Interactive Self-Study Module: Calculating the Pressure Drop and Power in the Pipe Flow

Overview:

This module uses screencasts and an interactive simulation to explain how to calculate the pressure drop and power in a pipe, given the diameter and length as well as flow rate of the fluid. Your retention of material in this module will increase if you write down reasons for your answers to ConcepTests, questions in screencasts, and questions to answer before using interactive simulations, and you try to solve the example problems before watching the screencast solutions. We suggest using the learning resources in the following order:

  1. Attempt to answer the multiple-choice ConcepTest and solve the example problem before watching the screencasts or working with the simulation.
  2. Watch the screencasts that provide an introduction to pipe flow and answer the questions within the screencasts.
  3. Review important equations for calculating the pressure drop and power in pipe flow.
  4. Use the interactive simulation to examine different scenarios.
  5. Try to solve the example problem before watching the solution in the screencast.
  6. Answer the ConcepTests.
  7. Look at the list of key points, but only after you try to list the key points yourself.expl
Motivation:
  • Many piping systems require an engineer to be able to calculate the pressure drop between two points as well as the power needed or provided. These examples should provide the tools to do so. 
  • This module is intended for a fluid mechanics course.
Before studying this module, you should be able to:
  • Change a volumetric flow rate into a velocity. 
  • Explain the concept of the Reynolds number (Re) and be able to calculate it. 
  • Explain the difference between laminar and turbulent flow.
  • Simplify the mechanical energy equation for pressure drop or power. 
  • Read the Moody chart. 
After studying this module, you should be able to:
  • Calculate the pressure drop of a pipe given its diameter and length as well as the fluid flow rate.  
  • Use the Moody chart to calculate friction factors.
  • Calculate major and minor head loss for both laminar and turbulent flow. 
  • Calculate power based on the pump head term in the energy equation.