Draft tube discharge fluctuation during self-sustained pressure surge: fluorescent particle image velocimetry in two-phase flow
Hydraulic machines play an increasingly important role in providing a secondary energy reserve for the integration of renewable energy sources in the existing power grid. This requires a significant extension of their usual operating range, involving the presence of cavitating flow regimes in the draft tube. At overload conditions, the self-sustained oscillation of a large cavity at the runner outlet, called vortex rope, generates violent periodic pressure pulsations. In an effort to better understand the nature of this unstable behavior and its interaction with the surrounding hydraulic and mechanical system, the flow leaving the runner is investigated by means of Particle Image Velocimetry. The measurements are performed in the draft tube cone of a reduced scale model of a Francis turbine. A cost-effective method for the in-house production of fluorescent seeding material is developed and described, based on off-the-shelf polyamide particles and Rhodamine-B dye. Velocity profiles are obtained at three streamwise positions in the draft tube cone and the corresponding discharge variation in presence of the vortex rope is calculated. The results suggest that 5-10% of the discharge in the draft tube cone is passing inside the vortex rope.