Often referred to as surge or water hammer, transient pressures occur when there is a rapid change of fluid velocity in a pipeline as a result of normal and sometimes unplanned operations, such as the start/stop of a pump or the closing of a valve. These pressure variations can be positive or negative and have a magnitude several times the normal or maximum operating pressure, resulting in severe system damage. The term water hammer was coined to describe the audible hammering sound in the pipes as a result of these transient pressures.

While transient pressures are heard audibly in some systems, in other systems transient pressure waves go undetected until something breaks. The duration of a transient event can be anywhere from several hundredths of a second up to a few minutes. It is quite common for operators and engineers to review pressure records after suspecting a pressure problem in search of “the event.” 

Typical pressure measurement systems often capture small ticks in pressure. When reviewing pressure records, these small ticks are often deemed acceptable (perhaps even unrelated) to the event in question, especially if they are within design allowances. However, what remains unseen is the true degree of pressure fluctuations, which can only be captured with a high-speed data recorder such as Blacoh’s patented SurgeWave™ Transient Monitoring System. 

The SurgeWave system allows pipeline operators and maintenance engineers to accurately detect and record transient pressure events occurring in water, wastewater, and petroleum/chemical pipelines. It is unique in that it employs a system of dynamic pressure transducers and digital technology to monitor pipelines for indefinite periods of time. When a transient such as a pressure spike or water hammer event is detected, the system activates a high-speed data recorder to record the event up to 100 times per second. The granularity of this data allows users to see broader and more frequent pressure fluctuations that normal pressure measurement devices cannot provide. The engineering breakthrough that is SurgeWave allows designers, engineers, manufacturers, and operators the ability to assess the overall performance of a pipeline, pumping plant, or petroleum refinery using non-destructive, real-time sensors and hand-held monitoring equipment. With it, users are able to capture true transient pressure fluctuations, address pressure loads immediately, and, ultimately, better protect their pipeline systems.  

For more information, visit www.blacoh.com.