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Experimental and Numerical Analysis of Pressure Pulsations and Mechanical Deformations in a Centrifugal Pump Impeller

[+] Author Affiliations
Stefan Berten, Karin Kieselbach, Philippe Dupont

Sulzer Pumps Ltd., Winterthur, Switzerland

Sebastian Hentschel

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany

Paper No. AJK2011-06057, pp. 297-306; 10 pages
  • ASME-JSME-KSME 2011 Joint Fluids Engineering Conference
  • ASME-JSME-KSME 2011 Joint Fluids Engineering Conference: Volume 1, Symposia – Parts A, B, C, and D
  • Hamamatsu, Japan, July 24–29, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4440-3
  • Copyright © 2011 by JSME


Deformations, mechanical stresses and vibrations in centrifugal pumps are the result of pressure fluctuations, which are acting as excitation forces. When a pump operates at its optimum, the pressure pulsations are at minimum, but for a pump operating in part-load, pressure pulsations increase and subsequent vibration and deformation levels increase. In a recent experimental research, the pressure pulsations and the resulting structural stresses in the last stage impeller of a multistage pump have experimentally investigated for different operating conditions [1]. The experimental investigations have been complemented by transient numerical simulations using a commercial CFD code and structural analysis using the pressure pulsations resulting from the CFD code as boundary conditions. In the present study, a validation of these CFD and FEM simulations is presented. The analysis has been performed in three steps. In the first step, the transient CFD results for different load cases are analyzed and compared with the experimental results in order to evaluate the CFD simulations. In the second step the time domain pressure pulsation data are post-treated and decomposed into a series of rotating pressure waves. These pressure waves are then applied as boundary conditions to an FEM model and one full impeller revolution is simulated as steady calculations for 72 angular positions. The pressure pulsations in the best efficiency point are regularly distributed in space and time and dominated by rotor-stator-interaction. For part-load operation, the pressure distribution becomes more and more unsteady. The CFD results for part load exhibit stationary stall in the diffuser for a flow rate relative to best efficiency point of q* = 0.9 and unsteady stall behavior for a q* = 0.8. While the numerical CFD results agree well with experimental data for q* = 1 and q* = 0.9, at lower part load (q* = 0.8) the CFD didn’t reproduce the experimentally observed flow behavior, especially the rotating stall. The FEM results at design conditions show relatively low tangential stresses at the impeller outlet, which agree well with the measured deformations and stresses.

Copyright © 2011 by JSME



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