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High levels of cavitation can cause extreme damage on pump in minimum flow recirculation applications - it can literally tear a trim apart in minutes.

The factors causing this high level of damage are either the incorrect specification of the operating conditions or incorrect design of the trim. In this instance, the outlet pressure specified at 6 bars was in fact atmospheric pressure, resulting in this extreme erosion. The valve operated for only a few hours before it had to be taken out of service.

The original trim design incorporated five stages (ten turns) of pressure let-down, but the pressure drop apportionment did not eliminate cavitation due to the much lower downstream pressure. To handle this pressure drop and eliminate cavitation, the trim design needed an additional four stages of let-down, giving a total of 18 turns within the existing valve body. The area increases through the trim resulted in lower pressure drops in the outlet stages of the trim, thereby eliminating cavitation, even the outlet pressure was close to atmospheric pressure.

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