A single cavitation indicator based on statistical parameters for a centrifugal pump
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Cavitation is one of the major problems associated with the operation of centrifugal pumps. Cavitation occurs when vapour bubbles that are formed due to a drop in pressure in the pipes upstream of the centrifugal pump implode under the added pressure within the volute of the pump. These implosions wear away the impeller, and sometimes the volute itself, which if left unchecked, would render the pump inoperable. Much research has been done in the detection of cavitation through: indicators in certain audible frequencies, drop in the net positive suction head, visual inspection using a transparent casing and a stroboscopic light, paint erosion inside the volute and on the impeller, changes in pressure within the flow or volute, and vibration within certain frequency ranges. Vibration detection is deemed as one of the more difficult methods due to other structural and environmental factors that may influence which frequencies may be present during the onset of cavitation. Vibration measurement however is most easily measured and deployable in an automated condition monitoring scenario.It is proposed that an increasing trend in a set of statistical parameters, rather than a firm threshold of a single parameter, would provide a robust indication for the onset of cavitation. Trends in these statistical parameters were obtained from data collected on a pump forced to cavitate under several different operating conditions. A single cavitation indicator is outlined utilizing these statistical parameters that can quantify the level of cavitation in a centrifugal pump.
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