Asee peer logo

Air Entrapment Issues in Piping for a Small Hydroelectric Station in Western North Carolina

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Energy Conversion and Conservation Division Technical Session on Energy Efficiency and Power Grid Security

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


George D. Ford Western Carolina University

visit author page

Dr. George Ford P.E. is an associate professor in the Construction Management Department at Western Carolina University.

visit author page


Hayrettin B. Karayaka Western Carolina University

visit author page

Bora Karayaka is an Engineering faculty at Kimmel School, Western Carolina University. He has worked as a Senior Engineer for smart grid and wireless communication industries for over ten years. He is currently responsible for teaching electric power engineering courses in the department.

Dr. Karayaka’s research interests include power engineering education, ocean wave energy harvesting, identification, modeling and control for electrical machines and smart grid. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Istanbul Technical University in Control and Computer Engineering and his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from The Ohio State University.

visit author page

author page

Sung Joon Suk Western Carolina University Orcid 16x16

Download Paper |


A team from XX XX University’s Rapid Center in XX, XX XX visited a local fish farm to determine why a previously installed stream-powered, electricity generating system was not working correctly. The team met the owner and a local Agricultural Extension Office Manager (AEOM), at the site. The AEOM provided the team with a tour of the primary structures and equipment. The system inspected consists of four water-powered turbines connected to 1320 feet of 8-inch black plastic, seamless pipe. The pipe inlet provides 98 feet of head (42.2 psi) to power the turbines. The turbines provide wattage generation based upon delivered water flow at a specific pressure. The higher the water flow and pressure, the higher the turbine wattage output, up to 1 kilowatt each, maximum output. The turbines appear to operate correctly, but the water pressure was measured to be less than optimum, affecting the turbine wattage output. The team inspected the length of the pipeline and found issues of concern. First, the pipe inlet suction structure was not totally flooded. It appeared that air might be introduced into the pipeline through the suction opening by the venturi effect. Secondly, the static pressure readings taken at the turbine building were not as expected. The expected static pressure, considering the 98 feet of head was 42.4 psi. The actual reading was 22 psi. The team discussed the static pressure issue and inspected the pipeline, finding a couple sections were not flooded with water. There were no significant leaks, but there were sections of the pipeline, which had slipped off their support structures. The pipeline included sections, which were full of air. Since no major leaks were detected, air entrapment was considered as the cause of the head pressure issues. The sections of the pipeline which were out of position could trap air. This paper discusses the measures taken to correct the inlet water piping to the stream powered turbines.

Ford, G. D., & Karayaka, H. B., & Suk, S. J. (2018, June), Air Entrapment Issues in Piping for a Small Hydroelectric Station in Western North Carolina Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29764

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015