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Developments in the Understanding of Cavitation Aggressiveness - to prevent it or to use it, that is the question

A sudden decrease in pressure triggers the formation of vapour and gas bubbles inside a liquid medium (also called cavitation). This leads to many (key) engineering problems: material loss, noise, vibration of hydraulic machinery. On the other hand, cavitation is potentially a useful phenomenon: the extreme conditions are increasingly used for a wide variety of applications such as surface cleaning, enhanced chemistry and waste water treatment.

Firstly, an overview of the developments in the understanding and predicting of cavitation aggressiveness during the last 15 years will be given. The results base mainly on two larger and recently concluded projects. The first one considered the fundamental aspects of cavitation erosion and the development of the tools for its prediction. The second one was funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and investigated the possibility of long-term operation of LH2 and LOX turbo-pumps under cavitation conditions.

In the second part, exploitation of cavitation aggressiveness will be discussed. This is the line that we intend to pursue in the next 5 years in the scope of the ERC (European Research Council) project CABUM.