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research-article

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, 80230-901, Curitiba, PR, Brazil
henriqueazevedo@utfpr.edu.br

Edgar M. Ofuchi

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

Renzo H. G. Sabino

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

Felipe C. Ancajima

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

Dalton Bertoldi

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

Moises A. Marcelino Neto

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

Rigoberto E.M. Morales

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

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4041230 History: Received May 22, 2017; Revised August 19, 2018

Abstract

Centrifugal pumps operate below their nominal capacity when handling gas-liquid flows. This problem is sensitive to a number of variables, such as the impeller speed and the flow rate. Several works evaluate the effect of variables in the pump performance degradation, but few bring information on the behavior of a gas-liquid mixture in a pump that leads to this degradation. Studying the gas phase dynamics can help understanding why the pump performance is degraded under certain conditions. In this sense, this paper presents a numerical and experimental study of the motion of isolated bubbles in a centrifugal pump impeller. The casing and the impeller of a commercial pump were replaced by equivalent transparent pieces to allow the evaluation of bubbles' trajectories through high-speed photography. The bubble motion at equivalent conditions was also evaluated by using a numerical particle-tracking method. A good agreement between both approaches was found. The numerical model is explored in order to evaluate the effect of some variables on the bubble tracks. 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 the understanding on the pattern left by bubble motion was provided. This analysis should enlighten the readers on the dynamics leading to bubble coalescence inside an impeller channel, which is the main reason behind the performance degradation that pumps experience when handling gas-liquid flows.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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