Model to increase the lateral line length of drip irrigation systems
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Non-pressure compensating drip hose is widely used for irrigation of vegetables and orchards. One limitation is that the lateral line length must be short to maintain uniformity due to head loss and slope. Any procedure to increase the length is appropriate because it represents low initial cost of the irrigation system. The hypothesis of this research is that it is possible to increase the lateral line length combining two points: using a larger spacing between emitters at the beginning of the lateral line and a smaller one after a certain distance; and allowing a higher pressure variation along the lateral line under an acceptable value of distribution uniformity. To evaluate this hypothesis, a nonlinear programming model (NLP) was developed. The input data are: diameter, roughness coefficient, pressure variation, emitter operational pressure, relationship between emitter discharge and pressure. The output data are: line length, discharge and length of the each section with different spacing between drippers, total discharge in the lateral line, multiple outlet adjustment coefficient, head losses, localized head loss, pressure variation, number of emitters, spacing between emitters, discharge in each emitter, and discharge per linear meter. The mathematical model developed was compared with the lateral line length obtained with the algebraic solution generated by the Darcy-Weisbach equation. The NLP model showed the best results since it generated the greater gain in the lateral line length, maintaining the uniformity and the flow variation under acceptable standards. It had also the lower flow variation, so its adoption is feasible and recommended.
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