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Friction loss

Friction loss refers to that portion of pressure lost by fluids while moving through a pipe, hose, or other limited space.

Additional recommended knowledge


Friction loss has several causes, including:

  • Frictional losses depend on the conditions of flow and the physical properties of the system.
  • Movement of water molecules against each other
  • Movement of water molecules against the inside surface of a pipe or the like, particularly if the inside surface is rough, textured, or otherwise not smooth
  • Bends, kinks, and other sharp turns in hose or piping


While friction loss has multiple applications, one of the most common is in the realm of firefighting. With the advent of modern power-takeoff (PTO) fire pumps, pressures created can sometimes overwhelm the ability of water to flow through a hose of a given diameter. As the velocity of water inside a hose increases, so does the friction loss. This resulting increase occurs as an exponential rate, thus an increase in the flow by a factor of X will result in an increase in friction loss by a factor of X². For example, if you double the flow you will quadruple the friction loss. Ultimately, as the pressure created by a fire pump goes higher and higher the amount of water actually flowing through a hose to a given point lessens, threatening firefighting operations.


The formula used most often in firefighting to express the amount of friction loss is:


Where FL = friction loss (expressed in psi) C = coefficient of friction (based on the inside diameter of the hose and the inside jacket material) Q = flow rate in hundreds of gallons (gpm/100) L = Length of hose in hundreds of feet (L/100)

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Friction_loss". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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