Effect of Leak Geometry on Water Characteristics Inside Pipes

Sajid Ali*, Muhammad A. Hawwa, Uthman Baroudi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Water leaks from pipelines have large economic and ecological impacts. Minimizing water loss from supply pipelines has favorable effects on the environment as well as on energy consumption. This paper aims to understand the effect of the geometry of a leaking crack in a pipe wall by examining fluid flow characteristics, namely pressure and velocity distributions, inside the pipe. Practical observations show that the cause of wall rupture influences the geometry of cracks formed in a pipe wall, impacting aspects such as excessive pressure, corrosion. Knowledge of fluid flow characteristics could help in detecting and identifying leak characteristics at an early stage and assist in improving the energy and resource efficiency of water supply services. An experimental setup is developed to detect water leakage in a pipe when the leak is at an early stage and is difficult to detect by visual inspection. A computational fluid dynamic (CFD) model is developed using the COMSOL software. A comprehensive analysis of the effect of leak geometry on pressure and velocity distributions along the pipe is carried out while considering factors such as different pipe sizes, leak geometries, and steady-state flow conditions. It is observed that both velocity and pressure magnitudes rapidly fluctuate in the vicinity of leaks. Leaking cracks with slot, circle, and square shapes are found to generate distinguishing pressure and velocity distributions along the pipe. Thus, the geometry of the leaking crack and potentially its root cause(s) could be predicted by measuring velocity and pressure distributions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5224
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: The authors would like to acknowledge and appreciate the support provided by the Deanship of Scientific Research (DSR) at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) for conducting this research.

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) through King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) via Project No. 12-ELE2381-04) as part of the National Science, Technology and Innovation Plan.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland..


  • Acoustic sensing
  • Crack geometry
  • Leak detection
  • Numerical analysis
  • Water pipeline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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