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Biofilm growth and the impact it has on the hydraulic capacity of pipelines



Plastic Pipes Conference Association # 2018 Las-Vegas

Stefanus Johannes van Vuuren

Biofilm establishes itself over a short period of time in all pipelines conveying raw and treated water. Depending on the type of biofouling, it is documented that it will inevitability lead to a reduction in the hydraulic capacity.

Since none of the current design relationships used to calculate the friction loss in pipelines, acknowledges the negative impact of biofouling, an attempt was made to develop such a relationship for the calculation of the “pipe roughness” inclusive of the type of biofouling which could occur. The relationship is based on results obtained during field tests on a number of pipelines. 

Biofilm growth has a profound impact on the productivity and competitiveness of industries and could have an influence on water quality and human health, power generation and energy efficiency. (Characklis and Marshall, 1990a).

Biofilm has been studied for over 70 years and according to Characklis and Marshall (1990a), Zobell (1943) was one of the first researchers in this field. Notwithstanding the numerous research contributions on Biofilm, limited research is available to quantify the influence of biofilm growth on the hydraulic capacity of conduits. 

Related keywords : Biofilm, Pipelines, Hydraulic capacity.
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