A Simple Algorithm to Relate Measured Surface Roughness to Equivalent Sand-grain Roughness

  • Adams T
  • Grant C
  • Watson H
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One of the most important resources available in the field of fluid mechanics, the Moody Chart gives darcy friction factor as a function of Reynolds number and relative roughness. The experimentalists who generated the data correlated in the Moody Chart, however, roughened pipe surfaces by coating their internal surfaces with a monolayer of sand, the pipe wall roughness being defined as the average diameter of the sand grains. Thus, the sand-grain roughness values required for use with the Moody Chart are not derived from any direct measure of roughness using modern surface characterization equipment, such as an optical profilometer. Using direct measurements of surface roughness in fluid flow calculations may therefore result in significant error. In this paper we present a simple algorithm with which various measured surface roughness parameters can be converted to equivalent sand-grain roughness. For nearly every surface roughness value converted to equivalent sand-grain roughness using the algorithm, better agreement with fluid flow experiments is seen over using the raw roughness value.




Adams, T., Grant, C., & Watson, H. (2012). A Simple Algorithm to Relate Measured Surface Roughness to Equivalent Sand-grain Roughness. International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics. https://doi.org/10.11159/ijmem.2012.008

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