DOI: 10.3390/fluids8090246 ISSN:

A Computation Fluid Dynamics Methodology for the Analysis of the Slipper–Swash Plate Dynamic Interaction in Axial Piston Pumps

Gabriele Muzzioli, Fabrizio Paltrinieri, Luca Montorsi, Massimo Milani
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics

This paper proposes a CFD methodology for the simulation of the slipper’s dynamics of a swash-plate axial piston unit under actual operating conditions. The study considers a typical slipper design, including a vented groove at the swash-plate interface. The dynamic fluid–body interaction (DFBI) model is exploited to find the instantaneous position of the slipper, while the morphing approach is adopted to cope with the corresponding mesh distortion. A modular approach is adopted to ensure high-quality mesh on the entire slipper surface and sliding interfaces provide the fluid dynamic connection between neighboring regions. The external forces acting on the slipper are included by means of user-defined lookup tables with the simulation estimating the lift force induced by fluid compression. Moreover, the force produced by the metal-to-metal contact between the slipper and the swash plate is modeled through a specific tool of the software. The pressure signal over an entire revolution of the pump is taken as an input of the simulation and a variable time step is used to manage the high-pressure gradients occurring in the regions of inner and outer dead points of the piston. The weakly compressible characteristic of the fluid is considered by a specific pressure-dependent density approach, and the two-equation eddy-viscosity k-ω SST (shear stress transport) model is used to assess the turbulent behavior of the flow. Furthermore, the transitional model predicts the onset of transition, thus solving different equations depending on whether the flow enters a laminar or turbulent regime. In conclusion, the proposed methodology investigates the motion of the slipper in response to several external forces acting on the component. The numerical results are discussed in terms of variable clearance height, pressure distribution within the gap, and lift forces acting on the slipper under specific pump operations.

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