An experimental and numerical investigation of a conventional centrifugal pump working as a turbine is presented. The numerical simulations were performed with the code Fluent by means of unsteady flow calculations and a sliding mesh technique to account for the impeller-volute interactions. Thus, it was possible to properly simulate the effect on the local flow of the passage of the impeller blades in front of the volute tongue. The numerical results were compared with the experimentally determined performance curves and additionally with the static pressure distribution measured around the impeller periphery. Once validated, the model was used to estimate the steady and unsteady radial forces on the impeller for a number of flow rates. The steady radial force was also experimentally estimated from the static pressure measurements around the periphery of the impeller. The numerical predictions showed that, for the flow interval considered in the present investigation, the unsteady radial force varied between 24% and 54.3% of the steady magnitude, and that its maximum amplitude was reached when the trailing edge of one of the blades was located 3 deg downstream the tip of the tongue.

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