Understanding Corrosion in Water Pipelines: A Guide for Pipeline Designers


Cavitation Erosion

Last updated: October 16, 2019

What Does Cavitation Erosion Mean?

Cavitation erosion is the process of surface deterioration and surface material loss due to the generation of vapor or gas pockets inside the flow of liquid. These pockets are formed due to low pressure well below the saturation vapor pressure of the liquid and erosion caused by the bombardment of vapor bubbles on the surface.


Corrosionpedia Explains Cavitation Erosion

Cavitation erosion usually involves an attack on the surface by gas or vapor bubbles, creating a sudden collapse due to a change in pressure near the surface. Low pressure (below the saturated vapor pressure) is generated hydrodynamically, due to various flow parameters, such as liquid viscosity, temperature, pressure and nature of flow. This deterioration is initiated by a sudden surge of bubbles hammering the surface, resulting in deformation, as well as pitting.

Cavitation erosion can occur on the surfaces of metals and nonmetals. It may produce undesirable noise levels and reduce the useful life of very valuable property. Noise created due to cavitation erosion in submarines increases the risk of enemy detection during wartime. In the case of pumps, cavitation erosion risks are increased by a smaller inlet pipe diameter and inlet restrictions, combined with higher liquid viscosity.

Cavitation erosion can damage and destroy critical and valuable equipment, such as industrial/military/power station equipment and parts, such as pump impellers, delicately balanced high-speed propellers and turbine blades, causing failures leading to potential risk of life and injury for workers and others; loss of revenue, due to equipment downtime and the extra costs of failure analysis, repair and replacement.


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