15 November 2013

A Pump to Aid Plant Operators

The Ram Pump team, like Foam Filtration, will be bringing the results of their research to our partner in Honduras come January.

Our ram pump.
The team is currently working on building a ram pump that will serve to pump clean water from AguaClara’s plant back up to a higher elevation for use in chemical stock tanks and bathrooms, with the goal of lessening the burden on the plant operator. In order to do this, however, we needed to figure out a way to pump water up a vertical distance of 7 meters using only gravity. Integral to this endeavor is the “hammer effect,” in which immense pressure is generated from a sudden change in the momentum of the water. This pressure is known to sometimes result in broken pipes but the Ram Pump team is looking to utilize this energy to AguaClara's benefit.

Reuben (left) and Ariel (right) testing the pump.
Much of the system seen on the left was built this semester; the only exception is the actual ram pump. The pump works by having pressure—or the lack of it—operate a set of valves that control water intake and delivery. Ariel, Kelly, and Reuben picked up where the previous team left off, and part of that was to construct an environment that would adequately simulate the ram pump’s operation in the field.

The problem was that our labs don’t have seven-meter ceilings. To compensate for this, the team sought to create a system that would accurately simulate that vertical displacement. Their result, the series of pipes you see on the left-hand side of the picture, successfully emulates the elevation that water would need to reach after running through the ram pump. 

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