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High-Speed Digital Photography of Vapor Cavitation in a Narrow Gap Flow

Authors: P Reinke, T Beckmann, C Ahlers, J Ahlrichs
Publisher: Fluids
Digital photography of cavitation in narrow gap flows, e.g., lubrication films in journal bearings or squeeze film dampers, demands a high time-resolution and a solution to approaching the particular spatial restrictions. Typically, the lubrication film thickness is in the range of a few microns and the characteristic time for vapor bubble generation and collapse is about one millisecond, respectively. The authors have developed a Journal Bearing Model Experiment, which is designed according to similarity laws providing fully similar flow conditions to real journal flows while offering ideal access to the flow by means of optical measurement equipment. Compared with other methods, e.g., pulsed laser, electrical discharge, tube arrest, applied to produce vapor bubbles, the work on hand applies a dynamic variation of the minimum film thickness to produce suction cavitation, which proves the applicability of this novel approach to study vapor cavitation in fluid films similar to lubricant flows. The results are obtained by means of digital high-speed photography of vapor bubbles from inception to implosion triggered by the dynamic variation of the minimum film thickness of a narrow gap flow. Moreover, the results are set in relation to a general overview of cavitation processes.
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