Design and Validation of a Check Valve Slam Simulation

Photo of Kurt Green, Jason Guillemette, and Daniel Shead Students: Kurt Green, Jason Guillemette, and Daniel Shead

Sponsor: Fluor Corporation

Date: Fall 2009

The key requirements of the design project were cost, pressure requirements, experimental sampling resolution, and accuracy and repeatability of experimental and simulation results. The cost requirement was set by the sponsor as a parameter of the project and the team was responsible for taking economic feasibility into account throughout the design. The pressure requirements of the system were continually redefined as the design progressed and finalized when the system parameters of available pressure and operating conditions were determined. The sampling rates were determined by the time interval of the valve's closure, and the resolution by the volume passing through it.

Check valves are designed to prevent reversed fluid flow in piping systems. The pressure surge that develops when these check valves close causes expansions and contractions in the pipes that often result in loud noises, shaking, and, in extreme cases, may damage the pipes or infrastructure supporting them. Fluor has tasked the senior design team with the development of a computer simulation to model the behavior of check valves and a test stand to validate the simulation results.

The simulation was developed in MATLAB to accept system characteristics, apply the governing differential equations of the system as defined by the design team, and develop an approximation of the system's transient behavior. The test stand consists of a hydraulic accumulator to develop forward flow through the check valve system and a hydraulic cylinder to reverse the flow and measure the volumetric flowrate. The experimental results suggest that the simulation is useful for making approximations and developing trends for the system being modeled. The team recommends further experimentation to improve the accuracy of the simulation, specifically by conducting experiments with a higher degree of resolution and a wider variety of components.

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