The results of a digital computer and analytic study of the critical flow of a compressible fluid are presented in this paper. The expanding flow of a fluid in a single-phase region as well as the expansion of a fluid to a two-phase region is considered and described by analytic expressions relating choking velocity, critical pressure ratio, and flow per unit area characteristics. A comparison is made of the analytic results which assume a constant value of the isentropic expansion exponent, with the digital computer results using the actual properties of steam. All analyses assume the fluid to be in thermodynamic equilibrium. A skeleton Mollier diagram is presented for steam showing the exponent in the wet and superheated regions. The choking velocity is presented in plot form as a function of the inlet conditions as well as state point conditions; critical pressure ratio is presented as a function of inlet conditions. The critical flow per unit area is presented in the form of a factor K plotted versus inlet conditions; this factor K when multiplied by inlet pressure produces the desired value of critical flow.

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