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PERFORMANCE OF

CENTRIFUGAL PUMPS
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Relationship between Head and Capacity


The curve is used by engineers to determine the
suitability of a given pump for a particular duty.

H
H

HEAD

Q Q Capacity
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Relationship between Head and Capacity


Also be useful to pump operators to check if pumps are
performing correctly to their design specifications.

H
H

HEAD

Q Q Capacity
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Relationship between Head and Capacity


The head capacity curve can be used to illustrate two
important properties of a centrifugal pump:

H
1. The discharge from a
H centrifugal pump may be
throttled without causing
damage to the pump.
HEAD

Q Q Capacity
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Relationship between Head and Capacity


The head capacity curve can be used to illustrate two
important properties of a centrifugal pump:
shut-off 1. The discharge from a
centrifugal pump may be
throttled without causing
damage to the pump.
HEAD

Capacity
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Relationship between Head and Capacity


The head capacity curve can be used to illustrate two
important properties of a centrifugal pump:
2. The total head developed is
Water
Brain
Oil
not affected by the specific
gravity of the liquid being
pumped.

HEAD

Capacity
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Pump Characteristic Curves


Radial Flow Pump

PERCENT OF BHP AT DESIGN POINT


PERCENT OF HEAD AT DESIGN POINT

PERCENT OF BEST EFFICIENCY


HEAD

BHP

EFF

PERCENT OF DESIGN FLOW


Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Pump Characteristic Curves


Mixed Flow Pump

PERCENT OF BHP AT DESIGN POINT


PERCENT OF HEAD AT DESIGN POINT

HEAD

PERCENT OF BEST EFFICIENCY


BHP

EFF

PERCENT OF DESIGN FLOW


Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Pump Characteristic Curves


Axial Flow Pump
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Pump Characteristic Curves


Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

System Curve
It is the relationship between flow and hydraulic losses in
a system.
The point where the pump operates on its curve is
dependent upon the characteristics of the system In
which it is operating.
By plotting the system head curve and pump curve
together, it can be determined:

1. Where the pump will operate on its curve.


2. What changes will occur if the system head curve or the pump
performance curve changes.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

System Curve
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

System Curve
NO STATIC HEAD - ALL FRICTION
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

System Curve
POSITIVE STATIC HEAD
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

System Curve
NEGATIVE (GRAVITY) HEAD
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

System Curve
MOSTLY LIFT- LITTLE FRICTION HEAD
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Specific Speed and Pump Type (NS)


Specific speed (Ns) is a non-dimensional design index used to classify pump
impellers as to their type and proportions.

It is defined as the speed in revolutions per minute at which a


geometrically similar impeller would operate if it were of such a size as to
deliver one gallon per minute against one foot head.

Where:
N = Pump speed in RPM.
Q = Capacity in gpm at the best efficiency point.
H = Total head per stage at the best efficiency point .
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Specific Speed and Pump Type (NS)


The specific speed determines the general shape or class of the impeller .
Values of Specific Speed, Ns
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Specific Speed and Pump Type (NS)


Pumps of higher specific speeds develop head partly by centrifugal
force and partly by axial force.
A higher specific speed indicates a pump design with head generation
more by axial forces and less by centrifugal forces.
Values of Specific Speed, Ns
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Specific Speed and Pump Type (NS)


An axial flow or propeller pump with a specific speed of 10,000 or
greater generates it's head exclusively through axial forces.
Radial impellers are generally low flow high head designs whereas axial
flow impellers are high flow low head designs.
Values of Specific Speed, Ns
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Net Positive Section Head and Cavitation (NPSH)


it is an analysis of energy conditions on the suction side of a pump to
determine if the liquid will vaporize at the lowest pressure point in the
pump.
The Hydraulic Institute defines NPSH as the total suction head in feet
absolute, determined at the suction nozzle and corrected to datum, less
the vapor pressure of the liquid in feet absolute.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Net Positive Section Head and Cavitation (NPSH)


NPSH Required
The NPSH Required is the positive head in feet absolute required at the
pump suction to overcome all pressure drops in the pump and maintain
the majority of the liquid above its vapor pressure.
The NPSH Required varies with speed and capacity within any
particular pump. Pump manufacturer's curves normally provide this
information.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Net Positive Section Head and Cavitation (NPSH)


NPSH Available
It is a function of the system in which the pump operates.
It is the excess pressure of the liquid in feet absolute over its vapor
pressure as it arrives at the pump suction.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Net Positive Section Head and Cavitation (NPSH)


NPSH Available
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Net Positive Section Head and Cavitation (NPSH)


NPSH Available

Suction supply open to atmosphere with


section lift.
NPSHA =PB – (VP +LS +hf)

Where
PB= Barometric pressure in feet absolute.
VP= Vapor pressure of the liquid at maximum
pumping temperature, in feet absolute.
Ls = Maximum static suction lift in feet.
hf = Friction loss in feet in suction pipe at
required capacity.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Net Positive Section Head and Cavitation (NPSH)


NPSH Available

Suction supply open to atmosphere with


section head.
NPSHA =PB + LH - (VP +hf)

Where
PB= Barometric pressure in feet absolute.
VP= Vapor pressure of the liquid at maximum
pumping temperature, in feet absolute.
LH = Minimum static suction head in feet.
hf = Friction loss in feet in suction pipe at
required capacity.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Net Positive Section Head and Cavitation (NPSH)


NPSH Available

Closed suction supply with suction head.

NPSHA =P + LH - (VP +hf)

Where
P = Pressure on surface of liquid in closed
suction tank, in feet absolute.

VP= Vapor pressure of the liquid at maximum


pumping temperature, in feet absolute.
LH = Minimum static suction head in feet.
hf = Friction loss in feet in suction pipe at
required capacity.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Net Positive Section Head and Cavitation (NPSH)


NPSH Available

Closed suction supply with suction lift.

NPSHA = P - (VP - LS +hf)

Where
P = Pressure on surface of liquid in closed
suction tank, in feet absolute.

VP= Vapor pressure of the liquid at maximum


pumping temperature, in feet absolute.
Ls = Maximum static suction lift in feet.
hf = Friction loss in feet in suction pipe at
required capacity.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Net Positive Section Head and Cavitation (NPSH)


NPSH Available
In an existing system, the NPSH Available can be determined by a gauge on
the pump suction. The following formula applies:
NPSHA = PB - VP - ± (Gr +hv)
Where
PB= Barometric pressure in feet absolute.

VP= Vapor pressure of the liquid at maximum pumping temperature, in feet


absolute.
Gr = Gauge reading at the pump suction expressed in feet (plus if above
atmospheric, minus if below atmospheric) corrected to the pump centerline.
hf = Friction loss in feet in suction pipe at required capacity.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Cavitation
Cavitation means different things to different people. It has been
described as:
• A reduction in pump capacity.
• A reduction in the head of the pump.
• The formation of bubbles in a low pressure area of the pump volute.
• A noise that can be heard when the pump is running.
• Damaged that can be seen on the pump impeller and volute.

Just what then is this thing called cavitation?

Actually it is all of the above.


Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Cavitation
It takes place as the following:
1. The pressure of the liquid is reduced to a value equal to or
below its vapor pressure.
2. The liquid begins to boil and small vapor bubbles or pockets begin to
form.
3. As these vapor bubbles move along the impeller vanes to a higher
pressure area above the vapor pressure, they rapidly collapse.
4. As these vapor bubbles move along the impeller vanes to a higher
pressure area above the vapor pressure, they rapidly collapse.
5. In high suction energy pumps, the collapses are generally high
enough to cause minute pockets of fatigue failure on the impeller
vane surfaces.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Cavitation
Now we will go back to clear up some of the confusion:
The capacity of the pump is reduced:
This happens because bubbles take up space and you cannot have bubbles
and liquid in the same place at the same time.
If the bubble gets big enough at the eye of the impeller, the pump will lose its
suction and will require priming.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Cavitation

The discharge head is often reduced


Bubbles, unlike liquid, are compressible. It is this compression that can
change the head.

The bubbles form in a lower pressure area because they cannot form in
a high pressure area.
You should keep in mind that as the velocity of a fluid increases, the pressure
of the fluid decreases. This means that high velocity liquid is by definition a
lower pressure area. This can be a problem any time a liquid flows through a
restriction in the piping, volute, or changes direction suddenly. The fluid will
accelerate as it changes direction. The same acceleration takes place as the
fluid flows in the small area between the tip of the impeller and the volute cut
water.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Cavitation

A noise is heard
Any time a fluid moves faster than the speed of sound in the medium you are
pumping, a sonic boom will be heard. The speed of sound in water is 4800
feet per second (1480 meters/sec) or 3,273 miles per hour (5,267 kilometers
per hour).
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Cavitation

Pump parts show damage


The bubble tries to collapse on its self. This is called imploding,
the opposite of exploding. The bubble is trying to collapse from
all sides.
If the bubble is laying against a piece of metal such as the
impeller or volute it cannot collapse from that side, so the fluid
comes in from the opposite side at this high velocity proceeded
by a shock wave that can cause all kinds of damage. There is a
very characteristic round shape to the liquid as it bangs against
the metal creating the impression that the metal was hit with a
"ball peen hammer".
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Cavitation

Pump parts show damage


This damage would normally occur at right angles to the metal,
but experience shows that the high velocity liquid seems to come
at the metal from a variety of angles.
This can be explained by the fact that dirt particles get stuck on
the surface of the bubble and are held there by the surface
tension of the fluid. Since the dirt particle has weakened the
surface tension of the bubble, it becomes the weakest part, and
the section where the collapse will probably take place.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Cavitation
The higher the capacity of the pump the more likely cavitation will
occur.
High specific speed pumps have a different impeller shape that allows
them to run at high capacity with less power and less chance of
cavitating.
This impeller is normally found in a pipe shaped casing rather than the
volute type of casing that you commonly see.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Cavitation
The cavities form for five basic reasons and it is common practice to lump all of
them into the general classification of cavitation.
This is an error because to correct each of these conditions, you must
understand why they occur, and how to fix them.
In no particular order they are :
• Vaporization cavitation
• Air ingestion cavitation.
• Internal recirculation cavitation.
• Flow turbulence cavitation.
• Vane Passing Syndrome cavitation.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Cavitation
The way to prevent the undesirable effects of Vaporization
cavitation in standard low suction energy pumps is to insure
that:

NPSHA > NPSHR


High suction energy pumps require an additional NPSH margin, above
the NPSH Required. Hydraulic Institute Standard (ANSI/HI 9.6.1)
suggests NPSH margin ratios of from 1.2 to 2.5 times the NPSH
Required, for high and very high suction energy pumps, when operating
in the allowable operating range.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

NPSH and Suction Specific Speed


In designing a pumping system, it is essential to provide adequate NPSH
available for proper pump operation.
Insufficient NPSH available may seriously restrict pump selection, or even force
an expensive system redesign.
On the other hand, providing excessive NPSH available may needlessly
increase system cost.
Suction specific speed may provide help in this situation.

Suction specific speed (S) is defined as:


Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

NPSH and Suction Specific Speed


Suction specific speed (S) is defined as:

Where:

N = Pump speed RPM.

GPM = Pump flow at best efficiency point at impeller inlet


(for double suction impellers divide total pump flow by
two).

NPSHR = Pump NPSH required at best efficiency point.

For a given pump, the suction specific speed is generally a


constant - it does not change when the pump speed is
changed.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

NPSH and Suction Specific Speed


Experience has shown that 9000 is a reasonable value of suction specific
speed.

Example:

Flow 2,000 GPM; head 600 ft. What NPSHA will be required?

Assume: at 600 ft., 3500 RPM operation will be required.


3550× ( 2000)
12

= 9000=
(NPSHR )3 4
34
NPSHR = 17.7
NPSHR = 46ft) Pump(
NPSHA =(NPSHR) (NPSH MarginRatio )= 46 x 1.5 = 69 ft
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

NPSH and Suction Specific Speed


According to the Hydraulic Institute, NPSH margin is required above the
NPSHR of the pump to suppress incipient cavitation. The amount of margin is a
function of Suction Energy and the critical nature of the application as follows:

Section Energy NPSHMargin Ratio (NPSHA/NPSHR)


Low 1.1 - 1.3
High 1.2 - 1.7
Very High 1.7 - 2.5
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

How to stop vaporization Cavitation


By increasing the suction head
• Raise the liquid level in the tank
• Elevate the supply tank.
• Put the pump in a pit.
• Reduce the piping losses.
• Retrofit the pump with a higher specific speed impeller.
• Install a booster pump or inducer.
• Pressurize the tank.
• Be sure the tank vent is open and not obstructed. Some vents can
freeze in cold weather.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

How to stop vaporization Cavitation


By lowering the fluid inlet temperature
• Injecting a small amount of cooler fluid at the suction is often practical.

• Insulate the suction piping from the sun's rays.

• Be careful of discharge re-circulation and vent lines re-circulated to the


pump suction; they can heat up the suction fluid.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

How to stop vaporization Cavitation


By decrease the fluid velocity
• Remove obstructions in the suction piping.

• Do not run the impeller too close to the pump cutwater.

• Reduce the speed of the pump.

• Reduce the capacity of the pump.

• Do not install an elbow too close to the pump suction.


Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

How to stop vaporization Cavitation


By reducing the net positive suction head required (NPSHR)
• Use a double suction pump. Double suction designs can reduce the net
positive suction head required (NPSHR) by as much as 27%, or in some
cases it will allow you to raise the pump speed by 41%.

• Use a lower speed pump.

• Use a pump with a larger impeller eye opening. If possible install an


inducer. These inducers can cut net positive suction head required
(NPSHR) by almost 50%.

• Use several smaller pumps. Three half-capacity pumps can be cheaper


than one large pump plus a spare. This will also conserve energy at lighter
loads.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Affinity Laws
The affinity laws express the mathematical relationship between the several
variables involved in pump performance.

They apply to all types of centrifugal and axial flow pumps.


Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Affinity Laws
They are as follows:
With impeller diameter D held constant:
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Affinity Laws

With speed N held constant:

When the performance (Q1, H1, & BHP1) is known at some particular speed
(N1) or diameter (D1), the formulas can be used to estimate the performance
(Q2, H2, & BHP2) at some other speed (N2) or diameter (D2).

The efficiency remains nearly constant for speed changes and for small
changes in impeller diameter.
Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Series Operation of Centrifugal Pumps


Performance of Centrifugal Pumps

Parallel Operation of Centrifugal Pumps