School of Engineering and Computational Sciences
supercavitation, cavitation number, disk cavitator, CFD, multiphase flow
Computer-Aided Engineering and Design | Mechanical Engineering | Ocean Engineering
Prichard, Reid, "Cavitation Number as a Function of Disk Cavitator Radius: a Numerical Analysis of Natural Supercavitation" (2019). Senior Honors Theses. 841.
Due to the greater viscosity and density of water compared to air, the maximum speed of underwater travel is severely limited compared to other methods of transportation. However, a technology called supercavitation – which uses a disk-shaped cavitator to envelop a vehicle in a bubble of steam – promises to greatly decrease skin friction drag. While a large cavitator enables the occurrence of supercavitation at low velocities, it adds substantial unnecessary drag at higher speeds. Based on CFD results, a relationship between cavitator diameter and cavitation number is developed, and it is substituted into an existing equation relating drag coefficient to cavitation number. The final relationship predicts drag from cavitator radius fairly well, with an absolute error less than 5.4% at a cavitator radius above 14.14mm and as low as 1.3% at the maximum tested radius of 22.5mm.