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Transient pressure

What are transient pressure waves?

A transient is used to refer to any pressure wave that is short lived (i.e. not static pressure or pressure differential due to friction/minor loss in flow). The most common occurrence of this is called water hammer in a pipe network, when a valve or pump is suddenly shut off, the water flowing in an adjacent pipe is suddenly forced to stop. A region of high pressure builds up immediately behind said valve or pump and a region of low pressure forms in front of it. The momentum of the water is suddenly transferred into the fitting and Newton’s Third Law kicks in growing the high-pressure region of water as it all “piles up” in the pipe. This high pressure region then travels back along the pipe in the form of a wave. The border of the high-pressure zone is referred to as a pressure wave, or transient.

Transients are often misunderstood and not accounted for in the design of water distribution systems and are often the cause of (or a contributing factor to) hydraulic element failures (i.e. pipe breaks, pump/valve failures, etc.).

Reducing the occurrence of transient pressure waves

Ineffective manual valve operations are known to be a source of transient pressure waves. Water Companies have spent thousands on training Technicians and installing transient rigs. These efforts go a long way to reducing the number of transient events on a network. It is also known that ineffective valve operations still occur and that being able to monitor and improve the way valves are operated will lead to less transient events, protecting the networks assets and reducing the number of leaks and bursts.

SmartValve was designed specifically to help Water Companies manage and monitor all manual valve operations. For more information on the benefits of implementing SmartValve please download our Anglian Water case study

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