Graduation Of Wim Kleermaker: Measuring And Predicting Wear In Impellers

Wim Kleermaker during the practical phase of his graduation in dredging
Wim Kleermaker during the practical phase of his graduation in dredging

Yesterday, Wim Kleermaker graduated at the TU Delft on a research project he conducted on our slurry test circuit at Damen Dredging Equipment. Specifically, he was investigating the wear behaviour in our dredge pumps. The noteworthy aspect of this project, was that Wim was supervised by our colleague Suman Sapkota. As long time readers in the audience might remember Suman was my own pupil some years ago1.

Example of a worn impeller at the Damen Dredging Experience
Example of a worn impeller at the Damen Dredging Experience

Wear is a very common process in the dredging industry and one of the main cost factors in a project2. It is beneficial to know the amount of wear to expect in a certain condition and be able to predict the budget to reserve for this nuisance. This is only possible when we as a manufacturer will be able to predict the wear rate and pattern can provide the information to the operator for his estimates. We do have historical data that will allow us to provide a ball park figure, but a more analytical approach might assist us in particular unusual cases. Furthermore, it will also provide us insight in the impact of certain design decisions for the wear performance of a certain pump design. For Wim’s graduation, he had to approach this academically: come up with a simulation model and verify this with measurements.

Damen dredge pump slurry test circuit on the outfitting quay in Nijkerk
Damen dredge pump slurry test circuit on the outfitting quay in Nijkerk

The measurements were done in our slurry pump test circuit. This circuit has been highlighted a couple of posts back3. For Wim’s experiments, he used an impeller under a certain operating condition and mixture properties. Before and after a representative period, the condition of the impeller was measured and the difference is a measure of the wear experienced.

CFD result for the wear experiments
CFD result for the wear experiments

Wear (or scientifically: erosion) is related to the impact of the particles on the material surface. In order to know the kinetic energy of the particles, the flow field has to be known. As the flow fleild cannot be measured directly at the test circuit, we have to resort to Computation Fluid Dynamics. We already know of Suman’s graduation, to look for patterns in the flow lines, but Wim has extended the procedure to also quantitively estimate the related erosion.

Comparing CFD results (l) with measured erosion (r)
Comparing CFD results (l) with measured erosion (r)

Although there is only a limited amount of data available, comparing the results of the CFD estimation and the measured erosion are looking promising. This is certainly a workflow that will provide us the unique tools for engineering better pumps and assisting customers in their specific projects.
Although Wim will not join our ranks in the dredging community and pursue a different career in another interesting industry, we are sure he will be constructive and dedicated colleague at Marin.

Another master and student fighting evil forces (Credit: Star Wars)
Another master and student fighting evil forces (Credit: Star Wars)

References

  1. Graduation Suman Sapkota: Where wear parts were worn down, Discover Dredging
  2. Wear parts, Discover Dredging
  3. Student Interviews On Their Projects With Our Dredge Pump Slurry Test Circuit In Damen Nieuws, Discover Dredging

See also