2. Kinds of Flow

Flow is classified into open channel flow and closed conduit flow. Open channel flow conditions occur whenever the flowing stream has a free or unconstrained surface that is open to the atmosphere. Flows in canals or in vented pipelines which are not flowing full are typical examples. The presence of the free water surface prevents transmission of pressure from one end of the conveyance channel to another as in fully flowing pipelines. Thus, in open channels, the only force that can cause flow is the force of gravity on the fluid. As a result, with steady uniform flow under free discharge conditions, a progressive fall or decrease in the water surface elevation always occurs as the flow moves downstream.

In hydraulics, a pipe is any closed conduit that carries water under pressure. The filled conduit may be square, rectangular, or any other shape, but is usually round. If flow is occurring in a conduit but does not completely fill it, the flow is not considered pipe or closed conduit flow, but is classified as open channel flow.

Flow occurs in a pipeline when a pressure or head difference exists between ends. The rate or discharge that occurs depends mainly upon (1) the amount of pressure or head difference that exists from the inlet to the outlet; (2) the friction or resistance to flow caused by pipe length, pipe roughness, bends, restrictions, changes in conduit shape and size, and the nature of the fluid flowing; and (3) the cross-sectional area of the pipe.