This project was initiated as part of a new research and development focus to improve hydropower generation. One aspect of the problem is severe cavitation erosion which is experienced when hydroturbines are operated at best power or in spinning reserve. Air injection has been used successfully to minimize or eliminate cavitation erosion in other applications. Thus, an investigation was initiated to determine whether or not air injection would be an effective solution for turbine erosion problems. A specially instrumented hydrofoil of elliptic planform and a NACA 0015 cross section was tested at flow velocities up to 20 m s–1, at various values of cavitation index. Although pit sizes were measured on a soft aluminum insert, pitting rate was not measured directly but was inferred from direct measurement of impulsive pressures on the surface of the hydrofoil and by monitoring accelerometers mounted at the base of the hydrofoil. Cavitation noise was also measured by a hydrophone positioned in the water tunnel test section. Air was injected through small holes in the leading edge of the foil. Air injection was found to be very effective in minimizing erosion as inferred from all three cavitation erosion detection techniques.
Preliminary Investigation of the Use of Air Injection to Mitigate Cavitation Erosion
Arndt, R. E. A., Ellis, C. R., and Paul, S. (September 1, 1995). "Preliminary Investigation of the Use of Air Injection to Mitigate Cavitation Erosion." ASME. J. Fluids Eng. September 1995; 117(3): 498–504. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2817290
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