Modelling cavitation in centrifugal pumps using OpenFOAM

  • David Smith

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

Whilst there continues to be significant development in high performance computing technology, the ever-increasing licensing costs associated with commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software continues to prohibit the exploitation of such advancements within the engineering industry to the desired extent. In order to address this issue, open source software such as OpenFOAM is being developed by user communities and tailored to their own applications both in academia and commercial organisations alike.This thesis investigates the applicability of the CFD code OpenFOAM for modelling rotor-stator turbomachinery simulations as an alternative to the commercial offerings currently being utilised by the Weir Group. More specifically, a Weir Warman AH 8/6 horizontal centrifugal pump, with a best efficiency point of 235 l/s at 53.8 m generated head and a rotational speed of 1100 rpm, is investigated as a test case.Fully 3D transient single-phase simulations of the pump conducted in OpenFOAM examining the sensitivity of the solver to a variety of set up conditions show that the results are comparable to those obtained through the commercial solver ANSYS CFX.In addition to the single-phase studies, the thesis also focuses on the problematic and costly phenomenon of cavitation within centrifugal pumps, with a review of cavitation and cavitation erosion modelling techniques being undertaken. Transient two-phase flow studies were subsequently conducted on the Weir Warman pump in both OpenFOAM and ANSYS CFX, however at this time realistic results were only obtained using the ANSYS CFX solver, with further work required in order to utilise the OpenFOAM code for such applications. A further output from the work undertaken is a user manual for performing single-phase centrifugal pump simulations in OpenFOAM aimed at engineers involved in hydraulic design activities across the Weir Group.
Date of Award1 Jan 2013
LanguageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsWeir Group plc (The)
SupervisorMatthew Stickland (Supervisor) & William Dempster (Supervisor)

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