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How Computational Fluid Dynamics Is Used in the Civil Works Sector

CFD Optimization of Drinking Water Pumping Wells

Creaform has extended its expertise in the civil works sector by simulating the flow in a major drinking water pumping station. This work was achieved in the context of the overhaul of a 227 000 m³ reservoir originally built in 1960 and decommissioned in 1980. It is currently refurbished in order to double the city’s drinking water supplies. The overhaul requires the restoration of the reservoir, the construction of new pumping wells and the installation of new pumps. The engineering firm WSP is in charge of the design and commissioned Creaform to perform CFD simulations prior to construction.

The simulations

Our Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) approach aimed at representing the water flowing from the large reservoirs into the wells and the pumps so as to optimize the hydraulic design. The simulations were performed using the k‑epsilon turbulence model on ~12M cells polyhedral meshes with prisms layers. The action of the pumps was modeled with a pressure jump methodology at the domain outlets using the performance curve of the pumps and the drinking water network pressure.

The outcome

The design was optimised in order to minimize hydraulic losses and maximize flow uniformity in the pipes upstream of the pumps. This is not only useful to comply with the standards of such installations, but it is a pledge of the proper operation of the station and its durability. The CFD simulations allowed to:

  • Compare several configurations of the slide gates and their effect on the pumps;
  • Challenge the design against very low water levels in the reservoir;
  • Test a large number of water demand scenarios and establish the optimal sequencing for pumps activation;
  • Modify the entrance flow conditions towards the pumps by adding optimised bell intakes.