Cavitation is common in high-pressure homogenizers, and has severe negative effects such as noise and mechanical wear, but may also have a beneficial effect in promoting fragmentation. Greater knowledge concerning cavitation in the homogenizer valve is thus important in optimizing the design and utilization of emulsification equipment. The aim of this study was to locate the region of cavitation and to study its dependence on operating conditions. The cavitation in a model of a high-pressure homogenizer is examined in detail. A visualization technique, based on the scattering of light from cavitation bubbles in the flow, has been developed, tested and compared to acoustical measurements. Intense light scattering was observed in the gap of the valve, indicating cavitation bubble growth as well as collapse inside the gap. The scattering intensity increased with increasing inlet pressure and decreased with increasing back pressure.
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