How to calculate the wetted perimeter of a full pipe

Updated April 17, 2017

The wetted perimeter of a channel is a measure of how much of the channel's cross section is touching liquid when the liquid flows through at a certain depth. For example, if water were flowing 90 cm (3 feet) deep through a rectangular channel 270 cm (10 feet) wide, the wetted perimeter would equal the width of the channel's bottom plus 100 cm (3 feet 3 inches) on each side or 500 cm (16 feet 4 inches) in total. Since all sides of a full pipe are touching water, the wetted perimeter of a circular pipe equals the inner circumference of the pipe.

Detach one end of the pipe to expose its cross section, if possible.

Measure the inner diameter of the pipe by finding the greatest distance between two points on its circumference. If it is not possible to expose the end of the pipe, measure its outer circumference (Co) and estimate or look up the thickness (T) of the material the pipe is made of. Calculate the inner diameter (D) using this formula: D = (Co / pi) - (2 * T)

Calculate the inner circumference (Ci) of the pipe using this formula: Ci = pi * D, where D equals the inner diameter. The wetted perimeter of the pipe when it is full equals the inner circumference.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench
  • Tape measure
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Benjamin Twist has worked as a writer, editor and consultant since 2007. He writes fiction and nonfiction for online and print publications, as well as offering one-on-one writing consultations and tutoring. Twist holds a Master of Arts in Bible exposition from Columbia International University.