Short Overview of Early Developments of the Hardy Cross Type Methods for Computation of Flow Distribution in Pipe Networks
Hardy Cross originally proposed a method for analysis of flow in networks of conduits or conductors in 1936. His method was the first really useful engineering method in the field of pipe network calculation. Only electrical analogs of hydraulic networks were used before the Hardy Cross method. A problem with flow resistance versus electrical resistance makes these electrical analog methods obsolete. The method by Hardy Cross is taught extensively at faculties, and it remains an important tool for the analysis of looped pipe systems. Engineers today mostly use a modified Hardy Cross method that considers the whole looped network of pipes simultaneously (use of these methods without computers is practically impossible). A method from a Russian practice published during the 1930s, which is similar to the Hardy Cross method, is described, too. Some notes from the work of Hardy Cross are also presented. Finally, an improved version of the Hardy Cross method, which significantly reduces the number of iterations, is presented and discussed. We also tested multi-point iterative methods, which can be used as a substitution for the Newton–Raphson approach used by Hardy Cross, but in this case this approach did not reduce the number of iterations. Although many new models have been developed since the time of Hardy Cross, the main purpose of this paper is to illustrate the very beginning of modeling of gas and water pipe networks and ventilation systems. As a novelty, a new multi-point iterative solver is introduced and compared with the standard Newton–Raphson iterative method.