An assessment of the cavitation erosion risk by using a contemporary unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (URANS) method in conjunction with a newly developed postprocessing procedure is made for an NACA0015 hydrofoil and an NACA0018-45 hydrofoil, without the necessity to compute the details of the actual collapses. This procedure is developed from detailed investigations on the flow over a hydrofoil. It is observed that the large-scale structures and typical unsteady dynamics predicted by the URANS method with the modified shear stress transport (SST) k-ω turbulence model are in fair agreement with the experimental observations. An erosion intensity function for the assessment of the risk of cavitation erosion on the surface of hydrofoils by using unsteady RANS simulations as input is proposed, based on the mean value of the time derivative of the local pressure that exceeds a certain threshold. A good correlation is found between the locations with a computed high erosion risk and the damage area observed from paint tests.

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