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Rapid Prototyping and Flow Simulation Applications in Design of Agricultural Irrigation Equipment: Case Study for a Sample In-Line Drip Emitter

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)



An irrigation drip emitter can have various complex shapes with very small geometric labyrinth channel structures. Determining the optimum pressure in the lateral line and the desired flow volume for the emitter, which can be obtained by changing the channel’s geometry, is an extremely important factor. The ability to observe flow behaviour is significantly difficult in the labyrinth structure of the emitter using traditional methods because the channels are so small. In this study, a 3D CAD solid model of a sample emitter was created and the flow behaviour was simulated in its labyrinth channels by using a flow simulation technique. Referenced by the original design, the channel geometry was modified and the emitter was re-fabricated using rapid prototyping / additive manufacturing techniques. The flow behaviour is then re-investigated based on the re-shaped channel geometry of the labyrinth structure. The predetermined optimum pressure in the pipe was validated experimentally for both the original design and modified designs. As a result, the optimum pressure in the pipe and the flow characteristics for original both the design and modified designs of the emitter were validated. This study contributes to further research into the development of agricultural irrigation equipment aided through the utilisation of additive manufacturing and computer aided engineering tools.