Calculating a Viscosity Correction for Humid Air in a Laminar Flow Element 2018-01-0206
Laminar flow elements (LFEs) are commonly used to measure the flow rate of gases in various flow streams. Since LFEs operate on the principle of fully developed laminar pipe flow, the viscosity of the gas must be known. In many cases, the flowing gas is air of varying humidity, inlet temperature, and inlet pressure. While the viscosity of humid air has been studied extensively over the past 60+ years, the effects of humidity have not been consistently accounted for in the literature and industry documentation pertaining to LFE operation, and this can lead to errors. Additionally, the available LFE operational documentation is not presented in equation form; rather it is provided in tables and graphs which do not facilitate automation of the flow calculations during data acquisition. This paper provides a brief review of the available data and correlations for the viscosity of humid air and its application to the calculation of air flow rate using a laminar flow element.