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Old   March 13, 2000, 02:51
Default Fluid Mechanics in GUTTERS
Inigo Garcia
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Hello there,

I am new to this discussion forum. At present I am studying mechanical engineering at the University of Warwick, and my main interest in engineering is Appropriate Technology, trying to make technology available for the people in Third World countries, keeping sustainability in mind.

Due to water scarcity for most of the population in rural areas of Third World countries, the Development Technology Unit at the University is carrying research in Rainwater Harvesting.

My project is specifically about GUTTERS. The objective is to minimise the cost, so that people in Third World countries can benefit from it. I am doing a Fluid Mechanics analysis on the performance of gutters, trying to optimise the design of it.

I am considering the possibility of varying slope, because capacity requirements along the gutter are not constant, since flow increases along the length. This would allow a smaller cross-sectional area and therefore a cheaper gutter could be manufactured.

I need to develop some analysis about the ideal curve of the gutter. Then obviously the gutter will not be bended, but it could be manufactured in different sections with varying slope.

If any of you has done or some analysis about this or can think of a source, or has got an idea, I would greatly appreciate your help. Please contact me through the e-mail below.

I thank you all for your attention and help.

Inigo Garcia

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Old   March 13, 2000, 14:34
Default Re: Fluid Mechanics in GUTTERS
Alton Reich, PE
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Having spent several years as a design engineer, my advice to you would be to adhere to the KISS design system. KISS being Keep It Simple Stupid. I was doing design work for the US Navy, and our goal was to make our designs "sailor-proof". A good friend of mine (and Chief Petty Officer in the Navy) insisted that we were doomed to failure, since the Navy was always finding stupider and more destructive sailors.

My point comes down to the fact that no matter what tools you use to develop your design, and no matter how much you optimize it, the real test is going to be in the field. You've got to account for the fact that it'll be used under a wide variety of conditions that are likely to be less than idea. Ruggedness, and ease of manufacture and assembly are likely going to be far more important than achieving minimum cross sectional area.

Believe it or not, you might get some good insight by talking to a local installer of gutters in your area. Find out how they do what they do, and try to improve on their process.

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