Prandtl Number

The Prandtl Number is a dimensionless number approximating the ratio of momentum diffusivity to thermal diffusivity

The Prandtl Number is a dimensionless number approximating the ratio of momentum diffusivity (kinematic viscosity) to thermal diffusivity - and can be expressed as

Pr = v / α                                     (1)


Pr = Prandtl's number

v = momentum diffusivity (m2/s)

α = thermal diffusivity (m2/s)

The Prandtl number can alternatively be expressed as

Pr = μ cp / k                                    (2)


μ = absolute or dynamic viscosity (kg/m s, lbm/(ft h))

cp = specific heat (J/kg K, Btu/(lbm oF))

k = thermal conductivity (W/m K, Btu/(h ft2 oF/ft))

The Prandtl Number is often used in heat transfer and free and forced convection calculations. It depends on the fluid properties. 

  • gases - Pr ranges 0.7 - 1.0
  • water - Pr ranges 1 - 10
  • liquid metals - Pr ranges 0.001 - 0.03
  • oils - Pr ranges 50 - 2000

Example - Calculation of a Prandtl Number

μ = 15 (cP)

cp = 0.50 Btu/(lbm oF)

k = 0.06 (Btu/(h ft2 oF/ft)

Dynamic viscosity can be converted from cP to lbm/(ft h) as

μ = 15 (cP) (2.4191 (lbm/(ft hr)) / (1 cP))

   = 36.3 lb/(ft hr)

The Prandtl Number can be calculated as

Pr = 36.3 (lb/(ft hr)) 0.50 Btu/(lbm oF)0.06 (Btu/(h ft2 oF/ft)

    = 302

Related Topics

  • Fluid Mechanics - The study of fluids - liquids and gases. Involves velocity, pressure, density and temperature as functions of space and time

Related Documents

  • Air Properties - SI Units - Ideal gas properties of air at low pressures - in SI units
  • Air Properties - Imperial Units - Thermodynamic properties of air at low pressures - imperial units
  • Carbon Dioxide Properties - Properties of saturated liquid Carbon Dioxide - CO2 - density, specific heat, kinematic viscosity, thermal conductivity and Prandtl number
  • Water - Thermodynamic Properties - Thermal properties of water - density, freezing temperature, boiling temperature, latent heat of melting, latent heat of evaporation, critical temperature and more
  • Dry Air Properties - Dry air properties at temperatures ranging 175 - 1900 K - specific heat, ratio of specific heats, dynamic viscosity, thermal conductivity, Prandtl number, density and kinematic viscosity
  • Reynolds Number - Introduction and definition of the dimensionless Reynolds Number - online calculators
  • Dimensionless numbers - Definitions and symbols for physical and chemical dimensionless quantities, with areas of application of the different numbers. Reynolds, Euler, Nusselt, Prandtl..... and many more

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