Research Activities

Evaluation of erosion phenomena in a nozzle for Abrasive Water Jet Cutting

Three phase Flow in a nozzle
Gas, liquid, and abrasive particles flow in a nozzle for Abrasive Water Jet Cutting


In an Abrasive Water Jet Cutting (AWJC) operation a high-speed water jet is used to accelerate abrasive particles forming a turbulent mixture of water, entrained air and abrasive powders traveling at hundreds of meters per second. The focusing tube (Nozzle) represents a key component, whose primary scope is to focus and stabilize the flow forming in the mixing chamber, in order to ensure optimal cutting performances of the device. Nevertheless, this nozzle often happens to be the first target of the erosive action of the flow. This phenomenon significantly shortens the operational life of a nozzle. The numerical approach proposed in this work aims to provide an insight to this very fast and disruptive phenomena that are difficult and expensive to be captured by purely experimental studies.

Such state of the art numerical models have only been able to capture erosion through number of impacts, and do not account for the impact forces. In our prototype, we couple 3 single physics blackbox numerical solvers (software) to create a multiphysics simulation enviornment. Our prototype uses preCICE to couple these 3 numerical solvers: XDEM (for the particle motion), OpenFOAM (for the water jet), and CalculiX (for the nozzle deformation). This 6-way coupling between DEM+CFD+FEM brings the simulation of the particle-laden multiphase flow inside the abrasive cutting nozzle close to the real-life conditions. Thus opening up opportunities for further investigation and improvement of the Nozzle design.

Particle laden flow inside the mixing chamber of AWJC Nozzle

Particle laden flow inside the mixing chamber of AWJC Nozzle.

3D snapshot of the simulation results

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3D snapshot of the simulation results.


Ph.D. Prasad ADHAV
Partners: Dr. Ralph Useldinger, Dr. Michael Droeschel, Dr. Zhongming Xia, CERATIZIT-Luxembourg
Contact: Prof.-Dr.-Ing. B. Peters