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CFD Analysis of Hydraulic Performance in Small Centrifugal Pumps Operating with Slurry

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In many operations, the effect of suspended solids on the operating conditions and efficiency of the dredging pump is a major factor, due to the high risk of cavitation that can occur in this type of pump. In order to search for tools that allow facilitating the research in this type of pump, this study performs a CFD analysis of a centrifugal pump using OpenFOAM® free simulation software and uses the Eulerian-Eulerian multiphase model. The accuracy of the simulated results is determined by comparing them with the experimentally obtained characteristics. The results obtained in the simulations show that the use of the software allows predicting the real pump behavior with a maximum error of 1.5%. Pump analysis has showed that NPSHa values below 6 m produce a risk of cavitation in the pump. The simulation results indicate that the density of the solid-liquid mixture has a strong impact on the internal flow field of the pump. It has been demonstrated that the increase in the density of the slurry causes a decrease in the flow pressure, which can lead to the presence of cavitation in high flow densities. Additionally, the increased presence of solid particles due to increased density exposes the pump to abrasion wear, mainly in the tail region of the impeller. Simulation results also indicate that the increase in slurry density results in a significant reduction in the hydraulic efficiency of the pump. It has been seen that the presence of solids in the fluid causes a 7% and 10% reduction in TDH and pump efficiency.
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Cavitation; Centrifugal Pump; Numerical Simulation; Performance Test; Solid-Liquid Two-Phase

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