The cavitation erosion remains an industrial issue for many applications, mainly for hydraulic machines. This paper deals with the cavitation intensity, which can be described as the fluid mechanical loading causing cavitation damage. The estimation of this intensity is a challenging problem both in terms of modeling the cavitating flow and predicting the erosion due to cavitation. For this purpose, a numerical methodology was proposed to estimate cavitation intensity from 3D unsteady cavitating flow simulations. CFD calculations were carried out using Code_Saturne, which solves U-RANS equations for a homogeneous fluid using the Merkle’s model [1], coupled to a k-ε turbulence model with the Reboud’s correction.

A cavitation intensity prediction model was developped based on pressure and void fraction derivatives obtained through CFD calculations. It was previously applied to study cavitation damage [2] on a NACA65012 hydrofoil.

The article briefly presents this validation case as well as the prediction of the cavitation intensity on the blades of a centrifugal pump called “SHF pump” and tested at EDF R&D laboratory [3]. The numerical predictions of cavitation damage are in good agreement with experimental results obtained by pitting.

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