Cavitation Modeling on the Automotive Torque Converter using Computational Fluid Dynamics with a Mixing Plane Approach

Open Access
Shanks, Matthew Ferrell
Graduate Program:
Aerospace Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
May 05, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Jules Washington Lindau V, Thesis Advisor
  • Cavitation
  • Torque Converter
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • CFD
  • Mixing Plane
The automotive torque converter is a fluid coupling device used to transfer power, with multiplication of torque, from the engine to the transmission. Cavitation is a limiting factor in torque converter design, thus a reason for study. A three dimensional, multi-phase Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes computational tool is applied to model performance and cavitation in the torque converter. Cases are run for both single and multi-phase conditions, for two different speed ratios, for which performance parameters are compared to experimental data. Analysis includes that for several blade designs, two of which in detail. Periodic flow conditions were assumed, using a body force and a mixing plane approach for blade row coupling. In comparison to experimental results, the solutions found using the body force approach were accurate for some geometry configurations, however not for all. The mixing plane approach served to better conserve flow properties, and provided results of higher accuracy. An analysis of the flow features including vapor cavities, along with the numerical results are discussed in detail.