Using computational fluid dynamics to predict head losses in the auxiliary elements of a microirrigation sand filter

It is often assumed that total head losses in a sand filter are solely due to the filtration media and that there are analytical solutions, such as the Ergun equation, to compute them. However, total head losses are also due to auxiliary elements (inlet and outlet pipes and filter nozzles), which produce undesirable head losses because they increase energy requirements without contributing to the filtration process. In this study, ANSYS Fluent version 6.3, a commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software program, was used to compute head losses in different parts of a sand filter. Six different numerical filter models of varying complexities were used to understand the hydraulic behavior of the several filter elements and their importance in total head losses. The simulation results show that 84.6% of these were caused by the sand bed and 15.4% were due to auxiliary elements (4.4% in the outlet and inlet pipes, and 11.0% in the perforated plate and nozzles). Simulation results with different models show the important role of the nozzles in the hydraulic behavior of the sand filter. The relationship between the passing area through the nozzles and the passing area through the perforated plate is an important design parameter for the reduction of total head losses. A reduced relationship caused by nozzle clogging would disproportionately increase the total head losses in the sand filter ​
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