Research Papers

Source Term Based Modeling of Rotating Cavitation in Turbopumps

[+] Author and Article Information
A. G. Vermes

Rolls-Royce plc,
62 Buckingham Gate,
London, SW1E 6AT, UK
e-mail: Adam.Vermes@Rolls-Royce.com

C. Lettieri

Assistant Professor
Faculty of Aerospace Engineering,
Flight Performance & Propulsion Section,
Building 62, Office 7.11,
Kluyverweg 1,
Delft, 2629 HS, The Netherlands
e-mail: c.lettieri-1@tudelft.nl

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received November 26, 2018; final manuscript received December 9, 2018; published online January 8, 2019. Editor: Jerzy T. Sawicki.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 141(6), 061002 (Jan 08, 2019) (8 pages) Paper No: GTP-18-1709; doi: 10.1115/1.4042302 History: Received November 26, 2018; Revised December 09, 2018

The recent growth of private options in launch vehicles has substantially raised price competition in the space launch market. This has increased the need to deliver reliable launch vehicles at reduced engine development cost and has led to increased industrial interest in reduced order models. Large-scale liquid rocket engines require high-speed turbopumps to inject cryogenic propellants into the combustion chamber. These pumps can experience cavitation instabilities even when operating near design conditions. Of particular concern is rotating cavitation (RC), which is characterized by an asymmetric cavity rotating at the pump inlet, which can cause severe vibration, breaking of the pump, and loss of the mission. Despite much work in the field, there are limited guidelines to avoid RC during design and its occurrence is often assessed through costly experimental testing. This paper presents a source term based model for stability assessment of rocket engine turbopumps. The approach utilizes mass and momentum source terms to model cavities and hydrodynamic blockage in inviscid, single-phase numerical calculations, reducing the computational cost of the calculations by an order of magnitude compared to traditional numerical methods. Comparison of the results from the model with experiments and high-fidelity calculations indicates agreement of the head coefficient and cavity blockage within 0.26% and 5%, respectively. The computations capture RC in a two-dimensional (2D) inducer at the expected flow coefficient and cavitation number. The mechanism of formation and propagation of the instability is correctly reproduced.

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Fig. 1

Mechanism of formation and propagation of RC adapted from Kang et al. [5]

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Fig. 3

Schematic representation of the transpiration velocity model. Source terms model the effect of BL displacement on bulk flow.

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Fig. 4

Schematic representation of the cavity blockage model. Cavities are modeled with the transpiration velocity concept in single-phase calculations.

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Fig. 5

Normalized blade cavity length versus cavitation number for a hydrofoil at 6 deg and 8 deg incidence

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Fig. 6

Total-to-static pressure characteristics. Calculations with the combined viscous blockage models capture slope of pump characteristics within 0.26% error.

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Fig. 7

Qualitative comparison between multiphase calculations and cavitation blockage model. The flow displacement due to cavitation is successfully captured.

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Fig. 8

Nondimensional flow displacement from multiphase and single-phase calculations with varying cavitation number. The cavitation blockage model yields agreement within 5% of the high-fidelity calculations.

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Fig. 9

Schematic representation of the 2D inducer cascade proposed by Iga et al. [29] and used for assessment of RC with blockage model

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Fig. 10

Noncavitating inducer pressure coefficient. Viscous and inviscid calculations are compared with the results from Iga et al. [29].

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Fig. 11

Cavitating inducer pressure coefficient. Two-phase calculations identify RC at ϕ = 0.213 and α = 3 deg with 0.1% accuracy of the results of Iga et al. [29].

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Fig. 12

Oscillating blade loadings indicate RC with frequency 1.24 in two-phase viscous calculation

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Fig. 13

RC propagation mechanism captured with cavity blockage model

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Fig. 14

Contours of relative flow angle during RC in (a) multiphase high-fidelity calculations and (b) single-phase inviscid calculations with source term-based model. The mechanism of the instability is captured by the model.

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Fig. 15

Normalized cavity thickness at various incidence angle. Two-phase numerical calculations are compared with inviscid, single phase calculations with the source term-based model.



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