Finite element model for the analysis and optimization of pipe networks Academic Article uri icon


  • A general formulation for the analysis and optimization of complex pipe networks was developed using the finite element method and the life cycle costing technique. A computer model that utilizes these techniques was also developed. The model was successful in solving for both pressure-dependent and pressure-independent outflow conditions. This feature was achieved by the direct application of the orifice flow equation which is not available in most existing pipe network analysis programs. The model is applicable to a variety of practical design situations including farm irrigation pipe networks and municipal water systems. The proposed model is flexible in its ability to handle different design problems including branched and multi-looped complex pipe networks. Network fittings such as elbows, tees, contractors, expansions, valves, and/or booster pumps were modeled using a general energy equation formulation. This formulation resulted in a greatly simplified model when using the finite element method. The model optimizes pipe networks based on economic parameters using the life cycle costing technique and the results of the finite element analysis. The results compared favorably to an existing pipe network design program.

published proceedings

  • Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers

author list (cited authors)

  • Mohtar, R. H., Bralts, V. F., & Shayya, W. H.

complete list of authors

  • Mohtar, RH||Bralts, VF||Shayya, WH

publication date

  • March 1991