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Design optimisation of a regenerative pump using numerical and experimental techniques

Quail, Francis and Scanlon, T.J. and Stickland, M.T. (2011) Design optimisation of a regenerative pump using numerical and experimental techniques. International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat and Fluid Flow, 21 (1). pp. 95-111. ISSN 0961-5539

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Regenerative pumps are the subject of increased interest in industry as these pumps are low cost, low specific speed, compact and able to deliver high heads with stable performance characteristics. The complex flow-field within the pump represents a considerable challenge to detailed mathematical modelling. This paper outlines the use of a commercial CFD code to simulate the flow-field within the regenerative pump and compare the CFD results with new experimental data. A novel rapid manufacturing process is used to consider the effect of impeller geometry changes on the pump efficiency. The CFD results demonstrate that it is possible to represent the helical flow field for the pump which has only been witnessed in experimental flow visualisation until now. The CFD performance results also demonstrate reasonable agreement with the experimental tests. The ability to use CFD modelling in conjunction with rapid manufacturing techniques has meant that more complex impeller geometry configurations can now be assessed with better understanding of the flow-field and resulting efficiency.