Scaling study of cavitation pitting from cavitating jets and ultrasonic horns
Cavitation erosion prediction and characterization of cavitation field strength are of interest to industries suffering from cavitation erosion detrimental effects. One means to evaluate cavitation fields and materials is to examine pitting rates during the incubation period, where the test sample undergoes localized permanent deformations shaped as individual pits. In this study, samples from three metallic materials, an Aluminum alloy (Al 7075), a Nickel Aluminum Bronze (NAB) and a Duplex Stainless Steel (SS A2205) were subjected to a vast range of cavitation intensities generated by cavitating jets at different driving pressures and by an ultrasonic horn. The resulting pitted sample surfaces were examined and characterized with a non-contact 3D optical scanner and the resulting damage computer-analyzed. A statistical analysis of the pit population and its characteristics was then carried out. It was found that the various cavitation field strengths can be correlated to the measured pit distributions and that two characteristic quantities: a characteristic number of pits per unit surface area and unit time, and a characteristic pit diameter or a characteristic pit depth can be attributed to a given "cavitation intensity level". This characterization concept can be used in the future to study the cavitation intensity of the full scale and to develop methods of full scale predictions based on model scale erosion data. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.