eFunda: Introduction to Pitot Static Tubes
engineering fundamentals Pitot Static Tubes: Introduction
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Overview

A Pitot-static Tube is a flow velocity meter which is capable of measuring fluid velocities as a localized point (as opposed to an averaged velocity across a larger section). A schematic of a Pitot tube is shown below.

Typical Pitot Static Tube

The Pitot tube yields a pressure measurement which is typically measured with a differential manometer. The fluid velocity can obtained from the pressure value in accordance with incompressible (or compressble) fluid theory.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros:
  - Simple construction.
  - Relatively inexpensive.
  - Almost no calibration required.
  - Induces minimal pressure drops in the flow.
  - Requires only a few access holes into the flow conduit; no wide open cut needed.
  • Cons:
  - Accuracy and spatial resolution may not be high enough for some applications.
  - Tube must be aligned with the flow velocity to obtain good results. Any misalignment in yaw should not exceed ±5°.

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