X-ray radiography of cavitation in a beryllium alloy nozzle

Daniel J. Duke, Katarzyna E. Matusik, Alan L. Kastengren, Andrew B. Swantek, Nicholas Sovis, Raul Payri, Juan P. Viera, Christopher F. Powell

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Making quantitative measurements of the vapor distribution in a cavitating nozzle is difficult, owing to the strong scattering of visible light at gas-liquid boundaries and wall boundaries, and the small lengths and time scales involved. The transparent models required for optical experiments are also limited in terms of maximum pressure and operating life. Over the past few years, x-ray radiography experiments at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source have demonstrated the ability to perform quantitative measurements of the line of sight projected vapor fraction in submerged, cavitating plastic nozzles. In this paper, we present the results of new radiography experiments performed on a submerged beryllium nozzle which is 520 μm in diameter, with a length/diameter ratio of 6. Beryllium is a light, hard metal that is very transparent to x-rays due to its low atomic number. We present quantitative measurements of cavitation vapor distribution conducted over a range of non-dimensional cavitation and Reynolds numbers, up to values typical of gasoline and diesel fuel injectors. A novel aspect of this work is the ability to quantitatively measure the area contraction along the nozzle with high spatial resolution. Analysis of the vapor distribution, area contraction and discharge coefficients are made between the beryllium nozzle and plastic nozzles of the same nominal geometry. When gas is dissolved in the fuel, the vapor distribution can be quite different from that found in plastic nozzles of the same dimensions, although the discharge coefficients are unaffected. In the beryllium nozzle, there were substantially fewer machining defects to act as nucleation sites for the precipitation of bubbles from dissolved gases in the fuel, and as such the effect on the vapor distribution was greatly reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Engine Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cavitation
  • radiography
  • x-ray

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