The paper presents the main steps in order to develop an experimental test rig for analysis and control the swirling flows in draft tube cone of the Francis turbine. The main goal of test rig and experimental methodology developed will be focuses on the vortex rope generated in Francis turbines' draft tube. This is a very important matter in Francis turbine operation, because at partial load a cavitational vortex rope is developed. Consequently, strong vibrations and output power pulsations are generated. So, the contribution of hydropower plants equipped with Francis turbines at stability of energetic system is limited. A new solution is developed in order to mitigate the vortex rope using a new technique: based on injecting an axial water jet in draft tube. In order to investigate these phenomena a special swirl generator was designed based on numerical analysis. In the paper are presented the main aspects of hydraulic and mechanical design. Some experimental results concerning test rig operation domain a qualitative results of rope vortex development and mitigation, are also presented.
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