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Nucleation effects on cavitation about a sphere

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 15:38 authored by Paul BrandnerPaul Brandner, James VenningJames Venning, Bryce PearceBryce Pearce

The influence of nucleation on cavitation about a sphere from inception through to supercavitation at a transcritical Reynolds number of 1.5 x 106 is investigated experimentally. Two extreme free-stream nuclei populations, deplete and abundant, were investigated. Unsteady surface pressures from two sensors on opposing sides of the sphere were acquired simultaneous with high-resolution high-speed photography at cavitation numbers between 1.0 and 0.3. High-resolution spectrograms derived from these measurements reveal principally bi-modal shedding in attached and detached regimes. Correlations between unsteady pressure measurements show the high modes to be axisymmetric and low modes asymmetric. Modal topology is also discerned from the high-speed imaging. The bi-modal shedding for lower cavitation numbers is driven by coupled re-entrant jet formation and upstream shockwave propagation. The attached regime is shown to have two sub-regimes. For the abundant case, the continuous supply of activated nuclei around the sphere periphery in the first bi-modal regime has the effect of driving the high symmetric mode preferentially over the asymmetric low mode compared with the deplete case. For the first bi-modal regime, frequencies were unaffected by nucleation changes although peak responses were centred at a cavitation number of about 0.8 for the deplete and 0.825 for the abundant. For the second attached regime, where cavity lengths are of the order of the sphere size, changes in nucleation altered frequencies and amplitudes of peak unsteady pressures. For the abundant case, the continuous nuclei supply significantly reduced coherence with modal peak amplitudes reduced by an order compared with the deplete case. Continuous nuclei activation increased the probability of the high mode over the low compared with the deplete case but to a lesser extent than the first regime. Nuclei activations also significantly reduced inter-cavity and cavity durations, but not growth and collapse phases, which increased modal frequencies compared with the deplete case. The second regime asymmetric low mode topology, for both nucleation cases, is shown to be alternate shedding of oblique vortices from diametrically opposing sides of the sphere similar to low Reynolds number shedding about spheres and other axisymmetric bluff bodies in single-phase flows.


Publication title

Journal of Fluid Mechanics










Australian Maritime College


Cambridge Univ Press

Place of publication

40 West 20Th St, New York, USA, Ny, 10011-4211

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Maritime; International sea freight transport (excl. live animals, food products and liquefied gas); Expanding knowledge in engineering