Analysis software aids in pipe network design, developer claims

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fluid dynamics

An Australian company has developed software it says can help food
and drink processors to predict the flow of fluids and gasses
throughout their operations.

FluidFlow3 from Perth-based Accutech comes with a database of about 800 fluids and uses a wide range of estimation techniques to determine fluid flow and analysis pipe networks. The software is designed to help engineers set up the best methods of chanelling and mixing processing fluids and gasses.

"This comprehensive fluid and equipment resource combined with well-tested friction and pressure loss models provides for an accurate determination of flows and pressures throughout complex pipe networks,"​ the company claimed in a press release.

Friction loss and heat transfer calculations depend on an accurate estimation of the process fluid's physical and thermodynamic properties.

The database allows plant engineers to automatically determine a mixture's thermo-physical properties. As well as the fluids database, FluidFlow3 has ten user-definable equipment databases including a full range of pipes, valves, pumps, fans and relief devices.

Other databases include pipe material and insulation thermal conductivity. This includes data on accumulators, reciprocating pumps and compressors, rotating positive displacement pumps, cyclones, shell and tube exchangers, plate exchangers, cooling towers, jacketed vessels, bursting discs and three-way valves.

The software calculates the temperature effects of pressure changes, heat loss or gain from the surroundings and heat exchange made at each network component. The data make heat transfer an automatic part of the network flow calculations.

Fluid temperatures are specified at boundary components as the software calculates all other temperatures including its fluid phase states. Pressure losses are determined by solving the momentum and physical property equations simultaneously. This means more accurate results, particularly at higher numbers, the company stated.

A wide range of messages is displayed when a calculation is complete. The messages may simply be advice, such as the velocity of flow in a pipe is above the user-defined desirable maximum or a more serious warning such as a pump is operating with insufficient net positive suction head.

"The ability to easily navigate around large and complex flowsheets, to immediately visualise flow directions, the graphical display of pump, fan and equipment performance characteristics and the wide range of warning and advice messages provide the engineer with an intuitive appreciation of how the network is performing,"​ Accutech stated. "Bottlenecks, inappropriate equipment selection and likely problems are immediately apparent."

To help engineers communicate with their peers FluidFlow3 has an inbuilt report writer with output in HTML, PDF and Word format. The software can also generate output to an Excel format.

Related topics Processing & packaging

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