Experimental and numerical Investigation of entrapped air presence and expulsions in irregular pipelines on hydraulic transients

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Mechanical Engineering, Alexandria University, Alexandria 21544, Egypt.



In the present study, the transient event of rapid opening of upstream valve in undulated water pipeline with entrapped air pockets was investigated both experimentally and numerically. Pressure peaks and oscillation patterns were traced with the variation of air pocket length, blocking column length and water filling column. A transient two-dimensional CFD simulation model was introduced and validated by laboratory experiments. The proposed CFD model was conducted using ANSYS fluent based on Reynolds-averaged Navier– Stokes (RANS) equations and the volume of fluid (VOF) method. A user-defined functions (UDF) for both water compressibility effect and opening valve estimated pattern were adopted to verify the experimental results. For further understanding of transient response air expulsion through air vents of various orifices diameters were experimentally investigated. Image processing technique by using photoshop were utilized to clarify Stages of air expulsions, air water interaction and orifice flow regime. The obtained results showed that pressure peaks and oscillations depend strongly on orifice size where small orifice caused an intermitted flow choked by water column in contrast to large orifice where water hammer was dominated. An experimental facility was constructed at Alexandria university hydraulics laboratory to fulfil the research objectives. Air presence challenges in hydraulic systems are extensively applied for water and fuel supply lines, firefighting, and drainage systems in airports ground facilities.

Main Subjects