Pressure loss

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The term pres­sure loss (or pres­sure drop) stands for the re­duc­tion in the to­tal pres­sure or pres­sure of a medi­um as it flows through a sys­tem. Pres­sure drop al­so de­scribes that en­er­gy used to over­come fric­tion caused in a sys­tem — such as by the walls of a pipeline or oth­er tech­ni­cal equip­ment. Mea­sur­ing and mon­i­tor­ing pres­sure loss pro­vides in­for­ma­tion about the ef­fi­cien­cy of pneu­mat­ic, hy­draulic or hy­drotech­ni­cal systems.

What causes pressure loss? — Low and high pressure loss

The loss of pres­sure in a sys­tem can be caused by sev­er­al fac­tors. One fac­tor is oth­er com­po­nents in­stalled in a pipeline, such as ori­fices, bends, valves, ap­pa­ra­tus, pipe con­stric­tions or di­vi­sions. In this case, we speak of low pres­sure loss. An­oth­er fac­tor is the ba­sic fric­tion of the liq­uid or gaseous medi­um in the sys­tem. This pres­sure loss can­not be avoid­ed and is tak­en in­to ac­count when de­sign­ing the sys­tem. In this case, we speak of large pres­sure loss. The last pos­si­bil­i­ty, where­by a pres­sure loss can oc­cur, is dif­fi­cult to take in­to ac­count. These are un­planned fail­ures and break­downs in the sys­tem it­self, such as dam­age to the pipeline from the out­side and the sub­se­quent leak­age of the medium.

Why is it important to know the pressure loss in a system?

Pres­sure drop is an in­te­gral part of any sys­tem that con­veys a flu­id. Many sys­tems must run smooth­ly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The need for ad­e­quate cool­ing of a re­ac­tor core is a case in point. In this case, there are pre­cise spec­i­fi­ca­tions as to how much cool­ing must be pro­vid­ed. The pres­sure loss is al­so in­clud­ed in these specifications.

Where else can pressure loss occur?

Most sit­u­a­tions with a pres­sure loss re­fer to liq­uid or gaseous me­dia in a pipe, duct or hose sys­tem. How­ev­er, pres­sure can al­so be lost in oth­er sys­tems, such as in a tire of a car or bi­cy­cle, an in­flat­able boat filled with air, or in a hot air balloon.

What is pressure?

By the term pres­sure we mean the force ex­ert­ed by a body on a sur­face. It is ex­pressed in pas­cals (Pa). In most cas­es, pres­sure ex­ists in liq­uid or gaseous me­dia, but sol­id ob­jects can al­so ex­ert pressure.

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