The design of trickle irrigation systems is crucial to optimize profitability and to warrant high values for the emission uniformity (EU) coefficient. EU depends on variation of the pressure head due to head losses along the lines and elevation changes, as well as the water temperature, and other parameters related to the emitters (manufacturer's coefficient of variation, number of emitters per plants, emitter spacing). Trickle irrigation plants are usually designed using small diameter plastic pipes (polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride). The design problem, therefore, needs to consider head losses along the lines as well as emitter discharge variations due to the manufacturer's variability. Variations in the hydraulic head are a consequence of both friction losses along the pipe and local losses due to the emitters' connections, whose importance has been recently emphasized. Since each local loss depends on the emitter type (in-line or on-line) as well as on its shape and dimensions, the morphological variability of the commercially available emitter requires experimental investigations to determine local losses in drip laterals. On the other hand, local losses can be estimated by the mean of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models, allowing analysis of velocity profiles and the turbulence caused by the emitters' connections. FLUENT software can be considered a powerful tool to evaluate friction and local losses in drip irrigation laterals, after the necessary validation has been carried out by means of experimental data. The main objective of this study was to assess a CFD technique to evaluate friction and local losses in laterals with in-line coextruded emitters. The model was initially used to choose the turbulence model allowing the most accurate estimation of friction losses in small diameter polyethylene pipes, characterized by low Reynolds number. Second, the possibility of using CFD to predict local losses in drip irrigation laterals with a commercially available coextruded emitter was investigated. Simulated local losses were obtained as difference of the total and friction losses along a trunk of pipe, where one single emitter was installed, not considering the emitter outflow. The proposed procedure allows to evaluate local losses for other different emitter models, avoiding tedious and time-consuming experiments.
|Rivista||JOURNAL OF IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE ENGINEERING|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2007|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Water Science and Technology
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)