Strength of Materials

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 137–145 | Cite as

Effect of a Nonuniform Radial/Axial Tip Clearance on the Flow Field in a Mixed-Flow Pump

  • W. Li
  • L. L. Ji
  • W. D. Shi
  • Y. F. Ping
  • L. Zhou
  • X. P. Jiang

The effect of a nonuniform radial/axial tip clearance on the flow field in a mixed-flow pump was studied by numerical simulation of the unsteady flow in the pump with two tip clearance shapes using the standard Reynolds average Navier–Stokes turbulence model, and the equations were solved with the SIMPLEC computational algorithm. The external characteristics, distribution of static pressure, streamline flow of the tip clearance, and vorticity in the impeller are analyzed. The accuracy of numerical simulation was assessed by comparing experimental data with computational results. Although a nonuniform tip clearance leads to a decline in the pump head, which is more pronounced under part-load conditions, the configuration with a nonuniform tip clearance (c = 0.5–1 mm) provides the more uniform velocity and pressure distribution both in the circumferential and axial directions, as the leakage vortex intensity is weakened and its shedding is suppressed. The research results pointed the way for improving the unsteady flow in the mixed-flow pump.


mixed-flow pump numerical simulation tip clearance tip leakage vortex 



This study was jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51409127, 51679111, and 51579118), PAPD, Six Talents Peak Project of Jiangsu Province (No. HYZB-002); Key Research and Development Projects of Jiangsu Province of China (Nos. BE2015119 and BE2015001-4); the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province of China (No. BK20161472); and Scientific Research Start Foundation Project of Jiangsu University, China (No. 13JDG105).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Li
    • 1
  • L. L. Ji
    • 1
  • W. D. Shi
    • 1
  • Y. F. Ping
    • 1
  • L. Zhou
    • 1
  • X. P. Jiang
    • 1
  1. 1.National Research Center of Pumps and Pump SystemJiangsu UniversityZhenjiangChina

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