In partnership with our client, we co-funded the development of pump modelling methods with the aim of demonstrating the application and benefit of computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
We focused on flow regimes in centrifugal fuel pumps and how this reflects the pump's design, performance and efficiency.
Our models allowed us to run sensitivity assessments to understand a range of impacts of impeller geometry and model features on the predicted performance. These included changes to the inlet pipe geometry, tip clearance and impeller clocking. We also compared the performance of a baseline, five bladed impeller, to that of a four bladed impeller, and highlighted the effects this has on changes in the bulk flow development.
The results were used to explain the performance difference between a four and five bladed impeller, in particular highlighting critical geometry features which have a negative impact on the performance.
Possibly for the first time, we allowed design engineers to better understand data that had been acquired through rig tests, allowing them to improve the design of future pumps.