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8.2: Head Loss

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    As water travels through objects including pipes, valves, and angle points, or goes up hill, there are losses due to the friction. These losses are called “friction” or head loss. There are published tables listing head loss factors (also termed C factor) for pipes of differing age and material, different types of valves and angle points, etc. However, in this text, we will focus on the theory more than the actual values.


    If water is traveling through 10,000 feet of pipe that has head loss of 3 feet, passes through 4 valves that have head loss of 1 foot for each valve, and passes through 2 angle points that have head loss of 0.5 feet each, calculate the total head loss.

    • Answer: 3 feet + 1 foot + 1 foot + 1 foot + 1 foot + 0.5 feet + 0.5 feet = 8 feet

    Summing all of the head loss values yields the answer.

    In distribution systems, water is pumped from lower elevations to higher elevations in order to supply customers with water in different areas termed zones. Water is also pumped out of the ground through groundwater wells and from treatment plants throughout the distribution system. As water makes its way through the distribution system head loss is realized (as mentioned in the previous paragraph) and pumps must also overcome the head loss from the elevation changes.

    The diagrams below help illustrate the differences between suction lift and suction head. Suction lift requires more work by the pump to move the water from point A to point B. Suction head provides some help (head pressure) to get water from point A to point B.

    Suction Lift and Suction Head

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)
    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\)


    Solve the following problems.

    8.2: Head Loss is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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