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    Thread: Airlift Manifold Testing Station

    1. #1
      Zac Penn's Avatar
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      Airlift Manifold Testing Station

      In an attempt to better understand the performance of different airlift manifolds I have created a water flow station that can manipulate multiple variables and record the total water flow produced by the airlift manifold under those conditions. It consists of two water towers 110 gallons each that are connected by two horizontal pipes. The bottom 3" pipe is 60" long and has a BlueWhite flow meter attached to it and displays in gallons per minute (GPM). The top 4" pipe is a return pipe from the airlift collection box at the top of the riser tube. It has the 90 degree elbow attached to reduce turbulence inside the left water tower for more accurate water flow results. The airlift will push water up the riser tube and into the collection box. This will lower the water level in the right water tower. The water level difference will cause the left tower to push water into the right tower in an attempt to equal out the levels. This incoming water will spin the paddlewheel of the flow meter and output the water flow rate.
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      The right water tower has a clear tube and tape measure affixed to the outside of the tower to accurately measure the dynamic water level inside the tower. As the airlift is operating the water level inside the tower will be different than it was when the pump was off. This clear tube shows the dynamic water level inside the tower, and the valve manifold at the bottom of the tower adjusts the water levels.
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      The yellow hose will drain water out of the tower, and the green hose will add water from the tap.

      Here are some pictures of the airlift collection chamber. Center is the airlift riser tube and the left pipe is the 4" return line.
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      By slipping each one of the nipples onto the riser tube I can change the lift height easily
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      The compressed air for this testing station is being provided by a brand new right out of the box Hakko 40L, connected to a custom made 1/2" PVC pipe air manifold. The manifold has a Dwyer MMA-25 air flow meter threaded into it and an air bleed-off valve to reduce the strain on the air pump at low flow rates. The air supply is adjusted with the bleed-off valve and micro-adjustments are made with the internal valve on the air flow meter. The adjusted air flow is then fed into a second chamber of the manifold that is isolated from the first half. The second chamber has a Miljoco Low Pressure Gauge attached to it and a 3/8" OD tube quick connect fitting. All of the airlift manifolds will be tested with the exact same air manifold setup, and 12' of 3/8" OD x 1/4" ID vinyl tubing...


      Before water testing begins I wanted to get a base air supply back-pressure reading at the different air flow rates to determine how much of the air pressure reading is due to the water pressure, airlift injection disk/manifold, and restrictions in the air tubing/manifolds. Here are the results of only the air manifold, fittings and tubing...
      45 LPM = 1.175 PSI
      40 LPM = .9 PSI
      35 LPM = .7 PSI
      30 LPM = .55 PSI
      25 LPM = .4 PSI
      20 LPM = .3 PSI
      15 LPM = .2 PSI


      As for the airlift testing I will be doing the following…
      Manufacture all of the different airlift manifolds I will be testing and figure out which ones will require the longest riser tube and test that one first.
      I will start out at the greatest water level I can achieve in the test station, and begin testing with -6" of lift (might not be achievable with the greater submergence depths but I will do my best).
      After the airlift output stabilizes the water level in the right tower will be adjusted to account for dynamic water level changes until the piper submergence depth is achieved. Then I will record the water flow rate for that set of variables.
      Then I will slip on a 1" piece of pipe to the top of the riser tube (this achieves 1" more inch of lift) with a fernco so the inside of the riser pipe remains smooth.
      Adjust the submergence height again due to the dynamic water level changes, then record the data.
      I will then replace the 1" piece of pipe with a 2" piece, stabilize the submergence, and record the data. I will do the same process over and over until I reach 6" of lift height.
      Then I will adjust the air input by 5 liters per minute (this is how the air flow meter is marked), stabilize the submergence, then record the data.
      I will then reduce the lift height by 1" and record the data all the way back down to -6" of lift.

      Then I will find the airlift manifold that requires the second longest riser tube and cut the original riser tube down to the correct size and repeat the data collection. This way i can re-use the same pipes for each airlift manifold, only adjusted slightly.
      Once the entire range of airlifts have been tested at a specific submergence depth the water level will be dropped 6" and all airlifts will be tested again.

      Due to the height restrictions of the testing station I will be limited in my submergence depth of around 66" to 36".

      Each airlift manifold tested will be photographed from the side and reference marks will be made as to where the submergence and air injection height is measured from. The total dimensions will also be described for each manifold. The data collected will be published in this thread for all to see.
      Last edited by Zac Penn; 01-23-2014 at 07:57 PM.
      Zac Penn.... Not an expert on Pump Testing, no matter what people may think!
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    2. #2
      Zac Penn's Avatar
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      In order to better understand and use the data that will be collected I want to start off describing a few airlift terms, and MY DEFINITION of these terms…

      Airlift - A water pumping device that utilizes air mixed with water, to move such water, and consists of an air injection device, airlift manifold, and vertical riser tube.
      Air Injection Device - Either a nozzle, diffuser, hole or similar that releases compressed air inside the airlift manifold.
      Air Injection Depth - The measurable depth from the water surface at which compressed air is mixed with water inside the airlift manifold.
      Air injection Back-Pressure - The measurable restriction created by the air injection device.
      Air Supplied - The amount of air being injected into the airlift manifold measured in liters per minute (LPM)
      Air Supply Back-Pressure - The measurable restriction created by the air supply lines connected to the air injection device.
      Airlift Manifold - A vessel containing the air injection device in which the air and water are mixed, and the mixture is directed into a vertical riser tube.
      Vertical Riser Tube - A vertical pipe/tube/chamber/ that completely encases the air/water mixture on all sides and directs it upward toward the water surface. The bottom of the vertical riser tube is where the submergence depth is measure from.
      Submergence - The measurable depth from the surface of the water at which point the air/water mixture is completely encased by the vertical riser tube.
      Lift - The measurable height that the vertical riser tube extends above (positive lift) or below (negative lift) the body of water the airlift is connected to.
      Water Flow produced - The amount of water that is pumped by the airlift measured in either gallons per minute (GPM) or gallons per hour (GPH)



      This definition list will be updated and corrected as we progress. As a reminder these are MY DEFINITIONS of these terms, and may not correlate exactly with other source definitions.
      Last edited by Zac Penn; 01-21-2014 at 01:42 PM.
      Zac Penn.... Not an expert on Pump Testing, no matter what people may think!
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    3. #3
      Zac Penn's Avatar
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      Deepwater Koi Airlift Manifolds...

      These are the five airlift manifolds that will be tested utilizing the Deepwater Koi Air Injection Disks. All of these manifolds will be tested with a 3" riser tube to start with, and then the 4" x 3" bushing will be removed and tested with a 4" riser tube. The funnel design will not be tested at 4" because of the design (I already know a 3" riser tube is better from previous testing)...
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      All four of the TEE manifolds will have the injection disk attached to a 4" pipe nipple so it slides into the TEE and they will all have the exact same air injection point because the base of the manifolds end up the same height at 3"...
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      I have chosen standard Sch 40 pressure TEE's and DWV TEE's for these tests so that the data can help us understand what is happening within the manifolds. Here are the two 4" x 4" x 4" TEE's with a 4" x 3" reducer bushing pressed into the top...
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      Both of these manifolds are going to have the same air injection height of 3", and submergence height of 7.5" from the bottom
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      Inside of the Sch 40 TEE
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      The distance between the air injection point and the incoming water is only 1/8" (without a pipe glued) and 5/16" with a pipe glued in place.

      Inside of the DWV TEE
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      The distance between the air injection point and the incoming water is 3/4" no matter if a pipe is glued or not.


      Here are the two 4" x 3" x 4" TEE's with a 4" x 3" reducer bushing pressed into the top...
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      Both of these manifolds are going to have the same air injection height of 3", and submergence height of 6 3/8" from the bottom
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      Inside of the Sch 40 TEE
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      The distance between the air injection point and the incoming water is only 7/16" (without a pipe glued) and 1/2" with a pipe glued in place.

      Inside of the DWV TEE
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      The distance between the air injection point and the incoming water is 5/8" no matter if a pipe is glued or not.

      The funnel design has the injection disk attached to the base of the manifold and it has a much lower air injection point of 13/16"...
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      This is the funnel disassembled...
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      The same air tubing is attached to this manifold as with the other manifolds, except the quick connect fitting is not used. This is going to reduce the air supply back pressure slightly but we can take that into account because of testing station will have a a pressure gauge to identify where the restrictions are.

      Assembled funnel...
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      This just shows the spacing between the injection disk and the bottom of the 3" riser tube...
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      The bottom of the riser tube is only 5/8" from the bottom of the tank, but remember the air injection disk is 13/16" from the bottom so our submergence and air injection depth are the same with this design...
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      Current Flow Rates...
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      Last edited by Zac Penn; 01-23-2014 at 07:37 PM.
      Zac Penn.... Not an expert on Pump Testing, no matter what people may think!
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    4. #4
      Zac Penn's Avatar
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      Reserved for future….
      Zac Penn.... Not an expert on Pump Testing, no matter what people may think!
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    5. #5
      Zac Penn's Avatar
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      Reserved….
      Zac Penn.... Not an expert on Pump Testing, no matter what people may think!
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    6. #6
      Zac Penn's Avatar
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      Zac Penn.... Not an expert on Pump Testing, no matter what people may think!
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    7. #7
      BWG is online now Senior Member
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      Seems like it would be a lot less work and faster to set the water lift height and then do all of the 5 ltr air adjustments. Then raise and repeat.

      See attached testing chamber auto water level setup .
      Attached Images Attached Images  
      Last edited by BWG; 01-21-2014 at 12:00 PM.

    8. #8
      BWG is online now Senior Member
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      Submersible pump can be a small fountain type pump.

    9. #9
      Zac Penn's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by BWG View Post
      Seems like it would be a lot less work and faster to set the water lift height and then do all of the 5 ltr air adjustments. Then raise and repeat.

      See attached testing chamber auto water level setup .
      Very nice suggestion about adjusting the air for each lift height. No matter what variable is changed the entire system needs to be checked for accuracy and adjusted accordingly, but your way does seem a little less work with up and down a ladder. As testing begins I am sure time saving adjustments will show their heads.

      As for the auto-level, it does seem like it will work, but making the finite adjustments to the standpipe might be a pain. There needs to be some head height above the standpipe for the water to flow through the pipe so it would need to be adjusted perfectly and hope the submersible pump didn't change flow rate due to electrical surges in the power supply. My way is going to waste more water but it will be easier to adjust I think.
      Zac Penn.... Not an expert on Pump Testing, no matter what people may think!
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    10. #10
      Cecil is offline Senior Member
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      Keep up the good work Zac. i'll be sure to follow. Highs in the single digits and lows below zero here at night. No testing up here for a few months!
      The risk I took was calculated, but man am I bad at math!

    11. #11
      BWG is online now Senior Member
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      Hello
      Hello
      Hello

      Is there anybody out there? We're down here in the Koiphen catacombs deep below the forum floor.

      Hello
      Hello

    12. #12
      Zac Penn's Avatar
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      HAHAHA Hopefully this thread will gather more interest as it progresses.

      I made the decision today that I am just going to go ahead and show more detail about my manifolds, so others can better understand why I chose these designs. Please do not ask for specifics about hole size and spacing, because I will not provide that. I gotta keep some things to myself.
      Zac Penn.... Not an expert on Pump Testing, no matter what people may think!
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    13. #13
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      Cant wait to see how this goes! Have you ever noticed any difference in flow amounts using different T's
      I've never seen the long sweep type myself, but looks interesting.
      Great work to do all this testing, and thanks for sharing
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      Last edited by darrenkoi; 01-22-2014 at 08:20 AM.

    14. #14
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      On a 2" Tee airlift I have noticed a difference between the straight Tee, sweep Tee (sanitary Tee) and the long Tees (Tee Wye combo). I don't know if this advantage applies to 3" and 4" as the long sweep gets more radical than the 2". I had to quit testing when everything froze up outside. Maybe plus 10% to 15% in 2 inch (when used on pipe only - no tank). The 4" Tee Wye's take up a lot of room.

      I think Zac has a eductor funnel manifold design that he is going to test.
      Last edited by BWG; 01-22-2014 at 01:48 AM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Zac Penn View Post
      HAHAHA Hopefully this thread will gather more interest as it progresses.

      I made the decision today that I am just going to go ahead and show more detail about my manifolds, so others can better understand why I chose these designs. Please do not ask for specifics about hole size and spacing, because I will not provide that. I gotta keep some things to myself.
      Ahhhhhhhh! :-(. :-)

      Look forward to seeing a comparison with a Yamabuki airlift.
      Last edited by Cecil; 01-22-2014 at 06:35 AM.
      The risk I took was calculated, but man am I bad at math!

    16. #16
      BWG is online now Senior Member
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      The bad thing about having a testing and open discussion thread about airlifts in a vendor section organized under a business is that if this trend continues like content will scattered all over the place. This is not how you effectively manage a database.

    17. #17
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      Zac, why is the upper tube connecting the two barrels so low... if I was making this I would of put it much higher, am I missing something.?
      DAN







    18. #18
      BWG is online now Senior Member
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      I think on the previous thread location the lower position was discussed. The meter is a lot more accurate if zero air in the water and this is why it is lower.

    19. #19
      Zac Penn's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by powerman View Post
      Zac, why is the upper tube connecting the two barrels so low... if I was making this I would of put it much higher, am I missing something.?
      Hey Dan,
      I am glad you have joined us down here. The 4" return pipe (upper pipe) is at I think 33" OC from the bottom so that I can gradually lower the entire airlift/collection chamber down into the tower to simulate lower submergences. It would be too difficult to keep the collection chamber static at the top, and suspend the airlift manifolds above the bottom. They would try to move around and once they got in front of the 3" pipe the incoming water would create turbulence and effect the performance of the airlift manifold. I hope that made sense, but I think you will see once i start up the testing.

      I edited the earlier "Reserved" post to show all of the details about the Deepwater Koi manifolds that will be tested. I will provide as much detail about the manifolds themselves, but I will not provide anymore detail about the injection disks.

      Based on the measurements provided in those pictures we should be able to come to a consensus on how the testing should be performed so that all things being equal we can compare the performance of each design.
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    20. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by BWG View Post
      The bad thing about having a testing and open discussion thread about airlifts in a vendor section organized under a business is that if this trend continues like content will scattered all over the place. This is not how you effectively manage a database.
      And yet, the reason Zac took this conversation to his own MarketPlace is because folks were complaining, on the other thread, that that's where that discussion should be moved to. Zac was simply honoring the request from hobbyists because he is a "pro". Also, these tests are being conducted solely with his designs, so it, according to other posters, is right where it should be. Don't blame the forum for any of this. He has a right as a paying pro member of the WWKC to post his own design concepts here.
      Mike

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