Journal Guest: Limited access

How Severe Can Transients Be after a Sudden Depressurization? (PDF)

  • Author(s): Collins, Richard P.; Boxall, Joby B.; Karney, Bryan W.; Brunone, Bruno; Meniconi, Silvia
  • Publications: Journal - American Water Works Association
  • Issue Date: April 2012
  • Volume / Number: 104, Number 4
  • Page(s): E243-E251
  • DOI:
  • Product Number: JAW_0075650
Full Text: pdf
Expanded Summary: pdf

Non-Member Price: $0
Free Download -- a benefit for AWWA members (login required)


This paper discusses how pipeline networks that experience sudden pressure differences, even in the absence of initial system flow, can create severe transient pressures. If a pipe is under static pressure and a valve is suddenly opened, a depressurization wave propagates through the system. As with any transient, reflection is based on the pipe material, and at a dead end the original and reflected waves superimpose. This superposition is almost invariably large enough for local pressures to drop below the gauge value and reach vacuum pressures, inducing cavitation. For the experiments reported in this article, negative pressures were measured for several seconds and a low-pressure event was followed by rapidly increasing pressures and associated impressive acoustic effects. This investigation highlights that depressurization events are potentially destructive and must be treated with appropriate caution since such shock loadings can cause structural failures.

AWWA Members

Download the online article for free (login required).

Non Members

Select ADD TO CART to purchase the article (login required) or select JOIN AWWA and enjoy the benefits of membership, including accessing this article for free.

Advertise With Us