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Thermal Boundary Layers in Critical Flow Venturis



John D. Wright, Aaron Johnson, Michael R. Moldover, Woong Kang, Liang Zhang, Bodo Mickan


We improve the usefulness of small (diameter < 10 mm) critical flow venturis (CFVs) as transfer standards for gas flow by measuring and explaining how their discharge coefficients depend on the temperature T of their environment. At Reynolds numbers Re < 2.5 x 105 (e.g., a 2 mm diameter throat; inlet: air at 1 MPa), CFVs exhibit sensitivity to the environmental temperature of approximately 0.02 % K-1 due to biased measurements of the stagnation temperature T0 (temperature "sampling" error) and from ignoring the low-density, annular, thermal boundary layer generated by heat transfer from the CFV's body to the gas flowing through the CFV. To reduce temperature sampling errors, we used a non-metallic approach pipe and a temperature sensor with a low stem-conduction error. To correct for thermal boundary layer effects on the flow, we used Geropp's functional form: CT = 1+KT Re-1/2 [Δ}T⁄T0] where Δ}T is the difference between the CFV's inner wall temperature and the stagnation temperature. For CFVs made of stainless steel and copper with diameters of 0.56 mm, 1.1 mm, and 3.2 mm we measured KT ≅ -7 while Geropp's theory predicts Ktbl ≅ 2.
Flow Measurement and Instrumentation


critical, flow, venturi, boundary layer


Wright, J. , Johnson, A. , Moldover, M. , Kang, W. , Zhang, L. and Mickan, B. (2021), Thermal Boundary Layers in Critical Flow Venturis, Flow Measurement and Instrumentation, [online],, (Accessed June 21, 2024)


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Created July 30, 2021, Updated October 14, 2021