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Pressure differential through orifice plate

  1. Jun 24, 2016 #1
    This is probably an easy answer but I can't get my head round it! If I have a test rig that measures pressure differential in a test chamber at a set flow rate, how do I calculate what the pressure differential should be if I put an orfice plate in with a certain size diameter hole in the test chamber? I've attached a basic diagram of how the rig works.

    Whilst using this test rig I've been obtaining some questionable results and wanted to verify that everything was as it should be with the rig. Therefore my thought was to set the rig with a flow rate of, say, 20 litres/second with an empty test chamber (closed obviously) and zero the PD meter. Then insert an orifice plate with a restriction hole in it and adjust the flow rate back to 20 litres per second and see if the PD meter reads approx the calculated value.

    Could anybody please help me with this? Would be very much appreciated :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2016 #2


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    It's actually not an easy question. There are some empirical relationships that work reasonably well for situations where your orifice plate is situated in a circular tube, but how well they translate to the situation you have drawn above is not simple to ascertain. Wikipedia has a small entry on it, and I am sure you can find some better sources in engineering journals and literature, but your best bet is probably to just run some tests.
  4. Jun 24, 2016 #3


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    You can find significant information related to your issue by googling "orifice plate measurement accuracy standards". Based upon you diagram, one issue you should investigate is the recommended minimum approach and discharge straight pipe lengths for accurate flow measurements with orifices.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  5. Jun 25, 2016 #4
    Get a copy of ASME PTC 19.5. The position of your plate in a divergent convergent nozzle looks dodgy, in general for flow measurement you're looking for 10 straight diameters upstream and five downstream, it looks to me that in the setup you have would produce turbulent flow.
  6. Jun 27, 2016 #5
    OK, thank you for your help. Maybe it's probably best waiting until the meters are recalibrated and then make up a reference sample which we can use to verify the performance at periods inbetween.

    Thanks once again.
  7. Jun 28, 2016 #6
    if your test rig is only going to be used to measure flow rate through an orifice then
    you should remove the expansion chamber from your test and also remove all of the turns
    as these will affect the downstream pressure leading to the orifice and the upstream pressure
    leading away from the orifice and remove the flow meter if it restricts any fluid flow.

    get your differential pressure readings and then calculate the flow rate.
  8. Jun 28, 2016 #7


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    I need to start being more careful in looking at diagrams. I was so focused on the orifice segment that I totally overlooked the downstream flow meter. I had previously assumed that the orifice was your primary source of flow rate measurement for your system; but, now that I realize there is a downstream flow meter, I am confused about the purpose of the orifice in the test chamber that contains your test sample. Please clarify this issue.
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