A Comparison of Two Optical Techniques for Measuring Cavitation Nuclei

[+] Author and Article Information
M. L. Billet

The Pennsylvania State University, Applied Research Laboratory, State College, Pa. 16801

E. M. Gates

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

J. Fluids Eng 103(1), 8-13 (Mar 01, 1981) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3240790 History: Received February 11, 1980; Online October 26, 2009


Several devices have been developed or adapted to the use of measuring “nucleating sources” in a liquid including acoustic methods, direct observation (e.g. microscopy and holography), single particle counters, light scattering and light extinction. With experience two techniques have become more favored than the others, namely: holography and light scattering. However, with the exception of Peterson et al’s study no attempt has been made to simultaneously compare these two techniques under actual test conditions so that some confidence may be gained in deducing the number and type of nuclei from the record produced by either method. The purpose of the present paper is then to report and compare some nuclei populations which were recorded simultaneously by both methods during a series of cavitation inception tests. Measurements of nuclei populations were made in two facilities located at the California Institute of Technology, the Low Turbulence Water Tunnel (LTWT) and the High Speed Water Tunnel (HSWT) which are known to have substantially different nuclei distributions. In each facility nuclei populations were recorded at various combinations of tunnel velocity, pressure and pressure-time histories in an effort to produce different distributions and also to enable one to deduce from the laser scattering results the composition of the nuclei, i.e., solid particulates or bubbles. This deduction could then be checked with the holographic results. Simultaneous nuclei population measurements were recorded in the LTWT, whereas measurements of nuclei in the HSWT were obtained at separate times approximately eleven months apart. Since both methods have different characteristic size detection ranges, they could be compared directly only in the overlapping size range, namely: 10-50 microns diameter. In the LTWT where the populations were recorded simultaneously, there was some good agreement between not only the numbers but also the type of nuclei (mainly gas bubbles). However, the scattering technique indicated somewhat fewer nuclei in most cases. In addition, the scattering technique indicated fewer nuclei in the HSWT than had been previously measured by holography. Although there was some discrepancy between numbers of nuclei, both techniques demonstrated (directly from holography and by inference from the scattering results) that the nuclei were primarily solid particulates rather than gas bubbles.

Copyright © 1981 by ASME
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