Cavitation produces undesirable effects within turbines, such as noise, decreases in efficiency, and structural degradation of the device. Two microhydro turbines incorporating Archimedean spiral blade geometries were investigated numerically for cavitation effects using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Separate blade geometries, one with a uniform blade pitch angle and the other with a 1.5 power pitch, were modeled using the Schnerr–Sauer cavitation model. The method used to determine where cavitation occurs along the blade and within the flow involved varying inlet flow rates and the rotation rate of the blade. Cavitation analysis was conducted locally as well as globally, using both cavitation number and Thoma number. The cavitation number was used to correlate the single-phase to the multiphase results for rotation rates of 250 and 500 rpm, allowing for the single-phase simulations to be used to determine where the onset of cavitation occurs. It was determined that cavitation occurred at the exit of the blade at a flow coefficient of approximately 0.33 for the 1.5 pitch blade geometry, while the uniform blade geometry had a value of 1.35. When the rotation rate was reduced to 250 rpm, cavitation occurred at a flow coefficient of 0.72. From the simulations at both rotation rates, it was determined that both geometry and rotation rate have a significant effect on the onset of cavitation and water vapor inception within the flow field. As the rotation rate of the turbine decreases, the onset of cavitation will be prolonged to larger flow coefficients. As the flow coefficient increased beyond the value at which the onset of cavitation occurs, the intensity of cavitation increases and efficiency drops of up to 20% were experienced by the turbines. Based on the net positive suction head required in the system and the available head in the system, the cavitation results were validated. It was determined that the inception cavitation number, Cai, where the onset of cavitation occurs is approximately −1.51.
Cavitation Phenomena and Performance Implications in Archimedes Flow Turbines
Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received February 21, 2014; final manuscript received September 9, 2015; published online December 23, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Olivier Coutier-Delgosha.
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Riglin, J. D., Schleicher, W. C., and Oztekin, A. (December 23, 2015). "Cavitation Phenomena and Performance Implications in Archimedes Flow Turbines." ASME. J. Fluids Eng. March 2016; 138(3): 031303. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4031606
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