How can I get rid of air buildup in a siphon system?

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In summary, the siphon system is not working well because small amounts of air bubbles are building up and eventually the siphon is lost. The problem is greatest where the siphon has the greatest possible height and so pressure reduction. There are many solutions available, but the most likely one is a battery operated vacuum pump that turns on when a certain amount of gas is gathered at the top of the siphon.
  • #36
It seems ironic that your description of a small diameter tube at the apex is described as a way to prevent air buildup, but it is also the design of a siphon break device intended to let air in.

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  • #37
anorlunda said:
It seems ironic that your description of a small diameter tube at the apex is described as a way to prevent air buildup, but it is also the design of a siphon break device intended to let air in.
An automatic air bleed valve is placed at the crest of a pumped water pipeline to prevent the crest being blocked by compressed air. That air bleed valve is closed by the higher density of liquid water.
 
  • #38
KDunc said:
What if we left this apex valve open and connected it via a small diameter pipe to the bottom of an open-top tank that had a continuous flow of water coming into it?
There are several similar possibilities that require a supply of water at the crest.
I gave some solutions way-back in posts #2 and #7, so will not repeat them.

I discussed foams in post #22.
I still wonder if it would be possible to install a foam generator at the siphon crest. A protein foam could help carry the gasses away in the flow. It would be activated by the presence of gas. Obviously, the end-use of the water would determine the choice of foaming agent.
 
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  • #39
Ideally, avoid power operated pumps, especially those pulling a vacuum.

There is a way to vent the crest of the siphon by pushing water only. Start with a flap valve at the input that will prevent flow back to the source. At the crest, provide an automatic air bleed valve that will release gas whenever the pressure in the siphon rises above atmospheric. Now, at the outlet put a stop valve, with a plunger in a cylinder connected above the stop valve to the falling siphon tube.

Turn off the outlet. Maybe the sudden stop will cause the water in the rising tube to ram gas at the crest out through the automatic valve. If not, cycle the plunger. Since the water is not compressible, the water will rise at the crest, pushing gas out through the valve. Open the outlet valve to restore flow.

Given a little more fall at the outlet, it may be possible to arrange the outlet valve to cycle like a ram pump, ejecting gas from the crest of the siphon.

A plunger in a cylinder after the input flap valve could be used to prime the siphon.
 
  • #40
Ketch22 said:
It seams as if a conventional dosing siphon would maintain your levels.
Would a dosing syphon work in this case? For a dosing syphon to work (look at the above link), the supply level needs to be above the high point in the inverted U at some time. Can that happen in a simple system where the upper reservoir level is always lower than the top of the U? I remember the standard system in ancient men's urinals (the urinals not the men) was a dosing syphon and the tank was constantly filled from a mains pressure supply. That doesn't seem to be the case here.
In fact, if this happened in the OP's arrangement then wouldn't there always be a flow?
 
  • #41
anorlunda said:
It seems ironic that your description of a small diameter tube at the apex is described as a way to prevent air buildup,
Bearing in mind that the pressure at the top of a syphon can be almost zero then I can't see how, without some 'special help' that can ever fill with water.

I did wonder whether, if the water flow is fairly fast, then a Venturi pipe, lower down the hill , could 'suck' air out of the U. There would need to be a one way valve to stop air getting back up the tube and making the problem worse.

Or perhaps a ram-type of mechanism could act as an air pump.
 
  • #42
sophiecentaur said:
I did wonder whether, if the water flow is fairly fast, then a Venturi pipe, lower down the hill , could 'suck' air out of the U. There would need to be a one way valve to stop air getting back up the tube and making the problem worse.
In a steady state flowing system, there is a logical problem with duplicating the outlet tube from the crest with a longer tube to a venturi. Rather than solving it, that duplicates the problem. If modification of an outlet tube could cure the problem, then one should modify the outlet of the existing tube.
Remember how, unlike water, the hydrostatic pressure does not rise in a tube filled by partial vacuum as it falls towards the outlet.

sophiecentaur said:
Or perhaps a ram-type of mechanism could act as an air pump.
As I suggested in post #39, the cyclic pulsing of a ram pump could be used.
Baluncore said:
Given a little more fall at the outlet, it may be possible to arrange the outlet valve to cycle like a ram pump, ejecting gas from the crest of the siphon.
The two effective columns of water, separated with the partial vacuum at the crest, could generate a cyclic positive pressure pulse at the crest, blowing the partial vacuum and a little water out of the air bleed valve at the crest each time. In effect, the siphon tube forms the drive tube of the ram pump, with the ram pump outlet valve at the crest. While generating a one bar pulse would be a trivial job for a ram pump, the system must still be primed somehow to start it operating.

The siphon tube would need to be straightened, with a more rigid tube towards the outlet valve, where the initial pressure pulse will appear each time the spring-loaded outlet valve slams shut. I would expect it to cycle between five and ten times per minute. Perhaps waste water ejected at the crest could be accumulated to aid in priming the siphon next time it is needed.

I think the self-resonant ram-siphon is the best candidate yet for ejecting the partial vacuum gasses from the crest of a siphon. Notice that it operates only by liquid-water pistons against valves. It avoids any attempt to pump or pull a deeper vacuum at the crest.
 
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  • #43
Baluncore said:
In a steady state flowing system, there is a logical problem with duplicating the outlet tube from the crest with a longer tube to a venturi.
Is that true? The two pipes are not equivalent. One has a large volume of water, traveling fast and the other will initially have a small volume of water (initially), traveling slowly. I can't see why water will not be drawn into the Venturi section. In a static situation then obviously there will be no flow but is there there not a difference in the available power which can support the pumping action? Are you saying that the pressure difference in the two pipes will not be enough and that the level in the small tube will never reach the Venturi section? That could make sense but the Venturi section need only be a small distance below the crest. Also, the bubbles in the main pipe will reduce the water density but they could be arbitrarily few - just enough to balance the rate of formation.
I do realize that this is not a self priming system.

I missed the Ram suggestion but it sounds like a better idea - although it still wouldn't be self priming. I think there will be no way round that problem.
 

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