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Water Hammer in Transmission and Distribution Systems

1.4 CEUs | Thursday–Friday, September 26–27


E. Benjamin Wylie, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE
Jim C.P. Liou, Ph.D., P.E., M. ASCE

"This seminar is an excellent mix of theoretical background and practical application. Excellent examples showing applications of each analysis and formula set."
—Arthur S. Emmons, NCWSA, Conyers, GA

Purpose and Background

Water hammer may endanger pipeline equipment and may compromise personal safety. What causes water hammer? How can these conditions be anticipated, predicted, and modeled? Is it possible to reduce the severity of these conditions through proper design or control?

This course emphasizes the development of an understanding of unsteady liquid pipeline flows with a particular emphasis on wave propagation phenomena. Care is given to concepts that distinguish normal unsteady flow events from more rapid undesirable events. Numerical modeling techniques are developed and demonstrated by solving practical problems encountered in water supply, sewerage and storm water transmission, power, and oil industries.

Lectures, real-life examples, demonstrations, and problem solving comprise the format of the course. Topics include: concepts of transient flow, basic equations related to physical behavior, numerical modeling, system schematization, time scales, column separation, gaseous cavitation, control concepts including valve operation, air chambers, and surge tanks, pumps, system time constants, and resonance.

With their extensive experience in research, consulting, software development, and teaching, the instructors offer a practical, understandable course that should enable participants to recognize, analyze, simulate, and solve problems related to unsteady flows in pipeline systems.

Seminar Benefits

  • Evaluate whether a newly designed system needs water hammer analysis or not
  • Recognize and avoid potential danger and costly blunders in designing systems
  • Specify appropriate hardware and operational measures to correct problems
  • Gain insights on transients through discussions with instructors and participants
  • Understand, critique, and effectively use existing software for analysis and design

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand water hammer phenomena in pipelines and hydraulic systems
  • Use simplified calculations to assess the likely severity of potential events
  • Identify causes of harmful transients
  • Participate in the examination of real-life water hammer events

Assessment of Learning Outcomes

Achievement of the learning outcomes are reinforced through problem-solving exercises and class discussions. Tests directly linked to the learn outcomes will be administered, discussed with participants, graded, and retained for submission to ASCE. Participants are awarded a certificate of completion if they received 70% or better on the tests.

Who Should Attend?

This course explains the basic concepts of water hammer and provides an overview of engineering practice in this specialty. The method to track water hammer waves in a time-space plane is explained and illustrated by computer animations. Physical concepts, engineering relevance, and approaches to water hammer avoidance and control are stressed. Real-life piping failures due to water hammer are discussed. Mathematical derivations and computer programming details are kept to a minimum. Both newcomers and seasoned professionals in the design, operation, and maintenance of water systems will find that the instructors offer valuable insights. Consultants, personnel from government agencies, private companies, and academia who are involved with pipeline systems and infrastructure will also benefit from this course.

Seminar Outline

Day 1: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. including a 1 hour lunch break

  • Introduction
    - Occurrence of transients and engineering relevance
    - Definitions
    - Physical principles
    - Wave speed and potential surge
  • Method of Characteristics
    - Method formulation
    - Wave propagation
    - Numerical solution procedure
    - Equipment modeling
    - Schematization issues
  • Single Pipe Example
    - General features of computer codes
    - Results interpretation
    - Attenuation and line pack
    - Viewing transients in time-distance plane
    - Examples by animations
  • Wave Transmission and Reflection
    - Diameter and/or wave speed change
    - In-line orifices and valves
    - Trapped gas mass and air chambers
    - Surge tanks and stand pipes
    - Pipe junctions and networks
  • Learning Outcome Assessment

Day 2: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. including a 1 hour lunch break

  • Valves
    - Inherent control valve characteristics
    - System response to valving
    - Effective control valve closure time
    - Air valve sizing
    - Surge relief valves
  • Pumps
    - Homologous relationships
    - Four-quadrant head and torque characterization
    - Effect of pump speed change on transients
    - Example of pump power failure transients
  • Liquid Column Separation
    - The phenomenon and demonstration
    - Relevance to pipeline design
    - The presence of free gas and the discrete free-gas cavity model
    - Effect of pipe slope and frictional gradient
    - Comparisons between simulations and test data
  • Control of Transients
    - System time scales and control strategy
    - Experience with surge control design
    - Discussions of real-life examples with various surge control schemes
    - Summary
  • Learning Outcome Assessment

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