Jet Pump Cavitation

[+] Author and Article Information
R. G. Cunningham

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.

A. G. Hansen

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Ga.

T. Y. Na

The University of Michigan, Dearborn Campus, Dearborn, Mich.

J. Basic Eng 92(3), 483-492 (Sep 01, 1970) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3425040 History: Received August 04, 1969; Online October 27, 2010


Mixing-throat cavitation in a liquid jet pump results from high jet velocities, low suction (NPSH) pressure, or low discharge pressure. Incipient cavitation at the jet boundary has no effect on jet pump efficiency, but under severe conditions it spreads to the walls. A limiting flow condition results which is independent of discharge pressure. Efficiency deteriorates rapidly and the pump head-flow characteristics can no longer be predicted by conventional theory. Eight correlation parameters (1937–1968) and their interrelations are examined. A Cavitation Index σL is recommended for correlation of cavitation-limited flow results. Limiting flow data from 14 references on water, oils, and mercury, plus additional data on three water jet pumps are compared, showing that 11 sets of data on water, oils, and mercury can be represented by the single-number index σL , with a range of 0.8 to 1.67. Conventional jet pumps are described by σL = 1.0 to 1.4 and σL = 1.35 is recommended for conservative use. The limiting flow function Y (NPSH) is shown to be a useful tool in comparing cavitation response to design changes. System design to avoid cavitation is facilitated by a simple limiting flow equation, ML (R, σL , NPSH, Vn ), and the equation is compared with recently published data. Cavitation can be avoided by reducing Vn , and R, or by raising suction port pressure. Flow passage contours, including nozzle-to-throat spacing, influence σL and the limiting flow ratio can also be improved by reducing σL (0.9 or less) through careful design. Systems handling high gas-solubility liquids can be improved by reducing gas content; fluid properties otherwise have little effect on this jet pump phenomenon.

Copyright © 1970 by ASME
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