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Research Papers: Fundamental Issues and Canonical Flows

Investigation of the Motion of Bubbles in a Centrifugal Pump Impeller

[+] Author and Article Information
Henrique Stel

Multiphase Flow Research Center—NUEM,
Federal University of Technology—Paraná,
Av. Sete de Setembro 3165,
Curitiba 80230-901, PR, Brazil
e-mail: henriqueazevedo@utfpr.edu.br

Edgar M. Ofuchi

Multiphase Flow Research Center—NUEM,
Federal University of Technology—Paraná,
Av. Sete de Setembro 3165,
Curitiba 80230-901, PR, Brazil
e-mail:edgarofuchi@gmail.com

Renzo H. G. Sabino

Multiphase Flow Research Center—NUEM,
Federal University of Technology—Paraná,
Av. Sete de Setembro 3165,
Curitiba 80230-901, PR, Brazil
e-mail: renzo_cs5@hotmail.com

Felipe C. Ancajima

Multiphase Flow Research Center—NUEM,
Federal University of Technology—Paraná,
Av. Sete de Setembro 3165,
Curitiba 80230-901, PR, Brazil
e-mail: felancajima@gmail.com

Dalton Bertoldi

Multiphase Flow Research Center—NUEM,
Federal University of Technology—Paraná,
Av. Sete de Setembro 3165,
Curitiba 80230-901, PR, Brazil
e-mail: daltonbertoldi@utfpr.edu.br

Moisés A. Marcelino Neto

Multiphase Flow Research Center—NUEM,
Federal University of Technology—Paraná,
Av. Sete de Setembro 3165,
Curitiba 80230-901, PR, Brazil
e-mail: mneto@utfpr.edu.br

Rigoberto E. M. Morales

Multiphase Flow Research Center—NUEM,
Federal University of Technology—Paraná,
Av. Sete de Setembro 3165,
Curitiba 80230-901, PR, Brazil
e-mail: rmorales@utfpr.edu.br

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received May 22, 2017; final manuscript received August 19, 2018; published online October 4, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Wayne Strasser.

J. Fluids Eng 141(3), 031203 (Oct 04, 2018) (14 pages) Paper No: FE-17-1292; doi: 10.1115/1.4041230 History: Received May 22, 2017; Revised August 19, 2018

Centrifugal pumps operate below their nominal capacity when handling gas–liquid flows. This problem is sensitive to many variables, such as the impeller speed and the liquid flow rate. Several works evaluate the effect of operating conditions in the pump performance, but few bring information about the associated gas–liquid flow dynamics. Studying the gas phase behavior, however, can help understanding why the pump performance is degraded depending on the operating condition. In this context, this paper presents a numerical and experimental study of the motion of bubbles in a centrifugal pump impeller. The casing and the impeller of a commercial pump were replaced by transparent components to allow evaluating the bubbles' trajectories through high-speed photography. The bubble motion was also evaluated with a numerical particle-tracking method. A good agreement between both approaches was found. The numerical model is explored to evaluate how the bubble trajectories are affected by variables such as the bubble diameter and the liquid flow rate. Results show that the displacement of bubbles in the impeller is hindered by an increase of their diameter and impeller speed but facilitated by an increase of the liquid flow rate. A force analysis to support understanding the pattern of the bubble trajectories was provided. This analysis should enlighten the readers about the dynamics leading to bubble coalescence inside an impeller channel, which is the main reason behind the performance degradation that pumps experience when operating with gas–liquid flows.

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Figures

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Fig. 2

Image of the test section

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Fig. 4

Sequence of images from the high-speed camera with indications of reference holes, dimensions and relative positions of a bubble between two shots

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Fig. 3

Centrifugal pump tested: (a) image of the original pump, (b) section-view, (c) transparent casing, and (d) transparent impeller of the first-stage

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Fig. 1

Scheme of the experimental setup

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Fig. 5

Schematics of the numerical solution domain and boundary conditions

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Fig. 9

Comparison between numerical and experimental results of the pressure rise through the first impeller of the test pump with respect to the liquid flow rate for various rotating speeds

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Fig. 10

Comparison between numerical and experimental results of trajectories of bubbles with different diameters, at 100 rpm and 1.0Qdes,100

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Fig. 7

Comparison of numerical results of pressure coefficient (top) and normalized velocity magnitude (bottom) profiles along two adjacent blades inside the impeller on a mid-span surface, using the grids indicated in Table 1

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Fig. 8

Comparison of numerical results obtained with grids 2 and 4 for the trajectory of a bubble with a 1 mm diameter inside the impeller, at 220 rpm and 1.2Qdes,220

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Fig. 13

Numerical results of the evolution of the drag, pressure and virtual mass forces along the bubble trajectory, at db = 0.6 mm, 100 rpm and 1.0Qdes,100: (a) illustration of force vectors, (b) auxiliary view, and (c) normalized force magnitudes as a function of t*

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Fig. 14

Numerical analysis of the motion of a bubble with db = 2.8 mm, at 100 rpm and 1.0Qdes,100: (a) bubble trajectory, (b) normalized force magnitudes as a function of t*, and (c) normalized velocity magnitudes of the bubble and the liquid along the track as a function of t*

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Fig. 11

Comparison between numerical and experimental results of: (a) trajectories of similar bubbles departing from different positions inside the impeller, at 120 rpm and 1.1Qdes,120 and (b) trajectories of bubbles with different sizes departing from different positions inside the impeller, at 220 rpm and 1.2Qdes,220

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Fig. 12

Influence of interphase forces on the numerical calculation of the bubble trajectory, at db = 0.6 mm, 100 rpm and 1.0Qdes,100

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Fig. 15

Influence of the liquid flow rate on the bubble motion, with db = 2.0 mm, at 120 rpm: (a) numerical bubble trajectory at various liquid flow rates and (b) comparison of numerical values of FD/FP for 1.0Qdes,120 and 1.3Qdes,120, with respect to the normalized distance traveled by the bubble

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Fig. 16

Influence of the bubble diameter on its motion, at 100 rpm and 1.0Qdes,100: (a) numerical trajectory for various bubble diameters and (b) comparison of numerical values of FP/FD for three different bubble sizes as a function of lb/R2

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Fig. 17

Influence of the rotating speed on the bubble motion, with db = 0.8 mm at 1.0Qdes,n: (a) numerical trajectory for various impeller speeds and (b) comparison of numerical values of FP/FD for two different rotating speeds as a function of lb/R2

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