Tampere University of Technology

TUTCRIS Research Portal

Cavitation erosion resistance assessment and comparison of three francis turbine runner materials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1126
Number of pages20
JournalMaterials Performance and Characterization
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2018
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Cavitation erosion is the most important erosion mechanism in Francis turbine runner blades. For this reason, knowledge of a material’s ability to resist cavitation is important in defining how suitable it is for use in a Francis turbine. In this study, three Francis turbine materials were subjected to cavitation erosion in a high-speed cavitation tunnel. One of the materials was a low-alloy steel, and the other two were stainless steels. The cavitation tunnel produced an annular cavitation field on one face of a cylindrical specimen. The test specimens underwent cavitation erosion until the erosion had reached a maximum penetration depth of about 0.5 mm. The material surface profiles were measured at regular intervals to calculate volume and mass loss. These losses were compared to those of several other materials that had undergone the same tests with the same setup and operational parameters. The materials were compared according to their steady-state erosion rates. The steady-state erosion rate represents a material’s ability to resist cavitation erosion once cavitation damage has already started to develop. The low-alloy steel eroded four times faster than the two stainless steels. One of the stainless steels tested here (Stainless steel 1) had the lowest erosion rate, along with another previously tested stainless steel. The other stainless steel (Stainless steel 2) had a slightly greater erosion rate than the first, falling into the same class as other lower-grade stainless steels and a nickel aluminum bronze alloy. The results show that in choosing a turbine blade material, stainless steels outperform nonstainless ones. The choice of which type of stainless steel to use is significant in turbines with cavitation problems. The eroded surfaces were analyzed with scanning electron microscopy in order to study the erosion mechanisms, and these studies showed that most of the damage is probably due to low-cycle fatigue.

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland

Downloads statistics

No data available