What is Cavitation and What Causes It


Cavitation is the formation and collapsing of cavities or bubbles in a liquid mostly developed in the areas which have relatively low pressure around the pump impeller. It occurs in the absence of the net positive suction head the pump. It’s the formation of bubbles in the liquid flowing in any Hydraulic Turbine. It occurs when the vapor pressure goes beyond the static pressure of the liquid. In some engineering contexts, cavitation is a significant cause of wear.

What causes it?

For the maintenance of the impeller pump cavitation, the difficult part comes in the fact that cavitation is not caused by a single factor. There are many factors which contribute to the formation of cavitation.

Rapid dropping in the pressure at the suction nozzle

The fluid pressure at the suction pump needs to be above the liquid vapor pressure. However, when the vapor pressure becomes very low at the nozzle, vaporization takes place leading to the formation of an unlimited number of gas bubbles. In the process cavitation takes place.

Unwanted flow conditions

Sometimes obstructions in the valves and sharp elbows do occur. When this happens especially in the suction piping and other fittings, there is an increase in the frictional pressure loss. This leads to an increase in the possibility of great reduction of the pressure at the suction pump which will eventually lead to pump impeller cavitation.

Uneven increase of the pumped liquid temperature

At certain times the temperature at of the liquid can rise unevenly. In the process, the liquid vapor pressure increases. This leads to the operating pressure falling below the vapor pressure limit, thus, the formation of bubbles and what follows is pump impeller cavitation.

High fluid velocity at the suction pump

When the liquid flow rates rise at the pump suction than at the designed case, frictional pressure drop level rises with the increasing flow rate. This lowers the pressure increases the chances for cavitation to occur at the suction pump.

Cavitation can be caused by a number of factors. It is advisable to prevent pump impeller cavitation which occurs as a result of vaporization.

If you want to know more about cavitation or need a pump repair service, contact the experienced professionals at Jett Pump & Valve LLC today for more information. Our expert team can answer and all questions you have!

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