Understanding physical clogging in drip irrigation: in situ, in-lab and numerical approaches
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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.
KeywordsCalcite Turbulent Kinetic Energy Suspended Particulate Matter Clay Particle Water Velocity
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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