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A Study of Tip Vortices and Cavitation on a Propeller in a Non-Uniform Flow Field


McKenney, Elizabeth Anne (1995) A Study of Tip Vortices and Cavitation on a Propeller in a Non-Uniform Flow Field. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/7THC-NG74.


Unsteady lifting surface flows are important subjects for study, both for the purposes of improving propulsive or lifting efficiency and also for mitigating the destructive effects and noise caused by cavitation. Some progress may be made by selecting a simple type of unsteadiness for closer study. In the present work, this tactic was implemented in two ways: the operation of a propeller at an angle of yaw to the freestream and the pitching oscillation of a finite-span hydrofoil. A new facility was designed and constructed to set a propeller at an angle of yaw to the freestream, creating a fairly simple non-uniformity in the propeller inflow. Tip vortex cavitation inception measurements were made for a range of yaw angles and freestream velocities, and photographs of the cavitation were taken to illustrate the effects of the yaw angle. The unsteady tip vortex flow field was measured on an oscillating finite aspect ratio hydrofoil using Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV), revealing how the circulation varied during a typical oscillation cycle. The results were compared with unsteady infinite-span theory, and also with recent measurements using LDV techniques on the same foil. The hydrofoil was also the focus of a study of surface cavitation. High-speed motion pictures of the cavitation cycle helped to separate the process into its component stages, and variations with cavitation number and reduced frequency of oscillation were observed. The acoustic signals generated by the cavity collapse were correlated with the motion pictures, providing insights into the correspondence between the flow structures involved in the cavity collapse process and the sound generated by them. The results from these studies provide valuable insights into the effects of unsteadiness in lifting surface flows.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Mechanical Engineering) ; tip vortices, cavitation, propeller
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Mechanical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Brennen, Christopher E. (advisor)
  • Acosta, Allan J. (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Brennen, Christopher E. (chair)
  • Acosta, Allan J.
  • Antonsson, Erik K.
  • Raichlen, Fredric
  • Hunt, Melany L.
  • Colonius, Tim
Defense Date:23 May 1995
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-03262007-131335
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1145
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:27 Mar 2007
Last Modified:25 Oct 2023 23:43

Thesis Files

PDF (McKenney_ea_1995.pdf) - Final Version
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