September 2004

Columns

HP Reliability: Destructive force of water hammer

Transient forces such as water hammer from sudden valve closure can produce large pressure spikes in the piping system. This can cause severe damage to the piping and any attached equipment, such as p..

Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Transient forces such as water hammer from sudden valve closure can produce large pressure spikes in the piping system. This can cause severe damage to the piping and any attached equipment, such as pumps and valves. When flow of liquid is suddenly stopped, the liquid tries to continue in the same direction. In the area where the velocity change occurs, the liquid pressure increases dramatically, due to the momentum force. As it rebounds, it increases the pressure in the region near it and forms an acoustic pressure wave. This pressure wave travels down the pipe at the speed of sound in the liquid. If we assume the liquid is water flowing in rigid pipe at ambient temperature, the wave

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