Cavitation onset caused by acceleration
Assoc. Prof Tadd T. Truscott (Utah State University, US)
Striking the top of a liquid-filled bottle can shatter the bottom. An intuitive interpretation of this eventmight label an impulsive force as the culprit in this fracturing phenomenon. However, high-speed photography reveals the formation and collapse of tiny bubbles near the bottom before fracture. This observation indicates that the damaging phenomenon of cavitation is at fault. Cavitation is well known for causing damage in various applications including pipes and ship propellers, making accurate prediction of cavitation onset vital in several industries. However, the conventional cavitation number as a function of velocity incorrectly predicts the cavitation onset caused by acceleration. This unexplained discrepancy leads to the derivation of an alternative dimensionless term from the equation of motion, predicting cavitation as a function of acceleration and fluid depth rather than velocity. Two independent research groups in different countries have tested this theory; separate series of experiments confirm that an alternative cavitation number, presented in this paper, defines the universal criteria for the onset of acceleration-induced cavitation.