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Vapour pressure

 Vapour pressure is the pressure at which a liquid boils and

is in equilibrium with its own vapour.

 When the liquid pressure is greater than the vapour

pressure, the only exchange between liquid and vapour is
evaporation at the interface.

 If the liquid pressure falls below the vapour pressure,

vapour bubbles begin to appear inside the liquid

 When a liquid flows into a region where its pressure is
reduced to vapour pressure, it boils and vapour pockets
develop in it

 The vapour bubbles are carried along the liquid until a

region of higher pressure is reached, where they suddenly

 This process is called cavitation

 If the vapour bubbles are near to or in contact with a solid

boundary when they collapse, the forces exerted by the
liquid rushing into the cavities create very high localized
pressures that cause pitting of the solid surface.
 The phenomenon is accompanied by noise, vibration and
weak emission of light.

 The instantaneous pressures resulting from the collapse of

the bubbles can be extremely high ( ~ 1 GPa or 1000 MPa)

 Cavitation collapse can rapidly erode metallic surfaces and

eventually destroy them

 The formation of vapour cavities decreases the useful

channel space for liquid flow and thus decrease the
efficiency of hydraulic machines such as pumps,
hydroturbines and propellers
 Since liquids usually have gases dissolved in them,, the
lowering of pressure to a value close to the vapour pressure
releases this air first

 The combination of air release and vaporization is known

as cavitation

 In practice, cavitation starts at pressures somewhat higher

than the vapour pressure
Cavitation parameter
p  pvap
Ca 
V 2
p = absolute pressure at the point of interest
pvap = vapour pressure of the liquid
 = density of the fluid
V = characteristic or reference flow velocity

 Useful in characterizing the susceptibility of a system to


 A given flow has a critical value of the cavitation

parameter, Ca , below which the flow will begin to cavitate

 The critical cavitation number, Ca , depends on thecrit

geometry and the Reynolds number

 As Ca decreases below Cacrit , the cavitation increases in


 Two geometrically similar systems would be equally likely

to cavitate or would have the same degree of cavitation for
the same value of Ca

 When Ca  0 , boiling should occur