A Method for Calibrating Parallel Pipes without Inline Flow Measurement

Dew, Michael (Michael Dew Consulting, LLC)

OnePetro 

ABSTRACT

Model calibration is the act (some might say “art”) of adjusting model parameters in such a way that the model’s behavior matches as closely as possible the behavior of the real-world system that it represents. In order to successfully calibrate a hydraulic model, certain hydraulic conditions must be known in order to have a defined calibration solution. Pipes that run parallel to each other (i.e. from the same upstream location to the same downstream location in roughly the same right-of-way) can pose serious difficulties to this requirement, especially when no inline flow measurement on any of the parallel lines exist, as the lack of knowing the exact flow distribution between the parallel lines means that the calibration problem either has no finite solution, or the finite solution is exceedingly difficult to determine.

A potential solution to this problem involves utilizing multiple data sets. Each data set will have a particular range of possible solutions, and by comparing the solution ranges of multiple data sets, a single solution can easily be found. This paper will describe this method and provide examples with the intent of enabling the reader to apply the methodology to his or her own hydraulic calibration challenges.

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

Most engineers involved with hydraulic simulation are probably quite familiar (too familiar?) with the Darcy- Weisbach flow equation that describes head loss in terms of flow, pipe length, and pipe diameter. A form of the equation is shown below, as understanding the equation will be crucial to understanding the fundamental difficulty of calibrating parallel pipes.