Pressure Effects in Orifice Cavitation Modeling
Abstract: In this thesis computational models for cavitating flows around orifice plates has been studied and compared. The goal was to fit a model with experimental data and this was done with some success, although problems with numerical stability, long calculation times and geometry overfitting remain. Cavitation is a complex fluid phenomenon that can occur in pressurized liquid flows. It starts when the liquid pressure is lowered below the boiling pressure and water that undergoes cavitation forms vapor which later implodes violently. This process can cause problems such as noise, vibrations and corrosion in piping systems. Loud noise is a nuisance, however powerful vibrations and corrosion can have serious consequences for the structural integrity of pipes. The for example lessened performance, leakages or even failure. Therefore the minimization of cavitation is often a goal in orifice and piping design. Vattenfall AB, together with Forsmark and Ringhals nuclear plants have studied cavitating flows around orifice plates used for flow limitation. A set of data from laboratory tests made by Vattenfall was used as the basis of analysis. Existing computational models in OpenFOAM were tested and evaluated based on their ability to model the experimental data accurately, as well as their computational performance and stability. The cavitation phenomenon was difficult to simulate using established methods so a new method was created and verified. It is based on the Kunz cavitation model together with Large Eddy Simulations, but with turbulence as a predictor of cavitation. The new computational model will serve as a tool for knowing how to design orifices in the future, so that laboratory experiments will not have to be conducted for each new piping design.
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