31 January 2011

14/365 Water under pressure

Why have I posted a picture of a pipe with a joiner in it? Because this thing is basically what took nearly 2 days out of my holiday. This is the finished result of my efforts : the two halves of the joiner screwed into each side of the pipe using a pair of very heavy, 'he-man' pipe-wrenches. I was extremely pleased with myself!

How did this come about?

My sister-in-law has a Pelton water-wheel on her property, fed by water taken from a pond using a 50-mm LDPE plastic hose, which drops quite a way down the hill to aforementioned wheel...

... so anyway: Mr Helpful here decides he's going to tramp the length of the hose, to check for any  dirt/rocks/trees fallen onto the hose, and clear it. With a spade. A metal one. It's amazing how much pressure was behind the water, even though it was only a relatively short way down the hill. It was also amazing how fast I was able to crash my way up the steep craggy bush slope in heavy gumboots, to pull the hose from the pond before all the water got wasted by draining away.

Anyway: it was worth it in the end: right where I cut it, a collection of fallen rocks plus a tree stump had pushed quite a bend into the hose. This is a Bad Thing for power generation, as it increases friction to the water, which reduces available water flow at the bottom... = less electricity. The net result was that after I rerouted the hose around the obstacle (and around the very narrow craggy stream bed below the obstacle, necessitating quite a large deviation), my sister-in-law subsequently reported a slightly increased power output! All's well that ends well.

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