Computational study of 3D turbulent air flow in a helical rocket pump inducer
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A computational study of the air flow in a helical rocket pump inducer has been performed using a 3-D elliptic flow procedure including viscous effects. The inlet flow is considered turbulent and fully developed. The geometric, definition of the inducer blade shape and the calculation grid are first presented, followed by a discussion of the flow calculation results displayed in various new graphical representations.
The general characteristics expected from previous experimental and analytical work appear in the simulation and were quantitatively studied. The tip leakage flow observed has velocities of the order of the blade tip speed and is partially convected across the entire passage. The important boundary layer development on the blade pressure side and suction side creates radial outward flows, whereas a radial inward motion develops in the core region, with velocities of same order, and from shroud to hub. Secondary and tip leakage flows combine to give a region of high flow losses and blockage near the shroud wall, and the secondary flow pattern is nearly fully developed by the inducer exit. Original details were also resolved in the flow calculation. A circumferential vortex develops near the shroud, immediately upstream of the suction side of the swept-back leading edge. A simplified air-LH2 analogy permitted the prediction of cavitation inception in the liquid hydrogen pump, and the results obtained correspond qualitatively well with water flow visualizations.
The accordance of the model with available air test data at the inlet and exit of the inducer is generally very good, with the total pressure losses in excellent agreement.
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