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Application of Computational Fluid Dynamics to Design High Performance Drip Irrigation Emitters | OMICS International
ISSN: 2168-9768
Irrigation & Drainage Systems Engineering
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Application of Computational Fluid Dynamics to Design High Performance Drip Irrigation Emitters

Jun Zhang* and Wanhua Zhao

State Key Laboratory for Manufacturing System Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China

*Corresponding Author:
Jun Zhang
State Key Laboratory for Manufacturing System Engineering
Xi’an Jiaotong University, China
Tel: +86-29-83399529
E-mail: [email protected]

Received July 23, 2013; Accepted July 24, 2013; Published July 29, 2013

Citation: Zhang J, Zhao W (2013) Application of Computational Fluid Dynamics to Design High Performance Drip Irrigation Emitters. Irrigat Drainage Sys Eng 2:e120. doi:10.4172/2168-9768.1000e120

Copyright: © 2013 Zhang J, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Abstract

The emitters with labyrinth channels are widely applied in drip irrigation system for their simply structures and low manufacturing cost compared with pressure compensating emitters. The pressurized water in pipes drops into the soil slowly and uniformly through emitter’s labyrinth channels. The fluid inside emitters is expected to be turbulent so that it can weaken the influence on flow rates due to the fluctuation of operating pressure and improve the irrigation uniformity [1]. Because of its small geometry and opaque channel, it is not easy to observe the flow state of the fluid. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) offers the possibility to investigate the fluid inside channels not always accessible using experimental techniques.

By using CFD technique, we can visualize the flow field inside labyrinth channels including the fluid velocity and pressure, and can also find the critical Reynolds number from laminar flow to turbulence [2]. If a three-dimensional numerical model of emitter is build up, the flow rates of emitters can be quickly calculated at different pressure heads [3]. From a series of flow rates and pressure heads of emitters obtained by CFD, the relationship can be regressed as Equation, where Q is the flow rate (l/hr), k is an emitter constant, H is the pressure head (kPa), and x is the emitter flow rate exponent. The constants k and x are always used to evaluate emitter’s hydraulic performance. Therefore, the structure can be optimized according to the evaluation parameters till reaching a satisfied result.

On the other hand, emitter clogging has been considered one of the most annoying problems inhibiting the popularization of drip irrigation; it can be caused by physical, chemical or biological contaminants [4-5]. Regardless of which kind of the clogging, it can be ascribed to the deposition of particles with different diameters (sand, indissolvable carbonate, bacteria etc.) in emitters. Usually, we conclude the drip irrigation whether is clogged or not based on the flow rate at the same pressure head. We are not sure why and how emitter’s discharge is reduced? CFD can simulate the motion and trajectories of particles and visualize the single particle’s stagnation position by using stochastic trajectory model. In addition, by means of Eulerian-Eulerian model, potential deposition regions of plenty of solid particles can be obtained, which can be used to explain the clogging mechanism of emitters [6]. These simulation results are good criterions for structural optimization of emitters.

CFD is an effective technique to discover the flow behavior of the fluid in labyrinth channels which is important for the microcharacteristics of the emitter. The researchers and manufacturers can design serials of high-performance emitters by using CFD.

On the other hand, emitter clogging has been considered one of the most annoying problems inhibiting the popularization of drip irrigation, it can be caused by physical, chemical or biological contaminants [4-5]. Regardless of which kind of the clogging, it can be ascribed to the deposition of particles with different diameters (sand, indissolvable carbonate, bacteria etc.) in emitters. Usually, we conclude the drip irrigation whether is clogged or not based on the flow rate at the same pressure head. We are not sure why and how emitter’s discharge is reduced? CFD can simulate the motion and trajectories of particles and visualize the single particle’s stagnation position by using stochastic trajectory model. In addition, by means of Eulerian-Eulerian model, potential deposition regions of plenty of solid particles.

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