This work presents an experimental study about the application of acoustic emission (AE) techniques in the monitoring of cavitation erosion mass loss in small Francis turbines. A vertical Francis turbine test bench is specially devised to perform some experiments designed to evaluate the influence of small surface mass losses on turbine blades in the acoustic emission signals. An AE wideband transducer is employed in the test bench instrumentation system. In order to evaluate the AE levels associated with the turbine erosion stages, a small defect is introduced into the turbine runner. This defect is intended to simulate a small mass loss in the turbine runner. The measurements of the AE signals are performed in the Turbine Francis model at two situations: 1) turbine without defect, which means that the runner blades are free of apparent geometric imperfections; 2) turbine with defect, which is represented by a small hole drilled into a runner blade. The AE transducer is installed on the turbine draft tube and the AE measurements are performed at several operating conditions. The preliminary results obtained for the AE amplitude in this investigation show that the small defect introduced into a runner blade causes variations in the AE levels measured in the experiments, confirming that there is a large potential for the application of AE monitoring techniques in the accurate evaluation of cavitation wear on hydraulic turbines in field.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.