively.

Use the Panhandle A equation to solve the pressure drop over the entire line, and
other the line if it were split into two equally sized sections.

In the absence of tables, we will take the inside diameter of the pipeline as: D = 16-
2x0.250 = 15.5 in.

For the compressibility factor, we need to know the gas temperature and the average
pressure. Since we do not know the upstream pressure at A, we cannot calculate an
accurate average pressure. We will assume that the average pressure is 1200 psig,
since the pressure at B is 1000 psig. The approximate compressibility factor will be
calculated using this pressure from Eq. (1.12):

Therefore, Z = 0.8440
This value can be adjusted after we calculate the actual pressures.

Using the General Flow equation considering the pipeline as one 100 mile long
segment, the pressure at the inlet A can be calculated as follows:

Solving for the pressure at A, we get:

P1 = 1195.14 psia or 1180.44 psig.


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 43

Based on this upstream pressure and the downstream pressure of 1000 psig at B, the
average pressure becomes, from Eq. (2.26):

This compares with the average pressure of 1200 psig we initially used to calculate Z.
Therefore, a more correct value of Z can be re-calculated using the average pressure
calculation above. Strictly speaking we must re-calculate Z based on the new average
pressure of 1092.68 psig and then re-calculate the pressure at A using the General
Flow equation. The process must be repeated until successive values of Z are within a
small tolerance, such as 0.01. This is left as an exercise for you.

Next we will sub-divide the 100 mi pipeline into two equal 50 mi segments. We will first
calculate the upstream pressure of the second 50 mi segment based on a
downstream pressure of 1000 psig at B. This will establish the pressure at the mid
point of the 100 mi pipeline. Then, based on this mid-point pressure we will calculate
the pressure required at A, for the first 50 mi segment. Since the pressure at A was
calculated earlier as approximately 1180 psig, we will assume an average pressure of
the second 50 mi segment to be approximately 1050 psig.

Calculating the compressibility factor Z:


Therefore, Z = 0.8608
Applying the General Flow equation for the second 50 mi segment:


TOPIC 8: Frictional Pressure Drops Homogeneous Flows 44

Solving for the pressure at the mid point C, we get:

P1 = 1110.38 psia, or 1095.68 psig.

As before, the average gas pressure in the second segment must be calculated based
on the above pressure, the pressure at B, and the recalculated value of Z. We will skip
that step for now and proceed with the first 50 mi segment.

Applying the General Flow equation for the first 50 mi segment:

Note that we have also assumed the same value for Z as before. Solving for the
pressure at A, we get:

P1 = 1198.45 psia or 1183.75 psig.

5 References
Silowash Brian Piping Systems Manual [Book]. - [s.l.] : McGraw Hill, 2010.