Analysis of tip vortex inception prediction methods
Journal article, 2018

The current study investigates different cavitation inception prediction methods to characterize tip vortex flows around an elliptical foil, and a high skewed low-noise propeller. Adapted inception models cover different levels of complexity including wetted flow, Eulerian cavitation simulations, and Rayleigh-Plesset bubble dynamics models. The tip vortex flows are simulated by Implicit Large Eddy Simulation on appropriate grid resolutions for tip vortex propagation, at least 32 cells per vortex diameter according to previous studies guidelines.

The results indicate that the cavitation inception predictions by the minimum pressure criterion of the wetted flow analysis are similar to weak water inception measurements. In the wetted flow analysis, the proposed energy criterion is noted to provide reasonably accurate inception predictions, similar to the predictions by Eulerian cavitation simulations with much lower computational costs.

Comparison between high speed videos and numerical results of the propeller shows the capability of the numerical methodology in predicting tip vortex structures in different conditions. The interaction between vortices and their impact on the pressure field and the cavitation inception are also highlighted. The strong dependency of the inception on the initial nuclei sizes are demonstrated, and it is shown that for weaker tip vortices this dependency becomes more significant.


Elliptical foil

Tip vortex





Abolfazl Asnaghi

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Marine Technology

Urban Svennberg

Rolls-Royce (Swe)

Rickard Bensow

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Marine Technology

Ocean Engineering

0029-8018 (ISSN)

Vol. 167 187-203

Areas of Advance



Subject Categories

Applied Mechanics

Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics


Basic sciences


C3SE (Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering)



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