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Cavitation at Micro-Scale in MEMS Fluid Machinery

[+] Author Affiliations
S. Pennathur, Y. Peles, A. H. Epstein

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Paper No. IMECE2002-33328, pp. 87-94; 8 pages
  • ASME 2002 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Microelectromechanical Systems
  • New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, November 17–22, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Microelectromechanical Systems
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3642-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-1691-5, 0-7918-1692-3, 0-7918-1693-1
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


Cavitation has long been a concern in the engineering of fluid machinery. The state of the art in MEMS is now such that micro-machines are being designed and built which, by conventional macro-world criteria, can operate in cavitating regimes. Specifically, cavitation in 900-micron-chord cascades characteristic of micro-centrifugal pumps was investigated through analysis and experiment for working fluids of water and ethanol. The primary finding was that cavitation in these micro-devices exhibited static and dynamic behavior very similar to that expected in large scale flows. Furthermore, conventional cavitation models coupled to 2D and 3D CFD simulations matched the micro-scale data well in predicting the onset of cavitation and the length of the cavitation zones. Also, no mechanical damage from cavitation was found. This implies that vacitation in micro-machines will offer no unusual surprises to device designers.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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