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What is the difference between on-seating and off-seating head in penstock?

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A penstock is commonly used to control the flow and water level and for isolation of fluid. It mainly consists of a sliding door which is controlled by mechanical spindle moving through a hole in a frame built onto a structure. Penstock is the term used in UK while sluice gate is more commonly adopted outside UK. In the design of penstock, it is important to identify if it would take on-seating head or off-seating head.

On-seating head refers to the water pressure forcing the penstock into the wall while off-seating head refers to the water pressure forcing the penstock out of the wall as shown below.

on-seating and off-seating head in penstock

This question is taken from book named – A Closer Look at Prevailing Civil Engineering Practice – What, Why and How by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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