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Rotordynamic forces generated by discharge-to-suction leakage flows in centrifugal pumps


Guinzburg, Adiel (1992) Rotordynamic forces generated by discharge-to-suction leakage flows in centrifugal pumps. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/dv7v-hy83.


In recent years, increasing attention has been given to fluid-structure interaction problems in turbomachines. The present research focuses on just one such fluid-structure interaction problem, namely the role played by fluid forces in determining the rotordynamic stability and characteristics of a centrifugal pump. While the geometry of the impeller shroud/pump casing annulus varies considerably, previous studies indicate that the contributions from the leakage flow can be of the same order as the contributions from the nonuniform pressure acting on the impeller discharge. Thus, the emphasis of this study is to investigate the contributions to the rotordynamic forces from the discharge-to-suction leakage flows between the front shroud of the rotating impeller and the stationary pump casing. An experiment was designed to measure the rotordynamic shroud forces due to simulated leakage flows for different parameters such as flow rate, shroud clearance, face-seal clearance and eccentricity. The data demonstrates substantial rotordynamic effects and a destabilizing tangential force for small positive whirl ratios; this force decreased with increasing flow rate. The rotordynamic forces appear to be inversely proportional to the clearance and change significantly with the flow rate. Two sets of data taken at different eccentricities yielded quite similar nondimensional rotordynamic forces indicating that the experiments lie within the linear regime of eccentricity.

Like earlier measurements of the total fluid induced rotordynamic forces on impellers [Chamieh et al. (1985), Jery et al. (1985), Adkins et al. (1988)], the forces measured in these experiments scaled with the square of the rotor speed. The functional dependence on the ratio of whirl frequency to rotating frequency (termed the whirl ratio) is very similar to that measured in experiments and similar to that predicted by the theoretical work of Childs. Childs' bulk flow model yielded some unusual results including peaks in the rotordynamic forces at particular positive whirl ratios, a phenomenon which Childs tentatively described as a "resonance" of the leakage flow. This unexpected phenomenon developed at small positive whirl ratios when the inlet swirl velocity ratio exceeded about 0.5. Childs points out that a typical swirl velocity ratio at inlet (pump discharge) would be about 0.5 and may not therefore be large enough for the resonance to be manifest. To explore whether this effect occurs, an inlet guide vane was constructed which introduced a known amount of swirl into the flow upstream of the leakage flow inlet. A detailed comparison of model predictions with the present experimental program is presented. The experimental results showed no evidence of the "resonances", even at much larger swirl inlet velocities than explored by Childs.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
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.
Thesis Committee:
  • Brennen, Christopher E. (chair)
  • Acosta, Allan J.
  • Roshko, Anatol
  • Zukoski, Edward E.
  • Liepmann, Hans Wolfgang
  • Wiggins, Stephen R.
  • Caughey, Thomas Kirk
Defense Date:10 December 1991
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-03272007-091813
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1170
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:27 Mar 2007
Last Modified:16 Apr 2021 23:31

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PDF (Guinzburg_a_1992.pdf) - Final Version
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