Cavitation inception of a vortex is difficult to predict. This is due in a large part to a confusion in the type of cavitation occurring, i.e., vaporous versus nonvaporous cavitation. In addition, the vortex structure is poorly defined in many cases. These two problems are particularly important for the prediction of cavitation inception in a vortex created in the low momentum fluid near the inner wall of a rotor. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a vortex cavitation investigation which are both experimental and theoretical. A vorticity flow analysis is developed and employed to assess the effect of vorticity on cavitation inception of a vortex. Previous investigations have shown that the minimum pressure coefficient of a vortex depends upon the vorticity associated with the vortex. Employing secondary vorticity equations, the vorticity is calculated in the blade passage. Changes in passage vorticity are used in a simple vortex model to predict trends in cavitation inception of a vortex. Theoretical results indicate that small changes in vorticity distribution near the inner wall of the rotor create rather large differences in the cavitation inception of the vortex. These small changes are primarily due to changes in the secondary vorticity. This secondary vorticity dominates the vortex structure. Comparisons are presented between the predicted and measured cavitation inception and good agreement is shown when the effects of gas on cavitation inception are reduced. Experimental data confirms that secondary vorticity dominates the vortex structure. In addition, experimental cavitation data are presented which show the dramatic influence of a gas on cavitation inception of a vortex.

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