Pump performance characteristics of pump turbines in transient processes are significantly different from those in steady processes. In the present paper, transient processes of a flow rate that increased and decreased in the pump mode of a model pump turbine were simulated through unsteady simulations using the shear stress transport (SST) k–ω turbulence model. The numerical results reveal that there is a larger hysteresis loop in the performance characteristics of the increasing and decreasing directions of the flow rate compared with those of steady results. Detailed discussions are carried out to determine the generation mechanism of obvious hysteresis characteristics using the methods of entropy production and continuous wavelet analysis. Analyses show that the states of the backflow at the draft tube outlet and the vortices in the impeller and guide/stay vanes are promoted or suppressed owing to the acceleration and deceleration of the fluid. This contributes to the difference in pump performance characteristics of the pump turbine.

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