The viscosity-dependence of the velocity coefficient for a free liquid jet, issuing from a sharp-edged orifice, is predicted by computing the dissipation of energy in the boundary layer on the back of the orifice plate. The prediction is upheld by the only known direct measurements of velocity coefficients. The resulting coefficients are much closer to unity for large orifices than they are generally assumed to be. The influence of surface tension on small jets is also explained.

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