Inspectioneering
Inspectioneering Journal

99 Diseases of Pressure Equipment: Cavitation

By John Reynolds at Intertek. This article appears in the July/August 2003 issue of Inspectioneering Journal

Cavitation is the sudden formation and immediate collapse of vapor or air bubbles in a liquid stream when system pressure falls below the vapor pressure of the liquid. The sudden collapse of these tiny bubbles generates enormous, though tiny forces that mechanically damage (erode) metal (often on pump impellers or just downstream of let down valves). Typically the noise generated by cavitation is easily detectable and often sounds like stones rattling around in the pump or valve. Key to mitigation of cavitation is for operators to report such noise to engineers and inspectors so that steps can be taken to mitigate the cause of the cavitation. The other key to mitigation is for engineers and inspectors to let operators and maintenance personnel know about cavitation and how damaging it can be if it is not prevented. Material changes typically do little to solve the problem. Design or operating changes are usually necessary.

Might your operators know about strange noises coming from pumps and let down valves that have gone unreported?


Comments and Discussion

There are no comments yet.

Add a Comment

Please log in or register to participate in comments and discussions.

Interested in equipment reliability & integrity? Sign up for weekly updates.

Inspectioneering Journal

Explore over 20 years of articles written by our team of subject matter experts.

Company Directory

Find relevant products, services, and technologies.

Job Postings

Discover job opportunities that match your skillset.

Case Studies

Learn from the experience of others in the industry.

Event Calendar

Find upcoming conferences, training sessions, online events, and more.

Industry News

Stay up-to-date with the latest inspection and asset integrity management news.

Blog

Read short articles and insights authored by industry experts.

Acronyms

Commonly used asset integrity management and inspection acronyms.

Asset Intelligence Reports

Download brief primers on various asset integrity management topics.

Videos

Watch educational and informative videos directly related to your profession.

Expert Interviews

Inspectioneering's archive of interviews with industry subject matter experts.