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Introduction to Cavitation

Introduction to Cavitation

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htm Introduction to Cavitation Cavitation is defined as the formation of the vapor phase in a liquid. The term cavitation can imply anything from the initial formation of bubbles (inception) to large-scale, attached cavities (supercavitation). The formation of individual bubbles and subsequent development of attached cavities, bubble clouds, etc., is directly related to reductions in pressure to some critical value, which in turn is associated with dynamical effects, either in a flowing liquid or in an acoustical field. Any device handling liquids is subject to cavitation. Cavitation can affect the performance of turbomachinery resulting in a drop in head and efficiency of pumps and decreased power output and efficiency of hydroturbines. The thrust of propulsion systems can be cavitation limited and the accuracy of fluid meters can be degraded by the process. Noise and vibration occur in many applications. In addition to the deleterious effects of reduced performance, noise and vibration, there is the possibility of cavitation damage. The extent of the damage can range from a relatively minor amount of pitting after years of service to catastrophic failure in a relatively short period of time. Cavitation Scaling The fundamental parameter in the description of cavitation is the cavitation index that is a special form of the Euler Number:

wherein p0 and U0 are a characteristic pressure and velocity, respectively, is the density, and pv is the vapor pressure of the liquid. Various hydrodynamic parameters such as lift and drag coefficient, torque coefficient, and efficiency, are assumed to be unique functions of when there is correct geometric similitude between the model and prototype. Generally speaking, these parameters are independent of above a certain critical value of . This critical value is often referred to as the incipient cavitation number, i. It should be emphasized, however, that the point where there is a measurable difference in performance is not the same value of where cavitation can be first detected visually or acoustically. Thoma's Sigma is another version of the cavitation number that is used in turbomachinery tests. It is defined by the pump or turbine head:

experimental data suggest that the rms pressure fluctuations are proportional to the shear stress coefficient: Shear stress coefficient is defined as . and damage TC. vibration. Cavitation is normally assumed to occur when the minimum pressure. is very important in free shear flows and boundary layers adjacent to roughened walls [Arndt. The second term. cavitation effects such as performance degradation. 1995]. pm in a flow is equal to the vapor pressure. 1981. which is proportional to the intensity of pressure fluctuations due to turbulence. the incipient value of is normally determined by setting pvm: where Cpm is the minimum pressure coefficient defined in the normal manner. Other definitions of the Cavitation Inception is also used in pump and turbine testing. Hence a more general form of the inception cavitation index is given by where the second and third terms on the right-hand side of Equation 4 incorporate the effects of unsteadiness and bubble dynamics respectively.where Hsv is the net positive suction head and H is the total head under which a given machine is operating. noise. We can think of y y i as a performance boundary such that > i. As shown in Figure 1. This is generally an over-simplification since cavitation inception is governed by both the single phase flow characteristics (including turbulence) and the critical pressure. no cavitation effects < i. For calculations of steady flow over a streamlined body. T and are qualitatively equivalent. pc.

. It is generally accepted that cavitation inception occurs as a consequence of the rapid or explosive growth of small bubbles or nuclei that have become unstable due to a change in ambient pressure. This leads to significant discrepancies in the measured value of i as shown in Figure 2. This factor is carefully monitored in our testing.or Figure 1. These nuclei can be either imbedded in the flow or find their origins in small cracks or crevices at the bounding surfaces of the flow. form the annual Review of Fluid Mechanics. 1981) With permission. Measured nuclei size distributions vary greatly in various facilities. i. Volume 13. The amount of tension that can be supported in a given flow is sometimes referred to as the water quality. . Cavitation inception in turbulent shear flows. (Arndt. (pv . by Annual Reviews Inc.pc) that can be an important factor in cavitation testing. The tension that a liquid can sustain before cavitating depends on the size of nuclei in the negative. copyright 1981. the flow is locally in tension. T is defined as the tensile strength of the liquid.e.

for gaseous cavitation an upper limit on i is given by (Holl. In this case bubble growth is due to diffusion of dissolved gas across the bubble wall. 1960): is Henry's constant and Cg is the concentration of dissolved gas. Cavitation inception index measured for the same body in different facilities. Thus Since the lift coefficient of hydrofoils scales with -Cpm. when concentration is expressed in a mole/mole basis. This is another factor that is carefully monitored in our research. Effects of Cavitation Once cavitation occurs. since the size and number of nuclei in the flow are related to the concentration of dissolved gas. water is saturated at one atmosphere when the concentration is approximately 15 ppm. cavitation can also occur when the lowest pressure in the flow is substantially higher than vapor pressure. Under certain circumstances. Henry's constant is a function of the type of gas in solution and the water temperature. this parameter will decrease with . In other words. This can occur when nuclei are subjected to pressures below the saturation pressure for a relatively long period of time. As a rule of thumb is about 6700 Pa/ppm for air.Figure 2. a given flow field is significantly modified because the lowest pressure in the flow is vapor pressure. Thus. Influence of Dissolved Gas Non-condensible gas in solution can also play a role in vaporous cavitation.

there is a possibility of hydroelastic vibration if a closer match between forcing frequency and a structural mode of vibration occurs. Because cavitation modifies the forcing frequency due to flow over a body.decreasing as shown in Figure 3. Also shown is variation in unsteady lift and noise over the same range of cavitation number tested. Here the Strouhal number is normalized with respect to its non-cavitating value St. Variation in lift coefficient on an NACA 0015 hydrofoil. while the cavitation number is normalized with respect to its incipient value (denoted as i). The effect of cavitation on lift is directly related to the observed degradation of performance of turbomachinery due to cavitation. An example is shown in Figure 4. The values of St and i are a function of wedge angle. Cavitation can also influence the vortex dynamics of a flow in subtle ways. which indicates the dependence of the frequency of vortex shedding behind wedges on the cavitation index [Young and Holl 1966]. . Figure 3.

copyright 1981. As is lowered below i. However. 1966) With permission. detaches. high speed photography reveals a more complex process.Figure 4. (Young and Holl. Typically. by Annual Reviews Inc. from the Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics. a cavity forms. Volume 13. a sheet of cavitation develops on submerged bodies as shown in Figure 5 which is an example of cavitation on a hydrofoil. Strouhal number for vortex shedding as a function of normalized cavitation number. Even in "steady' flow cavitation is basically a non-steady phenomenon. . To the naked eye the extent of this cavitation over the surface of the body appears to be stable. fills with water.

Arndt and Dr. View of sheet and cloud cavitation on a NACA 4215 M hydrofoil. In practical problems. Photo made in the Obernach. 1964] had already indicated the damage potential of a collapsing cloud of bubbles. E. Recent numerical techniques permit detailed examination of the collapse of individual bubbles [Blake and Gibson 1987]. Because of mathematical difficulties this problem has not been studied in detail until recently [Prosperetti et al 1993]. 1917]. This work has been complemented by a wide variety of experimental studies [Lauterborn and Bolle 1975. Germany water tunnel. the frequency can be calculated to be approximately [Arndt et al. A. All of these studies indicate that the final stages of collapse result in the formation of a microjet that can be highly erosive. R. Flow is from right to left. Vogel et al 1989]. Cavitation Damage The physics of cavitation damage is a complex problem. the collective collapse of a cloud of bubbles is an important mechanism.Figure 5. Recent work supports this contention [Wang . Under these conditions. courtesy of Prof. Note the cavitating vortices at the trailing edge of cloud. At the heart of the problem is the impulsive pressures created by collapsing bubbles [Rayleigh. A. Tomita and Shima 1986. Earlier work [Wijngaarden. Keller In many situations this process is periodic. The collapse pressure is estimated to be greater than 1500 atmospheres. 1995]: where LC is the length of the cavity. Hansson and Mørch [1980] suggested an energy-transfer model of concerted collapse of clusters of cavities. P.

Many different forms of Se have been tried. Bourdon et al 1990. Partial Cavitation and its Relation to Erosion A particularly important form of cavitation from a technical point of view is attached cavitation on lifting surfaces. 1990]. Very little is known about the correlation between cavitation damage and the properties of a given flow field. Since the velocity in turbomachinery passages is proportional to the square root of head. which is adapted from our current hydrofoil studies. Hence. it is important to have in mind that cavitation erosion will scale with a high power of velocity at a given cavitation number and that cavitation erosion does not necessarily increase with a decrease in the cavitation index. the erosive intensity of a given flow field can be quantified in terms of depth of penetration per unit time and the strength Se of the material being eroded. Le et al 1993a. Service life for a harder material can then be predicted from the ratio of the strengths of the hard and soft material. the variety in the cavitation patterns is dominated by the interrelationship between the cavitation and the boundary layer characteristics at various angles of attack. (See Figure 6) Laboratory experimentation indicates that a variety of cavitating flow patterns are possible within the sigma-angle of attack ( . this also implies that the magnitude of the erosion problem is more severe in high-head machinery. 1977]. 1995]. The intensity I is a function of a given flow field. Abbot et al 1993. Although various materials have different rates of weight loss when subjected to the same cavitating flow. This is the focus of our current hydrofoil studies. Although the basic physics of the damage process in turbomachinery are complex. 1993b]. the essential features can be simulated by experiments with partially cavitating hydrofoils in a water tunnel [Avellan et al 1988. Thiruvengadam [1971] has analyzed a great deal of erosion data and has concluded that. this takes the form of a sheet terminated at the trailing edge by a highly dynamic form of cloud cavitation. for engineering purposes.6. which is basically a weighted value of the area under a stress-strain curve [Arndt. It has also been observed that the cavitation pitting rate is measurably reduced with an increased concentration of gas [Stinebring et al. At typical angles of attack. 1971]. An important factor is that the pitting rate scales with a very high power of velocity (typically in the neighborhood of 6). In this particular example. However. Vortex cavitation is often observed in the cloud that is caused by vorticity shed into the flow field. [Arndt et al. . a simplified theory allows for rapid determination of I for a given flow by measuring penetration per unit time for a soft material in the laboratory.and Brennen. These cavitating micro-structures are highly energetic and are responsible for significant levels of noise and erosion.) plane. The most used value appears to be ultimate strength. This is illustrated in Fig.1991. a normalized erosion rate versus time characteristic is often similar for a wide range of materials [Thiruvengadam. 1994].

1986. 1993. Although these details cannot be modeled with current numerical codes.b]. An example of supercavitation behind a sharp edged disk is shown in Figure 7. 1988]. This requirement is still far from being realized at the present time. Developed Cavitation When a vapor or gas filled cavity is very long in comparison to the body dimensions. as pointed out by Kubota et al. Lemmonier and Rowe. cavitating flows must be modeled over a given performance envelope in the . Facilities and Techniques . Avellan et al . For example.In spite of many excellent studies. 1993a. it is well known that the modeling of partial. Ito. 1980. This creates a modulation of the trailing cloud cavitation that is highly erosive [Arndt et al. Le et al . From a design point of view. the actual structure of this type of cavitation is still not understood. A detailed discussion of supercavitation can be found in Knapp et al [1979]. partial cavity models cannot explain the break-up of sheet cavitation at the trailing edge into detached cavitation clouds. due to the inverse character of the flow representation in the vicinity of the cavity and its wake [Furuya. also currently underway at SAFL. The engineering importance of supercavitation relates especially to the design of very high speed hydrofoil vessels as well as supercavitating propellers for very high speed watercraft and low-head pumps for use as supercavitating inducers for rocket pumps and other applications that require the pumping of highly volatile liquids. Within a certain envelope of and the process is also periodic [Franc and Michel. Abbot et al.plane in order to accurately predict performance at off. it is classified as a supercavity. even for steady free stream conditions. Supercavitation on a sharped edged disk.design conditions and to assess the potential for noise and erosion. The process is inherently unsteady. Flow is from right to left. the shape and dimensions of vapor filled and ventilated cavities (sustained by air injection) are the same when correlated with the cavitation number based on cavity pressure. 1988]. Hydrofoil experiments. Professor Song and his colleagues at the SAFL are making good progress in this direction. Generally speaking. 1983. are providing insight for the development of robust numerical models. Figure 7. In addition. 1985. 1992. Yamaguchi and Kato. 1995. steady cavities is not simple.

Water Tunnels De-pressurized flumes De-pressurized towing tanks Pump and Turbine Test Loops Cavitation Erosion Test Apparatus Important features that are necessary for cavitation tests include accurate. Typical laboratory facilities include: 1. 2. measurement equipment for velocity. dissolved gas content and nuclei content and control. and photographic and video equipment. stable. The exception to this is the recent development of cavitation monitoring techniques for hydroturbines(1). The latest in video equipment is capable of framing rates as high as 40. Pump and Turbine Test Loops Pump and turbine test loops are similar in concept to water tunnels. temperature. For this reason most laboratories equipped with model turbine test stands are owned by manufacturers. Because of the unsteady nature of cavitation and the extremely rapid physical processes that occur during bubble collapse and erosion. Model testing is an important element in the design and development phases of turbine manufacture. many laboratories are equipped with highly specialized high speed video and photographic cameras that are capable of very high framing rates.500 fps. such as SAFL (see Figure 8). 4. 3. pressure. Figure 8. However. there are some independent laboratories. 5.Most cavitation observations and measurements are made in the laboratory. and independent control of pressure and velocity. SAFL water tunnel . where test loops are available for cavitation testing and relative performance evaluations between competing manufacturers.

usually positioned well below the elevation of the model to ensure cavitation-free performance of the pump while performing cavitation testing with the turbine model.B. One important advantage of a recirculating turbine test loop is that cavitation testing can be done over a wide range of cavitation indices at constant head and flow.A.A. eds. 1993. Gulliver and R. to accomplish in the field. References P. As already mention new methods are being developed for measuring erosion rate in the field. Sept. Because of the relatively lengthy periods required to observe measurable erosion in the field. An oscillating horn produces a periodic pressure field that induces the periodic growth and collapse of a cloud of cavitation bubbles. Paul. Abbot. .A. Symp. (see also Proc.). and S. 1995.E.All test loops perform basically the same function. which is difficult. Fluids Engineering. and T. McGraw-Hill Inc. A model turbine is driven by high-pressure water from a head tank and discharges into a tail tank. 1986]. The standard frequency of operation is 20 KHz which produces a very high erosion rate due to the rapid recycling of the cavitation process. R. E. on Bubble Noise and Cavitation Erosion in Fluid Systems. Usually erosion rate is inferred from the measurement of noise or vibration. many different techniques have been developed in the laboratory to achieve significant time compression. This is the technique used at SAFL.E. "Hydraulic Turbines" Chapt. 13. Arndt.E. The flow is recirculated by a pump.E. R. Rev. if not impossible. For this reason they have been typically used for screening tests of different types of materials.R. R. Arndt. Many of the devices used have little relationship to actual field conditions. Vol. 1995] The most commonly used device is the ASTM vibratory apparatus.. C. ASME FED Vol 176. 4 in Hydropower Engineering Handbook (J. Cavitation Erosion Test Facilities In many cases the service life of equipment and hydraulic structures subject to cavitation erosion can range from months to years. Arndt. Symp.. R. Ann. "Preliminary Investigation of the Use of Air Injection to Mitigate Cavitation Erosion" J. Ellis. "Modulation Noise Analysis of Cavitating Hydrofoils" Proc. ASME FED Vol 176. Arndt. 1981. on Bubble Noise and Cavitation Erosion in Fluid Systems. The time compression factor achieved in accelerated erosion tests is as high as 105 [Durrer. S. Arndt. A. "Cavitation in Fluid Machinery and Hydraulic Structures". 1990. Shanahan.A. 1993). Fluid Mech.A. Recent research at SAFL is aimed at relating screening tests to predictions of service life in various applications [Arndt et al. A sample placed at the tip of the horn or immediately below it is easily eroded.

"Non-linear Theory for Partially Cavitating Cascade Flows" Proc. Arndt. S. Intl.A. on Naval Hydrodynamics. . 1987. Sendai. and H.. Farhat. J. ASME-JSME Cavitation '91 Symp. and K. Fluid Mech. "Calculation of Partially Cavitating Thick Hydrofoil and Examination of a Flow Model at Cavity Termination" Proc. Fluid Mech. 1995. 15th IAHR Symp. Franc. F. Furuya. Tokyo. H.. W. Kubota. 1980... 240. 116. 1980. "A New Modeling of Cavitating Flows: A Numerical Study of Unsteady Cavitation on a hydrofoil section" J. Farhat.. on Cavitation. Proc. "The Dynamics of Cavity Clusters in Ultrasonic (Vibratory) Cavitation Erosion". 1960. Ann." Proc.A. and Michel.. Kluwer. M. Chapt. R. FED-Vol. Blake. 19.R. Kato. Mørch. 1988.G.R. 63-90. P. 17. 3. Yamaguchi. September. J. Durrer. 1985. Daily.. in Fluid Vortices. 1986.E. "Cavitation Erosion and Fluid Mechanics" Sulzer Technical Review. "Cavitation Bubbles Near Boundaries". J. F. I. and M. Avellan. Phys. "Vibratory Characteristics of Erosive Cavitation Vortices Downstream of a Fixed Leading Edge Cavity. 51(19). The Hague. Appl. Japan. Ryhming. " Generation Mechanism and Dynamics of Cavitation Vortices Downstream of a Fixed Leading Edge Cavity" Proc. "Cavitation Erosion Power". 1992. Belgrade. Bourdon. Avellan. University of Iowa Press A. Avellan. 1990.. J. Hansson. Green..". Gibson. Ito. "Attached Cavitation and the Boundary Layer: Experimental and Numerical Treatment" J. Vol. 1986.. P. pp 55-61. and I. J. Basic Eng. J. 1991. and D. 82:941946. O. Rev. F. P. Knapp. IAHR 10th Symp. "An Effect of Air Content on the Occurrence of Cavitation. ed.T.. Yugoslavia. Fluid Mech. and Hammitt.C. H. "Vortex Cavitation. pp 59-96. R. 17th ONR Symp. Simoneau. Symp. Holl. September.W. The Netherlands. 154.P. J. Cavitation. Dupont. F. Japan. Dupont." J. and M.

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