Dynamic solutions for a fluid world™

Student Research Projects Using AFT Software

  AFT Fathom

Campus Boiler Feed Pump Redesign - Kansas State University, USA

The current boiler feed water pumps at Kansas State are currently much larger than necessary. To remedy this, we are designing a new pump layout with new, much smaller, pumps. The end goal of this project is to greatly reduce the energy costs that Kansas State pays for its campus heating. To begin this project, we toured the facilities building to better understand the current situation and to see what space and fixtures we had to work with. We calculated the NPSH and the pump discharge head loss values by hand using our fluid mechanics textbooks. We have values that we believe are accurate, but calculating these using the AFT Fathom software would confirm our results and from there we can finally request a quote for our design boiler feed water pump skid.

Final report not available

Hot Water Pest Eradicator - University of California Merced, USA

A collaboration with the UC San Diego cooperative extension program, this group of four students will create a treatment chamber to spray groups of plants with water at a specific temperature to kill any living pests on the plants. The outcome would be a scale model of the full-scale system and should integrate a full controller to facilitate all functions of the treatment chamber. The final product must be user friendly and accurate in performance. The challenges are: 

  • designing the piping system with nozzles and pumps to get perfect coverage of the plants
  • and to build, program and tune the controller to effectively control the system accurately and without human interaction

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Hand Pump Design Improvements - Cedarville University, USA

As the PVC Well Pump senior design team at Cedarville University, we are working to characterize and improve a current hand pump design, which is the sole means to obtain clean water in parts of rural Bolivia. To meet this goal, we are quantifying the expected life of the pumps by:

  • Testing wear and failure modes.
  • Exploring motorized pumping.
  • Obtaining Volumetric and Mechanical efficiency characteristics.
  • Creating a web-based computations design tool in order to calculate and model potential design changes.

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Pump Energy Reduction in Printing Process - FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, USA

The Sunday morning newspapers contain advertising brochures from national retailers. The ads are very colorful and consist of several pages. Printing such ads involves the use of ink that is supplied from a tank and pumped to one or more rotary presses. In one such operation, the ink is moved upward to a piping system that is suspended from the ceiling of the shop. It consists of a pipe network that supplies five different presses.

The ink consists of a solvent into which a dye is mixed. The ink is continuously pumped through the pipe network and is drawn out by the presses when it is needed. Ink that is not drawn out is returned to the tank.
Pumping the ink continuously in this fashion keeps the ink well mixed, but measurements of temperature in the tank indicate that the ink gets hot. This is objectionable from an environmental viewpoint, and so the ink should be kept cool during the times when circulating it results in a heating effect.

  • How many colors of ink have to be on hand to produce a typical Sunday morning newspaper advertisement?
  • What exactly does the ink used in these processes consist of? Is it hazardous to the environment? What are the properties (density. viscosity, etc.) of these inks? Are all inks solvent based or ate there water based inks on the market?
  • Working only with black Ink, size the pipelines using the optimum diameter to minimize costs. Must special metal be used for the pipe? Determine the flowrate in each of the Interior lines.
  • Are there other modifications that should be considered and analyzed?
  • What is the power that has to be supplied at the inlet? What pressure is required? .
  • In continuously moving the ink through the network, the tank temperature is raised by about 10°C. Size or select a heat exchanger that will transfer the heat to water, whose inlet temperature is 25°C
  • Select heat exchanger types, flow rates of both fluids required, and predict outlet temperatures.

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Make a Digital Map of Laboratory Equipment to Compare the Fathom Results to Laboratory Measurements, University of Rijeka

Goal: Scope of the project is to make the digital map of our laboratory equipment to compare the AFT Fathom results to laboratory measurements and similar software solutions

Description: Our new laboratory equipment is being installed, and we also have new pipe networks to be set up.. More pipe networks, sensors, and pumps are to be added in the near future time. Laboratory equipment has been designed by us and produced in cooperation with external company and therefore we need to run digital validation of our equipment and calibrate the numerical AFT Fathom model of the system according to the PLC ran sensor network. During this process AFT Fathom is to be tested and then we would decide to buy AFT Fathom as the academic license and introduce it to our Fluid Mechanics, Hydraulic Machinery and Fluid Dynamics courses.

Challenge: Challenge of our effort is to digitally validate educational laboratory equipment that we designed and offer it to other faculties having the AFT Fathom hydraulic setup as the basis for their educational use.

Final report not available at this time.

Review Hydraulic Design of the Power Train Pump System for a Korean Nuclear Plant - Kepco International Nuclear Graduate School, Korea

Goal: Review the hydraulic design of the Power Train Pump (PTP) system for the standard Korean nuclear plant, the APR1400.  This design employs three vertical canned turbine Condensate Pumps (CPs), three single stage, horizontal Feedwater Booster Pumps (FWBPs), and three single stage, horizontal Main Feedwater Pumps (MFWPs). The purpose of the study is to examine the existing design for design improvements in the areas of efficiency, improved transient response, simplified operations, and simplified maintenance.

Our research will perform a ‘trade study’ using Systems Engineering tools. The study will examine the design of the PTP system and evaluate possible improvements. Analysis of proposed modifications to the existing PTP system using hydraulic modeling (e.g., AFT Fathom) will serve as key input to the trade study. Proposed modifications include:

  • replacement of the vertical canned pumps with three sets of single stage horizontal pumps, each set consisting of a pair of pumps operating in series
  • replacement of flow control for CPs (current design uses throttle valves) with Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) units for the CP motors
  • replacement of the MFWP steam turbine drive with a motor drive unit (coupled with a gearset) with the motor supplied by a VFD unit
  • review of the design of the MFWP and design operating speed in light of replacement of the steam turbine drive unit with the motor and gearset
  • elimination of the startup feedwater pump

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Experimental Demonstration and Flow Network Model Verification of CRAH Bypass Technique for Cooling Optimization of Enclosed Aisle Data Centers – Syracuse University and Istambul Technical Uiversity

The first objective of this study is to experimentally demonstrate the energy savings potential of the computer room air handling unit (CRAH) bypass technique. The second objective is to build a verified flow network modeling (FNM) that can be used to calculate the potential savings in larger scale data centers. AFT Fathom was used to model the specific data center test cell.

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Investigating energy efficient variable speed pump control algorithms for controlling sump level - University of Delaware, USA

The project is centered on investigating energy efficient variable speed pump control algorithms for controlling sump level, which is highly applicable to wastewater pump stations where input sumps accumulate raw sewage which is transported to the plant for treatment. Since the inlet flows are highly variable, a control strategy must exist for varying the outflow pump speed so that the sump does not overflow. For sump stations that employ centrifugal outflow pumps on variable speed drives, two types of control strategies exist. Constant sump level control, where pump frequency is adjusted to maintain the tank level constant, is one method. Variable level control, an open loop control strategy where frequency is altered proportionally to sump level, is the second method, and has the advantage of smoothing large inflow peaks compared to constant level control. In this strategy, pump speed increases as inlet flow increases and level rises, until a new equilibrium point is achieved. All reported algorithms for level-speed control show the speed increasing linearly with level. Our hypothesis is that there are more efficient, nonlinear level-speed control algorithms and we will experiment to investigate this

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MEng Product and Process Design - University of Bath, UK

In this project, a detailed design of a homogenization unit for the production of ice cream will be completed. Mass, energy and momentum balances will be carried out as a part of this detailed design using fundamental equations. Engineering drawings and process control for the unit will also be designed. The gratest constraint on this project will be time as there are only 4 weeks to complete the project.

Final report not available at this time.

end faq

  AFT Arrow

Building a Natural Gas Network Traffic Assessment and Prediction Model- National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan 

Researcher Wan -Yi Hong will use AFT Arrow and the Goal Seek & Control Module. This project aims to evaluate the effectiveness of existing natural gas pipeline networks in Taiwan. Evaluate the effectiveness of pipeline network supply of natural gas by collecting existing known data such as pipeline diameter, pressure, temperature, time, flow etc. Under challenges and constraints, considering natural gas using time of end user and cluster life context, the growth of natural gas using in different group is predicted.

Final report not available at this time.

OPTIOX: Enhancement of Seawater Desulphurization Plant - FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Design and optimization of air distribution grids and aeration elements for oxidation purposes with fine air bubbles 

Final report not available at this time.

Design a Pipeline from a Liquefied Argon Tank to a Workshop - University of South Australia, Australia

Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) is the most common process in shipyards for welding high quality joints. Argon gas is commonly used as the inert gas for this process. The challenging part is transporting the argon gas to the welding equipment. Successful completion should also:

  • Minimize environmental impact by reducing the use of diesel forklifts
  • Eliminate lifting hazards
  • Optimize yard space
  • Increase efficiency by reducing manpower and associated costs

Final report not available at this time. 

Steam Boiler for Process Steam Inside Tire Production Industrial Research Project - FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Design and optimization of saturated steam distribution inside Powerhouse/Production Area for production purposed of tires

Final report not available at this time.

Evaluate Thermal Storage of Electricity by Melting a HITEC Salt - University of Almeria, Spain

Goal: To build an experimental facility to evaluate the thermal storage of electricity by melting a HITEC salt.

Final report not available at this time.

Investigation of Noise and Vibration in a Regulator Valve System - Utah State University, USA

Mack Severe Service Valves has a pressure regulator valve that is currently in use. However, when a
large pressure drop occurs across the pressure regulator, the flow velocity of the gas tends to reach a sonic or critical flow rate. This condition causes significant noise and vibration in the system. This noise is undesirable and limits regulator use in many locations. The purpose of this design team is to investigate
the causes of this noise and design and test devices that are expected to reduce the noise of the regulator valve system.

How can the noise from the regulator valve be reduced while maintaining a scalable, modular design?
Currently there are a few options that have been implemented by other companies in mitigating the noise level of fluid flow through pipes. These possible solutions include a multistage, restrictive orifice device; casings, and other similar methods. Before one of these options can be chosen as a possible solution, it is necessary that research be performed to determine the cause of the noise.

Three separate methods will be used to investigate this:

  • Employ fundamental analytic models using classical compressible flow theory.
  • Investigate the flow conditions using sophisticated numerical simulation software, such as AFT Arrow.
  • Build and experimentally test the flow noise using a prototype system based on IEC 60534-8-3 test specifications. These methods will be correlated and used for determining modifications to the internal valve flow passages.

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end faq

  AFT Impulse

Waterhammer and Pressure Pulsation Research Projects - Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Wroclaw, Poland

Project #1: Water hammer phenomenon analysis in a process installation on the example of an oil pumping station

Karolina Pawluć, Eng., investigates the phenomenon of waterhammer as a result of sudden closing of valves or sudden stop of the pump in the process oil system by means of numerical simulation. The scope of work includes the analysis of the state of knowledge in the field of numerical modeling of the waterhammer phenomenon in pipeline installations, preparation of geometric and numerical models of the selected section of the installation, definition of boundary conditions, performing numerical calculations and analysis of the results.


Project #2: Pressure pulsation analysis in a process installation on the example of an oil pumping station

Dominika Wyrwas, Eng., investigates the phenomenon of pressure pulsation generated by positive displacement pumps in the oil process installation by means of numerical simulations. The scope of work includes a state of knowledge analysis in the field of numerical modeling of pulsating flows in pipelines, preparation of geometric and numerical models of the selected section of the installation and definition of boundary conditions, performing numerical calculations and analyzing the results.

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Ram Pump Experimental Rig - University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom

This report discusses a DC pumping system used in an agriculture area to lift the water from certain heights. Therefore, the cost of electricity would rise due to the huge consumption of electricity. Moreover, some of the poor villages have limited electricity which will be difficult to deliver the water to those villages. There is a system can deliver the water from a low point to higher one called the ram pump. The function of the ram pump is to deliver water from a low point to a higher one by converting the mechanical power to hydraulic energy. This paper will carry out the experimental and theoretical results of the ram pump when the supply head is 1m and the delivery head is 1.3m. Three experiments were tested with changing only in the drive pipe length. The best efficiency has been found 13.8% and a flow rate of 42.5 L/h with drive pipe length 2.4m.in order to lift the water from certain heights. Therefore, the cost of electricity would rise due to the huge consumption of electricity. Moreover, some of the poor villages have limited electricity which will be difficult to deliver the water to those villages. There is a system which can deliver the water from a low point to higher one called the ram pump. The function of the ram pump is to deliver water from a low point to a higher one by converting the mechanical power to hydraulic energy. This paper will carry out the experimental and theoretical results of the ram pump when the supply head is 1m and the delivery head is 1.3m. Three experiments were tested with changing only in the drive pipe length. The best efficiency has been found 13.8% and a flow rate of 42.5 L/h with drive pipe length 2.4m. 

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Design and Analysis of an Efficient Surge Protection System to Protect Against Waterhammer - Kingston University London, United Kingdom

This project aims at studying waterhammer effects on pipelines, and to propose a protection system. Waterhammer's induced pressure wave depends on many factors including the fluid, its viscosity, and material/size of the pipes. The software will allow computing several combined scenarios to understand how different heights, valve positions, reservoirs, and valve closure time affect the values of the transient created by the waterhammer. The project will simulate a number of conditions and will eventually present a model for water hammer prevention/protection. The project is expected to complete in April 2019.

Development of a Pumped Hydro Energy Storage Experimental Rig - University of Wollongong, Australia 

Pumped Hydro Energy Storage is based on the raising of large volumes of water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir to store energy in the form of gravitational potential energy. On demand, water is allowed flow back to lower elevations via turbines to generate electricity.

The immense potential of Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) technology to meet Australia's future energy requirements has been articulated in various recent significant research efforts. Furthermore, several significant PHES projects within Australia have recently been instigated including: the 100 to 250 MW Cultana Pumped Hydro Project (by Energy Australia, Arup Group and Melbourne Energy Institute); and the 250MW Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project (by Genexpower).

Due to the increasing attention given to this technology, a preliminary study into Pumped Hydro Energy Storage has been initiated at the University of Wollongong. An important part of the overall research effort is the designing of a laboratory scale PHES experimental rig.


Slurry Energy Recovery Systems - University of Wollongong, Australia 

The handling of bulk materials in the form of slurry via slurry pipelines is considered to provide for effective transportation solutions in a wide range of industrial settings. For example, the (Australian) mining industry commonly transports mine tailings (left over material after processing from ore) in slurry form.

Of particular interest to the research group, are a number of published cases where the inlet to the slurry pipeline is above the slurry pipeline discharge point and where the resulting excess energy arising from the configuration has been recovered.

The purpose of the project is to investigate and understand these aforementioned published cases and, in particular, develop a robust modelling methodology that captures the data disclosed in these studies.


Four Quadrant Performance Curves of Hydraulic Machinery - University of Belgrade, Serbia

In addition to the four quadrant performance curves, the research will also analyze measurement data, determination of curves depending on their specific speed and their application in transient calculations. 

  • Obtain a universal Suter curve for pump-turbines based on seventeen sets of Suter curves, as well as the universal Suter curve for pumps based on fourteen sets of Suter curves.
  • Theoretical research and analysis of different numerical models for the calculation of transients in hydro turbines. 
  • Not just for transient applications, this research is intended to also apply when using pumps as turbines, an application which has recently become more relevant and could certainly benefit from a diagonally opposite quadrant curve. 

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Investigation of Pump Breakdown - Aarhus University School of Engineering, Denmark

In cooperation with Maersk Oil & Gas, the project is to investigate damage on positive cavity pumps, where they are installed in a process of separation systems. As a result of investigations of process management at the platform, I have found that a possible water hammer effect could be the cause of the damage.
These situations are possibly the cause of the damage:

  • There are a lot of start/stops of the pumps. That is because the flow in to the buffer tank V-5008 is unstable and sometimes lower than the pumps minimum flow.
  • A change in pressure from the separators V-3410 and V-3420 (12 bar to 22 bar), results a change in the outlet pressure of the pumps. This change can be fast, sometimes below 1 min.
  • There are two Emergency Shut Down Valves (50290 and 50323). The liquid in the system lead to either V-3410 or V-3420 by closing the first valve and opening the second valve. There could be water hammer effect in the system due to too fast closing the valves.

Final report not available at this time.

A Mathematical Modeling and Calibration of Transients for the Pressure System Workbench at the Hydraulics Lab - Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería, Colombia

  • Determination of the main model parameters for the pumps, valve, accessories and pipeline of the newly implemented pipe system experiment
  • Compare the theoretical and the experimental results of fluid transients produced by pump and valve operations.
  • Implement a graphical model to illustrate the theoretical and experiments transient behavior in the pipe system.

Final report not available at this time.

Sensitivity Study of the Transient Phenomena in a Water Open Network System Due to Operation of Control - Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería, Colombia

  • Select control devices, operational conditions and network topologies.
  • Identify overpressure behavior patterns for each variable for the selected network topologies.
  • Give operation recommendations for the control devices on open networks to reduce the over pressures to safe levels.
  • Evaluate maximum and minimum operation velocities for the different configurations.

Final report not available at this time.

A Comparative Study of the Solution of Waterhammer Problems Using Traditional Design Methods and the AFT Impulse Simulation Tool - Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería, Colombia

  • Improve the knowledge in the differential equations that describe the behavior of the water hammer phenomenon in pressure systems and the solution by the characteristics method used by AFT Impulse.
  • Compare the results obtained by applying traditional methods such as the Rigid Water Column Theory, the Allievi General Theory and the Aggus Equations with the results obtained by AFT Impulse for basic water hammer problems in: single pipelines, series networks, and pumping systems.
  • Learn about the AFT Impulse simulation tool and apply to model water hammer phenomenon in pumping systems and a water distribution network.

Final report not available at this time.

Investigation into the Behavior of Beam String Pipeline Crossings - Imperial College London, United Kingdom

When pipelines are required to span deep valleys or long waterways, the two conventional solutions are either to tunnel beneath or to build a bridge to carry the pipeline. The proposed alternative method incorporates the steel pipe itself, along with pre-tressed cables and struts to create a self-supporting structure to span the required distance. The current project investigates the dynamic behavior of this structure based on the various design loads that a pipeline might face.

  • Investigate the dynamic behavior of this relatively new type of structure in order to provide engineers with guidance on designing these structures
  • Improve the author’s knowledge of both the dynamic response of these slender structures and of pipeline design

Final report not available at this time.

Standalone Solar PV Powered Water Pumping System - Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Department of Electrical Engineering, India

Standalone Solar PV powered water pumping system is being designed developed and implemented at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras as a part of academic research. This system is proposed for irrigation purpose (3 HP Pump) and for domestic purpose (1HP Pump). For 1Hp pump application, considering the economic aspects, 48VMPP solar PV array has to be used. Hence a low voltage Inverter is made for this.

Solar PV water pumping system consists of a Low voltage Solar PV array, high gain DC-DC converter, a Variable frequency drive, controller and an induction motor based centrifugal water pump.
Modelling of varies modules of the system becomes necessary for understanding the system and also for better control of the system to utilize the maximum power available from the solar PV array. So a model for the DC-DC converter, Variable frequency drive, solar PV array and centrifugal pump is also developed. A novel control algorithm is developed for maximum power point tracking for solar PV array.

  • Obtain the system curve and Head vs Flow Curve for a specified centrifugal pump
  • Obtain the above curves for variable speed operation
  • Hydraulic power measurements
  • Simulation tool having a provision to interface with the other commonly available software’s like MATLAB, etc. would be preferred, if not it would be used for modelling of pumps and operation understanding under variable frequency/flow drive
  • Simulate the centrifugal pump with the variable frequency drive
  • Provision for the throttling should be available in the tool

Final report not available at this time.

Pumping Station Waterhammer Analysis - NED University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan

Students from the Department of Civil Engineering are conducting research on water hammer analysis. This analysis needs to be conducted because Karachi water pumping stations have suffered a lot in terms of money and energy due to frequent surge events.

  • Analyze the current situation and propose solutions

Final report not available at this time.

Controlling Surge in Liquid Pipelines - Bladder Type Surge Accumulators - University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

This is study of fluid transients in oil pipelines. This study will primarily use benzene, and will consist of:

  • Control of surge events via bladder type surge accumulators.
  • The location of an accumulator relative to the valve.
  • Compare the numerical difference between the Joukowsky equation and the computer software to see where any differences arise in calculating the maximum surge pressure in a system.
  • To investigate the effect of water hammer on an assets infrastructure
  • Provide an explanation for why transient analysis is necessary in solving the problem of failed surge-alleviators.
  • Replacement of the vertical canned pumps with three sets of single stage horizontal pumps, each set consisting of a pair of pumps operating in series

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Complete Mechanical Design for Adding an Electric Boiler Feed Pump to Power Plant - Kansas State University, USA

The project requires the students to complete the mechanical design for adding an electric boiler feed pump (BFP) to a supercritical 900MW coal-fired power plant. The biggest issue with the existing power plant is the startup procedure, which is unreliable, time-consuming, expensive and environmentally harmful. The BFP addition will result in a faster startup process and also serve as a backup pump if one of the existing turbine-driven pumps becomes inoperable.

Based on the design conditions, the design team will:

  • Size and determine the arrangements of the new piping and VFP
  • Determine materials of construction
  • Size the boiler feedwater water pump
  • Size the feedwater piping Develop a piping diagram
  • Calculate pipe sizes
  • Determine system pressure loss
  • Analyze waterhammer events
  • Contact equipment vendors
  • Perform an economic analysis of different BFP drives
  • Develop installation details
  • Develop a cost estimate to complete the installation

Final report not available at this time.

Fires and Explosions in Nuclear Reactors - University of South Carolina, USA

Description: This research will provide examples of a theory developed by Robert A. Leishear, PhD, P.E., PhD student and Nuclear Engineering Department Chair at the University of South Carolina, to explain explosions and fires in nuclear reactors. Research will investigate a piping explosion at Hamaoka, Japan, and a hydrogen fire that followed the Three Mile Island, Pa., loss of coolant accident and meltdown. A parallel outcome will be the evaluation of waterhammer events in nuclear reactors.

Software: AFT Impulse and AFT Arrow


  • According to US NRC documentation, accurate methods to calculate waterhammer transients are unavailable. To address this concern, AFT MOC solution techniques will be adapted to model slug flow in nuclear reactor piping systems.
  • The premise of this research claims that a cause of fires and explosions has been discovered, where many earlier research projects are called into question. That is, reports from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency overlooked the actual fluid transient ignition mechanism in several nuclear reactor accidents: Fukushima, Hamaoka, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island.

Final report not available at this time.

end faq