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Pipe Sizing & Friction Loss in Steel Pipelines

When a fluid has to be transferred from one point to another by pipe it is usually at a required flow rate. It is common to have an availablehead in the form of a pump or reservoir to drive the fluid through the pipe. When the fluid flows through the pipe there is a resistance to the flow due to friction forces and this produces a pressure or energy loss termed head loss.

If the pipe diameter is too small the predicted head loss will exceed the available head. If the pipe diameter is too large the magnitude of the loss will be less and the flow will exceed the designed flow rate.

The selection of pipe diameter is therefore important in the balance between available head flow and flow rate.

Calculation

This is a reasonably simple calculation and what is required is:

Friction loss charts for various pipe coatings NB. the smoother the pipe surface the lower the friction loss

Information on friction loss caused by various fittings in the pipe line

Established needs in terms of:

Flow Velocity (Metres per second)

Flow capacity (litres per second)

Pipe size either given or requested

Total length of pipeline

What fittings/ valves will be used in the above line

Example

This is a reasonably simple calculation and what is required is:

Establish type of pipe that will be used (i.e. uncoated, coated or galvanised)

Obtain information in calculation as in CALCULATION 3 above