Paper presented at the 9th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Malta, 16-18 July, 2012.
The accuracy of a leak detection method depends greatly on the flow and leak parameters in a given pipeline. This paper gives some insight into the flow characteristics around simulated small leaks. The present computational fluid dynamics studies have indicated clear distinctive features in fluid pressure and fluid acceleration that can be used for the early detection of small leaks with the magnitude of 2.75L/min in water distribution pipelines. The CFD study is based on the steady state turbulent flow simulation which was carried out for different pressure lines in 4-inch (100m) ID pipe.
Based on the CFD simulation, it was found out that the pressure gradient in the vicinity of the leaks are quite large, hence a leak detection method based on pressure gradient measurement is proposed. In addition these simulation has shown axial flow acceleration in the flow centerline of the pipe have remarkable gradient which offers another leak detection method based on the use of accelerometer.