The present work aims to numerically study the inlet flow recirculation and modified impeller interaction in a centrifugal pump. An optimization of modified shrouded impeller with curved disk arrangement to suppress the unsteady flow recirculation is pursued. This modification will enhance the impeller characteristics with a wider operation range at both low and high flow rates in a high speed centrifugal pump type. The unstable flow in the centrifugal pumps is a common problem that leads to damage in the pump’s internal parts, consequently increases the operating cost. At certain flow rates, generally below the Best Efficiency Point (BEP), all centrifugal pumps are subject to internal recirculation occurs at the suction and discharge areas of the impeller.
For decades, experimental work has been done to investigate the complex three-dimensional flow within centrifugal pumps impellers, before computational work gains momentum due to advancement of computing power and improved numerical codes. In this study the impeller with a curved disk arrangement has been investigated by using a three-dimensional Navier-Stokes code with a standard k-ε turbulence model. The purpose is to evaluate and select the optimum impeller modification that would increase the pump suction flow rate range. Three-dimensional numerical Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) tools are used to simulate flow field characteristics inside the centrifugal pump and provide critical hydraulic design information. In the present work, ANSYS v.16.1 Fluent solver is used to analyze the pressure and velocity distributions inside impeller suction and discharge passages.
The ultimate goal of this study is to manufacture and validate the most optimized and efficient centrifugal pump impeller with a curved disk. The best case curve identifies the highest increase of total pressure difference by 22.1%, and highest efficiency by 92.3% at low flowrates.