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Estimation of Cavitation Pit Distributions by Acoustic Emission

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Article number04019064
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Cavitation erosion in hydraulic machinery, such as in turbines and pumps, often leads to significant reduction of the service life of the affected components, with serious consequences for their maintenance costs and operation efficiency. In this study, the potential contribution of acoustic emission (AE) measurements to the assessment of cavitation damage is evaluated from experiments in a cavitation tunnel. Stainless steel samples were exposed to cavitation and damage was characterized from pitting tests carried out on mirror-polished samples. The pits were measured using an optical profilometer and cavitation damage was characterized by pit diameter distribution. In parallel, AE time signal was measured directly from behind the samples. A dedicated signal-processing technique was developed in order to identify each burst in the AE signal and determine its amplitude. The AE amplitude distribution compares well with PVDF and pressure sensor measurements from literature. It is concluded that AE signal analysis can be used to monitor the formation of pits without visual examination of the damaged surface. This provides a basis for possible future applications of nonintrusive cavitation erosion monitoring in hydraulic machines, provided the findings remain true in a more complex environment.

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland