Rocket turbo pumps and industrial pumps such as water feed pumps are required to work under high pressure conditions, therefore low specific speed pumps are needed in spite of high rotational speed. In recent years, unshrouded impellers were used because of easy manufacturing and cost reduction. However, when low specific speed unshrouded impellers are used in such conditions, complex tip leakage flow occur and decrease impeller performance. In addition, splitter blades are often used, the internal flow becomes even more complicated. Therefore, such the internal flow of the unshrouded impeller must be clarified. In this research, we have studied such a centrifugal pump, and we have analyzed the internal flow using experiments and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulations.
The experimental verification was carried out by measuring the total pressure distribution on the outlet of the impeller and the diffuser. The unsteady static pressure distribution at the shroud side of the impeller was measured to confirm pump performance. We used two types of CFD simulation to evaluate the internal flow in detail. In the first CFD simulation, the unsteady internal flow of an impeller was evaluated by carrying out DES (Detached Eddy Simulation) with a periodic boundary condition that does not contain the diffuser. In the second CFD simulation, interaction between the impeller leakage flow and the diffuser internal flow was evaluated by DES with the whole impeller and diffuser.
From the experimental verification and CFD simulation, it was confirmed that a large-scale vortex structure caused by the tip leakage flow and the secondary flow was observed in the impeller blade-to-blade. And the influence of the impeller leakage flow on the diffuser internal flow and the diffuser performance was evaluated.
From the above studies, it was confirmed that the tip leakage flow has a large influence on the impeller internal flow and the diffuser performance.