WORKBOOK - PIPES, FITTINGS, VALVES AND PUMPS- STEP 5
PUMPS; The Heart of the Process
Chemical industry relies more heavily on pumps than any other piece of equipment. They areindispensable for moving fluids throughout the process. A pump converts mechanical energy, usually supplied by an electric motor, into fluid energy bypushing the fluid along the system. All pumps operate by creating a partial vacuum at the intake(entrance) and a mechanical force at the outlet (discharge). The resulting fluid energy may beused to increase the pressure, the velocity, or the elevation of the fluid. Although there are many different types of pumps, they can all be grouped into two categories;positive displacement pumps and kinetic (or dynamic) pumps.In positive displacement pumps, one cycle or revolution of the pump causes a fixed quantity or volume of fluid to pass through the pump. Theoretically, the flow of a positive displacementpump depends only on its size and speed. The size determines the amount of fluid moved per revolution and the speed determines the number of revolutions per unit time.Kinetic or dynamic pumps, commonly called ‘centrifugal pumps’, depend not only on size andspeed but also on resistance to flow in the discharge (outlet) line. As discharge resistanceincreases (the back pressure against the pump increases), the amount of fluid that passesthrough the pump decreases. A characteristic difference of great importance is the result of pumping with a closed valve in thedischarge line of a pump. Centrifugal pumps have large clearances (have space between parts)allowing slip within the pump. The output of a centrifugal pump decreases rapidly to zeroagainst a closed valve. As a result, no damage occurs to the pump or discharge piping.Positive displacement pumps are designed to have tight clearances (have little space betweenparts) that minimize slip within the pump. Operating a positive displacement pump with a closeddischarge line has disastrous consequences. The discharge pressure rapidly increases againsta closed valve since there is no place for the fluid to go. The pressure will continue to rise untileither the pump or piping rupture.Positive displacement pumps are the most important type in mechanical applications, e.g.,pumping hydraulic fluids, however, centrifugal pumps are the workhorse of chemicalmanufacturing and food processing industries.Positive displacement pumps are usually used for low-volume, medium to high pressureapplications of 500 psi (3.5 MPa) and up, whereas centrifugal pumps are favored in high-volume, low-pressure applications (up to 600 psi or 4MPa). Positive displacement pumps areused where pressure is of primary concern and centrifugal pumps are favored in high volume,low maintenance applications.Centrifugal pumps have a relatively simple design and few moving parts, so that they are lessexpensive to purchase and require less maintenance than positive displacement pumps.
PIPES, FITTINGS, VALVES AND PUMPS SELF STUDY UNITPage
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