Cavitation in vortical structures is a common, albeit complex, problem in engineering applications. Cavitating vortical structures can be found on the blade surfaces, in the clearance passages, and at the hubs of various types of turbomachinery. Cavitating microvortices at the trailing edge of attached sheet cavitation can be highly erosive. Cavitating hub vortices in the draft tubes of hydroturbines can cause major surges and power swings. There is also mounting evidence that vortex cavitation is a dominant factor in the inception process in a broad range of turbulent flows. Most research has focused on the inception process, with limited attention paid to developed vortex cavitation. Wave-like disturbances on the surfaces of vapor cores are an important feature. Vortex core instabilities in microvortices are found to be important factors in the erosion mechanisms associated with sheet/cloud cavitation. Under certain circumstances, intense sound at discrete frequencies can result from a coupling between tip vortex disturbances and oscillating sheet cavitation. Vortex breakdown phenomena that have some commonalities are also noted, as are some differences with vortex breakdown in fully wetted flow. Simple vortex models can sometimes be used to describe the cavitation process in complex turbulent flows such as bluff body wakes and in plug valves. Although a vortex model for cavitation in jets does not exist, the mechanism of inception appears to be related to the process of vortex pairing. The pairing process can produce negative peaks in pressure that can exceed the rms value by a factor of ten, sometimes exceeding the dynamic pressure by a factor of two. A new and important issue is that cavitation is not only induced in vortical structures but is also a mechanism for vorticity generation.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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