The performance of an inducer with the integration of an inlet cover bleed system known as a stability control device (SCD) is investigated using computational fluid dynamics. Inducers are the first stage of high suction performance pumps and are designed to operate under cavitating conditions. Improvements in design have allowed inducers to operate stably with low inlet head conditions, however, cavitation instabilities ultimately lead to pump failure. It has been shown that inducers that employ an SCD fully suppress cavitation instabilities.The performance of an inducer is explored at both on- and off-design flow coefficients, where the flow coefficient is a normalized flow rate through the inducer. Both the cavitating and non-cavitating performance of the inducer are analyzed. Improved stability is observed when the SCD is implemented, particularly at flow coefficients below the design value. The stabilizing effect of the SCD allows the inducer to operate stably at much lower flow coefficients, which allows for significant improvements in the pumps ability to operate with minimal inlet head. Cavitation instabilities, such as rotating cavitation, are also suppressed when the SCD is implemented.As part of this work, the design space created by the SCD is explored. Variations in the SCD geometry as well as the inlet blade angle of the inducer are explored. High suction performance pumps are required to operate at very low flow coefficients in order to have the best suction performance. Traditionally, only inducers with small inlet blade angles can maintain stable operation at very low flow coefficient. Because of the stabilizing effect of an SCD, inducers with larger inlet blade angles can now operate stably at the low flow rates require for high suction performance pumps. The influence of varying the inlet blade angle is explored in inducers that employ an SCD. This provides a better understanding of the flow physics in inducers that employ an SCD and help to define their design criteria. Stable operation at low flow coefficients is achieved with the larger inlet blade angles, confirming that inducers with larger inlet blade angles that employ an SCD can be used in high suction performance pumps. Modifications to the SCD geometry are considered to better optimize the design. Variations in the SCD geometry have almost no effect on the cavitation breakdown curve for each inducer, however, the stability of the pumps is greatly influenced by the SCD geometry. Some cavitation instabilities are observed in inducers that operate with an SCD. The physics that leads to the generation of these instabilities is unique to an inducer with an SCD. Modifications to the SCD geometry can allow inducers that employ an SCD to suppress traditional cavitation instabilities that occur without an SCD as well as the new instabilities that are observed when an SCD is implemented.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





inducer, cavitation, pump, turbopump, stability control device, instabilities