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Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 55 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PRACTICAL USE OF ORIFICES IN GAUGING WATER § 54. If the water to be measured is passed through a known orifice under an arrangement by which the constancy of the head is ensured, the amount which passes in a given time can be ascertained by the formulae already given. It will obviously be best to make the orifices of the forms for which the coefficients are most accurately determined; hence sharp-edged orifices or notches are most commonly used. IVater Inch.—For measuring small quantities of water circular sharp-edged orifices have been used. The discharge from a circular orifice one French inch in diameter, with a head of one line above the top edge, was termed by the older hydraulic writers a water-inch. A common estimate of its value was 14 pints per minute, or 677 English cub. ft. in 24 hours. An experiment by C. Bossut gave 634 cub. ft. in 24 hours (see Navier's edition of Belidor's Arch. Hyde., p. 212). L. J. Weisbach points out that measurements of this kind would be made more accurately with a greater head over the orifice, and he proposes that the head should be equal to the diameter of the orifice. Several equal orifices may be used for larger discharges. Pin Ferrules or Measuring Cocks.—To give a tolerably definite supply of water to houses, without the expense of a meter, a ferrule with an orifice of a definite size, or a cock, is introduced in the service-pipe. If the head in the water main is constant, then a definite quantity of water would be delivered in a given time. The arrangement is not a very satisfactory one, and acts chiefly as a check on extravagant use of water. It is interesting here chiefly as an example of regulation of discharge by means of an orifice. Fig. 65 shows a cock of this kind used at Zurich. It consists of three cocks, the middle one having the orifice of the predetermined size in a small circular plate, protected by wire gauze from stoppage by impurities in the water. The cock can be used by the consumer for emptying the pipes. The one on the left and the measuring cock are connected by a key which can be locked by a padlock, which is under the control of the water company. § 55. Measurement of the Flow in Streams.—To determine the quantity of water flowing off the ground in small streams, which is available for water supply or for obtaining water power, small temporary weirs are often used. These may be formed of planks supported by piles and puddled to prevent leakage. The measurement of the head may be made by a thin-edged scale at a short distance behind the weir, where the water surface has not begun to slope down to the weir and where the velocity of approach is not high. The measurements are conveniently made from a short pile driven into the bed of the river, accurately level with the crest of the weir (fig. 66). Then it at any moment the head is h, the discharge is, for a rectangular notch of breadth b, Q = §cbh.l 2gh where c=0.62; or, better, the formula in § 42 may be used. Gauging weirs are most commonly in the form of rectangular notches; and care should be taken that the crest is accurately horizontal, and that the weir is normal to the direction of flow of the stream. If the planks are thick, they should be bevelled (fig. 67), and then the edge may be protected by a metal plate about nth in. thick to secure the requisite accuracy of form and sharpness of edge. In permanent gauging weirs, a cast steel plate is sometimes used to form the edge of the weir crest. The weir should be large enough to discharge the maximum volume flowing in the stream, and at the same time it is desirable that the minimum head shouldnot be too small (say half a foot) to decrease the effects of errors of measurement. The section of the jet over the weir should not exceed one-fifth the section of the stream behind the weir, or the velocity of approach will need to be taken into account. A triangular notch is very suitable for measurements of this kind. If the flow is variable, the head h must be recorded at equidistant intervals of time, say twice daily, and then for each 12-hour period Scale Wetr { the simplicity of the discharge must be calculated for the mean of the heads at the beginning and end of the time. As this involves a good deal of troublesome calculation, E. Sang proposed to use a scale so graduated as to read off the discharge in cubic feet per second. The lengths of the principal graduations of such a scale are easily calculated by putting Q=1, 2, 3 . . . in the ordinary formulae for notches; the intermediate graduations may be taken accurately enough by subdividing equally the distances between the principal graduations. The accurate measurement of the discharge of a stream by means of a weir is, however, in practice, rather more difficult than might be inferred from the principle of the operation. Apart from the difficulty of selecting a suit-able coefficient of discharge, which need not be serious if the form of the weir and the nature of its crest are pro- perly attended to, FIG. 67. other difficulties of measurement arise. The length of the weir should be very accurately deter-mined, and if the weir is rectangular its deviations from exactness of level should be tested. Then the agitation of the water, the ripple on its surface, and the adhesion of the water to the scale on which the head is measured, are liable to introduce errors. Upon a weir to ft. long, with I ft. depth of water flowing over, an error of 1-1000th of a foot in measuring the head, or an error of t-tooth of a foot in measuring the length of the weir, would cause an error in computing the discharge of 2 cub. ft. per minute. Hook Gauge.—For the determination of the surface level of water, the most accurate instrument is the hook gauge used first by U. Boyden of Boston, in 184o. It consists of a fixed frame with scale and vernier. In the instrument in fig. 68 the vernier is fixed to the frame, and the scale slides vertically. The scale carries at its lower end a hook with a fine point, and the scale can be raised or lowered by a fine pitched screw. If the hook is depressed below the water surface and then raised by the screw, the moment of its reaching the water surface will be very distinctly marked, by the reflection from a small capillary elevation of the water surface over the point of the hook. In ordinary light, differences of level of the water of •oot of a foot are easily detected by the hook gauge. If such a gauge is used to determine the heads at a weir, the hook should first be set accurately level with the weir crest, and a reading taken. Then the difference of the reading at the water surface and that for the weir crest will be the head at the weir. § 56. Modules used in Irrigation.—In distributing water for irrigation, the charge for the water may be simply assessed on the area of the land irrigated for each consumer, a method followed in India; or a regulated quantity of water may be given to each consumer, and the charge may be made proportional to the quantity of water supplied, a method employed for a long time in Italy and other parts of Europe. To deliver a regulated quantity of watertime to time. It has further the advantage that the cultivator, by observing the level of the water in the chamber, can always see whether or not he is receiving the proper quantity of water. On each canal the orifices are of the same height, and intended to work with the same normal head, the width of the orifices being varied to suit the demand for water. The unit of discharge varies on different canals, being fixed in each case by legal arrangements. Thus on the Canal Lodi the unit of discharge or one module of water is the discharge through an orifice 1.12 ft. high, 0.12416 ft. wide, with a head of 0.32 ft. above the top edge of the orifice, or .88 ft. above the centre. This corresponds to a discharge of about 0.6165 cub. ft. per second. In the most elaborate Italian modules the regulating chamber is arched over, and its dimensions are very exactly prescribed. Thus in the modules of the Naviglio Grande of Milan, shown in fig. 70, the measuring orifice is cut in a thin stone slab, and so placed that the discharge is into the air with free contraction on all sides. The i from the irrigation channel, arrangements termed modules are used. These are constructions intended to maintain a constant or approximately constant head above an orifice of fixed size, or to regulate the size of the orifice so as to give a constant discharge, notwithstanding the variation of level in the irrigating channel. § 57. Italian Module.—The Italian modules are masonry constructions, consisting of a regulating chamber, to which water is admitted by an adjustable sluice from the canal. At the other end of the chamber is an orifice in a thin flagstone of fixed size. By means of the adjustable sluice a tolerably constant head above the fixed orifice is maintained, and therefore there is a nearly constant discharge of ascertainable amount through the orifice, into the channel leading to the fields which are to be irrigated. In fig. 69, A is the adjustable sluice by which water is admitted to the regulating chamber, B is the fixed orifice through which the water is discharged. The sluice A is adjusted from time to time by the canal officers, so as to bring the level of the water in the regulating chamber to a fixed level marked on the wall of the chamber. When adjusted it is locked. Let wi be the area of the orifice through the sluice- at A, and W2 that of the i fixed orifice at B ; let hi be the difference of level between the surface of the water in the canal and regulating chamber; h2 the head above the centre of the discharging orifice, when the sluice has been adjusted and the flow has become steady; Q the normal discharge in cubic feet per second. Then, since the flow through the orifices at A and B is the same, Q=ciwi/ (2ghi) =c2w211 (2gh2), where ci and c2 are the coefficients of discharge suitable for the two orifices. Hence ( ciwi/C2w2 = y (h2/h1). If the orifice at B opened directly into the canal without any intermediate regulating chamber, the discharge would increase for a given change of level in the canal in exactly the same ratio. Consequently the Italian module in no way moderates the fluctuations of discharge, except so far as it affords means of easy adjustment from Taking c =0.63, Q =15.88 (R2 — r2) AI h; r = J {R2—Q/15 88~ h}. Choosing a value for R, successive values of r can be found for different values of h, and from these the curve of the plug can be drawn. The module shown in fig. 72 will discharge 1 cubic metre per second. The fixed opening is o•2 metre diameter, and the greatest head above the fixed orifice is i metre. The use of this module involves a great sacrifice of level between the canal and the fields. The module is described in Sir C. Scott-Moncrieff's Irrigation in Southern Europe. § 59. Reservoir Gauging Basins.—In obtaining the power to store the water of streams in reservoirs, it is usual to concede to riparian o i/ ~ixuvm9.imOrI / i/r. ' 7,eawl/ 7////ia///// / v //;/ iv cation with the irrigation canal, and FIG. 71. adjusting sluice is placed with its sill flush with the bottom of the canal, and is provided with a rack and lever and locking arrangement. The covered regulating chamber is about 20 ft. long, with a breadth 1.64 ft. greater than that of the discharging orifice. At precisely the normal level of the water in the regulating chamber, there is a ceiling of planks intended to still the agitation of the water. A block of stone serves to indicate the normal level of the water in the chamber. The water is discharged into an open channel 0.655 ft. wider than the orifice, splaying out till it is 1.637 ft. wider than the orifice, and about 18 ft. in length. § 58. Spanish Module.—On the canal of Isabella II., which supplies water to Madrid, a module much more perfect in principle than the Italian module is employed. Part of the water is supplied for irriga- tion, and as it is very valuable its strict measurement is essential. The module (fig. 72) consists of two chambers one above the other, the upper chamber being in free communi- the lower chamber discharging by a culvert to the fields. In the arched roof between the chambers there is a circular sharp-edged orifice in a bronze plate. Hanging in this there is a bronze plug of variable diameter suspended from a hollow brass float. If the water level in the canal lowers, the plug descends and gives an enlarged opening, and conversely. Thus a perfectly constant discharge with a varying head can be obtained, provided no clogging or silting of the chambers pre-vents the free discharge of the water or the rise and fall of the float. The theory of the module is very simple. Let R (fig. 71) be the radius of the fixed opening, r the radius of the plug at a distance h from the plane of flotation of the float, and Q the required discharge of the module. Then Q = cir(—r2) Al (2gh).
JAMES PRADIER (1792–1852)

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