Hydrodynamic interactions that occur between a centrifugal pump impeller and a volute are experimentally and theoretically investigated. The theoretical analysis considers the inability of the blades to perfectly guide the flow through the impeller, and also includes a quasi-one dimensional treatment of flow in the volute. Flow disturbances at the impeller discharge and the resulting forces are determined by the theoretical model. The model is then extended to obtain the hydrodynamic force perturbations that are caused by the impeller whirling eccentrically in the volute. Under many operating conditions, these force perturbations were found to be destabilizing. Comparisons are made between the theoretical model and the experimental measurements of pressure distributions and radial forces on the impeller. The theoretical model yields fairly accurate predictions of the radial forces caused by the flow through the impeller. However, it was found that the pressure acting on the front shroud of the impeller has a substantial effect on the destabilizing hydrodynamic forces.

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