FUNDAMENTALS OF CENTRIFUGAL PUMPS

PREFACE : The purpose of this paper is to acquaint the pump users with various parameters of centrifugal pumps, so as to enable them to select the right type of pump of suit their pumping system needs. 1. BASIC PRINCIPLES There are a number of occasions where fluids are required to be moved from one point to another. This is done by adding energy to the fluid by passing it through a pump. Depending on the type of movement of fluid in the pump, the pumps can be broadly divided into positive displacement pumps and Kinetic pumps. 1.1 Positive displacement pumps : In this type the pump keep on adding displacement by a pulsating action or rotary action. Positive displacement pumps are mainly used for viscous liquids, metering applications etc. 1.2 Kinetic Pumps : For handling water, chemicals, sewage, effluents, slurries etc. kinetic pumps are further classified on the basis of impeller geometry as under : 1.2.1 Regenerative pumps : These operate on the principle of pressure regeneration by which a multi-vaned impeller engages and re-engages the liquids to develop high head. These pumps are suitable for high-head low-capacity applications, making them suitable for hilly areas, for small discharge requirements. These are also used for small boilers, gas-liquid mixtures etc. 1.2.2 Centrifugal pumps : In these pumps Kinetic energy is imparted through centrifugal force developed by and impeller effective flow in radial direction. Number of geometries and constructions are available in centrifugal pumps making them suitable for water, sewage, chemicals boiler feed etc. 1.2.3 Mixed flow pumps : In these pumps the fluid is imparted with radial as well as axial force. These pumps have capacity for handling larger flows at relatively lower heads. These type impellers are used in horizontal as well as vertical turbine pumps.

1.2.4 Axial flow pumps : In these pumps the liquids moves parallel to the pump axis, and is activated by a ducted propeller. Head is generated by the lifting action of the vanes.

Accordingly the pump characteristics are determined. (c ) Casing splitting : Axially split (horizontally split casing as popularly known ). It is the measure of energy required in the fluid. In addition pumps are popularly distinguished on the basis of applications such as boiler feed pumps. CENTRIFUGAL PUMP CHARACTERISTICS As already discussed a centrifugal pump delivers liquids by centrifugal force.1 Pump Parameters 3. semi-open impeller. (d) Location of suction branch : End suction (parallel to pump axis). specific gravity and the efficiency at the point of operation.2.1 Head-discharge : Head and discharge of a centrifugal pump are interrelated and are plotted against each other. . (b) Impeller geometry : Closed impeller. to overcome the internal losses in the pumps. vertical. 3. Ability of pump to lift the water from suction pump depends on NPSH-R.2 Pump Performance Characteristics The performance of a pump is a combined function of various factors.1. multistage pumps.1. 3. Head is measured in height of liquid column. Centrifugal pumps can be classified on various plans as under : (a) Shaft Execution : Horizontal.2. Efficiency : It is the measure of the ability of a pump to convert the input energy to output energy 3.1. The maximum head is obtained at zero discharge and minimum head is obtained at maximum discharge. as it enters the pump. sewage pumps.3. 3. Radially split-end-suction pumps.4 NPSH required : NPSH (net positive suction head) is a pump design criterion.2. chemical process pumps etc. 3. CENTRIFUGAL PUMPS Having defined centrifugal pumps we can now see different types of centrifugal pumps.2 Efficiency : The efficiency of the pump increases continuously up to a certain discharge (called the best efficiency point) and then tapers off at the maximum discharge. Side suction (perpendicular to pump axis ).1. open-impeller (non – clogging). 3.2. 3. slurry pumps.2. discharge. Capacity : It is the ability of the pump of discharge a specific amount of liquid at a specific head.2 Head : The pressure developed by the pump is called the head.3 Power required : The power input required by pump is proportional to the head. NPSH is given in equivalent height of liquid column. 3. 3. measured in volume per unit time.

1 Design related factors : 4.1. and depends on the impeller geometry.5 Pump specific speed : This is a design criterion.2 Impeller diameter : The impeller diameter can be trimmed down to obtain lower head discharge characteristic. FACTORS AFFECTING PERFORMANCE : Various factors affect the performance of centrifugal pumps. Note: 1.65n Q 0.2. 4. These may be either related to pumps design or to the pumping system.75 Where H = Head in met Q = Discharge in m3 / hr n = speed in RPM Radial flow impellers have specific speeds ranging between 90 – 400.3. At constant impeller At constant speed N diameter D Q1 Q2 Q1 Q2 H1 H2 = N1 N2 = D1 D2 = [N1 ]2 [N2] H1 = [D1]2 H2 [D2] P1 = [D1]3 P2 [D2] P1 = [N1]3 P2 [N2] Where H = head. Efficiencies tend to drop marginally at lower speeds.1. Mixed flow impellers have specific speeds between 400-600 and axial flow impellers have specific speeds between 800-1300. 4.5 H 0.2 System related factors : . P = power absorbed. Speed : Centrifugal pump performs differently at different speeds. The affinity laws are given below. The NPSH-R approximately varies like head. Q= discharge . 2. 4. 4.1. Specific speed Ns = 3. but there is a relationship called the ‘law of similitude or law of affinity’.

2 Atmospheric pressure : Decreases with altitude. irrigation schemes with variable output requirements. vapour pressure and frictional losses in suction pipe line. Above boiling point of the liquid pressurized suction in necessary. This type of system is common in sewage handling plants.4 NPSH available : It is the measure of the energy present in the fluid at pump suction.2.2.5 Friction in pipe line : Gives rise to friction head. The values of friction head (in equivalent meters of length ) are available for various fittings. temperature. viscosity and density decrease NPSH available decreases as vapour pressure increases. Suction pump designs may have to be modified for solids handling pumps.2.a (met) can be approximately calculated as (open tanks). affect the pump performance. For viscous liquids viscosity corrections need be considered while selecting the pump. 4. 4. (met) 4.6 Number of pumps in parallel operation : Many times the system demands operating pumps in parallel. NPSH available depends on atmospheric pressure. 4. reference books. suction height. viscosity.2.2. (a) For suction lift --NPSHa = 10 – Hvs .1 Specific gravity of liquid : Affects the power absorbed at shaft.2. At higher temperatures vapour pressure increases.3 Temperature : Affects the liquids density.4. The duty point at which a pump operates is given by the point where the pump characteristic curve cuts the total system resistance head (comprising of static head plus dynamic friction head ).Hsgeo (b) For positive suction NPSHa = 10 – Hvs + Hzgeo Where Hvs = Head loss in suction pipe and accessories (met) Hsgeo = Difference between pump suction centreline and suction level. temperature.7 Liquid characteristics : In case of pumps for handling chemicals the properties of liquid like specific gravity. For water NPSH. 4. It depends on the pumping system. viscosity NPSH – a gets reduced. Hzgeo = Difference between suction tank level (higher elevation than pump) and the pump suction centre-line. solids in suspended condition etc. 4. suction life but does not affect H and Q of pump. 5. affects suction lift. straight pipe lines of various materials in the std. viscosity and vapour pressure thus affecting the NPSH available. The parallel operation point is given by the intersection of H-q curve of parallel operation with the system resistance curve. With increase in specific gravity. PUMP CONSTRUCTIONAL FEATURES .2.

5. Various types of couplings are available. which is designed to transmit the required horsepower.2. mixed flow impellers. high-nickel alloys or non-metals like polypropylene. For drinking water bronze impellers are preferred. pumps are offered with packed gland. pump metallurgy is selected. torquespeed characteristics etc. Impeller : Various types of impellers are used depending upon the services.3 Gland sealing : Generally for water supply. alloy steels. coupling is selected. tyre type. These are single or double suction pumps giving heads up to 200 met. double suction casings are required. Prime-movers : Major applications of pumping use electric motors as the primemovers. Depending on HP transmitted. 5. In special applications like boiler-feed turbine driven pumps are also used. For handling larger volumes. of stages : As the head requirement goes up pumps with more than one impeller in series are designed. with single entry (end suction) or double entry (hor.3.3. For higher heads multistage pumps are used.2.2. For water supply pumps closed radial flow impellers. Semi-open or open impellers are used for non-clogging pumps designed to handle solids. Electric motors are available at various speeds and in various mounting frames and thus offers the most flexible driving arrangement.1 Casing : For centrifugal pumps volute casings are needed.3. 5. (for non clog pumps hand-holes are provided in casing for cleaning impeller passage without opening the pump). For higher heads multistage pumps ring section multiple casing or barrel type casings are required.1 Materials of construction. Diesel engines are also used where electricity is not available or portable pumps are desired (like contractors pumps). Most common being pin-bush type.3. Couplings : The pump is connected to prime-movers by various means. ceramic or cast iron lined with rubber of fibre-glass will be needed for chemical handling depending on the corrosion. In case of sewage or effluent handling corrosivity and abrasion resistance may demand use of low-alloyed cast iron (generally up to 2% nickel) Specialized materials like stainless steels. 5. In case of vertically mounted pumps operated from a high platform (as in case of sewage handling pumping stations) extension shafting with suitable line couplings are needed. Depending on service. split casing pumps ) type are used.2 Pump construction: 5. Small agricultural pump-sets use engines.Various factors need to be considered depending upon the service requirements. and the shape of casing is important. The cheapest of these which is suitable for general water service is cast iron. erosion. A specific variant of these used in water supply is twostage horizontal split casing pumps.4. No. bronzes. 5. For back pull-out construction pumps spacer-type. 5.2. jaw couplings are required to be used.1 Drive : Pump and drive are connected by flexible coupling. In case of corrosive liquids or costly liquids mechanical seals are used. 5.. Another specialized application of diesel engine . temperature and pressure.2. jaw type. 5.

which is a recurring cost. It is very essential that the correct selection is made by the users. 6. impeller design (sewage pumping).1.driven pumps is fire-fighting pumps.2 Pump parameters : The user has to specify various pump parameters for proper selection. discharge. (vi) Prime mover details.5. pump suction tank details.1.1 System-parameters : For correct selection of pump. (v) Materials of construction for major components viz. And hence higher efficiency pumps should be selected. 6. the manufacturer must be given all the important system parameters like : 6. even if at higher prices as the extra cost is compensated in the lower energy – bills. The lower running cost more than compensates for extra capital cost if any. for example if due to higher efficiency. Torque-speed characteristics of pumps are available with manufacturers and should be matched with the drive. if pump is used for 8 hour each day.1. Many times the pump is expected to operated over a range. SETTING PUMP SPECIFICATIONS : Pump user may be presented various options by various pump manufacturers. viscosity. Given below are a few pertinent points for pump selection: 6. 6. solids to be pumped if any need to be specified. Suction and discharge heads are required to calculate the head to be developed by the pump. 6. . power requirement etc. Liquid details : Liquid details can affect the material of construction. (iv) Head.3 Power required : With advances in the pump designs manufacturers are coming out with more and more efficient pump models.1. little change in power absorbed at shaft can change the operational economics. Especially for higher HP models.3. layout details of discharge pipelines (esp. Number of pumps in parallel/series operation : Pumps selected for parallel operation must to be compatible with each other. Discharge side details : The static head.1. (ii) Operational speed. For series pumping the strength of materials in subsequent stages are important. Operating temperature. (iii) Casing type. this means a saving of 5 units per year. for long discharge lines) are required to calculate the system resistance curve. shaft and shaft sleeve. levels of minimum and maximum liquid conditions etc. 6. which is clear saving considering the high electricity cost. 6. 6. kw absorbed at shaft is lowered by 5 kw. casing impeller. NPSH available. Duty conditions : Discharge and head required. specific gravity. (i) Manufacturing standard.4.1.2 Suction details : Piping configuration.

PUMP ORDERING DATA The pump user should give following details while ordering pumps or setting tender specifications. For critical pumps. For process pumps ISO. if critical) are within the tolerance limits or not. impellers. (iii) Casing and impeller type. (viii) Testing required. Whether flooded suction is available. 7. Application details : (i) Liquid characteristics sp. corrosivity. viscosity. (ii) Speed of operation. API and DIN standards are popularly used. (vi) Operation whether intermittent or continuous. or how many meters lift desired.6. (vii) Flange drilling. (vii) Total system resistance curve – static head as well as dynamic friction head to be specified. (v) NPSH available. shaft and shaft sleeve. (ii) Pumping temperature. (vi) Minimum efficiency required. (v) Materials of construction for casing. (iii) Details of solids to be handled if any (iv) Discharge and head operational range to be specified if necessary. efficiency (and NPSH required. the customer may insist on quality assurance plan and witness the performance testing to be assured that the manufacturer’s quoted figures of Head. (iv) Gland sealing. whether parallel of series pumping is required.4 Inspection and testing : Generally accepted manufacturing and testing standards for water pumps are IS 1520 and IS 5120. . gravity. discharge. Pump Parameters : (i) Manufacturing standard.

i. for larger flows – mgd x 52. gravity x 100 102 x Efficiency (%) 2.2727 = m3 /hr 5. m3/hr x 0.61 = lit /sec cusec x 28.2728 = lit/sec 7. gravity = Head in met of liquid column 4.2 x Q (lit/sec) d2 (mm2) V (ft/sec) = 0. Power absorbed Bkw at shaft = Q (lps ) x H (met) x Sp. Flow velocity in pipe with bore ‘d’ V (m/s) = 1273.49 x I.472 = lit/sec . Gallons/min x 0.APPENDIX SOME USEFUL EQUATIONS AND CONVERSION FACTORS 1.703/sp. Pressure (kg/cm2) x 10/sp.) x 0.GPM d2 (in2 ) 3. tons/hr x 0. gravity = Head in met of liquid column Pressure (p.32 = lit/sec cumins x 0.2834 = lit/sec 6.s.

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