A study on water hammer in viscoelastic pipes when the fluid pressure drops to liquid vapour pressure is performed. Two important concepts including column separation and the effects of retarded strains in the pipe wall on the fluid response have been investigated separately in recent works, but there is some curiosity as to how the results for pressure and discharge are when column separation occurs in a viscoelastic pipe.
For pipes made of plastic such as polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), viscoelasticity is a crucial mechanical property which changes the hydraulic and structural transient responses. Based on previous developments in the analysis of water hammer, a model which is capable of analysing column separation in viscoelastic pipes is presented and used for solving the selected case studies. For the column-separation modelling the Discrete Vapour Cavity Model (DVCM) is utilised and the viscoelasticity property of the pipe wall is modelled by Kelvin-Voigt elements.
The effects of viscoelasticity play an important role in the column separation phenomenon because it changes the water hammer fundamental frequency and so affects the time of opening or collapse of the cavities. Verification of the implemented computer code is performed for the effects of viscoelasticity and column separation - separately and simultaneously - using experimental results from the literature. In the provided examples the focus is placed on the simultaneous effect of viscoelasticity and column separation on the hydraulic transient response. The final conclusions drawn are that if rectangular grids are utilised the DVCM gives acceptable predictions of the phenomenon and that the pipe wall material’s retarded behaviour strongly dampens the pressure spikes caused by column separation.
Keywords: Water Hammer, Viscoelasticity, Column Separation, Cavitating Flow, PVC Pipe.