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Published March 1, 1995 | public
Journal Article Open

The Influence of Swirl Brakes on the Rotordynamic Forces Generated by Discharge-to-Suction Leakage Flows in Centrifugal Pumps


Increasing interest has been given to swirl brakes as a means of reducing destabilizing rotordynamic forces due to leakage flows in new high speed rocket turbopumps. Although swirl brakes have been used successfully in practice (such as with the Space Shuttle HPOTP), no experimental tests until now have been performed to demonstrate their beneficial effect over a range of leakage flow rates. The present study investigates the effect of swirl brakes on rotordynamic forces generated by discharge-to-suction leakage flows in the annulus of shrouded centrifugal pumps over a range of subsynchronous whirl rtios and various leakage flow rates. In addition, the effectiveness of swirl brakes in the presence of leakage inlet (pump discharge) swirl is also demonstrated. The experimental data demonstrates that with the addition of swirl brakes a significant reduction in the destabilizing tangential force for lower flow rates is achieved. At higher flow rates, the brakes are detrimental. In the presence of leakage inlet swirl, brakes were effective over all leakage flow rates tested in reducing the range of whirl frequency ratio for which the tangential force is destabilizing.

Additional Information

The assistance provided by Asif Khalak and Kyle Roof with the experimental program is greatly appreciated. We would also like to thank the NASA George Marshall Space Flight Center for support under Grant NAG8-118 and technical monitor Henry Stinson.


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