Visualized observations of trajectory and dynamics of unsteady tip cloud cavitating vortices in axial flow pump

Lei Shi, Desheng Zhang, Ruijie Zhao, Weidong Shi, B. P.M.Bart Van Esch

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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A large-scale perpendicular cavitating vortices (PCVs), at the trailing edge of attached cavitation on the blade suction side near the tip region, has been found recently due to the great impact on performance breakdown in an axial waterjet pump. However, the trajectory and dynamics of this structure have been given scant attention. In this study, some visualized experiments were carried out to elucidate the PCVs for different conditions. The high-speed imaging coupled with numerical computations show that the vortical cloud cavitation is induced by the combination of tip leakage vortex (TLV) and radial re-entrant jets from the hub to blade tip. Moreover, the trajectory and intensity of PCVs depend on the operating conditions strongly, whether the other parameters, e.g. blade number and blade geometries, are modified. When taken the blade number into consideration, as a consequence of flow passage width and blade loading distributions, the dynamics and strength of PCVs vary considerably. Furthermore, an optimum clearance geometry is seen to eliminate corner vortex and clearance cavitation when the clearance edge is rounded on the pressure side. However, the more intensive tip leakage vortex cavitation is observed due to the increased amount of leakage flux. Additionally, in the original blade with sharp edges, the PCVs is relative weak and has a loose structure, resulting in the multiple interaction with the next blade. These phenomenon are responsible for the severe performance degradation and flow instabilities in the tip region of an axial-flow pump.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberJFST0007
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Fluid Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Axial-flow pump
  • Dynamics
  • High speed photography
  • PCVs
  • Trajectory


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