13th European Conference on Turbomachinery Fluid dynamics & Thermodynamics
Regenerative pumps are characterized by a low specific speed that place them between rotary positive displacement pumps and purely radial centrifugal pumps. They are interesting for many industrial applications since, for a given flow rate and a specified head, they allow for a reduced size and can operate at a lower rotational speed with respect to purely radial pumps. The complexity of the flow within regenerative machines makes the theoretical performance estimation a challenging task. The prediction of the leakage flow rate between the rotating and the static disks is the one that more than others has an impact on the prediction of global performance. All the classical approaches to the disk clearance problem assume that there is no relevant circumferential pressure gradient. In the present case, the flow develops along the tangential direction and the pressure gradient is intrinsically non-zero. The aim of the present work is to develop a reliable approach for the prediction of leakage flows in regenerative pumps. The method assumes that the flow inside of the disk clearance can be decomposed into several stream-tubes. Energy balance is performed for each tube, thus generating a system that can be solved numerically. The new methodology has been tuned using data obtained from the numerical simulation of virtual prototypes of regenerative pumps where the disk clearance is part of the control volume. After that, the methodology has been integrated into an existing one-dimensional code called DART (developed at the University of Florence in cooperation with Pierburg Pump Technology Italy S.p.A.) and the new algorithm is verified using available experimental and numerical data. It is here demonstrated that an appropriate calibration of the leakage flow model allows for an improved reliability of the one-dimensional code.