WGE engineers put dual-stage PRVs to the test

With the increasing trend toward taller high-rise residential developments, hydraulics engineers are working harder to ensure reliable and consistent water pressure with optimized plant space available for pump stations – as the space is too precious to be dedicated to mid-level plantrooms.

Common practice is to reticulate water at high pressure and use pressure reducing valves (PRVs) to reduce the water supply pressure based on the required condition at the fixture point. PRVs also regulate the water supply pressure to the fixtures by eliminating the fluctuations that may occur within the main distribution pipework. However, when the water pressure rises above the recommended values by manufacturers, the PRVs fail to perform correctly.

A team from WGE, led by Dr Houman Tamaddon, have tested pressure reduction valves used a dual-stage configuration to offer a potential solution for high-rise developments. A test rig was set up using a prototype provided by All Valve Industries and Callefi Group, to measure performance of dual-stage compared with a conventional single-stage design.

The WGE team ran a number of tests with different flow rates and pressure levels whilst measuring acoustic performance. The results indicate that the dual stage PRV setup can perform at considerably higher pressure ranges than the conventional single stage designs.

The test indicates that a dual-stage setup is suitable to deal with pressures up to 1800kPa. Though higher pressures might require additional considerations such as mid-level plant rooms and dividing the building into several pressure zones, the dual stage reduction can reduce the number of mid-plants required for tall high-rise developments.

The test was carried out by Houman Tamaddon, David Steblina, Antonio Lo Monte, Denis Zekusic and Matt Mee in the WGE Hydraulics team and Olivier Gaussen and Mathew McGrory from the Acoustics team.

WGE’s Dr Houman Tamaddon said that testing and refining new ideas is required to assure best performance design.

“The test provided valuable data to help us understand the potential of dual-stage configurations. Our research will help guide and inform hydraulics design for future developments,” he said.

Full report is available here.