-Recommendations

So what now? Based on our analysis of the problem, we recommend several solutions to Abbott to prevent further damage to the pipe and reduce energy losses before the water reaches the pump.

  1. Let the gage show a more accurate gage pressure

The first step would be to update the pressure gage that was shown to us. When on the tour, the gage showed a value of zero when, according to Mr. Brewer, it should’ve been around 6psi. There are multiple reasons why a gage may stop working such as mechanical vibrations or pulsation, which may be occurring as the air pockets move through the pipe. A likely cause may be steam since the pressure has been dropping low, which would damage internal components. Replacing this gage, possibly with a sturdier model, would be beneficial tip to ensure accurate information and future analysis of the situation is being conducted properly.

  1. Regulate the valve so it closes and opens slowly, preventing air pockets

The weight and velocity of the water creates a great deal of momentum in the pipes. When a valve is closed suddenly, the stream crashes against the valve creating a small vacuum downstream and cavitation to occur and the sudden low pressure area. This pushes the water backwards then releases it back against the valve, moving back and forth until equilibrium is reached again.

  1. Remove the air from the water before it reaches the problematic area

To solve the problem of air coming out of solution within the pipe, there are two possible solutions to this problem. First, is to heat the water until it is close to its boiling point – as less air can be dissolved in the water as the temperature of the water increases and the water begins to turn to steam. Or second, to decrease the pressure of the water purposely before it enters into the system – as less air can be dissolved when the pressure is low and the boiling points begins to lower until it is close to the ambient temperature. Of course, how cost effective either or a combination of the two will be is something we can’t answer. The information and experience required to make such a complicated calculation and assessment are not available to us; but the theory behind this solution is solid.

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