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Natural nuclei population dynamics in cavitation tunnels

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Abstract

Nuclei, or microbubble, populations control the inception and dynamics of cavitation. It is, therefore, important to quantify distributions in cavitation test facilities to rigorously model nucleation dynamics. Measurements of natural nuclei population dynamics were made in two test facilities in Australia and Japan via mechanical activation using a Cavitation Susceptibility Meter (CSM). A range of tunnel operating parameters, including pressure, velocity and dissolved oxygen (DO) content, were investigated. The DO saturation condition upstream of the test section is found to provide a threshold as to whether the population is affected by DO in the Australian test facility. Historical trends in the population are quantified, indicating that regular monitoring is required. Variation of the population around the Australian cavitation tunnel circuit was studied by varying the water sampling location. Provided the water remains undersaturated, as defined above, the natural nuclei population in the test section can be measured by sampling from the lower limb resorber. Comparisons are made between test facilities in Australia, Japan and other countries, as well as environmental waters, using different measurement techniques. Optical and acoustic methods show microbubbles in the size range of 10–100 \(\,{\upmu }\hbox {m}\) typical of those used to model cavitation nucleation. CSM measurements show varying distributions of nuclei with equivalent bubble diameters in the range of 0.5–5 \(\,{\upmu }\hbox {m}\) but global trends suggest a universal characteristic.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the support of the University of Tasmania, the Defence Science and Technology Group and the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency. The authors thank AMC technical officers, Mr. Robert Wrigley and Mr. Steven Kent, and ATLA technical officer, Mr. Kenji Naganuma, for providing technical assistance with test facility configuration and operation as well as CSM hardware configuration.

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Correspondence to M. T. Khoo.

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Khoo, M.T., Venning, J.A., Pearce, B.W. et al. Natural nuclei population dynamics in cavitation tunnels. Exp Fluids 61, 34 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00348-019-2843-x

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