The rotor-stator interaction of a rotating impeller and a stationary volute could cause strong pressure pulsations and generate flow induced noise and vibration in a pump used as a turbine (PAT). Blade number is one of the main geometric parameters of the impeller. In this paper, a numerical investigation of the PAT’s unsteady pressure field with different blade numbers was performed. The accuracy of global performance prediction by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was first verified through comparison between numerical and experimental results. Unsteady pressure fields of the PAT with different blade numbers were simulated, and the pulsations were extracted at various locations covering the PAT’s three main hydraulic parts. A detailed analysis of the unsteady pressure field distributions within the PAT’s control volume and comparison of unsteady pressure difference caused by the increase of blade number were performed. The transient flow results provided the unsteady pressure distribution within PAT and showed that increasing the blade number could effectively reduce the amplitude of pressure pulsations. Finally, unsteady pressure field tests were performed and some unsteady results obtained by unsteady field analysis were validated.

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