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GMSARN International Conference on Sustainable Development: Issues and Prospects for the GMS 12-14 Nov.


Construction and Performance Testing of the Hydraulic Ram Pump

Phyo Min Than

Abstract— The hydraulic ram pump or hydram is an automatic water lifting device that uses the energy in the flowing water
such as spring, stream or river to pump part of the water to a high above that of the source. With a continuous flow of water
a hydram operates continuously with no external energy source. Hydram have only two moving parts, these are impulse
valve and delivery valve. They are very simple to operate and maintain.
It can be used for water supply to countryside and remote areas, domestic and irrigation. The main purpose of hydram is
to reduce the use of nonrenewable energy.
In this paper contains Introduction, History of the hydram, operation of the hudram, Design of the hydram, construction
and performance testing of hydram and a complete set of detail drawings for manufacturing o f 9.144m (Delivery head)

Keywords—Drive head, delivery head, driving flow rate, pumping flow rate.


The hydraulic ram pump can be used with great Hydraulic ram pump technology has been around since
effectiveness in mountain villages which are located at a the late 1700’s. The first hydraulic ram pump was
higher elevation than their source of water. The hydram discovered and applied by a British man John Whitehurst.
pump used the power of falling water to pump a small In 1772, he produced the first set of the hydraulic ram
portion of that water uphill. It requires absolutely no fuel could not operate automatically. Its valve had to be shut
or electricity, only water pressure. The pump was off manually to create the force of water hammering for
developed about 200 years ago, and the beauty of the water lifting. The first automatically hydram was
hydram lies in its simplicity. There are only two moving invented by a French man Joseph Montgolfies in 1796.
parts which are lubricated by the water itself. This manual Since the mid 1960s, there has been a growing interest
hopes to show that anyone with a minimum amount of in the potential of hydrams for water pumping
mechanical aptitude can survey, design and build a applications in the less developed countries. As a result,
hydraulic ram from locally available parts and do any
there are now several different hydram designs available
necessary maintenance.
that can be built locally.
Whether, for irrigation purposes or domestic, a hydram
can be used to great advantage in many diverse situations.
The source of water could be a stream, a spring an 3. OPERATION OF THE HYDRAM
irrigation canal, and artesian well, or even an existing 1 Supply tank
gravity flow water system. 2 Gate valve
Wilde scale usage would benefit many thousands of
3. Drive Pipe
people. Because this simple pump works 24 hours per
4. Waste valve
day, for many years and requires little attention, It is
suitable for areas where people have little technical 5. Valve Chamber
expertise. Because hydraulic ram installations are 6. Air Vessel
inexpensive and quickly installed, they are extreme 1 7. Snifter valve
transportation difficulties, as well as for sparsely 2
populated villages which often make gravity flow water 11
supply system financially unfeasible. The ability to 3 8
incorporate a hydram in an existing gravity flow water 7
supply system has also proved very useful.

Fig.1. Main components of the hydram

Figure 1 shows the main components of the hydraulic
ram pump. The working of a hydraulic ram is based on
Phyo Min Than is with Mechanical Engineering Department (MED),
Mandalay Technological University (MTU), Mandalay, Myanmar. Tel.: the principle of water hammer or inertia pressure
+95-02-57363, E-mail: developed in the supply pipe.
Initially the waste valve being open, the water flows

down the supply pipe into the valve chamber, the water
flows through it to the waste water channel. As the rate of
discharge past the waste valve increase, the flow of water
in the supply pipe accelerates.

Impulse valve opening

Impulse valve open

Snifter valve open

Fig.4. Recoil


Fig.2. Acceleration The following factors need to be considered in hydraulic
ram pump system design.
Due to the acceleration of the water column in the • Area suitability (head and flow rate)
supply pipe, an increase of pressure in the valve chamber • Flow rate and head requirement
takes place, in order to develop the necessary velocity of • Floods consideration
flow of water through the waste valve. The pressure in • Intake design
the valve chamber rapidly increase to such a valve at • Drive system
which the static thrust together with the dynamic thrust • Pump house location
acting on the lower face of the waste valve is greater than • Delivery pipes system
the downward force due to the weight of the valve. And • Distribution system
then, waste valve closes. So, waste valve brings the water
in the supply pipe suddenly to rest, causing increase of A hydraulic ram survey must be done while
pressure in the valve chamber. So, the delivery valve is considering the design. Before a design can be done it is
essential to know
forced open.
• Vertical fall from source to pump
• Vertical lift from pump to delivery site
• Amount of water available to power the pump(Q
input or source flow)
• Minimum daily quantity of water required
Delivery valve open • Drivepipe length from source to pump
• Delivery pipe length from pump to delivery site.

The following data processing are used for the hydram
design of one dimensional unsteady flow.

Fig.3. Delivery Drive head, H 1.524 m

The water flows from the supply tank through the Drive line diameter, D1 0.0762m
delivery valve into the air vessel and the delivery pipe. Drive line length, L1 7.62 m
Thus some of the water flowing through the delivery
valve is directly supplied to the delivery tank and some of Delivery head, h 9.144 m
it is stored in the air vessel. The water flowing into the air
vessel compressed the air inside it, which pushes a part of Delivery pipe diameter, d 0.0381m
the water into the delivery pipe even when the delivery
valve is closed. Delivery pipe length, L2 10.728 m
An air vessel assists in providing a continuous delivery
Air vessel diameter 0.1524 m
of water at a more or less uniform rate. The flow of water
through the delivery valve continues until the pressure in Air vessel length 0.4572 m
the valve chamber is reduced, the delivery valve then
closes and the waste valve opens, thus again causing the Impulse valve diameter 0.0762m
water to flow from the supply tank to the waste water
channel. This constitutes one cycle of operation or one Delivery valve diameter 0.0762 m
beat of the hydraulic ram. The same cycle is then
repeated. Friction factor, f 0.015

The maximum waste value weight and fluid velocity
can be calculated by the following equation.
2A s HγC d
Wmax = (1)
Here, Wmax: denotes the maximum weight of the waste
valve, As is the area of the valve seat, H the drive head, d
γ the unit weight of the water, Cd the drag coefficient in
the impulse valve, and M the head loss coefficient for the
drive line. g
V = Vs tanh (gHt/ LVs) (2) c
b f
Where, V describes fluid velocity, Vs the steady – state Fig.5. The velocity-time relationship in the driveline of a
fluid velocity, g the gravity acceleration, L the length of hydram
the drive line, and t the time the valve has been open.
And then Qd can be calculated by the following equation:
The steady state fluid velocity can be calculated by
the following equation.
(Q) p x (Vol) d (11)
2gH Qd =
Vs = (3) (Vol) p
Where H is drive head and M the head loss coefficient Here Qd denotes flow rate wasted during the drive
for the drive line. Then, the one – dimensional unsteady cycle, efficiency can be expressed explicitly as:
flow during the drive cycle may be expressed by the h ln(λ 2 H / h + 1)
equation. η= (12)
H ln[1 / 1 − λ 2 ]
v L dv
H − [(A / A 3 ) 2 + (fL / D) + K m + K i ] = (4)
2g g dt λ1 = N/M , λ2 = (Vm/ Vs)2 (13)
Where f denotes the Darcy friction factor, D the drive Then defining efficiency as:
line diameter, Ki the impulse valve loss coefficient , Km hxQ p
the coefficient of minor losses in the drive line, A3 the η(Rankine ) = (14)
flow area of the impulse valve, and A the flow area of the HxQ d
drive line. Q p x (H + h )
Similarly, during the delivery cycle, the unsteady flow η(D' Aubuission ) = (15)
equation can be written as HxQ d
v 2 L dv Table 1. Result data
h − [(A / A 4 ) 2 + (fL / D) + K m + K o ]
= (5)
2g g dt
Where h denotes the delivery head, A4 the flow area of Waste valve weight, W 2.4 kg
the delivery valve and Ko the delivery valve loss
coefficient. Supply flow rate, Qd 1.24 x 10-3 m3/s
Volume of wasted water during the drive cycle and
volume of pumped during the delivery cycle can be Pumping flow rate, Qp 1.05 x 10-5 m3/s
calculated by the following equation.
L 1A 1 (1) Number of beat per minute, N 70
( Vol ) d = Ln (6)
M 1− α
L2A2 Fluid velocity, V 1.17 m/s
( Vol ) p = Ln (1 + β ) (7)
α = MV2m / 2Gh (8) Steady state fluid velocity, Vs 1.4 m/s

β = NV2m/ 2gh (9)

Total time for one beat, t 0.86 s
Where (Vol)d the volume of wasted water during the
drive cycle and (Vol)p the volume pumped during the time for which the waste valve
remains open during each beat, t1 0.7 s
delivery cycle. The rate of pumping (Qp) during the
delivery cycle can be expressed as
(Vol) p time during each beat for which the 0.16 s
Qp = (10) waste valve remains closed or the
(t f − t b ) delivery valve remains open, t2

Where (tf – tb) represents the time interval between

point f and b in figure 5. Efficiency, η 60 %

6. CONSTRUCTION AND PERFORMANCE Figure 8 is the impulse valve which is an essential
TESTING OF THE HYDRAM component of the ram pump, consists of a steel plate and
The hydraulic ram is constructed as shown in figure 6. a rubber seal which are bolted together against each other.
In this hydram, the diameter of supply (drive) pipe and It also consists of spring for adjusting the stroke length
delivery pipe are 0.0762 m and 0.0381 m respectively. and tuning the number of beat. There the stroke of the
The waste valve diameter is 0.0762 m and that of the waste valve can be adjusted from 0.0254 m and 0.0381
delivery valve is 0.0762 m. The drive pipe and delivery m. The use of flexible material is to provide the required
pipe are PVC pipes. The drive pipe is 10.9728 m. Here sealing. The rubber seal is to be fixed in the valve seat.
the variation of the drive pipe length affects the flow rate
of the delivery.

Fig.9. Air Vessel

Figure 9 is the air vessel which is in cylindrical shaped
The volume of air vessel lies between the ranges of 20 to
50 times of delivery volume in one cycle. The air vessel
Fig.6. Hydraulic ram pump assists in providing a continuous delivery of water at a
The pump body or valve chamber is in cylindrical more or less uniform rate. It is noted that the water level
shape and made up of cast-iron. The delivery valve is in an air vessel operating normally will be at the top of
hinged type as shown in Figure 7. the delivery outlet. This air volume is the volume of the
vessel about this.
There is a pressure gauge at the exist or delivery port
of the air vessel. It reads in pound per square inch.
Especially, the drive head is done to be constand all the
time of running.
All components of hydram are made at fabrication
workshop in Mandalay Technological University. The
performance testing is made behind the main building in
the Mandalay Technological University and their results
are described in the Appendix.
Data on hydram were collected for drive heads of 4.5
feet and 5 feet, with 30 feet delivery heads tested for each
Fig.7. Delivery valve
drive head. Table 1, 2 and 3 indicate the test results
obtained with constant head and variable of number of
It consists of a rubber hollow disc on which a thin steel
beat per minute which are shown in Appendix.
plate is bolted. It is put in the passage of water to the air
vessel to prevent from the back flow of water to the valve
chamber. It’s design is to withstand the impact load of
pressure changes. But it needs to be flexible not to disturb This hydram is made by welding method. It can be
the flow. built simplicity and less cost.
Compare with the other water lifting device, the
hydraulic ram pump is relatively easy to build and can be
made in a simple rural setting workshop. And then,
automatic continuous operation requires no supervision or
human input. Maintenance was extremely simple, and
there as almost no cost to keep the hydram working. So,
hydram should be used for water supply to irrigation
purposes, village on the hillside, countryside, remote
areas and domestic.
To obtain the good delivery flow, the efficiency of the
pump should be high. There should be a large drive flow
and the delivery head should not be too many times the
drive head. If the delivery head was taken twenty times
Fig.8. Impulse Valve the drive head, when working at 100% efficiency, the one

twentieth of the drive flow can be delivered by the pump. [4] Slack, D.C.,Predicting the performance of a water-
The ratio of the delivery head (H/h) is typically the range pumping hydraulic Ram, International journal for
of 5 to 25. It is the adequate range for recommendation. It development technology, vol.2,261-271pg.(1984).
is also the length of the drive pipe be kept to between two [5] Dr. Abiy Awoke Tessema, 2000, Hydraulic Ram
and six times the drive head, but should never be less than Pump System Design and Application, ESME 5th
6 meter. Annual Conference on Manufacturing and Process
ACKNOWLEDGMENT [6] Modi, P.N., Hydraulics and Fluid Mechanics,.
Standard book house, Dehli-110006,1980.
The author is gratefully acknowledge to the Ministry of [7] Streeter, V.L.,Fluid Mechanics,7th ed., Mc. Grow-
science and Technology, The author would like to Hill Kogakusha Ltd.,1979. ISBN-0-07-062232-9.
express the heart felt gratitude to Dr. Khin Maung Aye,
Rector, West Yangon Technological University for the
distribution of his invaluable knowledge and experience
during the construction of the hydraulic ram pump.

A area of the drive line
As area of the valve seat
A3 flow area of the impulse valve
A4 flow area of the delivery valve
Cd drag coefficient in the impulse valve
g gravity acceleration
H drive head
h delivery head
L drive line length
M head loss coefficient for the drive line
N head loss coefficient for the delivery line
f Darcy friction factor
Km coefficient of minor losses in the driveline
Ki impulse valve loss coefficient
Ko delivery valve loss coefficient
Qp pumping flowrate
Qd supply flow rate
η efficiency
t time for one beat in second
t1 time for which the waste valve remains open
during each beat
t2 time during each beat for which the waste valve
remains closed or the delivery valve remains

[1] Prof. Ma Chi of zhejiang University of Technology
and Dipl. Eng. Peter Diemer of Bremen Overseas
Research and Development Association, 2002,
Hydraulic Ram Handbook.
[2] Mitchell Silver, 1977, A Guide To Manufacturing
And Installation.
[3] J.H.P.M. Tack and C . Verspuy, 1989, Hydraulic
Rams, Published by: CICAT/Facult of Civil
Engineering, by: TU Delft University of Technology,
The Netherlands.

Table A1. Hydram performance with constant head and variable of number of beat per minute
( Stroke Length = 0.0381m)

No. H h Qd Qp (m3/sec) Efficiency

(meter) (meter) (m /sec) (percent)

1 1.524 9.144 1.89×10-3 5.37×10-5 20

2 1.524 9.144 1.33×10-3 7.64×10-5 41

3 1.524 9.144 1.30×10-3 9.62×10-5 52

4 1.524 9.144 1.24× 10-3 1.05×10-5 60

Fig. A1. Characteristics curve of efficiency and pumping flow rate

Table A2. Hydram performance with constant head and variable of number of beat per minute
( Stroke Length = 0.0254m)

No. H h Qd Qp (m3/sec) Efficiency

(meter) (meter) (m /sec) (percent)

1 1.524 9.144 1.89×10-3 5.37×10-5 20

2 1.524 9.144 1.33×10-3 7.64×10-5 41

3 1.524 9.144 1.30×10-3 9.62×10-5 52

4 1.524 9.144 1.24× 10-3 1.05×10-5 60

Fig.A2. Characteristics curve of efficiency and pumping flow rate