Water Hammer

Written by Jerry Ratzlaff on . Posted in Fluid Dynamics

Water hammer, abbreviated as WH, occurs when a valve is suddenly opened or closed.  This can creates a repeating pressure wave of the liquid in the pipe that could cause a rupture to the pipe or even damage equipment.  As a liquid is traveling through the pipe at a high pressure and the valve is suddenly closed, the flow and pressure come to a sudden stop dropping both to 0.  When the valve is closed slower the pressure has a chance to equal out.  The resulting sound created is like a hammer, hence water hammer.

Most people are familiar with water hammer in the home when a faucet is shut off or the toilet is flushed, that's the banging or rattling sound you hear in the pipes.

 

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