An accurate prediction of the performance characteristics of cavitating cryogenic turbopump inducers is essential for an increased reliance on numerical simulations in the early turbopump design stages of liquid rocket engines (LRE). This work focuses on the sensitivities related to the choice of turbulence models on the cavitation prediction in flow setups relevant to cryogenic turbopump inducers. To isolate the influence of the turbulence closure models for Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) equations, four canonical problems are abstracted and studied individually to separately consider cavitation occurring in flows with a bluff body pressure drop, adverse pressure gradient, blade passage contraction, and rotation. The choice of turbulence model plays a significant role in the prediction of the phase distribution in the flow. It was found that the sensitivity to the closure model depends on the choice of cavitation model itself; the barotropic equation of state (BES) cavitation models are far more sensitive to the turbulence closure than the transport-based models. The sensitivity of the turbulence model is also strongly dependent on the type of flow. For bounded cavitation flows (blade passage), stark variations in the cavitation topology are observed based on the selection of the turbulence model. For unbounded problems, the spread in the results due to the choice of turbulence models is similar to noncavitating, single-phase flow cases.

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