When reaction hydraulic turbines are operated far from the design operating regime, particularly at partial discharge, swirling flow instability is developed downstream of the runner, in the discharge cone, with a precessing helical vortex and its associated severe pressure fluctuations. Bosioc et al. (2012, “Unsteady Pressure Analysis of a Swirling Flow With Vortex Rope and Axial Water Injection in a Discharge Cone,” ASME J. Fluids Eng., 134(8), p. 081104) showed that this instability can be successfully mitigated by injecting a water jet along the axis. However, the jet discharge is too large to be supplied with high pressure water bypassing the runner, since this discharge is associated with the volumetric loss. In the present paper we demonstrate that the control jet injected at the inlet of the conical diffuser can actually be supplied with water collected from the discharge cone outlet, thus introducing a new concept of flow feedback. In this case, the jet is driven by the pressure difference between the cone wall, where the feedback spiral case is located, and the pressure at the jet nozzle outlet. In order to reach the required threshold value of the jet discharge, we also introduce ejector pumps to partially compensate for the hydraulic losses in the return pipes. Extensive experimental investigations show that the wall pressure fluctuations are successfully mitigated when the jet reaches 12% of the main flow discharge for a typical part load turbine operating regime. About 10% of the jet discharge is supplied by the plain flow feedback, and only 2% boost is insured by the ejector pumps. As a result, this new approach paves the way towards practical applications in real hydraulic turbines.

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