Numerical investigation of partial cavitation regimes over a wedge using large eddy simulation

Mrugank Bhatt, Krishnan Mahesh

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Partial cavitation over incipient, transitory and periodic regimes is investigated using large eddy simulation (LES) in the (experimental) sharp wedge configuration of Ganesh et al. (2016). The numerical approach is based on a compressible homogeneous mixture model with finite rate mass transfer between the phases. Physical mechanisms of cavity transition observed in the experiments; i.e. re-entrant jet and bubbly shock wave, are both captured in the LES over their respective regimes. Vapor volume fraction data obtained from the LES is quantitatively compared to X-ray densitometry. In the transitory and periodic regimes, void fractions resulting from complex interactions of large regions of vapor in the sheet/cloud show very good comparison with the experiments. In addition, very good agreement with the experiments is obtained for the shedding frequency and the bubbly shock wave propagation speed. In the incipient regime, the qualitative characteristics of the flow (e.g. cavitation inside spanwise vortices in the shear layer) are captured in the simulations. Conditions favoring either the formation of the re-entrant jet or the bubbly shock wave are analyzed by contrasting the LES results between the regimes. In the transitory regime, large pressure recovery from within the cavity to outside, and the resulting high adverse pressure gradient at the cavity closure support the formation of re-entrant jet. In the periodic regime, overall low pressures lead to reduced speed of sound and increased medium compressibility, favoring the propagation of shock waves. In a re-entrant jet cycle, vapor production occurs predominantly in the shear layer, and intermittently within the cavity. In a bubbly shock cycle, vapor production is observed spanning the entire thickness of the cavity. Bubbly shock wave propagation is observed to be initiated by the impingement of the collapse-induced pressure waves from the previously shed cloud. Supersonic Mach numbers are observed in the cavity closure regions, while the regions within the grown cavity are subsonic due to the negligible flow velocities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103155
JournalInternational Journal of Multiphase Flow
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Bubbly shock waves
  • Large eddy simulation (LES)
  • Partial cavitation
  • Re-entrant jet
  • Sheet/cloud cavitation

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