Irrigation Science

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 327–342 | Cite as

Understanding physical clogging in drip irrigation: in situ, in-lab and numerical approaches

  • Salim Bounoua
  • Séverine TomasEmail author
  • Jérôme Labille
  • Bruno Molle
  • Jacques Granier
  • Pierre Haldenwang
  • Surani Nuur Izzati


Dripper clogging is a major drawback of microirrigation systems that must be addressed to improve their efficiency and durability. Particle-induced clogging is first studied in situ. The experiments consist in observing in real conditions the behavior of a series of drippers fitted on an agricultural plot in the south of France. The plot is supplied from a canal with Durance River water. The latter is loaded with sediments that gradually clog drippers and filters. Water analysis reveal that physicochemical clogging prevails over biological clogging. This characterization helps in setting in-lab experiment protocol. Indeed, besides field observation of clogging, laboratory analyses of both the irrigation water and the clogging material are performed with reactive and inert clay: smectite and an illite–calcite mix. A surprising tendency is observed: Salt concentration in smectite seeded water decreases the clogging, whereas it increases agglomerate size. Computational fluid dynamic simulations are carried out to investigate the impact of particles on flow behavior. Results demonstrate that clay particles interacting with the flow govern the complex structure of the fluid velocity fields inside the dripper labyrinth channel.


Calcite Turbulent Kinetic Energy Suspended Particulate Matter Clay Particle Water Velocity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work has been funded by the Region Provence-Alpes-Cotes d’Azur and IRSTEA, the National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salim Bounoua
    • 1
  • Séverine Tomas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jérôme Labille
    • 2
  • Bruno Molle
    • 3
  • Jacques Granier
    • 3
  • Pierre Haldenwang
    • 4
  • Surani Nuur Izzati
    • 1
  1. 1.UMR G-EAUIRSTEA MontpellierMontpellier Cedex 5France
  2. 2.CEREGE UMR 6635, CNRSAix-Marseille UniversitAix-en-ProvenceFrance
  3. 3.UMR G-EAUIRSTEA MontpellierMontpellier Cedex 5France
  4. 4.FRE 2405 du CNRS, IMT/La Jetée/L3MModélisation et simulation numérique en mécaniqueMarseille Cedex 20France

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