Goal: design novel flow paths for drip emitters that reduce the likelihood of particle sedimentation
Methodology: used discrete element modeling and principles of fluid mechanics to estimate clogging performance of drip emitters and propose new designs based on the expected flow paths
I interviewed farmers in Maharastra, India and conducted a literature review on barriers to adopting drip irrigation. Maintenance issues with drip irrigation systems caused by clogging was an issue that came up often. I developed CFD and DEM (discrete element models) representations of the millimeter scale flow paths emitters in STAR-CCM+. I used the model to understand the underlying flow structure that leads to clogging in conventional labyrinth channel drip emiters, and to evaluate new low clogging designs. The reduced particle residence time in the designs I tested in CFD suggested that the proposed path designs could lead to improved clogging performance.
Narain, J. and Winter V., A. G., " DEM Study of Clogging in Millimeter Scale Channels in Drip Irrigation Emitters." 71st Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics: Atlanta, GA. November 2018.
Provisional patent 62/759,949, filed November 12, 2018: Reduced Clogging Drip Emitter