Abstract

Downsizing and high power density of turbopumps are achieved by increasing their rotational speed. Cavitation often becomes a problem while the influence of cavitation will be generally relieved by employing an inducer before the impeller. For general-use turbopumps with inducer, instability-free operation as well as high suction performance are required in wide flow rate range including extremely low flow rate. However, the low frequency and large amplitude of cavitation surge is often be a serious problem even with inducer when operated at very low flow rates. In this study, a reduced-diameter suction pipe (RSP) equipped with swirl brake (SB) was proposed for a suppression device of the inlet backflow as well as of the cavitation surge through removing swirling velocity component. The effectiveness of this device was investigated by CFD and experiments. First, several geometries of RSP with SB were examined by CFD, and it was found that the extension of inlet backflow was stopped at this device provided that the swirl brake had a sufficient radial or axial length. Then, one of the proposed RSP with SB was manufactured, and the experimental evaluation of the effectiveness of this device was conducted. It seemed that RSP with SB could well prevent the extension of inlet backflow. The cavitation surge was completely suppressed even at extremely low flow rates. As a result, the suction performance was also improved at low flow rates.

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