Applications of computational fluid dynamics in irrigation engineering

Antonio Pires de Camargo, Gustavo Lopes Muniz, Nicolas Duarte Cano, Nassim Ait-Mouheb, Séverine Tomas, Diego José de Sousa Pereira, Rogério Lavanholi, José Antônio Frizzone, Bruno Molle


Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques have become an important tool for investigating and predicting flow behavior in many industrial and engineering processes. In the last two decades, CFD has been used for the study, design, and improvement of irrigation equipment. Numerical simulations can be used to predict fluid flow, heat transfer, and chemical reactions within complex systems. The objective of this review is to provide an overview of the uses of CFD in irrigation engineering applications. The paper is organized into two main sections: fundamentals of CFD and irrigation engineering applications. The first section presents the main methods used in numerical simulations, basic equations to predict fluid flow parameters, meshing concerns, and convergence criteria. In the second section, we present applications related to friction and local head losses in pipes, liquid and solid-liquid flow simulation in drippers, chemical scaling, filters, sprinklers, direct-acting pressure-regulating valves, and Venturi injectors. The briefly described applications indicated that CFD modeling can be an accurate, quick, and feasible method for the investigation of flow parameters in irrigation pipes, fittings, emitters, and accessories. The CFD simulations can be useful for designing new products as well as for improving and optimizing existing products. Computational fluid dynamics uses in irrigation engineering must be encouraged, particularly for innovation purposes resulting from the cooperation between academia and irrigation companies.


CFD; Microirrigation; Filtration; Sprinkler; Clogging; Agriculture engineering

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