This paper describes the design and construction of an advanced laboratory setup allowing the study of a multiphase pump model.

The main objective is to relate the pump behaviour and instabilities to flow phenomena in the hydraulic channels, studying the machine ability to handle with multiphase flows and transient conditions and the influence of operating parameters (pump speed, flow rates, broad range of gas-liquid compositions, and suction pressure) on the machine performance and operating range, described through performance maps.

To perform this study, different analysis techniques will be employed and compared: experimental test results, analytical model predictions and numerical tool validation. The key role is played by the accurate visual investigation of the main parameters characterizing multiphase flow (bubble size and shape, liquid film thickness, etc.); gas/liquid interface, flow morphology and flow pattern transition are observed and will serve later to validate the prediction models. In addition, the measurement of dynamic pressure fluctuations helps understanding the transient nature of two-phase flow phenomena.

The test facility allows different fine adjustments, to study the effects of upstream flow conditions and clearance sizes on performance and stability.

This first paper focuses on the laboratory test facility, reporting the design process and the results of the experimental work.

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