In this study the effects of changes to the geometry of a vortex amplifier are investigated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques, in the context of glovebox operations for the nuclear industry. These investigations were required because of anomalous behavior identified when, for operational reasons, a long-established vortex amplifier design was reduced in scale. The aims were (i) to simulate both the anomalous back-flow into the glovebox through the vortex amplifier supply ports, and the precessing vortex core in the amplifier outlet, then (ii) to determine which of the various simulated geometries would best alleviate the supply port back-flow anomaly. Various changes to the geometry of the vortex amplifier were proposed; smoke and air tests were then used to identify a subset of these geometries for subsequent simulation using CFD techniques. Having verified the mesh resolution was sufficient to reproduce the required effects, the code was then validated by comparing the results of the steady-state simulations with the experimental data. The problem is challenging in terms of the range of geometrical and dynamic scales encountered, with consequent impact on mesh quality and turbulence modeling. The anomalous nonaxisymmetric reverse flow in the supply ports of the vortex amplifier has been captured and the mixing in both the chamber and the precessing vortex core has also been successfully reproduced. Finally, by simulating changes to the supply ports that could not be reproduced experimentally at an equivalent cost, the geometry most likely to alleviate the back-flow anomaly has been identified.

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