Recirculation accompanied by shear cavitation is a key flow feature in annular jet pumps (AJPs). In this study, a high-speed camera was used to capture the recirculation region and various types of cavity clouds. By monitoring the trajectories of the small bubbles, the main recirculation regions under each flow rate ratio were obtained. As the flow rate ratio decreases, the recirculation region continued expanding with the separation point moving upstream, while the reattachment point remained nearly stationary regardless of the decreasing flow rate ratio. Hill's spherical vortex theory was adopted to evaluate the variations of the recirculation regions. Moreover, the minimum local static wall pressure in the recirculation region decreases as well, which can promote the inception and development of shear cavitation. There are numerous vortices simultaneously induced by the large velocity gradient in the shear layer, the core of which becomes a potential site for cavitation. Consequently, with the growth of the recirculation region, three types of cavity clouds, viz., the ribbonlike, annular, and merged cavity clouds, appear in turn. The movement characteristics of these cavity clouds, including their inception, distortion, and collapse, are illustrated based on the high-speed imaging results. The ribbonlike and annular cavity clouds are both induced by the small vortices in the shear layer because of the low local pressure in the vortex core. However, the merged cavity clouds are caused by a combination of several ribbonlike and annular cavity clouds, which provides a larger scale and a longer life span. Hence, the collapse of the merged cavity clouds can cause a large pressure pulsation near the reattachment point of the recirculation region. The corresponding frequency spectra were also demonstrated based on the fast Fourier transform (FFT) method.

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