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Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers Water Management 157 September 2004 Issue WM3 Pages 151^158 Paper

13637 Received 12/01/2004 Accepted 15/07/2004 Keywords: floods & floodworks/hydraulics & hydrodynamics/models (physical) David E. Werth Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA Daniel E. Cheek Project Engineer, Hodges, Harbin, Newberry & Tribble Inc., Macon, GA, USA

Design guidelines for alternative formed suction inlets

D. E. Werth PhD, PE and D. E. Cheek MS
Formed suction inlets are often used to improve approach flow hydraulics to large vertical turbine pumps. Current design guidelines require that the pump bell be removed and the pump modified to allow for attachment of the formed suction inlet. The present research study was aimed at developing a dimensionless design procedure for a formed suction inlet based on pump bell diameter, which does not require removal of the bell, allowing for greater flexibility and economic feasibility for use in existing pump intakes. Model studies have shown this type of inlet to be successful at alleviating adverse hydraulic phenomena, but the results and design procedures are typically private and proprietary and are not readily available in the public domain. A formed suction inlet which can be constructed outside the sump and consists primarily of flat sides has been developed. The relatively simple geometry should minimise construction costs. In addition, the inlet is designed for use under existing pumps and does not require pump removal or modification. This inlet has been proved to be effective in a wide variety of pumping applications and is shown in Fig. 1. However, the relatively complex geometry can substantially increase the cost, and the need to remove the pump bell often limits its applicability as a corrective measure when retrotting an existing pumping station. Therefore, it would be useful to have additional options and design guidance available for alternative formed inlets which are less costly and can be easily used on existing pumps. Private modelling laboratories have developed alternative formed inlet designs in the past; however, this information is often proprietary and not readily accessible for use by other design engineers. The present research is, in part, a result of numerous model studies which were conducted to develop alternative FSIs for a variety of inlet congurations. Each of the inlets was developed with the intention of utilising the existing pump bell. This paper presents the results of this study and proposes a set of functional design guidelines which can be used by engineers to develop an FSI based on pump bell diameter. 2. EXISTING KNOWLEDGE A commonly used type of FSI was developed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and is known as the Corps Type 10 inlet. The Type 10 design was originally published by Fletcher and Oswalt2 and entitled Geometry Limitations for the Formed Suction Intake. This document was recently rescinded from the public domain for unknown reasons. This design is also used as the standard for the Hydraulic Institute (HI) Standard Pump Intake Design manual.3 The Hydraulic Institutes Standard suggests that the FSI may be a x all for adverse sump pit hydraulics. However, the USACE Type 10 inlet is often considered costly and difcult to build. The FSI has the potential to be very benecial for certain pumps and pump pit designs, especially for those pump sumps that are being retrotted for a higher capacity or corrected for existing hydraulic problems. Antunes and Holman4 noted that the FSI has some tremendous advantages including its decreased sensitivity to unstable approach ows, and the ability to raise sump oors because they require less submergence. This reduces the elevation of the impeller and the excavation required for the pump sump. This Werth Cheek 151

NOTATION BH inlet height at the back wall D pump throat diameter d pump bell diameter EH inlet height at the entrance IL overall inlet length IW inlet width at entrance W pump bay width

1. INTRODUCTION Formed suction inlet (FSI) devices have often been used on large vertical turbine pumps for a variety of reasons. They are relatively insensitive to high cross-ow conditions, eliminate sub-surface vortex activity, and may reduce the required minimum pump submergence to minimise surface vortex activity. The authors have previously presented a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of FSIs and outlined the preliminary ndings of the study.1 This paper is intended to expand upon the preliminary work and present the results of the experimental study.

The most commonly accepted, and only readily available performance and design guidance for this type of pump inlet has been from the US Army Corps of Engineers Type 10 inlet. Water Management 157 Issue WM3

Design guidelines for alternative formed suction inlets

is especially helpful in areas with a high water table or when excavating in rock. The main disadvantage of FSIs is that, with the exception of the USACE Type 10 inlet, there are no standardised design criteria in which one set of dimensions may be applied to any situation. This has curbed its attractiveness as an acceptable alternative for solving hydraulic problems that occur in pump sumps. There is a lack of information on FSIs in scientic literature. Much of the work done to investigate FSIs is model studies of actual designs, not research studies. However, often these studies are typically applied to specic design criteria. As these Fig. 1. USACE Type 10 inlet studies are usually part of the design process, cost is always a factor, which eliminates the possibility of generalising the model study to develop substantial design data for the inlet itself. Tullis5 noted that for these reasons, information regarding formed suction inlets rarely becomes available to the engineering community and results found during model studies are not shared among researchers. 3. DESIGN DEVELOPMENT To reach a starting point for the laboratory study, previous designs for FSIs were considered. In some cases, researchers described inlet dimensions in terms of the impeller or throat diameters. The FSI has little available documented information on its performance with reference to a particular design, and could be considered more of a concept or idea rather than a certain specic shape. In the past, researchers used this formed inlet idea and applied it to their specic criteria, often with the aid of a physical hydraulic model study.57 In order to directly compare the dimensions between FSIs based on bell diameter and those based on impeller diameter, it was assumed that the impeller diameter is typically 60% of the bell diameter. The range of values found during a review of literature for the overall FSI inlet dimensions was as follows: Overall Overall Overall Overall inlet width (IW): 139d213d inlet length (IL): 205d228d entrance height (EH): 053d10d backwall height (BH): 024d081d

only provides uniform approach ow conditions at the pump, but is also economical and easy to build. This could be accomplished by developing an inlet which had primarily at panels, with the exception of a simple radius at the back wall of the inlet. A secondary aim was to develop an inlet which could easily be used to retrot an existing pumping station. The Type 10 inlet replaces the typical pump bell. To use the Type 10 as a retrot device requires removal of the existing pump bell and modications to the pump itself. This is not always possible in existing stations where it may not be feasible or ideal to shut down the pump for an extended period of time. Therefore, it was desirable to develop an inlet which could be constructed outside the sump, then lowered into the sump and placed directly under the existing pump bell. This would eliminate the need to remove the pump or pump bell, and could be implemented without emptying the sump. To accomplish these aims, a series of model tests were conducted with a variety of inlet geometries and approach ow conditions. 4. MODEL TESTING The major components used in the experiments were the model basins, the FSI and the model pump. Four separate basins, each with unique approach ow geometries, were used in the design development. The rst basin, shown in Fig. 2, was referred to as sump conguration 1 and was used to optimise a preliminary design that eliminated any undesirable hydraulic problems located inside the FSI. Once an acceptable working design was found, the scale and ow rate of sump conguration 1 were varied in order to verify the inlets effectiveness over a range of ow rates. Eight FSI designs were constructed and tested in four different inlet congurations during this study. The rst ve inlet Werth Cheek

The overall length was measured from the entrance of the formed suction inlet to the back wall, not the centreline of the impeller shaft. Furthermore, not all of the examples reviewed in the literature were designed with back walls. The primary aim of the study was to develop an FSI which not 152 Water Management 157 Issue WM3

Design guidelines for alternative formed suction inlets

Flow straightening baffle

FSI Control valve (typ) Orifice flow meter Baffle wall

Circulating water pump (typ of 3) Control valve


Piers (typ)


Flow from lab pump

Plan view

False walls

Fig. 2. Sump configuration 1

congurations were used to develop an acceptable working design based on dimensionless parameters. The last three were built using these parameters and tested in different approach ow conditions. In all, over 60 tests were conducted at varying ow rates and water levels. The studies were conducted according to the 1998 Hydraulic Institute Standards.3 The HI Standards indicate several acceptance criteria that are to be used when evaluating this type of structure. In particular, pre-swirl, velocity distributions, turbulence levels, and vortex activity are evaluated. Each model was constructed as an undistorted Froude scaled model with a length scale sufciently large to ensure that the Reynolds number (Re) at the model pump bell exceeded 16105. A summary of the different designs is shown in Table 1 and more complete details can be found in a masters thesis by Cheek.8 Each of the designs tested was constructed entirely of at panels, with the exception of a simple-radius, curved backwall. Figs 3 and 4 show two of the model inlets To evaluate the effectiveness of each of the designs, a series of

measurements and observations were recorded during the testing of each inlet. These measurements included vortex activity, velocity distributions around the throat of the pump, pre-swirl of ow entering the pump, and turbulence levels within the pump. The inlet was deemed acceptable if pre-swirl was less than 58, velocity and turbulence variations were less than 10% and no vortices greater than a type 1 or weak type 2 were observed entering the inlet. Some designs were tested to determine the optimum dimension to both minimise size yet provide acceptable conditions. Inlets that failed to meet the established acceptance criteria were modied until acceptable. It should be noted that while care was taken to minimise scale effects by ensuring fully turbulent ow in the model, vortex formation may be slightly less intense in the model than in the prototype, particularly regarding air entrainment. To overcome this limitation, no vortex greater than a weak type 2 was permitted in the model. Should the vortex be slightly stronger in the prototype, such as a well-developed type 2 or very weak type 3, it would still be far less intense than that required to ingest or pull air out of solution.

Inlet design 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Width 278d 278d 2d 2d 2d 2d 2d 2d

Backwall height 05d 05d 05d 05d 05d 05d 05d 05d

Table 1. Summary of model configurations

As the inlets were designed using models of existing intake structures, the inlets themselves were constructed at the Entrance height Overall length same scale as the intake structures. A summary of the 05d 242d prototype pump and Froude 092d 242d 075d 2d scale model information for 075d 25d each sump conguration is 075d 225d shown in Table 2. 075d 25d 075d 25d 5. RESULTS 075d 25d The rst FSI, inlet design 1, was constructed based on the one principle that gives the Werth Cheek 153

Water Management 157 Issue WM3

Design guidelines for alternative formed suction inlets

Flow to lab pump

Trash screens to be located here (typ)

conguration 1, it was noted that type 4 surface vortices were entering the inlet and there was a large separation zone occurring along the roof of the formed inlet. However, the pre-swirl angle and velocity data were within criteria. Inlet design 2 was built exactly as inlet design 1 with two exceptions. Instead of the entrance height being equal to the backwall height, it was increased to 092d. Four turning vanes were also added at the entrance to straighten the ow entering the inlet. Inlet design 2 was then tested in sump conguration 1 and was found to still have some ow separation along the at part of the roof at the entrance where the turning vanes were located. Next, a 03d half-round piece was added to the top front edge of the entrance, which eliminated the separation at the turning vanes. Type 3 surface vortices were harder to nd and broke up quickly, but were observed entering the inlet. In addition, a vertical curtain wall was extended from the front of the inlet to above the water surface. This eliminated surface vortices and prevented them from entering the pump. Although inlet design 2 met the acceptance criteria for vortex formation most bay widths for pump sump pits are only 2d; the 278d width of inlet 2 was less than ideal for retro-t applications. Inlet designs 3 and 4 were modied to reect the bay widths and bell clearances recommended in the 1998 HI standards. The turning vane conguration and entrance were modied to eliminate the need for a radius at the top of the inlet. Inlet 4 performed very well and was well within the established criteria. Table 3 presents a summary of the results of the nal inlet 4 design when placed in sump conguration 1. The water level was chosen as the minimum suggested level as indicated in the 1998 HI Standards. To verify the need for the vertical wall at the entrance to the inlet, tests were conducted with and without the wall in place. At the minimum recommended water level, type 2 surface Werth Cheek

Fig. 3. Formed suction inlet, test inlet No. 2

FSI a distinct advantage over conventional wet-pit intakes: a constantly decreasing cross-sectional area. This causes the ow to accelerate, which helps to eliminate vortices and dampen adverse ows caused by poor approach angles. The initial geometry was chosen to t within the pump bay of sump conguration 1. It had an internal geometry consisting of a backwall llet, two sidewall llets, and centre oor splitter, and a vertical backwall extending from the backwall llet vertically to the top of the inlet. After testing this design in sump

Fig. 4. Final formed suction inlet, test inlet No. 4


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Design guidelines for alternative formed suction inlets

Sump configuration 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 4

Prototype bell diameter: cm [in.] 2896 2362 1930 1219 914 1625 1880 1168 [114] [93] [76] [48] [36] [64] [74] [46]

Model scale 157 128 105 66 50 925 945 726

Model flow, Q: l/s [ft3/s] 146 161 177 224 232 146 174 133 [052] [057] [063] [079] [082] [051] [061] [047]

Prototype flow, Q: m3/h [gallons/min.] 51 330 [226 000] 34 068 [150 000] 22 712 [100 000] 9084 [40 000] 4996 [22 000] 13 627 [60 000] 17 170 [75 600] 6814 [30 000]

Reynolds number (at bell entrance) 10 105 11 105 12 105 16 105 16 105 11 105 11 105 11 105

Table 2. Model parameters

Prototype flow rate: m3/h [gallons/min.] 4996 [22 000] 4996 [22 000] 9084 [40 000] 9084 [40 000] 22 712 [100 000] 22 712 [100 000] 34 068 [150 000] 34 068 [150 000]

Model scale 50 50 66 66 105 105 128 128

Model water level: cm [in.] 526 526 49 49 429 429 409 409 [207] [207] [193] [193] [169] [169] [161] [161]

Pre-swirl: degrees 12 12 08 13 15 10 10 16

Surface vortex intensity Type Type Type Type Type Type Type Type 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

Sub-surface vortex intensity Type Type Type Type Type Type Type Type 1^2 1^2 1^2 1^2 1^2 1^2 1^2 1^2

Vertical wall No Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes

Velocity criteria met Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Turbulence criteria met Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Table 3. Summary of inlet 4 results

vortices were observed with and without the wall in place. However, these vortices tended to dissipate and break up as the entered the inlet. It was also noted that at water levels 10% below the recommended minimum submergence, much stronger air-entraining surface vortices were observed when the wall was removed, while vortex intensity was unchanged with the wall in place. Due to the sensitivity of surface vortex formation to water level, it is recommended that the vertical wall be included. The design development testing led to a relatively simple FSI which can be easily constructed outside an existing sump and installed by divers, without dewatering the pumping station,

and with minimum station down-time. An additional test was conducted with inlet conguration 5 which shortened the inlet slightly to 225d. Visual observations indicated that the ow was less uniform within the inlet and that the slightly reduced length was not benecial. The dimensionless inlet design is shown in Figs 5 to 7. 6. ADDITIONAL VALIDATION To further validate the nal design, three additional inlets (inlets 6, 7 and 8) were constructed based on the dimensionless parameters developed during inlet 4 design. These inlets were constructed based on the bell diameters of pumps for three uniquely different sump congurations, including one with signicant cross-ow. Actual model studies for these sumps were conducted and the nal formed inlet was installed and tested. The additional sumps were referred to as sump congurations 2, 3 and 4 and B are shown in Figs 8, 9 and 10 respectively.
0.33d IW = 2.0d

Sidewall fillet d 0.15D B

A Turning vane



Backwall fillet Vertical fillet Floor splitter


Fig. 5. Plan view of the recommended design

Sump conguration 2 was tested for a variety of ow rates. Again, the addition of a vertical wall greatly reduced the sensitivity of surface formation to water levels. Preswirl and turbulence levels were well within criteria. Several points around the pump bell exceeded the Werth Cheek 155

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Design guidelines for alternative formed suction inlets

Sump conguration 3 was tested to investigate the impact of a sloping oor upstream of the inlet. Velocity, pre-swirl and turbulence levels were well within the established criteria and overall conditions were extremely uniform within the sump. Sump conguration 4 was tested to investigate the impact of cross-ow directly in front of the inlet. Velocity, pre-swirl and turbulence levels were well within the established criteria and overall conditions were extremely 156 Water Management 157 Issue WM3

Flow Flow Sluice gate (full width) Screen chamber

Sluice gate (full width) Screen chamber Baffle wall

Plan view

Fig. 8. Sump configuration 2

Design guidelines for alternative formed suction inlets

Werth Cheek

To lab pump

uniform within the intake. Tests were conducted without Vertical wall a vertical wall, effectively Vertical fillet Turning vane simulating an intake without dividing bay walls. This conBell centred above hole in top of inlet guration was not effective Sidewall fillet EH = 0.75d and required the use of a Floor splitter BH = 0.5d vertical wall above the inlet 45 similar to the congurations 0.5d Backwall fillet 0.25d that were tested with a 1.55d straight approach ow. The Note: Inlet is bolted to floor . 1 75d Max clearance between bell vertical wall prevents ow . . . IL = 2 5d and inlet is 1 25 cm (0 5 in.) from travelling past the Section B entrance to the inlet, eliminating the need for a dividing bay wall between inlets. Fig. 6. Elevation view of the recommended design However, some structural support will probably be required to support the vertical wall and a short bay wall or pier could be placed between Floor splitter inlets to provide this support. The inlets in sump conguration Vertical fillet 4 were placed a prototype distance of 30 cm (12 in.) apart to Backwall fillet facilitate a vertical pier which was used to attach the vertical wall above the inlet entrance. A prototype cross-ow of Sidewall fillet 078 m/s (25 ft/s) was present in front of the rst inlet, which was nearly twice the HI recommended maximum cross-ow of 0.3d 0.22d 25% of the bell velocity. It was found that a series of ve 0.42d vertical vanes rather than three at the entrance resulted in less ow separation at the inlet entrance. In addition, a vertical 2.0d llet that was installed near the back of the pump improved Section A conditions during high cross-ow events, which agrees with previous modelling experience. The introduction of the two Fig. 7. End view of the recommended design additional inlet vanes as well as the vertical backwall llet are relatively minor modications from the design used with straight approach ow conditions and rather than have two different congurations, will be recommended regardless of the maximum allowable velocity deviation, but it was later approach ow conditions. Although these tests demonstrated determined that a misalignment of the pump bell above the inlet was causing some ow separation at the pump bell. This indicates that proper From lab pump alignment of the bell over the opening in the inlet is essential. Control valve

Control valve

Orifice flow meter From lab pump

To lab pump

Fig. 9. Sump configuration 3


Influent pipes

Vertical wall

Fig. 10. Sump configuration 4

the effectiveness with cross-ow velocities of nearly twice the HI recommended value, further research is required to determine the upper limits of this value. 7. CONCLUSIONS The purpose of this paper is to present an efcient and economical FSI design that meets all of the 1998 HI acceptance criteria. A FSI design which is based on the pump bell diameter is proposed as a viable alternative for eliminating adverse ow phenomena occurring in existing wet pit pump sumps. The nal design is applicable over a range of ow rates and approach ow conditions and effectively meets the acceptance criteria mentioned previously. Finally, it was determined that the nal FSI design is effective at straightening cross-ow before it reaches the impeller, and is designed in an economical manner, using at components, so that it will be easily manufactured and assembled, resulting in minimum down-time for the application the pump is serving. Based on the semi-theoretical and empirical considerations for the design of this FSI, as well as the laboratory experiments conducted in a controlled environment, the following conclusions and recommendations can be made. (a) The optimum overall design dimensions for this FSI design, based on bell diameter, d, are: width, 2d; length, 25d; back wall height, 05d; entrance height, 075d; distance from back wall to where the inlet should begin to rise up to the entrance height, 15d; and number of turning vanes equally spaced across the front entrance, 5. Furthermore, an internal geometry consisting of a centre oor splitter, Water Management 157 Issue WM3

backwall llet, and sidewall llets should be included. Figs 5, 6 and 7 illustrate these dimensions. Flow (b) This formed suction inlet design was not affected by severe cross-ow conditions, as demonstrated with sump conguration 4, and maximum pre-swirl values were well within the acceptance criteria. The ability of the FSI to straighten the incoming approach ow between the time it enters the inlet and reaches the bell is a tremendous advantage over conventional wet pit pump intakes. (c) The fact that this inlet design is completely composed of straight pieces with the exception Formed Inlets of the curved back wall makes it very advantageous for construction purposes and therefore costs. The material used to construct this FSI will most likely be concrete or steel but should be specied by the design engineer for the specic application. Furthermore, the ability to prefabricate the prototype FSI and simply lower it into place will greatly reduce the down-time for correcting the hydraulic problems occurring in the pump sump, which, in turn, could result in tremendous savings. The inlet is bolted or xed directly to the oor beneath the pump bell. The clearance between the pump bell and the hole in the top of the inlet should be minimised with a maximum space of 125 cm (05 in) as shown in Fig. 3. (d ) This formed suction inlet design was model tested for ows ranging from 4996 m3/h (22 000 gallons/min) (prototype ow) to 51 330 m3/h (226 000 gallons/min). Consideration of a model study should be made when applying this design to ows out of this range or in congurations that may not be representative of those investigated during this study. (e) Surface vortices were highly dependent on water levels, and the recommended design is based on water levels equal to or greater than suggested by the 1998 HI Standards. Although it may be possible to signicantly reduce the water level to below the minimum submergence suggested in the 1998 HI Standards, further verication may be required for these cases.
Model baffles

REFERENCES 1. WERTH D. E. and CHEEK D. E. An alternate formed suction inlet design for large vertical turbine pumps. Proceedings of FEDSM03 4th ASMEJSME Joint Fluids Engineering Conference, Hawaii, 2003. Werth Cheek 157

Design guidelines for alternative formed suction inlets

2. FLETCHER B. P. and OSWALT R. Geometry Limitations for the Formed Suction Intake. US Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC, USA, 1992, Engineering Technical Letter No. 1110-2-327. 3. HYDRAULIC INSTITUTE (HI). American National Standard for Pump Intake Design, ANSI/HI 9.81998. Hydraulics Institute, Parsippany, NJ, USA, 1998. 4. ANTUNES F. F. and HOLMAN W. L. Formed suction inlets on large high specic speed pumps. Proceedings of the 3rd Joint ASCE/ASME Mechanics Conference Pumping Machinery, University of California, 1989, 137 140. 5. TULLIS J. P. Modeling in design of pumping pits. Journal

of the Hydraulic Division, ASCE, 1979, 105, No. 9, 1053 1063. 6. LEECH J. R. Model study of new Madrid pumping station. Proceedings of the 1989 National Conference on Hydraulic Engineering, New Orleans, ASCE, 1989, pp. 875 880. 7. LEHR V., WERTH D. E., DEMLOW T. C. and CORNMAN R. E. Optimizing the design of a formed suction intake for large ood relief pumps. Proceedings of the ASCE International Water Resources Conference, Seattle, 1999. 8. CHEEK D. Alternate Formed Suction Inlet Design. Masters Thesis, Department of Civil Engineering, Clemson University, USA, 2002.

Please email, fax or post your discussion contributions to the secretary by 1 March 2005: email: emma.holder@ice.org.uk; fax: +44 (0)20 7665 2294; or post to Emma Holder, Journals Department, Institution of Civil Engineers, 1^7 Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA.


Water Management 157 Issue WM3

Design guidelines for alternative formed suction inlets

Werth Cheek