A Three-Dimensional Analysis of Rotordynamic Forces on Whirling and Cavitating Helical Inducers

[+] Author and Article Information
Luca d’Agostino

Università degli Studi di Pisa, Pisa, Italy

Fabrizio d’Auria

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125

Christopher E. Brennen

Division of Engineering and Applied Science, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125

J. Fluids Eng 120(4), 698-704 (Dec 01, 1998) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2820726 History: Received January 21, 1998; Revised May 05, 1998; Online December 04, 2007


This paper investigates the linearized dynamics of three-dimensional bubbly cavitating flows in helical inducers. The purpose is to understand the impact of the bubble response on the radial and tangential rotordynamic forces exerted by the fluid on the rotor and stator stages of whirling turbomachines under cavitating conditions. The flow in the inducer annulus is modeled as a homogeneous inviscid mixture, containing vapor bubbles with a small amount of noncondensable gas. The effects of several contributions to the damping of the bubble dynamics are included in the model. The governing equations of the inducer flow are written in “body-fitted” orthonormal helical Lagrangian coordinates, linearized for small-amplitude perturbations about the mean flow, and solved by modal decomposition. The whirl excitation generates finite-speed propagation and resonance phenomena in the two-phase flow within the inducer. These, in turn, lead to a complex dependence of the lateral rotordynamic fluid forces on the excitation frequency, the void fraction, the average size of the cavitation bubbles, and the turbopump operating conditions (including, rotational speed, geometry, flow coefficient and cavitation number). Under cavitating conditions the dynamic response of the bubbles induces major deviations from the noncavitating flow solutions, especially when the noncondensable gas content of the bubbles is small and thermal effects on the bubble dynamics are negligible. Then, the quadratic dependence of rotordynamic fluid forces on the whirl speed, typical of cavitation-free operation, is replaced by a more complex behavior characterized by the presence of different regimes where, depending on the whirl frequency, the fluid forces have either a stabilizing or a destabilizing effect on the inducer motion. Results are presented to illustrate the influence of the relevant flow parameters.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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