CAVITATION INSTABILITIES IN TURBOPUMP INDUCERS

 
 
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Liquid propellant rockets facilitate thrust control. Turbopumps, which pump liquid fuel and oxidizer into the combustion chamber, are some of the most critical yet difficult components to design and manufacture. In turbopumps, an inducer is placed in front of the impeller to minimize cavitation. Like the impeller, the inducer itself can suffer from cavitation, and cavitation can lead to instabilities such as rotating cavitation and cavitation surge.
This research aims to investigate the effects of temperature and inlet flow non-uniformity on the cavitation performance and instabilities in turbo pump inducers. The research questions are as follows: 1) What is the physical mechanism of inducer cavitation? 2) How do cavitation characteristics and suction performance change when temperature and inlet flow distortion change?
Steady and unsteady pressure measurements, inducer flow field measurements, and flow visualization have been implemented to characterize the flow field.