Novel modulated flow, self configuring, siphonic roof drainage system

D. P. Campbell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Siphonic roof drainage systems are an efficient method of removing rainwater rapidly from roofs. Siphonic roof drainage systems are designed to run full-bore, resulting in sub-atmospheric system pressures, higher driving heads and higher system flow velocities. Hence, siphonic roof drainage systems normally require far fewer downpipes, and the depressurised conditions also mean that much of the collection pipework can be routed at high level, thus reducing the extent of any underground pipework. But, they work properly at only one roof run-off rate and therefore suffer from sizing and operational problems that limit their performance. Climate change is creating situations where normal ranges of rainfall intensity are being frequently exceeded, and this may have an impact on the performance of siphonic roof drainage systems. A multiple parallel pipe siphonic roof drainage system appears to offer benefits and avoids sizing problems associated with current siphonic roof drainage systems. A movable cap covering the inlet to a small bank of parallel pipes has the potential to avoid noise associated with making and breaking siphonic action through flow modulation. Laboratory scale tests demonstrate the basic feasibility of the multiple parallel pipe system and indicate that handover of flow between pipes occurs smoothly and that the flow modulation cap functions reliably. This technology includes moving parts and smaller diameters (19 mm ID) than are currently accepted (32 mm ID) in the British Standards and product development will be required.

Practical application: Original research detailing an innovative development of a multi-pipe siphonic roof drainage system. This provides a wide design flow rate range and flow modulation caps reduce noise significantly by avoiding priming failure. Potentially extends the technique to a smaller building size than with current siphonic systems and offers climate change resilience potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-361
Number of pages13
JournalBuilding Services Engineering Research and Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • Siphonic roof drainage
  • multiple pipe
  • flow modulation
  • roof runoff
  • climate change


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