Pipe Flow

Simple laws can very well describe complex structures. The miracle is not the complexity of our world, but the simplicity of the equations describing that complexity.”

—Sander Bais, b. 1945, Theoretical Physicist


In 1883, Osborne Reynolds conducted a classical experiment, illustrated in Figure 6.1, in which he measured the pressure drop, ΔP, as a function of flow rate, Q, for water in a tube. He found that, at low flow rates, the pressure drop was directly proportional to the flow rate, but as the flow rate was increased, a point was reached where the relation was no longer linear and the “noise” or scatter in the data increased considerably. At still higher flow rates, the data became more reproducible, but ...

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