Computation of Critical Submergence Depth to Avoid Surface Vortices at Vertical Pumps Intakes


The pumping station became widely used in many fields. Free surface vortices at intakes of pumps are not favorable. It may cause noise, excessive vibration, damage to the pumping structure, reduction in efficiency and flow for hydro-turbines, etc. One of the important problems encountered during the pump intake design is the depth of submergence and other design parameters to avoid strong free-surface vortices formation. This study aims to compute the critical submergence depth with some geometrical and hydraulic limitations by using Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) package. The mathematical model was validated with a laboratory model that had been conducted. The model of three intake pipes was investigated under five different submergence depth (S), three different spaces between intake pipes (b), and five different suction velocities (v). The results showed the best operation cases when the space between intake pipes (b) equal to 4D, the submergence depth of water is equal or greater than 1.25 from the bell mouth diameter of intake pipe (D), and the suction velocity less than 2 m/s. The worst case was when the space between the suction pipe (b) was (2D), in this case, the vortex appeared at submergence depth (S/D = 2) with suction velocity 3 m/s.