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Pump Rules

# Pump Rules

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Basic understanding of centrifugal pump systems
Basic understanding of centrifugal pump systems

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10/29/2013

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Rules of thumb for pumps 2-7
If you want to know a pumps capabilities, the rules are simple. Look at the manufacturer'spublished pump curve. The problem is that you do not always have the curve available. Pumpcompanies test their pump to determine its performance, they have no need for general guidelines or "rules of thumb."Over the years I've accumulated many of these rules to help me estimate pump performance.Here are a few of them:PUMP BASICS

How to estimate the shut off head of a pump (inch sizes)
o

At 1750 rpm. Shut off head = Diameter of the impeller squared
o

At 3500 rpm. Shut off head = Diameter of the impeller squared x 4
o

For other speeds you can use the formula : Shut Off Head = D
2
x (new rpm / 1750)
2

Estimating metric head is a little bit more involved, but it still works:
o

Measure the shaft in mm. ( as an example:250 mm)
o

Mark off two places. (2,5)
o

Square the number. (6,25)
o

For 1450 rpm, multiply by 3 (18,75)
o

o

NOTE: For 3000 rpm, you'd multiply by 12 instead of 3. Although you canestimate shutoff head with these formulas you cannot estimate the pump capacity.you'll need the pump curves for that.

The pumps best efficiency point (B.E.P.) is between 80% and 85% of the shut off head.At this point there is little to no radial thrust on the impeller. Also the "power in" isclosest to the "power out".

The L
3
/D
4
ratio should be below 60 (2.0 in metric) to prevent excessive shaft bending. Tocalculate it for end suction centrifugal pumps :
o

L = length of the shaft from the center of the inboard bearing to the center of theimpeller (inches or millimeters). Caution: do not use centimeters, the numberswill come out wrong.
o

D = diameter of the shaft (under the sleeve) in the stuffing box area (inches ormillimeters) Do not use centimeters.

Since most shaft materials have a similar modulus of elasticity, changing shaft materialswill not prevent shaft bending when you operate off of the B.E.P. Lowering the L
3/
D
4
isthe only logical and efficient solution. When pump manufacturers discuss operating off of the B.E.P. they relate problems to the heat that will build up in a minimum flowcondition and ignore the problems with shaft bending.

A double suction pump can run with 27% less N.P.S.H. or at a 40% faster speed withoutcavitating.

If you double the speed of a pump you'll get twice the capacity, four times the head and itwill take eight times the horsepower to do it.

A stainless steel shaft has only a small portion of the conductivity of a carbon steel shaft.This is very important when you're pumping at elevated temperatures because we do notwant to transmit the high temperature back to the bearing oil.

If you double the speed of a pump you'll get almost four times the shaft whip, wobble orrun out and eight times the wear.

Multistage pumps reduce efficiency 2% to 4%.

In many instances, an inducer can lower Net Positive Suction Head Required by as muchas 50% .

If you're pumping paper stock, modify the curves for head, capacity, and efficiency asfollows:
o

0.725 for 6% stock
o

0.825 for 5.5% stock
o

0.90 for 5%
o

0.94 for 4.5%
o

0.98 for 4%
o

1.0 for 3.5% or less

Open impeller clearance settings are determined by the pump manufacturer and normallyrun between 0.008" and 0.015" (0,2 to 0,5 mm) You lose 1% of the pumps capacity foreach 0.002" (0,05 mm) you miss this setting.

Wear ring clearances are very similar to impeller clearances, but you lose 1% pumpcapacity for each 0.001" (0,025 mm) of wear. A typical clearance would be 0.003inch/inch diameter with 0.010 inches (0,3 mm) minimum clearance for wear rings lessthan two inches (50 mm.) in outside diameter.

Bearing, grease or lip seals have a design life of less than 2000 hours. In a constantlyrunning pump this would be only 83 days. These seals will also damage the expensiveshaft and place a stress point at the maximum bending moment arm. Substitute nonfretting labyrinth seals, or positive face seals in these locations. It is a good idea to installthem in electric motors also to prevent moisture from entering and damaging the motorwindings and bearings.

Do not use a vent on the top of the bearing case. At shut down the outside moisture willenter the bearing housing through this vent. Let the moisture attempt to enter the casethrough the labyrinth seals instead, They will do a better job of directing the moisture tothe external drain hole. If you install positive face seals you can forget about thisproblem.

The axial clearance in a bearing is ten times the radial clearance. This is the reason properinstallation is so critical. If the bearing is over compressed the bearing balls will distortand roll instead of spin causing excessive heat and premature failure. The temperature atthe bearing race of a properly installed bearing is at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit (5° C)higher than the oil sump temperature.

The life of bearing oil is directly related to its temperature. The rule of thumb used by theSKF Bearing Company, is that the service life of an oil is estimated to be 30 years at 30degrees Centigrade (86° F) and it's life is cut in half for each 10 degree Centigrade (18 F)temperature increase. This corresponds to :
o

A life of 3 months at 100 C. (212 F.)
o

A life of 6 months at 90 C. (195 F.)
o

A life of 12 months at 80 C. ( 176 F.)

These numbers assume that the lubricating oil is not being contaminated by water from one or allof the following sources:

Packing leakage

The water hose used to wash the packing leakage away from the pump area.

Aspiration, as moisture laden air enters the bearing case.An automobile engine running at 1750 rpm. would cover about 100,000 miles (160,000kilometers) every 2000 hours (83 days in the life of a constantly running pump ). Automanufacturers recommend changing their automatic transmission oil every 25,000 miles ( 40,000kilometers)APPLICATION

Use Centerline pump designs when the pumping temperature exceeds 200 degreesFahrenheit (100° C). This design will allow the wet end of the pump to expand in twodirections instead of from the feet up, destroying the wear rings..

Try to buy pumps with a Suction Specific Speed (SSS) below 8,500 (10,000 metric) Donot buy pumps with a SSS over 12,000 ( metric 16,500) unless you're pumping hot wateror mixed hydrocarbons. If you have a double suction pump you can divide the SSSnumber by 2

Do not specify a pump with the largest impeller available . Give yourself an additional5% or 10% you might need it.

The maximum viscosity a centrifugal pump can handle would be a product similar to 30weight oil at room temperature.

Use a variable speed pump if your head is mainly system head. Circulating hot or coldwater would be typical applications. If you have a high static or pressure head, as is thecase with a boiler feed pump, the variable speed will not be of much help in keeping youon or near the best efficiency point.

Pumps piped in series must have the same capacity (impeller width and speed)

Pumps piped in parallel must have the same head (impeller diameter and speed )

Use a rotary positive displacement pump if your capacity is going to be less than 20gpm.(4,5 cubic meters per hour)

A centrifugal pump can handle 0.5% air by volume. At 6% it will probably become airbound and stop pumping. Cavitation can occur with any amount of air.

Use double volute pumps any time your impeller diameter is 14 inches (355 mm) orgreater. They should also be used on long shaft vertical pumps to prevent excessive shaftmovement that will cause problems with the packing, seals, bearings and criticaldimensions.

A Vortex pump is 10% to 15% less efficient than a comparable size end suctioncentrifugal pump.

The A.P.I. (American Petroleum Institute). sixth edition states : High energy pumps,defined as pumping to a head greater than 650 feet (198 meters) and more than 300horsepower (224 KW) per stage, require special consideration to avoid blade passingfrequency vibrations and low frequency vibrations at reduced flow rates.