By Dr. Don J. Wood and Dr. Srinivasa Lingireddy
Back in the 1960's pipe system transient analysis code using a technique developed by Dr. Wood was written to handle propellant flow transients for NASA. This technique, initially referred as the Wave Plan Method, was further developed and around 1984 the first commercial software (SURGE1) was released for general use. Since then several thousand software packages have been supplied to engineers worldwide and this software has been applied extensively, undergone numerous QA procedures (nuclear facilities) and, in general, been exhaustively tested and verified.
It has been suggested that the Wave Characteristic Method (WCM), a.k.a. Wave Plan Method, is less accurate than the original Method of Characteristics (MOC) for transient pipe flow analysis. This is a totally false representation. The reality is that the MOC is a very inefficient technique for pipeline transient analysis. Handling larger piping systems will often be impossible using the MOC or will take hours compared to minutes to attain a solution.