Force on a Deflector Elbow

Example: The force acting on a deflector elbow

Momentum equation - control volumeAn elbow (let say of primary piping) is used to deflect water flow at a velocity of 17 m/s. The piping diameter is equal to 700 mm. The gauge pressure inside the pipe is about 16 MPa at the temperature of 290°C. Fluid is of constant density ⍴ ~ 720 kg/m3 (at 290°C). The angle of the elbow is 45°.

Calculate the force on the wall of a deflector elbow (i.e. calculate vector F3).


  • The flow is steady.
  • The frictional losses are negligible.
  • The weight of the elbow is negligible.
  • The weight of the water in the elbow is negligible.

We take the elbow as the control volume. The control volume is shown at the picture. The momentum equation is a vector equation so it has three components. We take the x- and z- coordinates as shown and we will solve the problem separately according to these coordinates.

First, let us consider the component in the x-coordinate. The conservation of linear momentum equation becomes:

Momentum equation - x-coordinate

Second, let us consider the component in the y-coordinate. The conservation of linear momentum equation becomes:

Momentum equation - y-coordinate

The final force acting on the wall of a deflector elbow will be:

Momentum equation - resulting force

Reactor Physics and Thermal Hydraulics:
  1. J. R. Lamarsh, Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Theory, 2nd ed., Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA (1983).
  2. J. R. Lamarsh, A. J. Baratta, Introduction to Nuclear Engineering, 3d ed., Prentice-Hall, 2001, ISBN: 0-201-82498-1.
  3. W. M. Stacey, Nuclear Reactor Physics, John Wiley & Sons, 2001, ISBN: 0- 471-39127-1.
  4. Glasstone, Sesonske. Nuclear Reactor Engineering: Reactor Systems Engineering, Springer; 4th edition, 1994, ISBN: 978-0412985317
  5. Todreas Neil E., Kazimi Mujid S. Nuclear Systems Volume I: Thermal Hydraulic Fundamentals, Second Edition. CRC Press; 2 edition, 2012, ISBN: 978-0415802871
  6. Zohuri B., McDaniel P. Thermodynamics in Nuclear Power Plant Systems. Springer; 2015, ISBN: 978-3-319-13419-2
  7. Moran Michal J., Shapiro Howard N. Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics, Fifth Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2006, ISBN: 978-0-470-03037-0
  8. Kleinstreuer C. Modern Fluid Dynamics. Springer, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4020-8670-0.
  9. U.S. Department of Energy, THERMODYNAMICS, HEAT TRANSFER, AND FLUID FLOW. DOE Fundamentals Handbook, Volume 1, 2 and 3. June 1992.
  10. White Frank M., Fluid Mechanics, McGraw-Hill Education, 7th edition, February, 2010, ISBN: 978-0077422417

See above:

Conservation of Momentum