From the HBD Archive
From: fjdobner@ihlpb.att.com
Subject: Sparge Water Level
Date: 1992-05-18 19:09:00 GMT

Darren,

In response to your unrequited call for help in sparging, I have this answer.
Borrowing from the discipline of Geotechnical Engineering of which I studied
ardently between beers at U of I at Chanpaign-Urbana, I have the following
orientation towards level of water during THE SPARGE. Treating grain as soil,
should the water level fall below the level of the grain, the interparticular
stress (pressure) in the grain is increased which in turn would tend to
compress the grain restricting the flow through the grain. Should the water
level be above the level of the grain, you are reducing the interparticular
stress (actually called effective stress) and thus you increase the flow.
When I speak of particles, I am of course referring to the grain.

Should the grain become compressed ever during sparging, I find that unlike
soil, grain does not rebound (snap back) or become un-compacted. Therefore do
not let the water level go below the grain at any time during sparging. Thus in
a long-winded response to your question, I recommend keeping the water level
above the grain bed level. This is not only a theoretical response it also a
experienced-based one.

I hope this gives you someplace from which to work.

Frank Dobner


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