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4/5/2017 Cavitation in Restriction Orifices and Valves – Neutrium

f Neutrium


Restriction orifices and control valves are commonly used for pressure
reduction and measurement of flow rates, however for a liquid system,
excessive pressure drop across these items of equipment may result in
cavitation. This article describes methods of predicting cavitation across
restriction orifices and valves and proposes designs which may be used to
avoid cavitation.


Ci : Cavitation Index (often σ)
P1 : Upstream Pressure (absolute)
P2 : Downstream Pressure (absolute)

Pv : Fluid Vapour Pressure
ΔPp : Permanent Pressure Loss
ΔPr : Recoverable Pressure Loss­in­restriction­orifices/ 1/8

4/5/2017 Cavitation in Restriction Orifices and Valves – Neutrium 2. INTRODUCTION Cavitation occurs in liquid systems and is the result of rapid formation and collapse of vapour bubbles in the liquid. Cavitation may occur in a pressure reduction system even if the final system pressure is the above vapour pressure of the liquid. Cavitation must be avoided or controlled as the collapse of vapour bubbles releases significant energy at the location of the bubble collapse. which over time may result in significant damage to or failure of equipment such as pumps or valves. or where a large pressure reduction takes place. In the case of a simple concentric restriction orifice the fluid is accelerated as it passes through the orifice. Downstream of the Vena Contracta in the recovery zone. reaching the maximum velocity a short distance downstream of the orifice itself (the Vena Contracta). In this article we consider control valves and restriction orifices. This is because the intermediate pressures may fall below the final pressure. the fluid­in­restriction­orifices/ 2/8 . The consequences of this energy release are typically loud noise and pitting damage to contact surfaces. The increase in velocity comes at the expense of fluid pressure resulting in low pressures in the Vena Contracta. such as the pump suction. Cavitation occurs at a region where the pressure is lower than the fluid vapour pressure. which are commonly used as pressure reduction steps in a liquid system.

net/fluid_flow/cavitation­in­restriction­orifices/ 3/8 . system vibration and other external factors can all influence the whether cavitation occurs. https://neutrium.4/5/2017 Cavitation in Restriction Orifices and Valves – Neutrium decelerates converting excess kinetic energy into pressure energy as it slows. It is difficult or often impossible to measure the lowest pressure of the system. Due to the difficulty in predicting or measuring the systems lowest pressure equipment may be placed in a test rig where the cavitation through the device may be characterised in terms of a Cavitation Index. for example in the Vena Contracta. variability in flow stability. Additionally. Therefore the intermediate pressure in the Vena Contracta is lower than the final system pressure and thus the highest chance of experiencing cavitation as demonstrated in the figures below. particularly for complex designs of control valves.

For example in the case of a typical square- edged concentric orifice plate a Ci of 2 or above would be unlikely to cause cavitation. whereas values below 2 would indicate cavitation or incipient cavitation are likely. flow stability. The cavitation index is a heuristic method for analysis of restriction orifice plates and valves. The value of Ci above is compared against acceptable values for particular equipment and applications to indicate the likelihood of cavitation occurring.4/5/2017 Cavitation in Restriction Orifices and Valves – Neutrium 3. Some typical Ci values for restriction orifice and valves are presented in the table below: https://neutrium. PREDICTING CAVITATION AND THE CAVITATION INDEX The cavitation index is the ratio of the pressure differential between the equipment inlet pressure and the fluid vapour pressure to the pressure differential pressure across the­in­restriction­orifices/ 4/8 . and the acceptable Ci will depend on the several factors including. piping geometry near the orifice and the particulars of the orifice design. The equation for calculating the cavitation index is shown below: P1 − Pv Ci = P1 − P2 The above equation allows the cavitation index for a particular device and application to be determined.

1 . AVOIDING CAVITATION Avoiding cavitation for pressure reduction in liquid is achieved in one of three ways: multiple steps.4/5/2017 Cavitation in Restriction Orifices and Valves – Neutrium Ci Ci Restriction Type Typical Range Square-edged Concentric 2 1.5 - 4.1 Multiple Steps https://neutrium. costs.3 Butterfly Valve 4 >­in­restriction­orifices/ 5/8 . 4.8 . Alternatively designers may choose to accept some cavitation and use hardened trim control valves.7 Globe Valve with multi-stage anti-cavitation control trim .5 Ball Valve 3. tortuous paths.2 . such as turn-down. 1.1. or controlled cavitation. Each method has pros and cons.6 Multi-hole orifice plate .0 Globe Valve with anti-cavitation trim . minimum Ci achievable and physical size of equipment.1. 1.2 .2.7 .4 Globe Valve 2 1.

The restriction orifice then provides the back pressure on the control valve to prevent cavitation through the valve. A typical set up may include a control valve with a restriction orifice­in­restriction­orifices/ 6/8 . 4. particularly for orifice only arrangements.2 Controlled Cavitation Controlled cavitation arrangements generally work by allowing cavitation to occur and controlling the location of the cavitation. Disadvantages of this arrangement are a larger physical size and poor turn-down performance. The advantage of this arrangement is that it is relatively cheap.1 Multiple Steps Multiple step reductions may involve multiple restriction orifices.4/5/2017 Cavitation in Restriction Orifices and Valves – Neutrium 4. However the restriction orifice itself must also be correctly sized to prevent cavitation. This may be achieved via https://neutrium. particularly if multiple restriction orifices are used in series. control valves or combinations of both.

4. The disadvantages of this technology are plugging and cost.4 Hardened Trim Using hardened trim control valves does not attempt to avoid cavitation. 4. etc. removing the pressure dip of the vena contracta. The small pathways of the valve are susceptible to plugging unless the fluid is clean. allowing them to combine and cavitate away from the metal surfaces of the valves. with some manufacturers advertising values as low as 1.001. This allows for a single compact valve to perform large pressure reductions steps. to reduce the pressure of the fluid over a longer path and thereby reduce the likely hood of­in­restriction­orifices/ 7/8 .3 Tortuous Path Tortuous path control elements may use a variety of designs such as zig-zags. This may be suitable for situations where cavitation https://neutrium. but instead attempts to provide equipment better protected against the damage resulting from cavitation. The long path allows the pressure loss and recovery steps to be essentially simultaneous. Complicated manufacture and proprietary design mean these valves will also have a relatively high cost. bends. The disadvantages of this design are that narrow pathways are normally used and they will be susceptible to plugging. Additionally these valves are not suitable for use in systems with very low Ci values.4/5/2017 Cavitation in Restriction Orifices and Valves – Neutrium a control valve which directs jets of fluid at each other. Tortuous path arrangements can achieve very low Ci values.

2012     ARTICLE TAGS Cavitation Control Valve Flow Orifice Fluid Flow Pressure Drop Pressure Loss Restriction Orifice Vapour Pressure Vena Contracta © 2017 Native Dynamics | Contact | Copyright and Disclaimer https://neutrium. Valve Handbook 3rd Edition Article Created: August 17. Vol. Using this type of valve may be appropriate where fluid is fouling (preventing the use of tortuous path designs) and turn-down or space considerations prevent the use of a multiple stage pressure reduction. Furthermore the use of these control valves will not mitigate any other symptoms of cavitation such as noise and vibration. 5. Instrument Engineers' Handbook. Flow Measurement Engineering Handbook 2. 1: Process Measurement and Analysis 3. FURTHER READING 1. It is not usually suitable for sustained or violent cavitation as even hardened trim valves will be rapidly damaged in these situations.4/5/2017 Cavitation in Restriction Orifices and Valves – Neutrium is infrequent or very­in­restriction­orifices/ 8/8 .