Asee peer logo

Discharge Coefficient Experiment

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Charles E. Baukal Jr. P.E. John Zink Co. LLC

visit author page

Charles E. Baukal, Jr. has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, an Ed.D., and Professional Engineering License. He is the Director of the John Zink Institute which offers continuing professional development for engineers and technicians. He has nearly 35 years of industrial experience and 30 years of teaching experience as an adjunct. He is the author/editor of 13 books on industrial combustion and is an inventor on 11 U.S. patents.

visit author page


Wes Ryan Bussman John Zink Co. LLC

visit author page

Wes Bussman, Ph.D., is a senior research and development engineer for the John Zink Co. LLC. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Tulsa. Dr. Bussman has 20 years of basic scientific research work, industrial technology research and development, and combustion design engineering. He holds ten patents, and has authored several published articles and conference papers and has been a contributing author to several combustion related books. He has taught engineering courses at several universities and is a member of Kappa Mu Epsilon Mathematical Society and Sigma Xi Research Society.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The coefficient of discharge is an important concept in fluid mechanics. This paper describes a simple and inexpensive experiment to determine the discharge coefficients for nozzles consisting of straight holes and counter-bored holes. The apparatus consists of a straight vertical PVC tube with different nozzles attached at the bottom. The cost of each setup is less than $30 where the cost of the graduated cylinders used to measure the amount of water flowing through the nozzles accounts for half of that cost. If graduated cylinders are already available, the cost per setup is about $15. The tubes are filled with water to generate flow through the nozzles. Varying length tubes are used to vary the head pressure. Only two measurements are required: the volume of water collected and the amount of time it takes to collect the water. It is recommended that at least two students conduct the lab. One continuously fills the tube with water and controls the stopwatch. The second student holds the tube and blocks the nozzle outlet until it is time to start. An apparatus could be made to hold the tube and block the outlet if desired so it could be done by a single student if desired. This experiment can be used as a fluid flow demonstration or as a laboratory. There are numerous possible variations of this experiment including multiple combinations of straight and counter-bored holes, contoured holes, different tube lengths, and different liquids. Example results are reported in the paper where the experiment has been used as a lab. The equations used to develop the theory are provided. Possible sources of error are also discussed.

Baukal, C. E., & Bussman, W. R. (2019, June), Discharge Coefficient Experiment Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32667

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015