A Spreadsheet Teaching Tool For Analysis Of Pipe Networks
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Spreadsheets are used widely in engineering to perform several analysis and design calculations. They are also very attractive as educational tools due to their flexibility and efficiency. This paper demonstrates the use of spreadsheets in teaching the analysis of water pipe networks, which involves the calculation of pipe flows or nodal heads given the network layout, pipe characteristics (diameter, length, and roughness), in addition to external flows. The network performance is better understood if students can change pipe characteristics and/or external flows and be able to monitor the corresponding changes in pipe flows and head losses. The solution of the analysis problem is characterized by the possibility of solving it using different system variables (i.e. flows, head, incremental flows, and incremental heads), resulting in different system of equations, in addition to different methods of solution (i.e. Newton Raphson, linearization, or single adjustment). The developed spreadsheets can be used to introduce the network design concept as a series of analysis problems, performed by trial and error, to satisfy operational constraints.