The NPSH is the amount of ener-gy in the water at the pump’sinlet. The required NPSH is acharacteristic of the pump anddepends on pump design, sizeand operating conditions. Therequired NPSH is determined bythe pump manufacturer. Theavailable NPSH must equal orexceed the required NPSH. Theavailable NPSH is a characteristicof the piping system. For the sys-tem shown in Figure 2, the NPSHmay be calculated as:The vapor pressure in this equa-tion is dependent upon watertemperature and both it and theatmospheric pressure areexpressed in pounds per squareinch while h and friction loss areexpressed in feet.
Figure 2.Simple pump system.
Types of pumps
Pumps used in irrigation or aqua-culture often are a form of thecentrifugal pump. Two basictypes of centrifugal pumps arehorizontal and vertical. As thename implies, centrifugal pumpsuse centrifugal force to movewater from one point to anotherand to overcome resistance to itsflow. In its simplest form, thispump consists of an impellerfixed on a rotating shaft within avolute-type (spiral) casing. Waterenters at the center of the impellerand is forced to the outer edge ata high velocity by the rotatingimpeller. The water is dischargedby centrifugal force into the cas-ing where the high velocity headis converted to pressure head.The axial flow propeller pump isanother type that is used. It isoften used in low-lift, high-vol-ume situations. The propellermay look like an impeller, but theforce imparted to the water is par-allel to the propeller shaft.
To operate properly, a centrifugalpump must be submerged in asource of water or be filled withwater and connected through awater-filled, airtight pipe to thewater source. In the latter case,water is pushed into the pump bythe difference between atmospher-ic pressure and thepressure at the pumpentrance. (The efficien-cy and capacity of thepump is extremely sen-sitive to any leak in the inlet pip-ing.) After the pump is started,the impeller throws the water itcontains outward by centrifugalforce and creates an area of lowpressure at its center. This pres-sure is lower than atmosphericpressure and is commonly called avacuum. Since atmospheric pres-sure is pushing down on the sur-face of the source of supply, thewater is forced through the suc-tion pipe to the lower pressurearea at the center of the impellerto replace the water being thrownoutward. Thus, there is a continu-ous flow of water through thepump.Theoretically, if a pump could bedesigned to produce a perfect vac-uum at its center and was beingoperated at sea level, the atmos-pheric pressure of 14.7 pounds persquare inch acting downward onthe surface of the water sourcewould be capable of forcing waterup the suction line to the pump avertical distance of 34 feet. Inpractice, this is impossible,because a perfect vacuum cannotbe created at the center of theimpeller and because there arelosses caused by friction createdby the flow through the suctionline. There are also losses causedby turbulence at the entrance tothe suction line and at theentrance to the impeller. Usually,a vertical suction lift of about 15feet is considered the maximumfor reasonably efficient operation.Operating a pump under a liftlarger than it was designed formay cause cavitation. Cavitationis the formation of vapor (steam)bubbles when the pressure dropsbelow the vapor pressure of thewater. This results in inefficientoperation and will usually dam-age the pump. Apump that iscavitating may have a rattlingsound.
(for surface supply and shallowwells)Horizontal centrifugal pumps arefrequently used if the source of water is a surface supply, such asa lake, stream, canal or pond, or ashallow well. Ashallow well, asopposed to a deep well, is one inwhich the water level in the wellis high enough to permit the vacu-um at the pump to lift the waterand keep it flowing at an accept-able rate. As the name implies,horizontal centrifugal pumps nor-mally have a horizontal shaft.This type of pump is usually sub-divided into two groups, singlesuction (end suction) and doublesuction (often called split case).Either of these may be single ormultistage; that is, they may haveonly one impeller or they mayhave two or more impellers.These impellers are so constructedthat the water, in passing throughthe pump, is conducted from thedischarge of one impeller to thesuction of the second; thus, thetotal head is that developed by asingle impeller multiplied by thenumber of impellers in the pump.The most common pump and thelowest in cost is the end suction,single stage (Figure 3). Availablesizes vary with the manufacturers.
Ajet pump is often used for verylow capacity requirements (5 to 20gpm), such as a home water sys-tem. This pump consists of asmall centrifugal pump located atground level connected to a jetinstalled below the water level inthe well (Figure 4). By circulating
(atmospheric pressure - vapor pressure)-h-friction loss in pipe2.3