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    Results 21 to 40 of 44

    Thread: Someone's Playing with Airlifts Again...

    1. #21
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      The lighting is pretty bad but it is still a cool looking video. This shows the 4" riser tube and how smooth the air/water mixture is flowing up the riser tube. The bottom of the riser tube has some turbulence but it smooths out within 2 feet of the manifold and appears to be almost laminar the rest of the way up the tube.

      Make sure you click on HD to see the video best...

      Last edited by Zac Penn; 04-01-2019 at 05:45 PM.
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    2. #22
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      Video has been fixed. Enjoy.
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    3. #23
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      The laser cutting gods have shined down on me with new acrylic sheets. I went ahead and got an entire 4' x 8' sheet of acrylic, laser perforated to my specific hole size so I can make almost infinite sized diffusers. The rubber diffusers are going to be a VERY GOOD option for the circular riser tubes, but when you start making squares and rectangles the rubber diffuser does not work well because the corners will not bubble. That is where the acrylic diffusers are going to shine. You guys are still going to have to be patient with me on flow numbers because I actually have filters to build but I will get a testing station setup as soon as I can. I want to make a viable airlift pump system that can be easily incorporated into peoples ponds without too much DIY required for the hobbyist so if you have some ideas on what you would like to see please feel free to share.

      For now here is a little more eye candy...

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    4. #24
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      Okay here is where I am going to need some input from the peanut gallery. The following is my idea of the flow testing station for the new airlift manifold and I was wondering what faults you guys see in this design that wouldn't be too hard to improve upon?

      The tall tank on the right is the one you have already seen with the clear front. I am going to weld on two 4" pipes to use as the inlet and outlet pipes. Between those two pipes will be a removable divider plate that will create a seal between the upper and lower chambers. This way I can measure the water pressure in the lower chamber with a clear tube outside of the tank, and measure the lift created in the upper chamber with another clear tube.

      There will be two 10' long 4" pipes that connect the airlift chamber to the holding tank on the left. I will place the ultrasonic flow meters on the bottom pipe because it should be quite settled flow which will make it pretty accurate to measure. The return water going back to the holding tank will have a 90 on it to bring the water currents up to the top of the tank. When I am measuring higher submergences I will bring that return pipe up to the top of the tank. I will then throw in some sheets of matala matting into the lower section of the tank to help settle the flow going into the bottom pipe. However when the submergence is lower, that won't work but who really cares about the lower numbers because we all know they aren't going to be as efficient in the energy to flow areas, but having those numbers will be nice to have anyways.

      Thoughts???

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    5. #25
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      Great test setup. Perhaps your sketches are not to scale, but I think you will limit your test range as I see it.

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      I am assuming your only real variable will be the elevation of water in the reservoir tank to change the submergence of the lift. If the pipes are welded and fixed to your test chamber, and if the overall length of the test chamber is fixed, aren't you also fixing the max depth of your test reservoir? It seems you will be limited on how much increased submergence is able to be tested without increasing the length of the pipe above the divider plate. Am I missing something?
      You can't move the divider plate since the pipes are welded to the test chamber, unless you weld in additional ports??

      Sorry if I missed something.

    6. #26
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      In regards to the rectangular airlift example:

      Rectangular airlifts make a lot of sense if you have a rectangular tank and an airlift is made in one end by simply adding a wall on the tank end. Simple and efficient bottom to top water circulation. You will find examples in the aquaculture industry. Otherwise it’s easier, less cost and more efficient operation to use round pipe.
      In the example apparatus there appears to be excessive turbulence. Probably from round pipe entrances very close to the rectangular airlift risers entry and exit. Kind of “like fitting a square peg into a round hole”. Turbulence kills efficiency. Efficiency could possibly be increased by smooth rectangular entry and exit the same dimensions of the riser. Two 6 inch airlifts made out of PVC pipe have close to the same internal area as the rectangular airlift example (56.5 vs 60 in2) and they would have 37.7 inches of wall in the circumference vs 38 inches in the 4 x 15 rectangle. They would be less cost, less labor, and easier for a novice to build but would they perform better? Maybe given the rectangular airlift example existing round entrance and exits and turbulence.

      On any airlift there is an operational “sweet spot” range where they operate the most efficiently for the amount of air (energy) . This varies for each due to diffuser, lift height, cross section, riser length, discharge and submersion. There are many published examples where for a given airlift doubling the air volume only modestly increased output once past the sweet spot. On a round pipe riser the pressures and friction on the inside wall are consistent along the entire inside circumference. For a rectangular airlift riser resistance and pressures are different in the corners vs the flat walls. There is unequal resistance and pressure around the inside perimeter of the rectangular riser. As flows increase the pressure differences increase and cause more turbulence in the rectangular riser. The operational sweet spot range of a rectangular airlift is smaller than one made from a pipe. Unless one is using tank walls for 3 of the sides of the airlift riser there is little reason to go this route. Maybe this is why few working rectangular airlift examples exist?
      Last edited by batman; 04-07-2019 at 01:24 PM.

    7. #27
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      With both tanks being installed at the same top elevation (72" water level) then I will first start with both tanks almost completely filled and the riser tube on the airlift will be around 66" or so high. I will attach a rubber fernco at the top of the riser tube and I will have multiple pipe sections between 1" and 12" to simulate different lifts at the same submergence depths and air injection flows. That way I can install the longest riser tube to start with and then after all air flow rates and lift elevations have been tested I can remove the riser tube and cut 1" off for the next round of testing. Then I lower the water level in the test rig by 1" and run through the test once again. This will allow me to keep testing from almost full down to around 36" and only use one riser tube that slowly gets cut down by 1" increments, and I only drain out the tank slowly over the entire testing process.

      That was my plan at least.
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    8. #28
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      Here are a couple potential issues.

      Most of the successful ponds posted online show the airlift discharge through a 90 and then 2 inline tees for gas discharge. The rop of the output 90 is put 2 to 5 cm below the pond level with everyting off. When started the water in the collector draws down and the objective is to have the top of the discharge 90 on the airlift riser at water level for most efficient operation. The water flow is directional and the momentum of the mass created by the water velocity is utilized. In your example there will be an air/water mix going up, some air gassed off and some air bubbles going back down again. Water trying to flow down to the exit is fighting rising air bubbles going the opposite direction up. This is how the experts on koivrienden explain it and it how most of the successful airlift ponds have implemented it. One person with a high capacity airlift on koivrienden is getting 10 to 15 cm drawdown in the collector but most report 4 to 7 cm.

      Submergance is changed by adjusting the length of the riser body in the collector. The output 90 device remains constant.

      Second - What is important to the end user? They want to know how well the airlift functions as a pump. From point A (the pond) to Point B (filter) how much flow and head pressure can the airlift pump generate. Head pressure as determined by water level differences between point A to B when running. Baffles inserted into the return pipe could replicate filter resistance and would show greater head pressure at the expense of less flow but would replicate a working pond system with filtration resistance.

      Your test setup would not be a typical installation.

      Video of the air and water mix rising in the airlift are impressive. Very consistent mix.
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      Last edited by batman; 04-07-2019 at 04:45 PM.

    9. #29
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      Batman,
      I get what you are saying about the 90 with vent tubes being a little more efficient because you get to keep the inertia of the water moving in the riser tube to help push the returning water, BUT I hate that all of the water has to return at the top of the pond in order to get that inertial benefit.

      I don't get why people don't think my test results with actual lift numbers would be useful? Every gravity flow system will have drawdown between tanks so if you can estimate the expected drawdown at your flow rate then you can figure out what lift you need to overcome and setup the submergence and air flow numbers accordingly. The way I see it, the koivrienden people are trying to figure out flow rates after the fact, instead of having a good idea as to what the flow rate will actually be based on testing data. If I am going to provide a commercial water pump then I need to have an idea as to what it will flow in different situations, hence the flow testing station.
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    10. #30
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      Last edited by batman; 04-07-2019 at 07:48 PM.

    11. #31
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      I don't feel that adding an extension to the top of the airlift discharge and changing the submergence ratio of the assembly is equivalent to back pressure developed by filtration and plumbing. You are changing the airlift parameters. For true comparisons the airlift assembly and submergence ratio needs to remain unchanged during a specified test range. An inch of bubbly air water mix in the riser doesn't equal a true inch of water head pressure that the plumbing and filter will see.

      The only way in your proposed setup to measure true head pressure that will relate to real world application is to measure the differential in water levels between the left tank and the level of the top tank on the right while in operation. This difference in potential causes the flow in the top pipe. Then put a restriction in the top pipe and remeasure the water level differential and flow rate. The water level differential (head pressure) will increase and the flow will decrease. The restriction or baffle in the top pipe will be equivalent to resistance caused by plumbing and filtration.

      The end result will be a flow rate result for minimal head pressure (no pipe restrictions) and then with increasing head pressure (as baffles are added)) for a given set of airlift parameters. Make 3 different sized baffle rings that can be inserted into the top pipe. Changing them out will give 4 head pressure and flow readings for each airlift paramer setup.

      For example:

      Riser length 180cm (submersion)
      Air 20 l/min
      Discharge set at water level

      No restrictor 1 - 4000 l/HR at 1cm differential (head pressure)
      Restrictor 2 - 3500 l/HR at 3cm differental
      Restrictor 3 - 2500 l/HR at 5cm differental
      Restrictor 4 - 1500 l/HR at 7cm differental

      As a pond builder I want to know how much flow can be achieved with a low resistance gravity filtration system with 2 to 7 cm head pressure. Free flow at near zero head isn't of much use.
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      Last edited by batman; 04-07-2019 at 10:26 PM.

    12. #32
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      Okay I see where you are coming from about the riser extensions going above the dynamic water level in the upper chamber of the right tank. I agree that making the bubble mixture rise an extra 1" is not equal to a pure water solution pushing against the airlift. Having the end of the riser tube just slightly below the dynamic water level in the upper chamber is going to yield the greatest flows because there is the least amount of head pressure pushing against the bubble mixture.

      I think my extendable riser tube idea will still work for the testing but instead of extending the riser tube above the dynamic water level in the upper chamber, I would swap out riser tube extensions to keep the riser tube 1-2" below the dynamic water level in the upper chamber. The testing setup would be like so...

      A - clear tube in left tank showing water level in pond pushing against the upper chamber of the airlift stand
      B - clear tube in the upper chamber of the airlift stand to show the head pressure the airlift must overcome to push water into the pond (this will account for flow restriction between the left tank and upper chamber of the airlift stand caused by the 4" pipe)
      C - clear tube in the bottom chamber of the airlift stand to show the true submergence level pushing into the bubble mixture of the airlift (this will account for flow restriction between the left tank and lower chamber of the airlift stand caused by the 4" pipe)
      D - length of riser tube extension (this will allow us to change the lift in the test system without cutting the riser tube, and while keeping the riser tube exit below the water surface in the upper chamber for greatest efficiency)
      E - air flow meter (adjust air flow to a whole number EX 40 L/min

      Start with the test station filled so the holding tank on the left is as high as possible, and make sure the airlift stand on the right is a good bit taller than the holding tank.
      Install a 4" ball valve on the upper return pipe so we can create artificial restrictions (instead of baffles so we can make more finite adjustments)
      Start with the 1" extension for D so that the riser tube is within 1-2" below the water surface in the upper chamber of the airlift stand
      Start at minimum air flow so that both tanks will have as much water as possible.
      Measure C and adjust water level in the test station until C equals a whole number EX: C = 66"
      Record the elevations in the clear tubes for A, B, C, also the length of D, and the amount of air
      Adjust everything so that the measurements between B and C equals 1" and submergence remains as 66"
      Record total water flow through system

      Then increase the air flow while keeping everything else the same.
      You will have to adjust the water level inside the system, and maybe adjust the D extension pipe slightly, in order to keep the difference between B and C equal to 1" and to keep the submergence the same at 66"
      Once everything is settled, record total water flow and then increase air flow again and adjust water levels like before.
      This way we can measure total water flow for a given submergence and lift, based on the amount of air injected into the airlift.

      Once we have gone through all air flows and recorded the water flow rates...
      We replace D with a 2" long nipple and we slightly close the 4" ball valve to artificially increase the water level in the Tube B
      Turn the air way down and adjust everything so the difference between B and C is equal to 2" and to keep the submergence at 66"
      Record the water flow rates through all air flow ranges and then switch to the 3" long D extension etc....

      Here is a drawing to illustrate what I am talking about with the extensions and lift heights, while keeping the submergence the same...
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    13. #33
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      Thank you Batman for helping me adjust the testing rig for more accurate and relatable results.

      In my previous post I kept mentioning keeping the riser tube outlet 1-2" below the water level in the upper chamber of the airlift stand. As of now that is just a generic number pulled out of thin air. We don't really know what the best elevation is for the output of the riser tube, but I think I may have a way to figure that out.

      With my tall airlift stand having the clear face we can see how the water is traveling from the top of the tank down to the bottom of the tank, before it gets pushed into the airlift manifold. Thanks to my friend LukeF, who gave me some balloons at the Orlando Koi Show and said that would be a great visual water flow indicator for inside the airlift stand, we can make that happen. The koivrienden guys used with a ping-pong ball that was filled with water in their clear display system, but the inlet of my airlift manifold is quite small so the visual aids need to be small in order to get pushed into the manifold without getting stuck. I went ahead and bought some really small water balloons to use instead so I will try to create little 1/2" diameter water balloons to act as visual aids.

      Throw the water balloons into the tank and let them move around.
      We then measure the distance between the water level outside of the airlift riser tube down to the top of the riser tube.
      We then adjust the water level in the tank so the riser tube outlet is at a whole number below the water surface.

      With those visual aids moving through the water column, I can place two, level pieces of tape on the viewing window and measure the time it takes for the balloon to travel down between those two pieces of tape. The distance doesn't matter but it should be over 12" in order to get a longer time measurement to account for turbulence in the tank. Do that same time measurements 10 or so times and average the results. The actual water flow rate will not matter but the time it takes for the balloons to travel between those pieces of tape will be important.

      Then I can swap out the extension on the riser tube so the outlet of the airlift is 1/2" lower than it was in the first 10 tests, but keep everything else exactly the same. The submergence/lift/air flow are all kept constant, but the outlet of the airlift has changed to a lower elevation.
      I can then time the balloon 10 more times as it drops and average the results.
      If the averaged time DECREASES, then we know the airlift is flowing more total water, and that lowering the outlet of the riser tube increased the efficiency of the airlift.

      I keep lowering the output of the riser tube until the averaged time INCREASES from the test before, and we have the most efficient riser tube outlet height and we use that in the actual airlift testing station instead of the generic 1-2" number I was mentioning before.
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    14. #34
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      This is off subject but applies to an airlift pond. I noticed you have an older post where you make large 4 inch flanged pond returns. Didn't find them on your web site. Do you still make them? Can you make a 6 inch? How about a 4 inch connection bottom drain with a 4 inch vertical center pond return? Instead of using pipe nipples can schedule 80 connectors be used for the pond returns?

      How well do you think your no niche skimmers would work on a dedicated 4 Inch line and airlift.
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    15. #35
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      Quote Originally Posted by batman View Post
      This is off subject but applies to an airlift pond. I noticed you have an older post where you make large 4 inch flanged pond returns. Didn't find them on your web site. Do you still make them? Can you make a 6 inch? How about a 4 inch connection bottom drain with a 4 inch vertical center pond return? Instead of using pipe nipples can schedule 80 connectors be used for the pond returns?

      How well do you think your no niche skimmers would work on a dedicated 4 Inch line and airlift.

      Yes I still make the large TPRs and GPRs on a custom basis but I don't have a bunch in stock. I can make them in 4", 6", 8", 10" and I think i may even have a few small pieces of 12" pipe laying around from when i made something custom.

      Obviously I CAN make anything, but what you are describing is a Kent Wallace product and I don't like to copy other peoples work. If I feel I could improve upon it in some way that was completely original then that is another story, but I do not have that on my radar at this time. I would contact Kent for the Vertical Pond Return Bottom Drain as that is already available through him.

      I have a couple 4" skimmers that have been working on an airlift pond for a few years now without issue. They are gravity flow into the mechanical stage, and then I airlifted the water into the biological stage so that the water was freshly aerated going into the bio, and then it gravity flows back to the pond after the bio.
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    16. #36
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      Reread your testing proposal and it is a logical approach. To simplify tank level reading it might be easier and faster to run a 3/8 hose to each tank and then to side by side clear tubes placed left and right on the sides of a ruler. Inexpensive clear vinyl tube could be used. The readout would be simular to reading a U-tube manometer.

      Olamana gardens had an airlift demonstration video of their Aquazen airlift where they used rubber fishing worms as the near neutral buoyant visual to show solids flowing through the system. Mr Twister makes some short grubs that are brightly colored that would be nice. I have no idea which brands are near neutral buoyant that would work.
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    17. #37
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      Quote Originally Posted by batman View Post
      In regards to the rectangular airlift example:

      Rectangular airlifts make a lot of sense if you have a rectangular tank and an airlift is made in one end by simply adding a wall on the tank end. Simple and efficient bottom to top water circulation. You will find examples in the aquaculture industry. Otherwise it’s easier, less cost and more efficient operation to use round pipe. .......


      On any airlift there is an operational “sweet spot” range where they operate the most efficiently for the amount of air (energy) . This varies for each due to diffuser, lift height, cross section, riser length, discharge and submersion. There are many published examples where for a given airlift doubling the air volume only modestly increased output once past the sweet spot. On a round pipe riser the pressures and friction on the inside wall are consistent along the entire inside circumference. For a rectangular airlift riser resistance and pressures are different in the corners vs the flat walls. There is unequal resistance and pressure around the inside perimeter of the rectangular riser. As flows increase the pressure differences increase and cause more turbulence in the rectangular riser. The operational sweet spot range of a rectangular airlift is smaller than one made from a pipe. Unless one is using tank walls for 3 of the sides of the airlift riser there is little reason to go this route. Maybe this is why few working rectangular airlift examples exist?
      I could not have said it better. Another point: given equal cross-sectional area -- this equates to volume per unit length of the riser (be it rectangular or square), the circular ("tube") airlift riser will have the least amount of wall surface area per unit length. Since wall surface area equates to friction at the interface between the riser wall and the water column, I would expect the round riser to have the best performance potential.

    18. #38
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      Quote Originally Posted by batman View Post
      Reread your testing proposal and it is a logical approach. To simplify tank level reading it might be easier and faster to run a 3/8 hose to each tank and then to side by side clear tubes placed left and right on the sides of a ruler. Inexpensive clear vinyl tube could be used. The readout would be simular to reading a U-tube manometer.

      Olamana gardens had an airlift demonstration video of their Aquazen airlift where they used rubber fishing worms as the near neutral buoyant visual to show solids flowing through the system. Mr Twister makes some short grubs that are brightly colored that would be nice. I have no idea which brands are near neutral buoyant that would work.
      Thanks for taking the time to reread the protocol. I am glad it made sense. I am going to do exactly what you have suggested. I was going to bring all the clear tubes side by side (with maybe a 1/2" between them) and screw the clear tubing onto the tank. I would then use some tape and level a sheet of paper with measurement marks running horizontal behind the clear tubing and keep moving that sheet of paper down the tank as the submergences got lower and lower.

      Well my water ballon idea didn't work out. I wasn't thinking about the fact that the material has a much lower density than water so they float pretty aggressively. I had to add some dirt to the balloons but it was hard finding just the right amount to get it neutrally buoyant. Also if the dirt settled in the wrong place the balloon dropped faster than if it settled in a different place. I tried the procedure of timing the debris as it fell between the two tape lines, but i couldn't get the numbers to match up even close between some of the runs.

      I threw some pieces of paper in there and tried that, which also had the same problems. If the paper started to wobble back and forth (think of a feather falling) the speed at which it dropped was quite different than if it went straight down.

      I may try some fishing lures in the tank but I imagine I will have the same results. I think finding the sweet spot below water level for the riser tube will require the ultrasonic flow meters to be setup in order to get accurate results.

      I also had a few problems with the balloons getting stuck in the corner of the test station so that also made things frustrating...
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    19. #39
      batman's Avatar
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      Try injecting the balloons with brine water. This maybe just enough to compensate for the plastic. It might take a few tries to get the right ratio of salt.
      The real Batman wears polyester! Don't be fooled by the plastic imposter.

    20. #40
      Zac Penn is offline Supporting Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by batman View Post
      Try injecting the balloons with brine water. This maybe just enough to compensate for the plastic. It might take a few tries to get the right ratio of salt.
      DUUUUUUHHHHH...
      That is an easy thing to do! I may try that. The other problem I am finding with this setup is the SUPER OXYGENATION of the water is creating tiny, tiny, tiny air bubbles that are traveling down with the water. Once they get to a certain depth the density difference gets too strong and some of them start to break away from the downward current and start trying to go up. This fights the downward currents and will create misleading flows. This is still going to be a slight problem with the complete system in place but I am hoping that having a 4' diameter holding tank on the right will give enough time to release some of the extra air from the water and get us closer to a pure water solution going into the airlift instead of the tiny amounts of air getting pushed into the airlift manifold right now. If the solution pushing into the airlift is at a lower density than normal pond water, then my flow results will actually be less than real world results. But now I am really nitpicking LOL
      Zac Penn.... Please sign-up for our MAILING LIST HERE
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