Recent studies indicate that the transition from sheet to cloud cavitation depends on both cavitation number and Reynolds number. In the present paper this transition is investigated analytically and a physical model is introduced. In order to include the entire process, the model consists of two parts, a model for the growth of the sheet cavity and a viscous film flow model for the so-called re-entrant jet. The models allow the calculation of the length of the sheet cavity for given nucleation rates and initial nuclei radii and the spreading history of the viscous film. By definition, the transition occurs when the re-entrant jet reaches the point of origin of the sheet cavity, implying that the cavity length and the penetration length of the re-entrant jet are equal. Following this criterion, a stability map is derived showing that the transition depends on a critical Reynolds number which is a function of cavitation number and relative surface roughness. A good agreement was found between the model-based calculations and the experimental measurements. In conclusion, the presented research shows the evidence of nucleation and bubble collapse for the growth of the sheet cavity and underlines the role of wall friction for the evolution of the re-entrant jet.
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