Cavitation is an important and common phenomena in fluid flow in which a fluid becomes two-phase through pressure variation. In devices such as valves, orifices, and metering devices, as well as loss of coolant situations in power plants, cavitation can be of interest due to erosion, energy efficiency, safety, and other concerns.
It is possible for a cavitating flow to become sonic, accelerating and imposing additional energy losses that would not have occurred had the flow remained below the speed of sound. Models of this aspect of two-phase flow have not been fully explored and often have only been developed for the case of constant area.
In the present paper, the homogeneous equilibrium model is developed by applying the integral forms of the conservation of mass, momentum, and energy equations to a control volume of variable cross-sectional area with adiabatic walls. The developed model is then applied to experimental data with R-134a as the fluid of interest for an instrumented converging-diverging nozzle for which mass flow, pressure, and temperature are measured.
Applying the model to the experimental data yields interesting results in both the relationship between velocity and void fraction and in the predicted shear stresses down the length of the nozzle. The model predicts negative shear stresses near the nozzle’s throat an order of magnitude higher than those seen elsewhere in the nozzle. For this reason, the homogeneous model is likely not sufficient to accurately describe this variant of cavitating flow.