Characteristics of steady and unsteady cavitation in a turbopump inducer were investigated in this paper. To see the effect of tip clearance on the inducer performance, three cases of tip clearance were tested. The helical inducer, which has two blades with inlet tip blade angle of 7.8 degree and tip solidity of 2.7, was tested in the water. In the non-cavitating condition, the inducer head decreased with increase in the tip clearance. Rotating cavitation and cavitation surge were observed through unsteady pressure measurements at the inducer inlet. The cell number and propagation speed of the rotating cavitation were determined through cross-correlation analysis. During the rotating cavitation one cell rotated at the same rotational speed as that of the inducer rotation and the cavitation surge did not rotate. The critical cavitation number increased with increase in the tip clearance at the same flow rate, but the change of critical cavitation number was small at the nominal flow rate.
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