ASCE has honored the writing team of Jane Alexander; Zhao Li, Ph.D.; Pedro Lee; Mark Davidson; and Huan-Feng Duan, Ph.D., M.ASCE, with the 2022 Karl Emil Hilgard Hydraulic Prize for the paper “Experimental Investigation of the Effects of Air Pocket Configuration on Fluid Transients in a Pipeline,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, December 2020.

The paper presents an experimental study on the transient transmission and reflection of stationary inline and offline air pockets along a pipe under zero base flow conditions. This research has numerous implications on the assessment of the reliability of water-supply piping systems around the world. The results can be used in transient detection operations with the aim at differentiating inline pockets from offline pockets that do not obstruct flow.

The authors’ paper received very supportive comments from the reviewers, who are themselves leaders in the specific field of the work. The paper is one of a series of contributions over the years detailing numerical and experimental advances on the topic; this subject is receiving substantial attention in the JHE in the recent years, given the importance of reliability of piping systems.

One of the reviewers, who is also an associate editor of JHE, stated, “This is a very interesting paper which extends the analysis of the transient effects of an air pocket. Even if this paper is part of a series of articles on air dynamics during transients, the presented results significantly contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field.” Further, another reviewer commented, “The understanding of the air pocket effect is very significant especially for those researchers who want to apply transients for the diagnosis of real pipe systems. Moreover, the paper is really clear and well organized; the writing part and the figures are well balanced.” Finally, the third reviewer mentioned this: “I have read this paper with interest and find the experiments and approach to be interesting, novel and generally easy to follow.” It is not common to find this level of agreement among reviewers, especially remarking on the novelty and importance of the paper, which was among those with the highest grades during the review period and an impressive number of downloads.

The Karl Emil Hilgard Hydraulic Prize is presented to the author or authors of the paper that is judged to be of superior merit in dealing with a problem of flowing water, either in theory or in practice.