The flow structure and dynamics of turbulence are investigated by means of three-dimensional stereo particle image velocimetry (Stereo-PIV) measurements within the tip leakage vortex (TLV) of an axial waterjet pump rotor. Both the blades and casing of the pump are transparent and their optical refractive indices are matched with that of the pumped fluid, providing unobstructed optical access to the sample area without image distortion. Data are acquired on selected meridional planes in the rotor passage as well as in three-dimensional domains obtained by stacking closely-spaced planes situated within the rotor passage. Presented data have been sampled in one of these 3D regions, at 67% of the blade tip chordlength. All components of velocity and vorticity are calculated, together with the whole strain-rate and Reynolds stress tensors. The entire set of contributors to the turbulence production-rate is also available. The TLV and associated flow structures are completely 3D and change significantly along the blade tip chordwise direction. The vortex originates from the rollup of a multi-layered tip leakage flow, and propagates within the rotor passage towards the neighboring blade. Because of layered backflow rollup, vorticity entrained in the TLV is convected along different paths and re-oriented several times within the vortex. As a result, the TLV consists of a core surrounded by a tube of three-dimensional vorticity that wraps around it helically. Propagation of tip leakage backflow into the passage and subsequent TLV rollup also cause flow separation at the casing endwall with ejection of boundary layer vorticity that is finally entrained into the outer perimeter of the TLV. This complex TLV flow dominates the tip region of the rotor and involves non-uniform distributions of strain-rate and Reynolds stresses resulting in well-defined peaks of turbulence production-rate. For instance, turbulence is produced locally both at the flow contraction point near the region of aforementioned endwall separation and in the shear layer that connects the vortex with the suction side corner of the blade tip. The spatial inhomogeneity of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) distribution within the TLV, and the mismatch between locations of TKE and production-rate peaks can be explained by analyzing the 3D mean flow advection of turbulence, for example from the region of endwall boundary layer separation towards the outer region of the TLV. In addition to being spatially non-uniform, turbulence is also anisotropic in both the shear layer and periphery of the TLV. Conversely, turbulence is intense and relatively isotropic near the TLV core, as well as monotonically increasing along the vortex centerline. This trend cannot be described solely in terms of local production of turbulence; it must also involve slow turbulence dissipation associated with the meandering of relatively large-size, interlaced vortex filaments in the TLV core region.

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