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Pipeline Components Contribution to the System Curve

By Joe Honeywell



Pipeline engineers involved with hydraulic calculations are primarily concerned with pressure losses caused by line pipe friction at normal design conditions. However, many other pipeline components also result in pressure losses. These necessary components are usually considered as negligible when compared to the larger friction loss. Little attention is given by the engineers to pipeline components except to minimize their installed costs.

Every pipeline component consumes energy and therefore contributes to the overall pipeline system curve. Examples of components are a valve station, flow meter, filter separator, scrubber vessel, pipe fittings and much more. At normal design conditions component losses are specified at minimal values to avoid higher power levels and operating costs. However, the component losses can be quite large at off-design conditions. Pipeline engineers that only take line pipe friction into account may fail to consider component effects especially at higher flow rates. Larger than expected component pressure losses are possible and if not fully evaluated in the design, will affect the system curve, resulting in higher power requirements and operating costs.

This paper will examine the affect pipeline components have on a typical pipeline system curve. Representative component pressure losses are considered at varying pipeline flow rates. System curves are prepared for incremental component pressure losses and compared to a baseline curve that has no component losses. The increase in power is also compared to baseline power values. The various system curves and power levels are tabulated and graphically illustrated. The results are analyzed and design recommendations are given.




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