Tip clearance flow in turbomachinery can lead to losses in efficiency and stall margin. In liquid handling turbomachinery, the vortical flow field, formed from the interaction of the leakage flow with the through-flow, is subject to cavitation. Furthermore, this flow field is complex and not well understood. A correlation of variables which predict the vortex minimum pressure has been formulated. Measurements of the important variables for this correlation have been made on a high Reynolds number (3 × 106) axial-flow test rig. The correlation has been applied to the measured data and other data sets from the literature with good agreement. An optimum tip clearance has been theoretically identified as experiments have shown. Observations of cavitation indicate a second vortex originating along the suction side trailing edge.

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