How do laminar jet fountains work?
Water Scenes favourite water feature product has to be the laminar jet (jumping jet) and it’s becoming more common in the water feature, fountain and swimming pool scene. There are three main variations of the nozzle that you will need to consider when designing with laminar technology as I will explain below.
What is a laminar jet?
More commonly known in the world of fluid dynamics as laminar flow. A laminar jet is a type of fountain head nozzle designed to give a constant clear glass like jet of water. Laminar nozzles work by straightening turbulent water molecules thus improving transparency of the jet. It’s achieved by reducing the waters velocity whilst straightening the flow at the same time to give it the smooth laminar appearance. If you were to attach a jet nozzle to a fountain pump without the use of laminar technology the jet would appear rough and unshapely much like the flow produced by a garden hose.
Step 1:Turbulent water caused by pumping or water pressure enters the laminar jet chamber unit. The unit is much wider than the pipe feeding it. This reduces the speed and velocity to a point but the water still retains a certain amount of turbulence.
Step 2:To further combat this the laminar unit contains a thick mesh or lots of smaller straight pipes much like a box of drinking straws. Forcing the water through the many smaller pipes causes the water molecules to flow in a single direction and restricts side way movement.
Step 3: It’s at this point the water is ready to be converted to a laminar jet flow. Laminar nozzles generally range from 5mm to 20mm wide but can be bigger. The laminar jet design requires the nozzle to be as frictionless and smooth as possible. The nozzles task is to limit caused turbulence and ensure a smooth finish and direction to the outside wall of the jet stream.
Effects of laminar flow on water as mentioned give it a clear glass like finish but what is less known about are the effects on the jets flow and how it behaves once it is in a laminar state. It’s a lot more resistant to wind for a start and creates far less impact splash compared to a standard pump and nozzle. If the two were set side by side and their parabolas equally aimed at a hard surface the difference would be obvious. The same applies if it was aimed at water, less splash and noise on impact.
Laminar jets were originally invented and developed in the US. For information on our Fountain Water Features and services
Laminar jet features
The last two components required to create jumping jets or dancing water are the cutter mechanism and RGB or RGBW lights.
Commercial grade laminar jets have a device fitted called a cutter, this is a fast moving blade that instantly diverts and cuts the flow of water. This action creates the jumping jet effect as the water travels in one direction it appears to break and then disappear.
The Laminar jet and cutter on their own can create some pretty effective shows and fountain installations but to really get the most from them using LED lights will take things to a whole new level.
This again is down to the smooth transparent flow of the water. It allows the light particles to bounce off the jet wall and travel in the direction of flow. Depending on the supplier the laminar jets are fitted with either fibber optics or LED lighting inside the laminar jet. Various neon tones can be used (16 million) and they only illuminate the laminar jet stream itself which can be pulsed to give a dancing effect. Laminar jets can be controlled using DMX technology on a computer or pre programmed DMX controller box.
DMX technology is used in stage lighting and is a kind of a volume/dimmer and on/off switch that is controlled via a computer program.
The final part of laminar jet technology is the introduction of the DMX pumps. Previously these pumps were unavailable or too expensive for the general public in the UK. Laminar jet pumps are basically pumps controlled by the DMX technology which gives you the power to increase or decrease the volume of water flowing through the laminar jet.
Laminar jets are available for purchase in the UK and Water Scenes are ready to design water features and swimming pools that appear to dance and jump. These fountain jets are not appropriate for fish pond use as they can be prone to blockages.
The future of laminar jet technology is definitely bright so if you’re looking for the latest in water feature technology with the wow factor contact Water Scenes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Where can laminar jet technology go now?
Watch this space.
By Neil Murkitt