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MODELLING WATER DISTRIBUTION NETWORKS 5

2. Mathematical Models Used In Network Analysis

The unidimensional flow of an incompressible fluid throughout a pressurized hydraulic


system, can be analyzed from different points of view:

a) Dynamic models,in which the main variables (flow rate and pressure) are considered
time dependent. These models can also be separated into:

a1) Inertial model, which takes into account the inertia of the water, and
consequently, the changes with time of the water velocity along the pipes.
This type of model, considering the fact that there are elastic effects in
the pipe and liquid, give rise to two quite different models: The rigid
model (also known as mass oscillation or lumped approach), and the
elastic model (better known as water hammer).

a2) Non inertial model, in which the dynamic characteristic is given by the
temporary variation of its boundary conditions. This model is widely used
in network analysis and management and is known as "extended period
simulation" .

b) Static or steady state model, in which the characteristic variables of the system do not
vary with time at all.

So, four different models, three of them qualified as dynamic and the other one qualified
as static, can be used to analyze water distribution systems. As the equations are
simplified, simpler models are obtained although their use is restricted to a more limited
number of applications. As has been pointed out previously, from a theoretical point of
view, it is possible to built an elastic dynamic model, perfectly fitted and useful to study
the network under any conditions. However,it is not efficient and therefore not used in
practice ..

Criteria for choosing the correct model can be outlined in the following points:

a) A sudden variation in the network's main variables (flow and head), derived from a
pump start up, a pipe failure or an instantaneous valve closure, should be analyzed using
the elastic inertial model.

b) A significant variation in the network's main variables, such as derived from a rapid
increase of a given consumption, needs an inertial model too, which takes into account
the water's acceleration, and obtains a correct solution of the network's response time.
Generally for this purpose a rigid model is sufficient.