Abstract

This paper reports the experimental characterization of the cavitation-induced flow instabilities of a high head three-bladed inducer at design condition detected simultaneously by means of piezoelectric pressure transducers located at different axial and azimuthal stations on the casing of the pump and strain gages mounted on the pressure side of each blade. The simultaneous analysis performed in the stationary and rotating frames, supported by high-speed movies, suggests that the mechanism of formation of the detected subsynchronous rotating cavitation resembles that of modal stall in compressors, being the cavitation region the source of compliance. In fact, at decreasing cavitation number, a strong attached cavitation, developed preferentially on one blade and capable of completely surrounding and unloading the following blade, starts to be destabilized as consequence of the progressive intensification of a modal oscillation. The developed complex instability, consisting in a strong oscillation of the attached cavitation, is detected in both the frames as the simultaneous presence of a subsynchronous rotating cavitation and a cavitation surge.

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