Flow control valves may experience localized cavitation when the local static pressure drops to the liquid vapor pressure. Localized damage to the valve and surrounding area can occur when the vapor cavity collapses. Valve designs that reduce cavitation are based on empirical evidence and accumulated experience, but there are still considerable cavitation problems in industry. Valve designers may use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to simulate cavitation in flow control valves, but model validation is challenging because there are limited data of local cavitation from the valve surface. Typically, the intensity of cavitation in a control valve is inferred from measurements of observable side effects of cavitation such as valve noise, vibration, or damage to the valve assembly. Such an indirect approach to characterizing cavitation yields little information about the location, degree, and extent of the cavitation flow field that can be used in CFD validation studies. This study uses 3D X-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging to visualize cavitation from a 5.1 cm diameter butterfly valve and compares the resulting vapor cloud to that predicted by CFD simulations. Qualitative comparisons reveal that the resulting cavitation structures are captured by the simulations when a small amount of non-condensable gas is introduced into the fluid and the simulations are completed in a transient mode.

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