Lessons from the Failure of a Needle Valve

by Larry K. Lambert, Salt River Project, Phoenix, AZ, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Steel Structures


In 1984 a manually operated, hydraulically actuated 66-inch needle valve ruptured due to water hammer. The circumstances that caused the failure were reconstructed through extensive analysis and investigation. The 66-inch (167. 6 cm. ) needle valve was installed in 1937, when Bartlett Dam was built. The valves were normally used 9 months each year to regulate releases to meet water orders. Water orders were adjusted one or more times each day. The failure investigation emphasizes the importance of integrating the operation and maintenance of hydraulic facilities with design. The design and operation resulted in events that caused water hammer and valve failure.

Subject Headings: Failure analysis | Valves | Forensic engineering | Water hammer | Water supply systems | Water management | Dam failures | Dams

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