Cavitation

Cavitation is the formation and then immediate implosion of cavities in a liquid – i.e. small liquid-free zones ("bubbles") – that are the consequence of forces acting upon the liquid. It usually occurs when a liquid is subjected to rapid changes of pressure that cause the formation of cavities where the pressure is relatively low.

Cavitation is a significant cause of wear in some engineering contexts. When entering high pressure areas, cavitation bubbles that implode on a metal surface cause cyclic stress. This results in surface fatigue of the metal causing a type of wear also called "cavitation". The most common examples of this kind of wear are pump impellers and bends when a sudden change in the direction of liquid occurs. Cavitation is usually divided into two classes of behaviour: inertial (or transient) cavitation and non-inertial cavitation.

Inertial cavitation is the process where a void or bubble in a liquid rapidly collapses, producing a shock wave. Inertial cavitation occurs in nature in the strikes of mantis shrimps and pistol shrimps, as well as in the vascular tissues of plants. In man-made objects, it can occur in control valves, pumps, propellers and impellers.

Non inertial cavitation is the process in which a bubble in a fluid is forced to oscillate in size or shape due to some form of energy input, such as an acoustic field. Such cavitation is often employed in ultrasonic cleaning baths and can also be observed in pumps, propellers, etc.

Since the shock waves formed by cavitation are strong enough to significantly damage moving parts, cavitation is usually an undesirable phenomenon. It is specifically avoided in the design of machines such as turbines or propellers, and eliminating cavitation is a major field in the study of fluid dynamics.

Read more about Cavitation:  Inertial Cavitation, Noninertial Cavitation, Cavitation Damage, Hydrodynamic Cavitation, Chemical Engineering Applications, Biomedical Application, Cleaning Application, Pumps and Propellers, Cavitation Solutions, Control Valves, Cavitation On Spillways, Cavitation in Engines, Geology, Vascular Plants, Marine Life, Coastal Erosion

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