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NPSHR prediction

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July 8-12, 2012, Puerto Rico, USA

FEDSM2012-72282

PUMPS USING CFD CAVITATION MODEL (EXCERPTS)

Simerics Inc. Flowserve, Pump Division

Bellevue, Washington, USA Etten-Leur, The Netherlands

hd@simerics.com fvisser@flowserve.com

Y. Jiang

Simerics Inc.

Bellevue, Washington, USA

yj@simerics.com

This paper presents an innovative NPSHr prediction Df Diffusivity of vapor mass fraction

procedure. Derived through analyzing the definition of NPSHr DH Dynamic head (Pa)

and the characteristics of pump head vs. NPSH curve (i.e. head f Body force (N)

drop curve), this procedure can significantly reduce the number fv Vapor mass fraction

of simulations needed in NPSHr prediction. For the majority of fg Non-condensable gas mass fraction

cases, NPSHr can be predicted with reasonable accuracy for Gt Turbulent generation term

one flow rate in as little as three simulation runs. This H Pressure head (m or Pa)

procedure is also very robust since it can avoid running k Turbulence kinetic energy

simulations under severe cavitation conditions. Therefore L Length

simulation convergence is improved and simulation time is M Mass flow rate (Kg/s)

reduced for each simulation step. m Coefficient of the parabolic equation

In the paper, the methodology of the proposed approach is N Rotation speed (RPM)

derived and explained. The complete procedure with suggested n Surface normal

strategies is laid out in detail. Then the procedure is NCG Non-condensable gas

demonstrated against an industrial pump case. NPSHr NPSH Net Positive Suction Head (m)

prediction results are compared with experimental data. NPSHr Net Positive Suction Head required

Important factors which can affect NPSHr prediction are also NPSH3 NPSH with 3% head drop

indentified and discussed. PT Total pressure (Pa)

PS Static pressure (Pa)

Key words: NPSH, Cavitation, Numerical Simulation, CFD. p Pressure (Pa)

Q Flow rate (m3/h)

NOMENCLATURE Rc Vapor condensation rate

Re Vapor generation rate

1, 2, ..n, .. The nth step RPM Revolution per minute

a, b, c Coefficients of the quadratic equation t Time

C1 Turbulence model constant S'ij Strain tensor

C2 Turbulence model constant U Initial velocity

Cc Cavitation model constant u Velocity component (m/s)

Ce Cavitation model constant u' Component of v'

v Velocity vector However there are many cases for which transient simulations

v' Turbulent fluctuation velocity are necessary to get satisfactory accuracy even for performance

prediction. It is often observed that MRF tends to over-predict

Subscript the asymmetry of cavitation bubbles because it assumes a fixed

in Inlet relative position between the impeller and the volute/diffuser.

out Outlet This discrepancy typically introduces errors in NPSHr

prediction since NPSHr is very sensitive to cavitation bubble

Greek Symbols distribution.

Turbulence dissipation When there are big cavitation regions in the flow field, the

Fluid viscosity (Pa-s) simulation usually takes much longer to reach a balanced

t Turbulent viscosity (Pa-s) solution. This is mainly due to the time needed in cavitation

Fluid density (kg/m3) bubble development. For example, in a real pump operation, a

g Gas density (kg/m3) big cavitation bubble may need ten’s of impeller revolutions to

l Liquid density (kg/m3) reach a balanced size/position. It should, accordingly, take a

similar amount of time for the CFD simulation to reach a

v Vapor density (kg/m3)

balanced solution if all the physics are modeled accurately.

Surface of control volume

As with physical testing, in a traditional CFD NPSHr

k Turbulence model constant prediction process multiple steps are needed to gradually

l Surface tension approach the 3% head drop point for each flow rate. For each of

Turbulence model constant these steps in the process, one needs to run a CFD simulation.

f Turbulent Schmidt number Another common drawback is that, during this process,

Stress tensor simulations can easily be dragged into severe cavitation

Control volume condition. Under such severe cavitation condition, simulations

can take a long time to converge – even for the most efficient

INTRODUCTION cavitation model. As a result, the whole process can be

Net Positive Suction Head, NPSH, is defined as the total extremely time- consuming, especially when transient

fluid head at the inlet of a pump. The formula to calculate simulations are necessary in order to obtain sufficient accuracy.

NPSH is: Because of the excessive simulation cost, CFD prediction of

𝑃𝑇−𝑃

𝑁𝑃𝑆𝐻 = , (1) NPSHr is not routinely used in industry to analyze and improve

𝜌𝑔

pump design.

in which PT is inlet total pressure, Pv is vapor pressure of the

This paper presents an original approach using CFD to

fluid, is density, and g is acceleration of gravity. Net Positive predict pump NPSHr. The new approach is faster and more

Suction Head required, NPSHr, is a very important parameter robust compared to traditional approaches, and therefore could

for centrifugal pumps (Schiavello and Visser, 2009). It is also potentially improve the usability of CFD as a prediction tool for

referred to as NPSH3 per API 610, 11th ed. It determines when a pump NPSHr studies. The proposed method will be introduced

pump will operate at three percent loss of head due to

and discussed in detail in the next section. Later it will be

cavitation. This NPSH3 is the commonly used criterion for

applied to predict NPSHr of an industrial centrifugal pump. The

NPSHr to pinpoint the limit for acceptable operation. At 3%

prediction procedure will be demonstrated and the results will

head drop, a centrifugal pump will experience significant be compared with experimental data. The CFD simulation

cavitation. results presented in this paper were generated from a

Apart from cavitation visualization model testing, commercial CFD package, PumpLinx. However the proposed

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation with

procedure itself can be used with any CFD software package

cavitation models is the only alternative tool available to the

assuming it can accurately model cavitation.

engineer to predict and analyze pump NPSH behavior in detail.

Today’s CFD software with cavitation models has been

(NOTE: The sections on the procedure itself have been

commonly used in pump design and analysis. Satisfactory

edited out. For detailed information on the procedure,

results have been obtained regarding hydraulic performance

contact ASME for a copy of the complete paper.)

and cavitation patterns for many pump applications (Ding et al.

2011, Bakir et al. 2004, Dupont and Okamura 2003, Visser

2001). For centrifugal pump simulation, there are two

PUMP MODEL

approaches: the transient method and the Multi-Reference An industrial centrifugal pump was used to demonstrate

Frame (MRF) method. MRF, which uses a steady state the NPSHr prediction procedure. It is a single stage, end

approach with a rotating frame to account for pump rotation, is suction centrifugal pump. This pump has a five blade shrouded

widely used to predict pump hydraulic head and efficiency. The

impeller and a diffuser with four guide vanes operating at 1470

MRF method can save a significant amount of simulation time,

rpm. The working fluid is water. Figure 7 shows impeller and

and can obtain reasonable results for some pump applications. diffuser hardware.

Figure 9: Pump fluid domain

Figure 7: Pump hardware and seal leakages are modeled in CFD as fluid domains (Figure

9 and figure 10).

About 0.75 million cells were used in the CFD model.

Figure 11 shows the mesh distribution on a vertical cutting

plane.

The fluid properties used in simulation are listed in table 1.

A series of simulations for pump head vs. flow rate under

normal operating condition was carried out using both steady

state MRF and transient approaches. In those simulations, fluids

were treated as incompressible. Figure 12 shows the

comparison of simulation results and test results.

The pump was tested in a closed loop test rig. The test was

done as part of an upgrade to improve NPSH3. The water used

in the test was not deaerated. Figure 8 shows the test rig with

the pump mounted.

Figure 10: Fluid domain with seal leakage gaps and

balance holes

Temperature 20 ºC

Liquid density 998 kg/m3

Liquid viscosity 0.001 PaS

Vapor pressure 3610 Pa

Vapor density 0.0245 kg/m3

Air contents 2.3 – 9.2 x10-5 mass fraction

Bulk modulus 2.15x109 Pa

From the plot it can be seen that apparently this pump has results plotted in Figure 10 due to the different approaches used

strong transient effects. The MRF simulations could not in the two simulations, mainly incompressible vs. cavitation

provide satisfactory results. Therefore the following NPSHr model.

simulations were all done using the transient approach. To compare with the traditional approach, a transient

simulation with a cavitation model using 3.4 meter as the inlet

total pressure, and 682.5m3/h as the outlet flow rate was

performed. The result shows a 3.6% head drop. This confirms

that the proposed approach generates final NPSHr results

similar to the traditional approach.

Figures 13 – 15 show the cavitation bubbles at the z=0

cutting plane for simulation step 1, 2, and 3. All three plots

show color maps of the total gas (vapor and air) volume

fraction ranging from 0 to 100%, where blue corresponds to 0%

gas and magenta indicates 100% gas. No cavitation is observed

in that plane at step 1. As expected, moderate cavitation regions

show up at step 2 and step 3. Cavitation bubble shrinks when

the NPSH increases from step 2 to step 3.

The first NPSHr prediction is for the cases with 682.5 m3/h

flow rate. Table 2 records detailed information of a sequence of

simulations. Since the normal head of this flow rate is already

known from the previous performance simulation, the Step 0

simulation is not needed. A 2.3E-5 mass fraction of air

(corresponding to about 2% volume fraction under room

condition) was used for these simulations.

using 3.4 meter as the inlet total pressure and 682.5m3/h as the

outlet flow rate is plotted in Figure 16. Compared with Figure

13, the MRF result shows a very asymmetrical cavitation

pattern.

3

Table 2: NPSHr prediction steps for 682.2 m /h flow with

2% air

Step Outlet Flow Mass Head NPSH Head

PS rate Flow drop

From the results, it shows that with only 3 simulation steps, bar m3/h Kg/s m m %

the NPSHr prediction has already reached the 3.3% head drop

1 8.32 682.5 187.0 69.2 17.4 0.0

point which is close enough for most engineering purposes.

2 6.43 682.5 176.4 64.1 3.1 7.5

Please note there is a small difference (~2%) between the 100%

3 6.73 723.7 188.2 66.9 3.4 3.3

head from step 1 and the incompressible transient simulation

behavior of this pump under the influence of different air

contents. However this is beyond the scope of this paper.

249.7, 398.8, and 899.4m3/h, have been performed with the Figure 16: Cavitation pattern from MRF simulation

same approach and a 2% air content. Figure 17 plots the head

drop curves at a 682.5 m3/h flow rate. Figure 18 plots the

NPSHr vs. flow rate curve. Both simulation results and

experimental data are plot together for comparison.

Figure 17: The head drop curve at 682.5 m3/h flow rate

CONCLUSIONS

An innovative NPSHr prediction approach is presented in

this paper. The principal of the method is fully explained. The

Figure 15: Cavitation pattern at step 3

complete procedure is laid out in detail. Important issues

pertaining to the new method are identified with suggested

The two plots shows that the simulation results with 2% air

solution strategies. Compared with the traditional approach, the

contents consistently underpredict the NPSH compared to the

proposed approach introduces a very predictable and

experimental results for the same flow rate and pump head.

controllable simulation procedure with significant savings in

Since this pump was tested on a closed loop without deaeration,

the number of simulation runs and simulation time. The new

there could be more than 2% air in the water. It is well known

method is applied to the NPSHr study of an industrial

that extra air can degrade pump NPSHr characteristics (Budris

centrifugal pump. The NPSHr is predicted with reasonable

and Mayleben, 1998). Additional simulations with more air

accuracy in as little as three simulations for one flow rate. With

contents were carried out to investigate effects of the air

demonstrated efficiency and robustness against real engineer

contents on pump NPSHr performance for the flow rate of

application, the new method could be used effectively for pump

682.5m3/h. The results from those additional simulations are

NPSH performance study.

also plotted in Figure 17 and Figure 18. Results show that with

8% of air (9.2E-5 mass fraction), the CFD predicted NPSHr is

much closer to the experiment measurement. More

investigations are needed to better understand the NPSHr

Wood, D.W., Hart, R.J, and Marra, E. 1998 “Application

guidelines for pumping liquids that have a large dissolved

gas content,” Proceedings of the Fifteenth International

Pump Users Symposium, Turbomachinery Laboratory,

Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA, pp.

91-98.

REFERENCES

Budris, A.R., and Mayleben, P.A. 1998 "Effects of entrained

air, NPSH margin, and suction piping on cavitation in

centrifugal pumps", Proceedings of the Fifteenth

International Pump Users Symposium, Turbomachinery

Laboratory, Texas A&M University, College Station,

Texas, USA, pp. 99-108.

Ding, H., Visser, F.C., Jiang, Y. and Furmanczyk, M. 2011

“Demonstration and validation of a 3D CFD simulation

tool predicting pump performance and cavitation for

industrial applications", J. Fluids Eng. – Trans ASME,

133(1), 011101.

Dupont, P. and Okamura, T. 2003, “Cavitating flow calculations

in industry,” Int. J. Rotating Mach., 9, pp. 163-170.

Jiang, Y., Zhang, D., Furmanczyk, M., Lowry, S. and Perng, C.

2008, “A three-dimensional design tool for crescent oil

pumps,” SAE World Congress, April 14-17, Detroit, MI,

Paper No. SAE-2008-01-0003.

Launder, B.E. and Spalding, D.B. 1974 “The numerical

computation of turbulent flows,” Comput. Methods Appl.

Mech. Eng., 3, pp. 269-289.

Schiavello, B. and Visser, F.C. 2009 “Pump cavitation –

various NPSHR criteria, NPSHA margins, and impeller

life expectancy,” Proceedings of the Twenty-fifth

International Pump Users Symposium, Turbomachinery

Laboratory, Texas A&M University, College Station,

Texas, USA, pp. 113-144.

Singhal, A.K., Athavale, M.M., Li, H.Y. and Jiang, Y. 2002

“Mathematical basis and validation of the full cavitation

model", J. Fluids Eng. – Trans ASME, 124(3), pp. 617-

624.

Visser, F.C. 2001 “Some user experience demonstrating the use

of CFX-TASCflow computational fluid dynamics for

cavitation inception (NPSH) analysis and head

performance prediction of centrifugal pump impellers,”

ASME Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting,

May 29 – June 1, New Orleans, LA, Paper No.

FEDSM2001-18087.

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