A piping system of French nuclear power plants displays large amplitude vibrations in particular flow regimes. These troubles are attributed to cavitation generated by single-hole orifices in depressurized flow regimes. Real scale experiments on high pressure test rigs and on-site tests are then conducted to explain the observed phenomenon and to find a solution to reduce pipe vibrations. The first objective of the present paper is to analyze cavitation-induced vibrations in the single-hole orifice. It is then shown that the orifice operates in choked flow with supercavitation, which is characterized by a large unstable vapor pocket. One way to reduce pipe vibrations consists in suppressing the orifices and in modifying the control valves. Three technologies involving a standard trim and anti-cavitation trims are tested. The second objective of the paper is to analyze cavitation-induced vibrations in globe-style valves. Cavitating valves operate in choked flow as the orifice. Nevertheless, no vapor pocket appears inside the pipe and no unstable phenomenon is observed. The comparison with an anti-cavitation solution shows that cavitation reduction has no impact on low frequency excitation. The effect of cavitation reduction on pipe vibrations, which involve essentially low frequencies, is then limited and the first solution, which is the standard globe-style valve installed on-site, leads to acceptable pipe vibrations. Finally, this case study may have consequences on the design of piping systems. First, cavitation in orifices must be limited. Choked flow in orifices may lead to supercavitation, which is here a damaging and unstable phenomenon. The second conclusion is that the reduction of cavitation in globe-style valve in choked flow does not reduce pipe vibrations. The issue is then to limit cavitation erosion of valve trims.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.