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The influence of freestream turbulence, freestream nuclei populations and a drag-reducing polymer on cavitation inception on two axisymmetric bodies


Gates, Edward M. (1977) The influence of freestream turbulence, freestream nuclei populations and a drag-reducing polymer on cavitation inception on two axisymmetric bodies. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/GH1H-3780.


The influence upon the basic viscous flow about two axisymmetric bodies of (i) freestream turbulence level and (ii) the injection of small amounts of a drag-reducing polymer (Polyox WSR 301) into the test model boundary layer was investigated by the schlieren flow visualization technique. The changes in the type and occurrence of cavitation inception caused by the subsequent modifications in the viscous flow were studied. A nuclei counter using the holographic technique was built to monitor freestream nuclei populations and a few preliminary tests investigating the consequences of different populations on cavitation inception were carried out.

Both test models were observed to have a laminar separation over their respective test Reynolds number ranges. The separation on one test model was found to be insensitive to freestream turbulence levels of up to 3.75 percent. The second model was found to be very susceptible having its critical velocity reduced from 30 feet per second at a 0.04 percent turbulence level to 10 feet per second at a 3.75 percent turbulence level. Cavitation tests on both models at the lowest turbulence level showed the value of the incipient cavitation number and the type of cavitation were controlled by the presence of the laminar separation. Cavitation tests on the second model at 0.65 percent turbulence level showed no change in the inception index, but the appearance of the developed cavitation was altered.

The presence of Polyox in the boundary layer resulted in a cavitation suppression comparable to that found by other investigators. The elimination of the normally occurring laminar separation on these bodies by a polymer-induced instability in the laminar boundary layer was found to be responsible for the suppression of inception.

Freestream nuclei populations at test conditions were measured and it was found that if there were many freestream gas bubbles the normally present laminar separation was elminated and travelling bubble type cavitation occurred - the value of the inception index then depended upon the nuclei population. In cases where the laminar separation was present it was found that the value of the inception index was insensitive to the free stream nuclei populations.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Engineering and Applied Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Acosta, Allan J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:28 February 1977
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:08122014-083534353
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8632
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:12 Aug 2014 17:36
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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