Cavitation flow behind a blunt body is modeled using a physics-based numerical model of cavitation initiation and transition to larger cavities. The calculations initiate from the dynamics of nuclei, then tracks the dispersed bubble phase with a two-phase viscous model. This solver includes a level set method to model coalescence of the nuclei into large cavities and to track the dynamics of the resulting free surfaces. A transition scheme enables collection of the bubbles into a large cavity and also enables breakup of a large cavity into a bubble cloud.
Using this model, simulations are conducted for different flow velocities and corresponding cavitation regimes. When the velocity is relatively small (i.e., large cavitation number), flow separation behind the body results in the shedding of vortices, which capture nuclei in their cores to form elongated vortical cavities. As the flow velocity increases (or as the ambient pressure decreases) the flow evolves into a separated flow with a large cavity behind the body. A reentrant jet may form and move upstream into the cavity towards the body. This jet periodically shears off portions of the cavity volume, resulting in large amounts of bubble clouds. These results are in good qualitative agreements with experimental observations.