Water hammer is defined as a sudden increase in pipe pressure, which results in pressure waves that travel along the pipe at sonic velocities. In the wake of the pressure wave, dynamic stresses are created in the pipe wall, which contribute to pipe failures. A finite element analysis, computer program was used to determine the three dimensional dynamic stresses which result from pipe wall vibration at a distance from the end of a pipe, during a water hammer event. The analysis was used to model a moving shock wave in a pipe, using a step pressure wave. Both aluminum and steel were modeled for an 8 NPS pipe, using Abaqus®. For either material, the maximum stress was seen to be equal when damping was neglected. At the time the maximum stress occurred, the hoop stress was equivalent to twice the stress that would be expected if an equivalent static stress was applied to the inner wall of the pipe. At the same time, the radial stress was limited to the magnitude of the applied pressure, and the axial stress was equal to zero.

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