The startup of rocket engine turbopumps is generally performed only in a few seconds. It implies that these pumps reach their nominal operating conditions after only a few rotations. During these first rotations of the blades, the flow evolution in the pump is governed by transient phenomena, based mainly on the flow rate and rotation speed evolution. These phenomena progressively become negligible when the steady behavior is reached. The pump transient behavior induces significant pressure fluctuations, which may result in partial flow vaporization, i.e., cavitation. An existing experimental test rig has been updated in the LML Laboratory (Lille, France) for the startups of a centrifugal pump. The study focuses on the cavitation induced during the pump startup. Instantaneous measurement of torque, flow rate, inlet and outlet unsteady pressures, and pump rotation velocity enable to characterize the pump behavior during rapid starting periods. Three different types of fast startup behaviors have been identified. According to the final operating point, the startup is characterized either by a single drop of the delivery static pressure, by several low-frequency drops, or by a water hammer phenomenon that can be observed in both the inlet and outlet of the pump. A physical analysis is proposed to explain these three different types of transient flow behavior.
Experimental Study of a Cavitating Centrifugal Pump During Fast Startups
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Duplaa, S., Coutier-Delgosha, O., Dazin, A., Roussette, O., Bois, G., and Caignaert, G. (January 28, 2010). "Experimental Study of a Cavitating Centrifugal Pump During Fast Startups." ASME. J. Fluids Eng. February 2010; 132(2): 021301. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4000845
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