Abstract In order to study the characteristics of pressure pulsation and unsteady flow features in multistage centrifugal pumps, a three-stage centrifugal pump model served as flow simulation object. The DES method was used to simulate the unsteady flow in the pump under four working conditions. The reliability of numerical simulation was demonstrated by comparing the predicted performance with the measured characteristic. Thirty-six monitoring points were set up in the impeller, radial diffuser and return channel in each stage. It is shown that the throat of the radial diffuser is subject to a pressure pulsation in low frequency. At different flow rates, the pressure pulsation presents periodicity and the most pulsation intensity occurs in the radial diffuser, but also the amplitude of pressure pulsation increases when the working point deviating from the design flow condition. At different flow rates, the main frequency of pressure pulsation in the radial diffuser is the blade passing frequency of 327 Hz and the peak amplitude at the blade passing frequency multiplied by an integer is attenuated rapidly. The results provide a theoretical reference to revealing pressure pulsation law in multistage centrifugal pumps.
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