Abstract

Swirling flow in pump sump intake has been the subject of discussion for the past decades due to the detrimental effects brought about by its existence. Among the effects of swirling flow are reduced pump efficiency, cavitation, excessive vibration and load imbalance at the pump impeller which are caused by hydraulic problems associated to swirling flow such as swirls and vortices. One of the remedial measures for preventing such occasion is by keeping the pump inlet submerged above a defined value known as the minimum inlet submergence. It is the minimum submergence required to reduce the probability of the occurrence of free surface vortices. However, this requirement may not be fulfilled in some situations due to on site conditions or operational restrictions. In this paper, an experimental study was conducted to investigate the characteristics of swirl angle in the pump intake flow when the pump inlet is submerged near the value of minimum inlet submergence. The ratio of pump submergence to the minimum submergence was varied between 0.8 to 1.2 with constant inlet Froude Number which referred to as submergence ratio. The strength of the swirl in the intake flow was determined by measuring the swirl angle which was accomplished using a swirl meter attached in the suction pipe. Measurements using Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV) was performed to capture the velocity profile in the intake sump. The swirl angle distribution across the range of submergence ratios was dominated by a subsurface vortex formed at the sump floor. As soon as the submergence was reduced below the minimum submergence, a free surface vortex emerged near the pump inlet and brought a swirl retardation effect to the swirl meter rotation resulting in a bigger fluctuation of the swirl meter reading. An anti vortex device (AVD) called the floor splitter commonly used to reduce vorticity at pump inlet was installed and its effect on the reduction of swirls and vortices was evaluated.

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