If the Reynolds number
is greater than 3500, the flow is turbulent
. Most fluid systems in nuclear facilities operate with turbulent flow
. In this flow regime
the resistance to flow follows the Darcy–Weisbach equation
: it is proportional to the square of the mean flow velocity. The Darcy friction factor depends strongly on the relative roughness
of the pipe’s inner surface.
The most common method to determine a friction factor for turbulent flow is to use the Moody chart. The Moody chart (also known as the Moody diagram) is a log-log plot of the Colebrook correlation that relates the Darcy friction factor, Reynolds number, and the relative roughness for fully developed flow in a circular pipe. The Colebrook–White equation:
which is also known as the Colebrook equation, expresses the Darcy friction factor f as a function of pipe relative roughness ε / Dh and Reynolds number.
In 1939, Colebrook found an implicit correlation for the friction factor in round pipes by fitting the data of experimental studies of turbulent flow in smooth and rough pipes.
For hydraulically smooth pipe and the turbulent flow (Re < 105) the friction factor can be approximated by Blasius formula:
f = (100.Re)-¼
It must be noted, at very large Reynolds numbers, the friction factor is independent of the Reynolds number. This is because the thickness of laminar sublayer (viscous sublayer) decreases with increasing Reynolds number. For very large Reynolds numbers the thickness of laminar sublayer is comparable to the surface roughness and it directly influences the flow. The laminar sublayer becomes so thin that the surface roughness protrudes into the flow. The frictional losses in this case are produced in the main flow primarily by the protruding roughness elements, and the contribution of the laminar sublayer is negligible.