A finite element perturbation method for computing fluid-induced forces on a certrifugal impeller rotating and whirling in a volute casing

Jan B. Jonker, T.G. van Essen, T.G. van Essen

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A finite element based method has been developed for computing time-averaged fluid-induced radial excitation forces and rotor dynamic forces on a two-dimensional centrifugal impeller rotating and whirling in a volute casing. In this method potential flow theory is used, which implies the assumption of irrotational inviscid flow. In comparison with other analyses of fluid-induced impeller forces, two main features have been included. Firstly, the hydrodynamic interaction between impeller and volute isproperly modelled. Secondly, the variation of the width of the volute has been adequately included in the two-dimensional analysis by a modification of the equation of continuity. A regular perturbation method is used to deal with the effects of the whirling motion of the impeller. The excitation forces are calculated from the zeroth-order problem in which the impeller axis is placed at the volute origin. The rotor dynamic forces associated with the whirling motion of the impeller are derived from the first-order solution. The force components, tangential and normal to the whirl orbit, are predicted as functions of the impeller--volute geometry, the flow conditions and the whirl speed ratio. The method is applied to a centrifugal pump experimentally tested at the California Institute of Technology. Comparisons between predictions and experimental data show the capabilities of the proposed method to reproduce the main features of fluid-induced impeller forces in centrifugal pumps.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)269-294
JournalInternational journal for numerical methods in engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Centrifugal pumps
  • Finite Element Method
  • Unsteady flow
  • METIS-144350
  • fluid forces
  • perturbation analysis
  • IR-71437
  • potential fluid flow

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