Numerical and experimental hydrodynamic study of a coolant distributor for grinding applications
ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS OF COMPUTATIONAL FLUID MECHANICS
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In grinding, the high frictional energy is converted into heat, which may cause thermal damage and degradation of the wheel and the workpiece. Unwanted thermal effects must thus be reduced, often by external cooling using a curved-duct coolant distributor to match the wheel geometry. The performance of such a system depends strongly on the impinging jet flow properties to ensure efficient sprinkling of the hot spots. The fluid distributor, placed above the workpiece, is pierced with a certain number of identical nozzle fittings, providing multiple jets at the outlet of the nozzles. These jets sprinkle the solids over a given zone and remove the heat by convective transfer. The cooling is hence dependent on the flow structure, meaning the jet diameters, trajectories and velocities, determined up-flow by the distributor design. The present study is devoted to the hydrodynamics aspects of the fluid distributor, aiming to determine the flow-rate distribution at the different orifices and the flow-rate-pressure relationship, for a variety of nozzle diameters and feeding flow rates, under isothermal conditions. A simple hydraulic balance in the device was not able to predict with sufficient accuracy the actual measurements, even when the Venturi effect was accounted for. This discrepancy is due to the curvature of the distributor, inducing secondary flows in interaction with the nozzle outlets, which leads to a rather complex flow pattern. To overcome this issue, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tool was used and compared with in situ experiments - global flow rate and pressure measurements were additionally taken with particle image velocimetry (PIV) to gain insight into the local structure. Simulations were performed with a 3D turbulence model for Reynolds numbers up to 100,000. This model provides an efficient tool for coupling with the thermal study at a later step, allowing global sizing and energetic optimization of the grinding process.