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Forsch Ingenieurwes (2007) 71: 5967

DOI 10.1007/s10010-006-0045-1

ORIGINALARBEITEN ORIGINALS

Investigations on fluid friction of rotational disks


with and without modified outlet sections
in real centrifugal pump casings
A. Nemdili D. H. Hellmann

Received: 6 November 2006 / Published online: 16 January 2007


Springer-Verlag 2007

Abstract In order to examine the relation between the


height of disk friction losses and the geometry of disks
in real centrifugal pump housing disks without and with
modified outlet sections with various numbers, angles and
widths are investigated. Disks with modified outlet sections
were examined to approach a real impeller in real centrifugal pump housing. The outlet channels of this impeller are
formed out, the rest of channels is replaced by firm material.
Experimental results of disks without modified outlet sections show that the disk friction coefficient decreases with
the increase of the Reynolds number, but becomes smaller
with small values of the disk width and high values of the
gap. The inset of the volute has only small influence on disk
friction coefficient. Experiments on disk friction conducted
with and without the cover of the impeller shroud show that
the cover has more influence for high values of the axial gap.
Experimental results of disks with modified outlet sections
show that the disk friction coefficient dont changes with the
Reynolds number, but generally the number and the angle of
the outlet sections of disks have an important influence on
the disk friction coefficient.

A. Nemdili (u)
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering,
Technical University of Oran,
Oran, Algeria
e-mail: alnemdili@yahoo.com
D. H. Hellmann
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Institute of Fluid Flow and Positive Displacement Machinery,
University of Kaiserslautern,
Kaiserslautern, Germany
D. H. Hellmann
e-mail: hellmann@mv.uni-kl.de

Experimentelle Untersuchungen
der Leistungsermittlung durch Scheibenreibung
von Scheiben mit und ohne Umfangsausschnitten
in realen Kreiselpumpegehausen
Zusammenfassung Um den Zusammenhang zwischen der
Hohe der Scheibenreibungsverluste und der Geometrie der
Scheiben in realen Kreiselpumpengehause zu u berprufen,
werden Scheiben mit und ohne Umfangsausschnitten mit
verschiedener Zahl, Winkel und Breite nachgeforscht.
Scheiben mit Umfangsausschnitten wurden u berpruft, um
sich einem realen Laufrad im realen Kreiselpumpengehause
zu nahern. Die Austrittskanale dieses Laufrades werden
heraus gebildet, der Rest der Kanale wird durch festes Material ersetzt. Experimentelle Ergebnisse der Scheiben ohne
Umfangsausschnitten zeigen, dass der Scheibenreibungskoeffizient sinkt mit zunehmender Reynolds Zahl, aber wird
kleiner mit kleinen Werten der Scheibenbreite und hohen
Werten des Spaltes. Der Einsatz von Spiralen hat nur einen
geringen Einfluss auf den Scheibenreibungskoeffizient. Experimente auf den Scheibenreibungsverlusten, die mit und
ohne Radseitenraumabdeckung durchgefuhrt wurden, zeigen, dass die Radseitenraumabdeckung mehr Einfluss fur
hohe Werte des axialen Spaltes hat. Experimentelle Ergebnisse der Scheiben mit Umfangsausschnitten zeigen, dass
der Scheibenreibungskoeffizient sich nicht mit der Reynolds
Zahl a ndert, aber im Allgemeinen haben die Zahl und der
Winkel den Umfangsausschnitten der Scheiben einen wichtigen Einfluss auf den Scheibenreibungskoeffizienten.
List of symbols
b
D
g

width (m)
diameter of disk (m)
gravity (m/s2 )

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60

k
ks
M
R
Re
s
t
n

Forsch Ingenieurwes (2007) 71: 5967

angular velocity ratio


hydraulic roughness (m)
friction torque-moment (Nm)
radius of disk (m)
Reynolds number
axial gap between diskhousing (m)
radial gap between disk tip and housing (m),
temperature ( C)
rotational speed (RPM)
angular velocity (1/s)
mass density (kg/m3)
kinematic viscosity (m2 /s)

1 Introduction
Friction losses, which occur during the rotation of disks and
cylinders in closed casings, filled with fluid play in many
cases a decisive role. Their possible exact knowledge constitutes an important step in the calculation of pumps.
Disk friction losses caused by the fluid flow in the clearance between the impeller and the housing are expressed as
a power loss.
Disk friction losses in impeller side rooms of turbomachines have been treated in numerous publications. A number of empirical equations to predict the disk friction losses
were suggested by many researchers, but generally there is
not an exact mathematical model to predict these losses.
Most of the published work on disk friction is concerned
with plain thin disks rotating in close-fitting cylindrical casings and has been generally presented in terms of the nondimensional torque coefficient C M .
The purpose of the investigations reported here is to examine disks with different axial clearances between the
disk and the end walls of real centrifugal pump casings of
different width. Experiments in water are conducted with
modified geometry of disks at outlet by variation of the
Fig. 1 Notation for the
description of disk friction loss

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width, the number and the angle of the modified outlet


sections of the disk.
Other experiments on disk friction are conducted with
and without the cover of the impeller shroud in order to find
the influence of the radial clearance on the disk friction loss.

2 Previous works on disk friction in centrifugal pump


Friction losses, which occur during the rotation of disks and
cylinders in housing filled with liquid, play a decisive role
in all turbomachines. Therefore their exact knowledge is an
important assistance for the design of these machines. With
the rotation of the impeller it comes between the exterior
surfaces of the impeller and the liquid energy dissipation
due to the friction called disk friction loss (Fig. 1).
Rotating disks can be divided in two categories:
On the first case, free disks which rotate in a fluid mass of
infinite geometrical expansion. In these models the fluid
is applied axially against the disk, which corresponds to
the incident flow in a radial centrifugal pump and then
radial diverts. Further it is to mention that there is no angular momentum in the flow and the friction torque corresponds to the angular momentum of the boundary layer.
On the second case enclosed disks are used as centrifugal pump models, which rotate in a chamber of limited
geometrical expansion. In this case, a quantity of angular
momentum of the flow is maintained by the disk. It results that the friction moment of these enclosed disks is
smaller than free disks according to the case one.
When a rotating disk in housing filled with liquid (Fig. 1) is
observed, a wall shear stress is formed, which represents
the relationship between the viscous force and the surface
=

dFz

= u 2 = r 2 2 .
dA
2
2

(1)

Forsch Ingenieurwes (2007) 71: 5967

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And the resistance force is


dFz =

2 2

r dA = r 2 2 2 r dr .
2
2

(2)

If this force is multiplied by the lever arm r and the angular speed of the fluid, then the energy dissipation for the
friction surface becomes after integration
D/2
PD f =

D/2

r dFz =
d/2

(3)

Here d is negligible against D.


The Eq. 3 can be written as follows
(4)

When the cylindrical surfaces with widths of e/2 (Fig. 1)


are considered, the following equation can be written for the
fluid friction on the entire inactive surfaces
PD f = u 3 D (D + 5 e) .

MD f = 2

2 r 2 dr .

(6)

The disk friction coefficient C M is deduced for one side of


disk from

d/2

PD f = u 3 D2 .

R
0

r 4 3 dr

3 D5 .
160

numbers as well as for different axial gaps by laminar and


turbulent flows.
From the radial moment equilibrium for the rotor, the
moment M DF transferred by the both sides of the disk to the
flow is

(5)

Pantell [1] in 1949 has stated that from the braking action
of the rotating parts around the flowing medium in turbomachines high losses result. Thus, kinetic energy is dissipated
in heat energy, whereby an energy loss for the process results with a negative influence on the hydraulic efficiency.
Therefore, it is essential to deal with this phenomenon of
disk friction for the optimization of operation conditions of
centrifugal pumps.
For this numerous flow theoretical investigations were
accomplished, which revealed however only fundamental
influencing parameters, but not the exact analysis of the disk
friction phenomenon including the arising losses, due to the
complex three-dimensional flow process.
Daily and Nece [2] conducted their experiments on test
stand with a DC motor of approx. 22 kW and a speed range
from 125 to 2000 RPM. Water was used at first as test fluid.
This was brought in the center, i.e. at the drive shaft of the
test stand, and in other case at the housing outlet diameter.
The radial clearance of disks, the Reynolds number as well
as the flow rate for the centric and/or the peripheral flowing
were constant for each test series. For the tested geometry of
the disk, the flow form of the induced flow between disk and
housing depends only on the Reynolds number and the axial
clearance.
In principle four flow forms are possible for a constant
axial clearance with variable Reynolds number. These will
be classified according to the flow between rotating disk
and housing, and to the geometrical expansion of the flow
boundary layers regarding to the axial gap. The four flow
modes are complete detailed in [2] for different Reynolds

MD f =

1
C M 2 R5 .
2

(7)

This coefficient C M is function of the roughness, the


Reynolds number and the axial gap.
The best empirical expression of the disk friction coefficient was for the turbulent flow mode with separate boundary layers. In this mode, the flow in the gap between disk
and housing possess a turbulent characteristic. In addition
the fluid boundary layers of the rotating disk and the static
opposite wall are clearly separated from each other.
 1/10
0.0102 Rs
CM =
(8)
Re1/5
Re is the Reynolds number formed with the peripheral speed
u and the radius R of the rotor
Re =

uR
R2
=
.

(9)

Nixon and Cairney [3] suggested the following empirical


equations for the disk friction coefficient C M , one for hydraulically smooth disk, the other for a rough disk:
For hydraulically smooth regime, k S = k S,crit



s
t
C M = 0.075 Re0.2 1 + 0.75
+
.
(10)
R R
For rough regime, k S = k S,crit
1 + 0.75 Rt
CM = 

 0.25 2 .
3.8 log10 kRS 2.4 Rs

(11)

The critical value for k S is


k S,crit =

150
.
R

(12)

The parameter k S is described as effective hydraulic roughness and must be interpreted as roughness characteristic
value of the flow-guiding surfaces of a centrifugal pump.
Geis [4] accomplished investigations on hydraulic pumps,
where the efficiency is affected by a multiplicity of parameters, for example the Reynolds number, the design mode of
the disk and/or the impeller, the fluid flow in the gap and the
size of the axial gap between rotating disk and housing.

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62

The experiments realized by Poullikkas [5] are based on


the regime of turbulent flow with separate boundary layers,
which is the more likely to occur in centrifugal machinery.
According to Poullikkas, the empirical correlation of Daily
and Nece determined for the above mentioned flow form
best describes the disk friction losses of a real centrifugal
pump. Poullikkas studied the effect of the surface roughness
on the disk friction loss. He proposed a new approximate
solution using the principles of dimensional analysis based
on theoretical and experimental results. This takes into account the effect of the surface roughness and appears to be
convenient
 0.25  s 0.1
kS
CM =
R 0.2 .
(13)
R
Re
Gulich [6] presented procedures to calculate the friction
losses of rotating disks with various friction factor definitions obtained from different references. A procedure allowing the calculation of disk friction, fluid rotation, leakage
and axial thrust, was developed. This procedure agrees well

Fig. 2 Schematic diagram of the


test bench

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Forsch Ingenieurwes (2007) 71: 5967

with test data. The Author demonstrated that the main uncertainties in predicting disk friction losses are related to the
roughness and the inlet swirl.

3 Experimental procedure
The experimental installation for the identification of the
power demand of disk friction in water tests is shown in
Fig. 2. The torque is measured by means of a torque meter
mounted on (8) and the rotational speed by means of a stroboscope lamp in (9). The mechanical seal is cooled with
water, which is regulated by the valve (11). The ball valve
(14) is used to air escape of the trial equipment. The pump
(10) is filled with water by means of the shut-off slide (12).
The inlet and the outlet of the pump are direct connected
with socket (15 and 18), which at the same time support
the resistance thermometers (16 and 17). The temperature
difference between (16) and (17) is measured by means of
a precision temperature measurement device (21). The heat

Forsch Ingenieurwes (2007) 71: 5967

exchanger (22) provides cooling of fluid heated during the


tests.
Figure 3 gives details drawing of disk assembly. It is to
note that the axial gap s is the same at the front side and the
back side of the disk for a constant considered disk width
b2 . To all used disk widths, the radial clearance t is constant
(t = 1 mm).
To evaluate the disk friction, experiments are conducted
without the assembly of the disk and without filling the
pump with water for various values of the rotational speed,
in order to obtain the mechanical power PM due to bearingand mechanical seal friction.
The influence of the diffuser device will be investigated through the inset of three different volutes. The rotational speed will be varied by means of an electronic handadjustable speed control integrated in the motor.
Other experiments in water are conducted with modified geometry of disks at outlet by variation of the width
(axial clearance), the number (z = 4; 6 and 8), and the angle
(2 = 20 and 28 ) of the modified outlet sections of the
disk (Fig. 4).
Table 1 gives width of tested disks with the corresponding axial gap and surface roughness.

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Table 1 Geometrical
parameters of tested disks

Width
Axial gap Roughness
b2 (mm) s (mm) k S (m)
18
13.5
5.45
23
11
6.46
29
8
5.26
36
4.5
8.62

Experiments are conducted with water for following


parameters:
Axial clearance between disk and end wall of the casing
in term of s/R ratio of 0.004; 0.071; 0.098 and 0.12.
Tip clearance t/R ratio of 0.09.
Outlet volute width b4 (38; 48 and 54 mm).
Rotational speed n from 900 to 1800 RPM.
The state of zero delivery of the pump is simulated; the impeller is replaced by a disk, i.e. the complete blade passages
are filled up with material.
Power due to disk friction PDF is determined as follows
PDF = PS PM

(14)

Shaft power PS is calculated by means of the measured


torque M S and the rotational speed n:

Fig. 3 Detail drawing of disk


assembly a with the cover
b without the cover;

Fig. 4 Series of disk models

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Forsch Ingenieurwes (2007) 71: 5967

PS = M S

2n
60

(15)

To obtain a non-dimensional presentation of the results, the


non-dimensional torque coefficient C M according to the following equation is used
CM =

PDF
 2n 3
60

R5

(16)

is the density of fluid and R the radius of disk.


The density and the kinematic viscosity of test fluid
are evaluated according to Lunzmann [7]
(t) =

Cn t n ;

(t) = e

110
110+t 3,152

106

Fig. 5 Influence of the axial clearance on the disk friction coefficient

(17)

n=0

with:
C0 = 999.84 ;
C2 = 9.106 10

C1 = 6.7983 2 ;
3

C4 = 1.12676 106 ;

C3 = 1.005273 104 ;
C5 = 6.5918 109 .

It is to note that the temperature is measured when a stationary temperature level for each rotational speed and each
disk width appears. It takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
A main value of the temperature t between the inlet and the
outlet of the pump is used.
Non-dimensional torque coefficients C M for disks without modified outlet sections and C MU A for disks with modified outlet sections are evaluated using Eq. 16 and drawn
versus the Reynolds number Re.

4 Experimental results
4.1 Analysis of results obtained for disks
without modified outlet sections
Influence of the axial clearance on C M . Figures 5 and 6
show the experimental results obtained for various clearances and the volute with width of 54 mm.
It can be seen from the curves C M = f(Re) that:
For each volute, the curve corresponding to the high
value of the axial clearance s = 13.5 mm (disk width of
b2 = 18 mm) lies below others curves (Fig. 5).
The disk friction coefficient C M declines approximately
steady in the same form with increased values of axial
clearance s and increased values of Reynolds-number Re
(Fig. 6).
By increasing of the s/R ratio the disk friction coefficient
C M decreases.

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Fig. 6 Correction of the curves taking into account the factor (1 + 5


b2 /D2 )

Influence of the inset of the volute on C M . The influence of


the geometry of the volute is obtained in Fig. 7. The analysis of the curves shows that small differences between the
three curves for disk friction coefficient versus Reynoldsnumber appear. Therefore the inset of the volute has only
small influence on disk friction coefficient.
Influence of the radial clearance on C M . The radial clearance between the impeller and the casing was poor investigated. Consequently experiments on disk friction are conducted with and without the cover of the impeller shroud
according to Fig. 3 above.
The corresponding experimental results are shown
in Fig. 8
The analysis of the results shows that the cover, i.e. the
radial clearance t, has more influence for high values of the
axial gap s.
Additional experiments in water are conducted with
modified geometry of disks at outlet by variation of the

Forsch Ingenieurwes (2007) 71: 5967

Fig. 7 Influence of the width of the volute on the disk friction coefficient

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Fig. 9 Influence of b2 and s on C MUA

Fig. 10 Influence of z on C MUA


Fig. 8 Influence of the inset of the cover on the disk friction coefficient

width, the number and the angle of the modified outlet


sections of the disk.
4.2 Analysis of results obtained with disks
with modified outlet sections
Experiments are conducted with disks with modified outlet sections, by variation of the width (axial clearance),
the number of modified outlet sections (z = 4; 6 and 8)
and the angle of modified outlet sections (2 = 20
and 28 ).
Influence of the disk width b2 and the axial clearance s on
C MU A . The influence of the disk width, i.e. the axial clearance on the disk friction coefficient C MU A is shown in Fig. 9.
Examples of experimental results of disks with a number z
(4 and 8) and an angle 2 (20 and 28 ) of the modified
outlet sections running in volute of width b4 of 38 mm are
presented in this Fig. 9.

It can be seen from the curves that in all examined cases,


the disk friction coefficient becomes smaller with the decrease of the disk width b2 and the increase of the axial
clearance s.
Influence of the number of modified outlet sections z on
C MU A . The influence of the number of the modified outlet
sections of disks representing the impeller blade number z
on the disk friction C MU A is shown in Fig. 10. An example
of experimental results of disks with width b2 = 36 mm, an
angle 2 = 28 of the modified outlet sections running in
volute of width b4 = 48 mm is presented.
The analysis of the curves indicates that the disk friction
coefficient increases with the increase of the number of the
modified outlet sections of disks in all examined cases.
Influence of the angle of the modified outlet sections 2 on
C MU A . The influence of the angle of the modified outlet sections of disks representing the impeller blade outlet angle 2
on the disk friction C MU A is shown in Fig. 11.

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Forsch Ingenieurwes (2007) 71: 5967

The comparison of the results shows that the best approximate equation, which can predict with minimum error
the corrected experimental results by taking into account
the factor indicated in Eq. 5 and Fig. 6 above, seems to
be Eq. 13 given by Poullikkas [5]. However certain deviations are found, because the experiments are done using
a real centrifugal pump casing.
The correlation 8 given by Daily and Nece [2] appears to
be not accurate, because there was an error in the original
work about the factor 0.0102, which must be equal to 0.102
according to Poullikkas [5].

Fig. 11 Influence of 2 on C MUA

Examples of experimental results of disks with width of


36 mm, a number z of 8 of the modified outlet sections running in volute with width b4 of 48 mm are represented.
For all values of the axial clearance s and for every volute
with corresponding width b4 , the disk friction coefficient increases with the increase of the angle of the modified outlet
sections of disks.
4.3 Comparison of measurement results with correlations
In order to examine the quality of the introduced approximate equations by the different authors and to reveal
the effects of a real centrifugal pump geometry on the
qualitative and quantitative development of the disk friction losses, a comparison of the established experimental results with these approximate Eqs. 8, 10, 11 and 13
was conducted. An example of the results is shown in
the Fig. 12.

Fig. 12 Comparison of the


experimental results with those
using different correlations

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5 Conclusions
Friction losses, which occur during the rotation of disks and
cylinders in closed casings filled with fluid, play in many
cases a decisive role. Their possible exact knowledge constitutes an important step in the calculation of pumps.
Disk friction losses caused by the fluid flow in the clearance between the impeller and the housing are expressed as
a power loss. This power absorbed by disks rotating in a volute pump casing is measured.
Investigations with disks with and without modified outlet sections and different geometrical parameters in real centrifugal pump housing of different width are conducted.
The obtained results of disks without modified outlet sections show that:
The disk friction coefficient C M declines approximately
steady in the same form with increased values of axial
clearance s and increased values of Reynolds-number
Re.
By increasing the s/R ratio the disk friction coefficient
C M decreases.

Forsch Ingenieurwes (2007) 71: 5967

The inset of the volute has only small influence on disk


friction coefficient.
The radial clearance t has more influence for high values
of the axial gap s.
From the analysis of experiments of disks with modified
outlet sections, following conclusions can be drawn:
The disk friction coefficient C MU A doesnt change with
the Reynolds number.
The disk friction coefficient decreases for small values
of the disk width and high values of the axial
clearance.
The disk friction coefficient increases with the increase of
the number and the angle of the modified outlet sections
of disks.
The influence of geometrical parameters of disks (disk
width, axial clearance, number and angle of the modified
outlet sections) means that all these factors affect the acceleration of the developed return flow due to friction. The
return (back) flow depends on the number and the angle of
the modified outlet sections of disks and causes an increase
of the temperature of fluid by dissipation.
The comparison of the results with correlations shows
that the best approximate equation, which can predict with
minimum error the corrected experimental results, seems to
be, by chronological order of appearance, the equation given
by Poullikkas [5], in 1995.
Certain deviations are found because the experiments are
done using a real centrifugal pump casing, while the uncertainties encountered during measurements do not
exceed 5%.

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