This work is concerned with the effects of flow separation and surface nuclei on the operation of a fixed geometry Cavitation Susceptibility Meter (CSM) with laminar flow. Cavitation is induced under controlled conditions at the throat of a glass venturi tube for the measurement of the active nuclei concentration in water samples as a function of the applied tension. Both cavitation and flow velocity are monitored optically by a Laser Doppler Velocimeter. The throat pressure is determined indirectly from the upstream pressure and the local flow velocity. The results show that laminar flow separation and surface nuclei effects are the most stringent operational limitations. Separation in the diffuser increases the minimum attainable throat pressure above the susceptibility of most cavitation nuclei commonly found in technical waters. Surface nuclei can generate extensive sheet or spot cavitation at relatively high tensions even on optically finished glass surfaces. These phenomena are difficult to eliminate and bring therefore into question the practical utility of CSM’s with laminar flow and fixed geometry for the measurement of the dependence of the cavitating nuclei concentration over wide ranges of the applied tension, as required for cavitation studies.

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