Pump Alignment: Just The Facts

Proper alignment of the pump shaft with the driver can reduce vibration and significantly improve reliability. For appropriate applications, the time, expertise and instruments needed to achieve precision alignment (tolerances of less than 0.005 in) will prevent seal leakage and extend bearing life. Depending on such factors as operating speed and coupling type, not all pumps will require such precise alignment. When assessing a plant's alignment needs, it helps to understand basic shaft alignment concepts and procedures, as well as applicationspecific factors that dictate the required tolerances.
Effects of Misalignment

A common misconception about pump shaft/driver misalignment is that it increases bearing load, causing bearings to fail prematurely. In fact, except in cases of extreme misalignment, the resulting vibration is what damages bearings and seals. Since some vibration is normal for pumps, it is best to have an experienced vibration technician determine if the vibration is due to shaft misalignment, and whether it is severe enough to affect pump reliability.
Alignment Basics

The purpose of shaft alignment is to minimize the vibration resulting from forces transmitted across the coupling. The goal is to have both shafts rotating on a common axis, referred to as collinear. All misalignment of shaft centerlines (i.e., deviation from the collinear condition) can be described in terms of offset and angularity. Theoretically, two perfectly aligned shafts would rotate in the same axis, and if properly balanced and coupled, would not generate abnormal vibration during operation. If instead the two shafts are misaligned in the horizontal or vertical plane (or both), or are at an angle with respect to one another, they will rotate in different axes. The amplitude of the resulting vibration will vary, depending on such factors as the severity of the misalignment, operating speed and coupling type. In addition, the relative positions of a horizontal pump and driver can be viewed independently in the horizontal and vertical planes. Reducing alignment conditions to offset and angularity, independently in the horizontal and vertical planes, simplifies manual calculation of required "correction moves." Automated techniques for calculating corrections also use this convention. (Vertical pumps, solid couplings and hollow-shaft motors present unique concerns and require special procedures not discussed here.) Alignment (or misalignment) is measured at the coupling-the point of power transmission-not at the feet. The amount of shims to be added or removed beneath the feet does not directly indicate the alignment condition at the coupling.

Figure 1. Alignment tolerances in relation to operating speed.
Tolerances

Alignment tolerances specify how close the pump and driver shaft centerlines should be to collinear at running conditions. Offset tolerances are measured in thousandths of an inch (or mils), centerline-to-centerline at the coupling. Angularity tolerances are expressed as pitch or slope (mils/inch). Alignment tolerances for pumps range from the "rough alignment" that a conscientious technician can accomplish with visual indicators (accuracy of about 0.02 in) to precision alignment (accuracy of 0.0005 in or greater). The latter requires an experienced technician and accurate instruments (e.g., dial indicators or a laser alignment system). Accuracy of about 0.005 in can be accomplished with a simple straightedge and feeler gauge. The degree of precision required for a specific pump/driver will depend on the pump's rotating speed, the distance between the pump and driver shafts (spool-piece length) and the application's thermal characteristics. The required precision increases exponentially with operating speed; proportionally less precision is necessary with longer coupling spool pieces. For applications where temperature changes occur during operation, evaluation of thermal effects is also needed to determine target values. Another important factor is the coupling type. Industrial users generally agree that nonsegmented elastomer boot couplings produce less damaging vibration than jaw or gear couplings, given equal amounts of misalignment. Other kinds of couplings fall between these extremes.

Figure 2. Offset and angular tolerances in relation to operating speed.

Alignment Procedures
Rough Alignment: When installing the pump and driver, experienced technicians will perform a "rough alignment" based on visual indicators. They also will ensure that all machine feet are in good foot-plane and have 0.025 in to 0.050 in shims under them. Good foot-plane must be established and maintained throughout the alignment procedure to avoid stressing the machine cases. Target Values: Pumps and drivers are moving targets due to torque strains and thermal effects, so evaluation of these factors is an important step in pump shaft alignment. Just as a marksman anticipates the location of a moving target, proper alignment procedures must predict the relative running position of the machine cases (i.e., differences between cold and running alignment positions). These target values may be determined for the relative positions at the coupling or at the feet.

Figure 3. Sample alignment target values.

Measurement: Alignment tolerances and misalignment are measured at the coupling, where the power is transmitted. The simplest way to measure these parameters is with a

rim-andface and reverse-dial). Shim adjustments that would tilt the motor side to side should be avoided.0005 in.005 in. and similarly.000 rpm or slower.g. which is acceptable for many pumps that operate at 1. The documentation features included with many alignment calculators and laser systems may not be adequate for recording data about foundations. careful use of dial indicator methods (e. Laser alignment systems accomplish the task quicker and with more accuracy. If so. Attempts to "guesstimate" correction moves often waste time and cause frustration. . This will suffice for most pumps that run at 5. If a machine is bolt-bound or base-bound and cannot be adjusted sufficiently. target values.200 rpm or less. correction moves must be determined from measured misalignment data-whether the calculations are done manually. These methods can achieve accuracy of about 0.. Documentation: It is essential to record pre-alignment data. eliminating math errors and other common mistakes. costly failures and downtime. computer program or laser alignment system.straightedge and feeler gauges. both rear feet should be moved in equal amounts. or automatically with a calculator. Foot-plane: To maintain good foot-plane during the alignment procedure. Most calculator and laser systems provide the means to recalculate for base. shims. including compensation for bracket sag. A taper gauge or caliper can also be used to measure angularity between the coupling faces. a paper or an electronic work order system should be used to capture this information (see an example data form below and click here for an enlarged version and a downloadable pdf). can achieve accuracy of 0. If precision alignment is required.and bolt-bound conditions. machine feet. coupling components and observations. both front feet should be raised or lowered the same amount. tolerances and final aligned condition. it will be necessary to move the opposite (fixed) machine case. This information can help maintenance personnel determine when to perform maintenance tasks and spot developing problems that may otherwise result in unexpected. Most of these systems also provide graphics that show the direction of the "correction move." Regardless of the alignment method.

A medium-size 3. thermal changes. rotating speed and spool piece length-will ensure use of the most cost-effective shaft alignment procedure. the required time and expense would outweigh the benefits for the 1. because the driver and pump will have similar thermal growth.005 in would suffice.Assessing Alignment Needs Pump and alignment tool manufacturers offer "suggested" alignment tolerances. For a large 1.200 rpm pump with an elastomer-in-shear coupling. Common sense dictates that evaluation of the alignment needs of individual pumpsincluding coupling type. most of which do not consider the coupling type. and would require an operational assessment of target values. The best approach is to evaluate each installation based on operating speed. thermal movement. Thermal growth analysis also would be unwarranted on the hot water circulation pump.600 rpm hot water circulation pump with a jaw coupling. While target value assessment and precision alignment techniques could be used for any of these pumps. . A high-temperature (400 deg F) refinery pump may have a spool-piece coupling to accommodate thermal movement. would require precision alignment with dial indicators or a laser system. however. alignment with a straight edge and feeler gauge to precision of 0. spool-piece length and coupling type.200 rpm pump. But application-specific variables make a single tolerance for pumps unrealistic.

the final alignment condition. Enough of history — let me get back to the lesson. Eugene Vogel is a pump and vibration specialist at the Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA). coupling type and spacing. The expense or sophistication of the alignment tools-whether laser. NPSHr (required) is like the energy it takes to push liquid into the impeller eye of the impeller and just past the vane tips. How does a sore finger relate to NPSH? The amount of energy I used to push my finger into the fan. EASA is an international trade association of more than 2. Many women didn’t even have driver licenses as there was no need. 314-993-2220. now remember it was rubber so I didn’t get hurt only a sore finger.100 firms in 58 countries that sell and service electrical. Seatbelts were not even used in race cars let alone in passenger cars and kids road in the front seat when there was room.easa. www. Being a typical little boy what do you think I did? Of course I put my finger in the fan. So for non-engineers you now have an explanation of NPSH that you can use to explain NPSH to an engineer. MO. Years later I related that experience to NPSH.Conclusion Successful pump alignment requires careful planning and execution. One cold winter day the family was going to town on Saturday for the weeks shopping trip and I got to ride in the front seat. thermal characteristics. Fax: 314-993-1269. St. including the original misalignment. However. dial indicator or manualwill not produce the desired results if these essentials are ignored. and any observations related to machine reliability. 2008 A lesson learned sixty years ago. beginning with evaluation of tolerances and target values based on pump speed. Everyone added a small rubber bladed fan to the dash that blew air across the windshield acting as a defroster.com. NPSHa (available) is the energy in the piping system that is used to push the liquid into the eye of the impeller and just past the vane tips. When I was a little boy in the late 1940’s my father drove a 1939 Ford coupe. The Ford coupes were good cars for the day however the windshield defrost system was almost nonexistent. Louis. new cars were not available because of the war effort. The technician must also be adequately trained and systematically document the entire procedure. women whose husband was fighting in the war did drive and work outside the home to support the family and war effort. Many families only had one car which dad drove to work leaving mother home to take care of the house and kids. Most fans were powered by 6 volt systems as 12 volt systems were not yet standard on today’s cars. electronic and mechanical apparatus Understanding NPSH for the Non-engineer Tuesday. . November 18th. Standing on the seat between mother and dad I was told not to put my fingers in the fan. That is how a sore finger years ago relates to NPSH.

or other type of rotating equipment. agitator. capacity. Although the seal is often blamed for the equipment failure. In some cases. Companies that have successfully implemented programs to improve Mean Time Between Repair (MTBR) are achieving three years or more average seal life. The reliability of a seal depends to a very large extent on its ability to maintain a thin fluid film in the gap between the mating faces while simultaneously minimizing the duration and extent of mechanical contact between asperities on the rubbing areas of these faces. since the performance of the seal on the macro level is affected by many phenomena on the micro level. In many industrial pump applications. or explosive while under pressure and sometimes at elevated temperatures. but . March 2007 "How long will I be able to run my equipment before it has to be taken down for servicing?" is a question often asked when a buyer or user decides to purchase a new pump. a user may consider upgrading his existing pump to improve its reliability. it is prudent to look for expert advice since errors in life estimates may have costly consequences. The key to any seal MTBR projection is to understand the factors that are most likely to drive the performance of the seal. Too much contact may overheat the materials. in some cases. Key Performance Indicators of a mechanical seal are normally the leak rate and power consumption. not enough contact may cause high leakage rates. The main difference is that the lubricant is usually the pumped fluid itself and may be dirty. efficiency or to bring it into compliance with federal or local emission regulations. The question will usually be the same. a level or pressure alarm. The seal usually will force removal of the pump from service because of an unacceptable leak rate or. Key Components Mechanical seal faces work much like bearings. LCC projections for pump applications may vary widely based on the seal MTBR. toxic. In cases where the risk of failure is high. It is evident that the seal faces are the most vulnerable parts of any mechanical seal. viscous.How long will a mechanical seal last? Part one of this two-part series analyzes the first two perfor Written by Fluid Sealing Association Pumps & Systems. and consequently. the seal is targeted as the most critical component. have reduced the Life Cycle Cost (LCC) of their pump population. Looking Into the Crystal Ball? Predicting the service life of a mechanical seal is not an easy task. volatile. the real reasons are typically found in the operation and mechanical condition of the pump or the seals' environmental control system.

This month we will focus on the first two of these considerations. the narrower of the two faces will have worn to the extent that contact would have been lost and a leak path created for the fluid to escape to the atmosphere. These distress symptoms can vary widely. visible evidence of a deeper problem in the equipment. In fact. Common distress symptoms are pitting. polymer wedges) or metal parts such as springs. Should this occur. Random failures tend to occur rather unexpectedly after a considerable run period and are typically characterized by a rapid change of the seal's leakage behavior from normal to excessive. Infant failures are most often caused by incorrect seal selection. grooving. In order to make a reasonable assessment of the expected life of a face seal. i. which could not be tolerated by the face materials. Statistically. one needs to be aware of some basics about how a mechanical seal functions. random failures (also called chance or mid-life failures) are the predominate type. from barely visible to the naked eye to severe damage such as the fracturing of a seal face. it is imperative to know that seals seldom leak excessively because the faces have completely worn. this may manifest itself as a change from a non-visible leak rate to a drip or from a steady drip to a small stream of leakage in high pressure or speed applications. the wear nose of the narrow face still has sufficient material. or set screws also may affect the life of the seal when subjected to excessive movements or high temperatures and pressures. . Transient operating conditions may be induced deliberately or be the result of a malfunction of a component in the pump or an unintended process deviation. Excessive mechanical seal leakage is often the symptom. installation or startup and have been practically eliminated with the introduction of cartridge design mechanical seals. heat and thermal shock cracks. Wear-out seal removals are the exception. In these circumstances. This article focuses on the factors that will affect the life of the seal faces. Types of Seal Failure Seal failures may be categorized on the basis of MTBR as either infant. drive pins. Seal Face Wear First. Under operating conditions. bellows. process or control system. In the majority of cases where seal removal is required. Random failures are quite difficult to predict because they usually are the consequence of a process operation or equipment-induced transient.e. Seals that do wear out may be found in high pressure applications and fluids that cause abrasive wear of the face materials. chipping.other parts such as the secondary sealing elements (O-rings. Remembering five key performance factors can serve to guide determination of an optimum replacement cycle for a mechanical seal. but the rubbing area of the faces is damaged to the extent that it caused an unacceptable leak rate. seal faces do show signs of distress. blistering. wear-out or random type. since in such cases the equipment will most likely have been taken out of service for some other reason not related to the seal or simply for preventative maintenance reasons. normal wear rates of seal faces are extremely low and thus not a typical reason for excessive leakage.

and the seal environment also must be considered when estimating the life of a mechanical seal. Next Month: How long will my mechanical seal last? . Next month we will address these other three key factors that affect seal life and consequent need for replacement. Applications that are continuous. the seal faces will last virtually forever.Part Two We invite your questions on sealing issues and will provide best efforts answers based on FSA publications. Application limits. it is safe to assume that if the lubrication film at the seal faces is stable at all times. . steady state in nature are relatively easy as compared with cyclic applications. minimum leakage requirements. In fact. and thus the seal will not be the driver of the equipment's service life.Verification whether the seal can handle expected transients is a crucial step in the service life assessment because it is most likely the transient condition that may have a destructive effect on the seal faces.

increasing seal life. trouble-free installation on equipment. a vast variety of mechanical seals were needed to accommodate these pump applications. Until relatively recently. wet to dry. acidic to caustic and so on. Cartridge Seals The advent of standard cartridge designs allowed for easy. the "one size fits all" approach is used for so many products that we expect it to apply to just about everything. Mechanical seals must live in literally every environment under the sun-from extreme hot to extreme cold. In the mechanical seal industry. one seal family utilizing various combinations of common cartridge seal hardware and seal faces can be applied virtually throughout a plant. With the introduction of universal or modular cartridge seals. solid to gas. It reduces complexity while . one problem with that philosophy is the definition of the word all.What Determines Seal Leakage? Written by Fluid Sealing Association  How can I extend the performance range of standard cartridge mechanical seals? Written by Fluid Sealing Association Pumps & Systems. but they were limited as to the variety of applications each design could handle. January 2009 In today's global environment.

Modularity Universal/modular cartridges are based on a modular concept that allows applicationspecific seal arrangements that incorporate interchangeable seal face material. hydrocarbons.conserving valuable resources time and money. Streamlining the process also ensures that the seals are installed correctly. The implications of this technology are far-reaching. and correctly installed seals increase plant reliability. the seal technology can change to fit the individual pump's environment. and the process is simplified. Modularity allows the building of seals appropriate for a given application. Handling temperatures to 400-deg F. The number of variables in installation and maintenance is reduced. Universal or modular seals typically fit both standard ANSI B73. pressures to 400-psig and speeds to 5. Plant-wide seal standardization streamlines operations. so users who are already comfortable with a particular seal type and have both ANSI and DIN pumps benefit from the technology. By standardizing the adaptive hardware into which the appropriate seal is applied. elastomer bellows. Configurations Basic configurations can cover an extensive range of applications. Using a standard seal family can also reduce a plant's spare parts inventory and material costs. collar and setting tools).1M and DIN 24960 pumps. This increased operational efficiency reduces maintenance costs. The flexibility from modularity also enables the universal cartridges to meet a wide range of service requirements.000-rpm. acids and even dry running. The unique design of universal/modular cartridge seals increases component interchangeability across a . caustics. these seals accommodate fluids such as aqueous solutions. sleeve. O-ring or metal bellows seal heads fitted to standard adaptive hardware (typically the gland plate.

This flexibility gives the user the option to select whether the seal head or seat should rotate according to specific needs or preference. Operating with the inboard seal head rotating helps remove any solids build-up that creates. This flexibility offers some important advantages. accommodates a wide range of elastomer materials and handles the most difficult chemical service conditions. The elastomer bellows seal is an excellent general purpose application seal. With other combination of parts. and dual seals can use pumping rings to assist barrier fluid circulation. Single seal versions can typically accept a quench gland with a restriction bushing or lip seal. The reverse pressure capability feature found on most modern modular seal designs allows the use of the same dual seal for pressurized barrier or unpressurized buffer fluid applications. This flexibility also makes universal/modular seals both ANSI and DIN pump compliant. a technician can easily upgrade or change the capabilities of the seal in minutes without discarding the existing seal.variety of configurations. such as wet and/or dry running seals. Upgrading or changing the seal with interchangeable components conserves resources since no components are wasted. The O-ring pusher seal. a rotating mating ring and stationary seal head accepts more gland or shaft misalignment. and will handle system upsets Efficiency and Flexibility The advanced technologies incorporated in today's universal/modular seals increase efficient seal operation and reduce overall costs. metal bellows and elastomer bellows non-pusher-has inherent benefits. The heads and mating rings are also interchangeable in some designs. Single and dual arrangements typically incorporate the same seal head for both the inboard and outboard seal. which allows higher shaft speeds and provides greater cooling efficiency. This . and a metal bellows can become an O-ring seal. Automatic adjustment compensates for potential problems commonly found on older equipment such as abnormal shaft end play and runout. a self-cleaning rotational action. which is an important maintenance-saving feature. Seal Design Advantages Seal manufacturers continually enhance designs to provide maximum reliability. The seal's gland is designed with slots to accommodate multiple bolts and bolt circle diameters. Pipe taps are freely accessible to allow universal fitting to either ANSI or DIN standard pumps rotating clockwise or counterclockwise. in essence. On site. the O-ring seal heads can be directly interchangeable with the metal bellows seal heads. either can change into an elastomer bellows design. Each of the basic versions-the O-ring pusher. In fact. emission containment and cost-efficiency. providing flexibility and hang up resistance as well as self-alignment. which applies to both O-ring and metal bellows designs. perhaps the most versatile of seal designs. Advantages of the metal bellows seal include self-cleaning and increased reverse pressure capability. This is even more evident in the advanced capabilities now available. Within a common set of adaptive hardware. an O-ring seal can be transformed into a metal bellows seal. On the other hand.

These efficiencies translate to maximum seal reliability and a reduction in the time spent on seal installation. This month's Sealing Sense was prepared by FSA Member Mike Kraus. A comprehensive design and materials selection for a given application far outweighs the benefits of modularity. contractors. maintenance and repair. Installation and maintenance are simplified. more productive plant. The possibility of an incorrectly installed seal is reduced. unbalanced or dual balanced. pusher or non-pusher. and in cooperation with the European Sealing Association. The education is provided in the public interest to enable a balanced assessment of the most effective solutions to pump technology issues on rational Total Life Cycle Cost (LCC) principles.advanced technology is perfect for applications that may run dry on occasion. OEMs and reps. pairing best practices with seal design selection and the latest universal/modular technologies offers plant and maintenance engineers the opportunity to create a safer. Upgrades and repair can be made on site. However. or even full-time dry running for single seals and secondary containment on dual seals. distributors. Summary Modular seal designs do not lessen the need for proper selection of the core seal whether it is a single or dual. the FSA also supports development of harmonized standards in all areas of fluid sealing technology. Next Month: What is the impact of packing friction on equipment performance? Sealing Sense is produced by the Fluid Sealing Association as part of our commitment to industry consensus technical education for pump users. . This technology reduces seal face heat. seal support systems cost and has proven to reduce operating and maintenance costs. high pressure buffer fluid systems needed in dual seal systems. Non-contacting spiral groove upstream pumping technology eliminates or significantly reduces the costs of complex. rotating head or seat and so on. Narrow-faced seals with rugged drive mechanisms and interchangeable hard (tungsten or silicon carbide) seal face material allow seals to perform longer in higher viscosity fluids and/or applications with a high number of starts and stops. ID or OD pressurized. As a source of technical information on sealing systems and devices. it also means more uptime and higher productivity plant-wide. Not only does this represent cost savings. such as tank car loading or unloading.

Here is a look at throat bushings in more detail. These sealing systems range from traditional braided materials packed around the shaft to complex mechanical seal systems used in many modern pumps. fluid pressure control in the seal chamber. especially during times of start-up and any upset situations within the pump or mechanical seal.Where Mechanical Seals Meet Pumps: What Is the Next Generation? Written by Fluid Sealing Association Pumps & Systems. is important and often requires a very small throat bushing clearance. which is defined as: "A device that forms a restrictively close clearance around the sleeve (or shaft) between the (inner) seal and the impeller. such bushings are not always required. Such a flow restriction can be required in either direction. All parties agree that controlling the clearance between the shaft and throat bushing leads to increases in efficiency and performance of both the pump and mechanical seal since the isolation provided can allow optimum operation of both systems. the primary role of a throat bushing is to provide a restriction between the fluid being pumped by the impeller and the mechanical seal area. for instance. Reducing the clearances between the throat bushing and the rotating element can often lead to an increased risk of contact between the two components. The . It is often debated how small the clearance should be. Clearances Critical For pumps working at high pressures." The throat bushing can form a primary interface between the pump and the mechanical seal. Throat bushings must be designed to provide the optimum environment for both the mechanical seal and pump since the fluid flow amount through a concentric annular restriction is proportional to the cube of the clearance and their axial length. August 2008 Almost all centrifugal and rotary pumps require a sealing system to provide sealing integrity of the drive shafts carrying the impellers and protect against pumped fluid leakage and the environment outside of the wetted areas. When the mechanical seal flush plan uses "processed fluid"-either cooled. the details of their design and use can be lost in the API-610 and API-682 standards. Throat Bushings Pump Standard API-610 requires that the pump casing contain a seal chamber in which mechanical seals compliant with API-682 can be mounted. A common component in both of these specifications is the so-called throat bushing. so that flow is reduced or controlled. According to the arrangement of the mechanical seal and the type of flush plan applied. filtered or physically different from the pumped mediathe flow from the seal chamber into the pump may need to be controlled. which provides loads on the mechanical seal faces. Function As its definition implies. When they are used. the restriction would stop the flow into the seal chamber to avoid particulate contamination of the chamber.

including:    Galling or seizing of the two components. high levels of vibration in the pump system can often be problematic. which can occur between metallic materials Particulate generation. Extending the use of composites into the mechanical seal area can also provide similar benefits to those found in pumps. Nonmetallic Composites With micron levels of clearance between mechanical seal faces. Typical pump and mechanical seal arrangement . In the wetted area of the pumps.interface materials should be able to tolerate such contact without problems. which can increase the temperature of the seal chamber In essence. The use of composite wear rings to reduce these vibrations and assist with "Lomakin Effect" support of the rotating components has proven an asset to mechanical seals when used with composite wear ring equipped pumps. losses across the impeller eye can be reduced by closing the clearances between the wear gaps of the casing and impeller. Such materials have reduced the wear ring gaps below those possible with more traditional metallic systems and have done so without compromising the risks of contact-induced problems. effects like fluid erosion and thermal expansion differences between the pump. so its material selection must be considered in the same way as it's considered for a wear component within the pump. particularly carbon fiber reinforced Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) composites. shaft and throttle bushing must also be considered. The ninth edition of API-610 first recognized the use of nonmetallic wear rings. In addition to the bearing requirement for a throat bushing. the throat bushing must behave as a wear part. Figure 1. which could possibly upset the micron level gaps found in the mechanical seal interfaces Heat generation.

reliability and efficiency become ever more critical and the costs of pumps and mechanical seals continue to increase. materials such as polymer composites can significantly improve system design. As maintenance. define and standardize these materials to realize their benefits.The typical single stage pump and mechanical seal arrangement in Figure 1 shows the pump wear parts. where inertial effects and closer clearances may provide benefits Mechanical seal sleeves where thermal and centrifugal expansion of the supporting component must be matched with ceramic faces such as Silicon Carbide Throttle bushings located on the outboard of the mechanical seal to reduce the low leakages from the mechanical seal even further (see D in Figure 1) Labyrinth flow restrictors within the mechanical seal controlling and directing flow within the seal itself Conclusion The next generation of materials where pumps meet mechanical seals may already be here in polymeric composites. impeller (A) and hub (B). wear-resistant materials can provide tangible benefits within mechanical seals are:    Internal circulating devices such as those required in Plan 23 flush plans. The pump and mechanical seal industries just need to recognize. The flow arrows indicate the direction of the media flow with pumped and flush (green) and barrier (orange) fluids in the system. . Other areas where such light weight. The "joint" in the system is the throttle bushing (C) between the impeller and the mechanical seal chamber.

the bellows If you've discerned that an edge-welded metal bellows seal is optimal for your application. . February 2008 Welded metal bellows seals continue to have success as a core sealing technology and have gained popularity recently in new innovative sealing technologies such as high-temperature non-contacting gas lubricated seals and high-temperature corrosion resistant seals. materials and a host of other factors can impact the overall effectiveness of the seal. Only with an understanding of these differences can plant operators select the most effective product for the application. increase reliability and improve fugitive emission control and water conservation. John Crane Inc.Features of Welded Metal Bellows Seals Written by Jesse Fordyce. consider that not all seals are created equal. face angle and more-all impact the effectiveness of the welded metal bellows seal. including:         Higher strength with the ability to withstand greater pressures Wider operating temperature range Ability to be given precise design characteristics Lower spring rate (the amount of force required to compress it a given distance) Lower stress in critical areas Welded bellows allow for the use of optimal plate shapes such as the Nesting Ripple design Static secondary seals Only one moving part. A welded metal bellows seal is made through a process of stamping disc-like plates in specific contoured shapes and welding them in pairs at the inside diameters to form individual convolutions of the bellows. standardize inventory. . acts as a dynamic seal and transmits torque from the set screw collar to the seal's rotating face. not all seals are created equal. Differentiating bellows features-the plate shape and thickness. Welded bellows have specific advantages. Operators should understand these differences in order to pick the most effective product for their application as well as extend mean-time between repair. The welded metal bellows assembly acts as a spring to keep the primary sealing faces together. vibration attributes. Differing features. This is especially important in the oil. gas and chemical industries where pumping liquid from one area to another is complicated by great temperature extremes. Suitable end-fittings complete the assembly. the impact of double-ply. A series of convolutions is then stacked and welded at the outside diameters to form the bellows capsule. The following are some key distinctions and features of today's welded metal bellows: . Pumps & Systems. Unfortunately.

are immediately picked up by the sensing probe and the seal is rejected. In the nesting ripple configuration. the seal is evacuated internally and blanketed in helium. increases its stiffness and increases the spring rate of the bellows significantly. A high spring rate is undesirable because of the significant changes in loading of the sealing faces with only slight changes in . which adds reliability and reduces fatigue. With helium mass spectrometry. thinshell theory. Each convolution is made up of a male and female plate. This results in plate rigidity. though easier to weld. Angle For bellows with straight flat segments. The sweep radius is optimized at 20-25 percent of span and it prevents a phenomenon known as oil-canning-the inversion of the plate geometry that results in a bulging in and out of the plate. Bellows units should be checked for leak tight performance with helium mass spectrometry and vacuumtested to 10-6 TORR. the variability of the microstructure in the heataffected zones results in less reliable weld joints. less unit loading. which result in lower face loads. Plate Thickness (Thin Plates) Thin plates provide lower spring rates. Weld Integrity State-of-the-art manufacturing processes ensure integrity of the weld by preventing excessive root gap with bead geometry. Increasing the thickness of the plate material. With increasing tilt angles. Traces of the gas. By theoretical analysis using linear. all plates in the bellows are identical and contoured to permit nesting when compressed. This design principle also has been thoroughly documented in both theoretical and empirical studies conducted by an independent government-sponsored agency and verified experimentally. Repeated plastic deformation of the plates (beyond their plastic limit) during deflection can result in fatigue and greatly reduce seal cycle life. long (axial motion) stroke with short operating lengths and a low spring rate. it has been shown that tilting the bellows axis drastically reduces stresses at the welds and heat-affected zones. The analysis indicates that the stresses at the welds were predominantly bending stresses.Plate Shape The plate shape influences flexing. stroke and operating length. which allows the seal to be designed with a short axial space. bead thickness and roll-over control. similar to that on the bottom of an oil can when it is pressed. Contouring also improves the bellows' ability to withstand high pressure. Thicker bellows plates have higher spring rates and are more susceptible to metal fatigue. less heat generation and longer life than thicker plates. The nesting ripple plate shape is more effective in achieving maximum flexing. With a 45-deg tilt angle. the bending stresses are lowered. which then penetrate through either a break in the weld or a material flaw. bending stresses are directed away from the heataffected zone of the weld.

Similarly. Determine if the seal is capable of handling reverse pressure. be sure to discern the proper pressure rating required by your application in relation to temperature. However. the vibration damper pad is a built-in design feature which allows protection-if and when it's needed-against vibrations of a potentially damaging nature. the spring rates of two-ply bellows proved to be significantly lower than those of single-ply bellows with twice the plate thickness. Most standard bellows seals are typically balanced to approximately a 70/30 ratio. excessive face heat and eventual seal failure. In certain seal designs. impeller adjustments. pump end play. comprised of a single. Pressure-balanced by design. Bellows with high spring rates are also less capable of compensating for installation problems. which help prevent any potential damage from harmonic vibration caused by episodes of dry-running. which is an upset condition that may occur in dual seal operation. shaft growth due to heat and gradual wearing of the sealing faces. metal member with the strength necessary to support the load would result in too stiff a spring. which is why many manufacturers are forced to use thicker plates. shaft movements. speed and sealed fluid lubricity. thick.D. when the strength is obtained by using a "stack" of separate. especially in dual pressurized seal arrangements. the welded metal bellows seal does not need a step in the shaft or sleeve required to balance the seal.) pressure. Fifty percent balanced seals are able to handle reverse pressure. Double-PlyTM Bellows Double-ply bellows are typically utilized in higher pressure applications and often used in services in which the fluid is thermo-sensitive or has a tendency to set-up and solidify on the seal faces where more start-up torque strength may be required.) and outer diameter (O. Thinner plates are more difficult to manufacture. which in turn causes loss of the lubricating film between the sealing faces. More recently. . the spring rate is well within desired limits. 50 percent balanced bellows seals have been designed to handle both inner diameter (I.the operating length of the seal. A spring. Metal bellows seals are hydraulically balanced by locating the effective diameter of the bellows with respect to the seal face. individually-flexing thin leaf elements. Pressure and Seal Balance Before you purchase your metal bellows seal.D. This causes excessive closing force. The double-ply design principle can be illustrated by a simple leaf spring of the type used in light trucks and haulit-yourself trailers. Controlling Vibration Not all bellows in the industry are fitted with vibration dampeners. But. This is especially critical in high temperature and poor lubricating environments. This means that 70 percent of the face contact area is above the effective diameter. a vibration dampener is ideal.

API 682 designs and high-temperature corrosion resistant designs. Inconel 718. www.com. Alloy 20. 847-967-3505. IL 60053. Face Width: Narrow face width typically results in less heat generation at the seal faces. Fax: 847-967-3911. Monel and Titanium. Morton Grove. Less heat improves face stability and narrow faces are less susceptible to coking than wider faces. Jesse Fordyce is the oil & gas market manager for John Crane Inc. Design Characteristics: Consider not just the bellows seal head assemblies. it is important to understand the benefits and trade-offs as they apply to your particular operation. Compare design features such as inside.Additional Welded Metal Bellows Design Features:     Plate Span: Narrower plate spans typically provide greater stability under pressure than wider spans. Multitude of Metallurgies and Face Materials Available: Be sure your manufacturer offers an extensive array of materials such as AM-350.or outside-mounted. Be sure to review your applications and select the metal bellows seal best suited to help you extend meantime between repair. but also the cartridge seal designs. Hastelloy-C..johncrane. reverse pressure capability. Conclusion Since metal bellows products vary greatly in what they are able to offer. standardize inventory and increase reliability. 6400 West Oakton Street. .

single. Two imperatives for many of today's industrial plants are to reduce the cost of operations through the enhancement of rotating equipment reliability and enhanced energy efficiency of pumping systems. yet relatively easy "quick win. yet relatively easy "quick win. and double seals. cooling and/or as a means to exclude a harmful process fluid from the stuffing box or seal chamber.. and." is the seal flush water going to packing. single.How can I reduce consumption of seal water going to my packing and mechanical seals? Written by Fluid Sealing Association Two imperatives for many of today's industrial plants are to reduce the cost of operations through the enhancement of rotating equipment reliability and enhanced energy efficiency of pumping systems. One place to look for a significant. One place to look for a significant." is the seal flush water going to packing. In many industrial plants water is being used to provide lubrication.. .

Lower flow rates than required for optimal packing or seal performance. Saves space. check valve and low flow alarm. Can enhance rotating equipment reliability by alerting plant personal to a low flow condition that could lead to an unplanned maintenance event. such as pressure and flow control as well as monitoring. Water quality is an important consideration. Orifices plugging with no readily accessible means to clean them. Conveniently and economically incorporates a low flow alarm while still maintaining a minimal piping footprint. so it should be monitored. Easy to maintain with readily accessible cleaning button that does not disturb flow or pressure. namely:     Higher flow rates than required for optimal packing or seal performance. Typically will reduce seal water consumption by about 1/3rd while optimizing packing and mechanical seal performance. Plant water quality can vary significantly from one location to another and affect these units. . These plans have certain potential issues that can be opportunities for improving operating costs. 54 (ANSI 7354) or 62 (ANSI 7362). A potential solution to address these issues would be a single compact unit that includes all of the functionalities below:         Allows the end-user to readily optimize seal water pressure and flow to maximize packing and mechanical seal MTBR. Enables the end-user to readily monitor the seal water pressure and flow. Reduces process dilution.The means for providing an external water flush or quench are generally described as API/ISO piping plans 32 (ANSI 7332). Cumbersome and space consuming piping configurations in order to include basic requirements of an appropriate system.

You will save operating costs as well as space. It also is always best to consult with your seal supplier to ensure optimum cooling flow rates for your system. The bottom line on how to reduce consumption of seal water going to packing and mechanical seals is to consider replacing your existing seal water flush piping plan with a single unit seal water flush control and monitoring device. . The table to the right is an example of a way to achieve significant operating savings through optimizing seal water flush. The basis is reduction in seal water consumption by an average of 1-gpm per stuffing box served.Inspection and maintenance procedures should take water quality into consideration.

A shaft also should be checked for straightness if vibration readings indicate an out-of-balance condition. mount a dial indicator on a stationary surface and measure the runout on the shaft sleeve while turning it 360-deg. No single mechanical seal design can fully compensate for poor alignment. Total Indicated Runout (TIR) of more than 0. static shaft deflection and improper installation. fretting corrosion of metal surfaces adjacent to the dynamic gasket or worn drive mechanisms. Evidence that misalignment was the cause of a seal failure includes one or more of the following: broken springs. Bent shaft A bent shaft is easy to detect but often difficult to repair. Misalignment may be static or dynamic in origin. worn and/or extruded dynamic gaskets. It is usually less expensive and more reliable to replace a bent shaft than to straighten it. Shaft Concentricity and Parallelism Misalignment from a lack of concentricity or parallelism can be measured by a dial .05-mm) warrants a repair or replacement of the pump shaft. excessive shaft deflection or by misalignment between the rotor assembly and the seal housing. Static misalignment is measurable when the equipment is not in operation.002-in (0.The Most Effective Seal Design When Misalignment Is Present Written by Fluid Sealing Association From the Fluid Sealing Association Pumps & Systems. The detection procedure is the same. Higher leak rates typify these failures. but there can be performance compromises when selecting the seal design that best compensates for poor machine alignment. It is possible for the shaft to be bent at a location that will not be evident when checked at the shaft sleeve. Causes of Misalignment Seal housing misalignment may be caused by a permanent bend in the shaft. Rapid failures can occur in high pressure and speed applications. while dynamic misalignment is detectable only during operation. To determine if a shaft is bent at the seal housing. The first priority should always be to correct the misalignment so optimum seal performance can be achieved. March 2008 Shaft misalignment is one of the most common causes of premature mechanical seal failure. Static misalignment is most prevalent and will be our focus. Mount the indicator on a stationary surface and take a reading from the shaft while turning it. Causes of static misalignment include parts that are out of tolerance. Some designs are more forgiving of misalignment than others. Determining shaft condition should be the first step when checking for misalignment at the seal housing.

Potential causes of an out-oftolerance seal housing runout reading include:    Excessive static shaft deflection Out-of-tolerance assemblies Deformation of the pump assembly due to high structural loads Tolerances Misalignment from the tolerances of the assembled machined components is harder to detect. mount a dial indicator to check for shaft alignment at the seal housing to check shaft angularity and parallelism.indicator on the shaft. A change of the indicator of more than 0. as well as the distance from the nearest fixed hold down. further investigation and corrective action is warranted. it is important to remember that the total misalignment of the assembled parts will be the sum. (0. Use stainless precision shims between the baseplate and pump to compensate.002-in.005-in (0. If connecting or disconnecting the piping changes the shaft alignment. The amount of distortion is relative to the size and strength of the pump and piping. This is often called a soft foot condition. To check for soft foot. Although an individual register may appear to be out of tolerance by only a small amount.0005-in/in (15µm/3cm) of seal housing bore diameter. A pump often does not have 100 percent contact with all of the baseplate mounting surfaces.05-mm) while tightening or loosening a hold-down fastener indicates a soft foot. mount a dial indicator on the baseplate and take a measurement from the pump adjacent to a hold-down fastener. Mounting Many pumps have four or more mounting pads for mounting the pump to the baseplate. While rotating the shaft and dial indicator. Bolting a pump to a base with a soft foot condition may result in misalignment of the pump shaft to the seal housing and place stress on the bearings and other components. Measurements should be made on a machine. If the piping connections are suspected.125-mm) or the face runout is greater than 0. measure runout on the seal housing bore or register for concentricity at the seal housing face for parallelism (angularity). or stack up. There are usually several register fits between the bearing supports and the seal housing. These fits need to be machined concentric and square. of the individual component misalignments. Bolting of misaligned piping to a pump will cause both the piping and the pump to distort. A good rule of thumb is that if mechanical leverage is needed to bring the flanges into position. It is generally good practice to monitor shaft runout at the seal housing while installing a pump on its baseplate and connecting the pump to its piping. corrective action should be . then the nozzle loads should be checked. If the seal housing concentric runout is greater than 0. Register fits are subject to wear and corrosion over time and should be checked as part of any major maintenance. Flanges Mating flanges should be concentric and parallel.

This movement predisposes the spring mechanism to fatigue. One design utilizes a rotating compression unit where the springs rotate with the shaft (see below). The other is a stationary design (see below) that uses a stationary compression unit where the springs do not rotate with the shaft. Seal Designs Most seal designs are manufactured to operate with a maximum angular misalignment of 0. which can cause premature failure. The stationary design is the better choice when misalignment occurs. This includes the out-of-square tolerance and the shaft-to-seal chamber bore concentricity. There are two primary designs used to accommodate misalignment. (0. . The stationary design compensates for misalignment with one adjustment. while the rotating design must compensate at every revolution of the shaft.taken.08-mm).003-in.

they keep the small multiple springs out of direct contact with the product being pumped. Summary Mechanical seal failures are usually the symptom and not the cause of maintenance problems. Stationary designs are gaining acceptance for several other reasons. can only be achieved by correcting the root cause of the misalignment. they ultimately are not the solution for a misaligned system. which includes maximum seal life. Utilizing a stationary bellows allows for a one-time reposition of the stationary face. Utilizing the stationary design reduces the secondary seal and drive mechanism movement. eliminating constant flexing/movement of the thin cross section bellows leaflets. Further. as is contact with the process fluid. Above this speed. While some seal designs are more tolerant of misalignment. other forces such as radial loads. Optimum performance. impeller balance and cavitation also affect seal alignment. The excessive flexing and fatigue of the many thin cross-section springs is avoided. The stationary design also provides better seal face tracking capability and improves seal life. Many fluids contain solids which can clog the small multiple springs. and cause premature failure. the drive mechanisms can be increased to handle the higher torques associated with these speeds. which could cause excessive wear and fretting damage. many of which are related to static misalignment. Most of the seal manufacturers use the flexible stationary design in their modular or cartridge seals because of space limitations. Second.500 feet per minute (23-m/s)-usually require special design attention. Always try to obtain more detailed information about suitable seal designs from the seal manufacturers. high speed applications-those with shaft speeds in excess of 4. dynamic forces begin to exceed the limitations of a conventional rotating design. hang up the seal.The same concept also applies to welded metal bellows technology. In operation. First. .

Figure 1. and then through an orifice to control flow.Circulation Systems for Single and Multiple Seal Arrangements (PartTwo) Written by Gordon Buck and Ralph Gabriel. This can be avoided by using a differential pressure indicator or flow indicator to alert the user of impending problems. through a strainer or filter to remove solids. before being introduced into the seal chamber. Article Index Circulation Systems for Single and Multiple Seal Arrangements (Part Two) undefined All Pages Page 1 of 2 Plan 12 Plan 12 is similar to a Plan 11. Seal Flush Plan 12 Advantages    No product contamination from an external source. Some strainers utilize magnets or magnetic strainers to attract metallic particles like magnitite that will be present in most water systems. John Crane Inc. as problems can arise if not closely monitored where the strainer can become clogged. . Relatively simple piping plan. API 682/ISO 221049 does not recommend this plan. No reprocessing of product. and the seal is damaged due to overheating. or and intermediate stage in the case of multiple stage pumps. the flush flow is lost. The flush is taken off of the pump discharge.

This also helps the seal to vent gas out of the seal chamber. Strainer or filter will plug over time. no orifice is required. However. where the flow comes out of the seal chamber and goes back to the pump suction. On the other hand. depending upon the type of impeller used and the differential pressures between seal chamber pressure and pump suction pressure. Flush is recirculated. Continuous venting of the seal chamber. The path is such that it comes from the back of the seal and rises up to the gland plate outlet port with no direct impingement on the seal faces. Figure 2. the seal can become damaged depending upon the seal face material combination. Disadvantages    If the product in the pump is not a good face lubricant. this plan is used on vertical pumps where the seal chamber is subject to pump discharge pressure at the top of the pump. No reprocessing of product. Relatively simple piping plan. Typically. In some cases. Disadvantages . Solids are removed from flush stream keeping the seal chamber clean. Seal Flush Plan 13 Advantages     No product contamination from an external source. It is useful on high differential pressure applications where the use of a Plan 11 would require the use of multiple orifices. flow diverters may be incorporated to improve the flow path or flush rates can be increased to make up for the decrease in efficiency. Due to the flow path. or has extremely low or high viscosity. Plan 13 Plan 13 is a off-shoot of a Plan 11. Plan 13 is not as effective as a Plan 11 in removing seal generated heat. this plan can be used on horizontal pumps. for small or low speed pumps that have a low differential pressure.

Optimized cooling. the seal can become damaged depending upon the seal face material combination. No reprocessing of product. or has extremely low or high viscosity.   If the product in the pump is not a good face lubricant. the seal chamber pressure remains high. The flush flow can be controlled so that the cooling is directed at the faces and adequate flow is maintained. It is often used in vertical pumps to provide adequate flush flow and vapor pressure margin independent of the throat bushing below the seal chamber. sending it back to pump suction like a Plan 13. Less efficient flow pattern. It is also an effective plan when the throat bushing that partially controls flow rates is inadequate for the seals' needs. It is used on viscous products to provide a flow path out of the box in addition to the throat bushing that can be restrictive. Seal Flush Plan 14 Advantages      No product contamination. Plan 14 Plan 14 is a combination of a Plan 11 and a Plan 13. The flush is taken off of the pump discharge and sent to the seal chamber like a Plan 11. . resulting in an adequate vapor pressure margin. Allows complete automatic venting provided that the "FO" port in the gland is properly located. A second set of piping takes the flush from the seal chamber. With a properly sized orifice and throat bushing. Figure 3. Flush is recirculated.

The length of the tubing is calculated using a piping pressure drop calculation such that the pressure drop across the tubing is equal to the difference between the discharge or suction pressure (depending upon the specific plan) and the seal chamber pressure at the flow rate desired." This is a piece of tubing generally ¼-in heavy wall. with the addition of a strainer located before the orifice. normally on the downstream side. Another method is to use a "choke tube. where the product is taken from pump discharge and directed through an orifice to a heat exchanger to reduce the flush temperature before being introduced into the seal chamber. The orifices do not all have to be the same size and can be larger if there is a possibility that the flush stream may clog smaller orifice sizes. In lower pressure/speed applications. Flush is recirculated.Disadvantages   If the product in the pump is not a good face lubricant or is dirty. a "rule of thumb" of 1-gpm per inch size can be used. Controlling The flow rate is controlled by an orifice or series of orifices in the flush line. Article Index Circulation Systems for Single and Multiple Seal Arrangements (Part Two) Page 2 of 2 Plan 21/22 Plan 21 is again an off-shoot of a Plan 11. the seal can become damaged or clogged. the flush rate should be calculated based on the pumping conditions to maximize efficiency and seal life. John Crane Inc. Sizing For the above three plans. For applications above 3600-rpm or box pressures above 500-psig. Additional temperature indicators are used in some installations to monitor process and cooling water temperatures on both sides of the heat . Plan 22 is the same as a Plan 21. API 682/ISO 21049 states that the orifices should not be less than 1/8-in. A temperature indicator should be included on the process side of the exchanger. the flush rate should be calculated to avoid excessive temperature at the seal faces. Circulation Systems for Single and Multiple Seal Arrangements (Part Two) -undefined Written by Gordon Buck and Ralph Gabriel.

but is less efficient and may not be suitable for low pressure differential pressure applications. Plants typically have general rules on temperature ranges and vapor pressure margins that they want to maintain. The use of a throat bushing will reduce the effects of heat soak into the seal chamber and can also increase the seal chamber pressure slightly assisting in increasing the vapor pressure margin. This is due to the high heat load that is placed on the heat exchanger in these plans. Figure 4. . taking 3-gpm water from 350-deg F down to 160-deg F consumes 270. These high heat loads result in wasted energy and high rates of fouling of the heat exchanger on both the process and cooling water side. Both water. Fouling normally occurs on the water side of cooling tower based cooling systems. which often results in shortened seal life. Seal Flush Plan 21 Advantages    No dilution of process stream. This can be averted to some degree by maintaining a velocity that is sufficient to resist the deposit of cooling water sediment on the coils.exchanger. improving lubricity and increasing the vapor pressure margin.and air-cooled heat exchangers may be used with these plans.600-Btu/hr. A floating throat bushing will reduce the clearance by more than half over a fixed bushing and is recommended on applications involving higher temperatures and process fluids with high vapor pressures. Plans 21 and 22 are not preferred plans by the API and by many users. Provides cooled process to the seal chamber. Can be applied to any pump where Plan 11 can be applied. For example. The standard pump fixed throat bushing may be utilized on lower temperature applications where the process fluid is not volatile. The use of an air-cooled heat exchanger has the advantage of eliminating water side fouling.

Flush is recirculated. heat generated by the seal faces. a pumping ring in the seal chamber circulates product through a heat exchanger and back to the seal chamber. Improved results for process fluids near their vapor pressure can be realized by locating the orifice(s) between the heat exchanger and the seal chamber. 6. the primary use of Plan 23 systems has been hot water services. if flow is not maintained through the heat exchanger. the capability of the cooling circuit along with some safety factor for fouling. Plan 23 Plan 23 is a closed loop circulation system used on hot applications for providing cooled flow to single seals. the total heat load is 13. The heat load consists of heat soak from the pump. The use of a close clearance throat bushing is recommended to minimize the mixing of the hot process fluid with the cooler seal chamber fluid. In comparison to a Plan 21 or Plan 22. a desired injection temperature should be determined. resulting in a lower vapor pressure before the pressure drop across the orifice occurs. For hydrocarbon based fluids. Sizing The flow rate should be determined in a similar manner to that done for Plan 11. and 260-Btu/hr for turbulence. In Plan 23. The heat exchanger should be sized based upon the above flow rate calculation. the fluid is first cooled. along with turbulence or churning of the pumping ring and seal head within the seal chamber. . The breakdown of the Plan 23 heat load is 6200-Btu/hr for seal generated heat.Disadvantages    High heat load on the heat exchanger. Controlling The flow rate should be controlled by an orifice or series of orifices in the flush line.840-Btu/hr for heat soak. during idle periods.600-Btu/hr noted above for a Plan 21. For water and other aqueous solutions. In this arrangement. resulting in high operating costs with the potential for fouling. but recently it has been become more popular in refineries. most seals require that the temperature of the flush being introduced to the seal chamber be maintained below 180-deg F. A throat bushing is used to isolate the cool seal chamber from the hot pump. the heat load on the heat exchanger is considerably less. with a 350-deg F water application with a 3-in seal at 3600-rpm and 500-psi. where it has been used on hydrocarbon services. Some fluids may congeal or become highly viscous. In the past. Depending on the process fluid. API 682 recommends 36-deg F below the vapor point. As a comparison.300-Btu/hr versus the 270.

Venting is essential for Plan 23. the throat bushing separates the clean fluid in the seal chamber from the dirty process fluid. Selection. The cooler is less likely to scale or foul. The flow rate of the clean flush will dictate the type of bushing required. The clean fluid is routed out the top of the separator and into the seal chamber. Less direct cooling of process fluid than Plan 21. . The reduced operating temperature improves lubricity and reduces the possibility of vaporization in the seal chamber. design/location of the pumping ring. The rule of thumb is that the velocity of the fluid passing through the throat bushing be on the order of 15-ft/sec to prevent the particles from entering the seal chamber. Plan 23 is not used for fluids with high freeze points or for viscous fluids because the pumping ring may not be able to force circulation. In this case. and piping are crucial to the successful operation of Plan 23. This plan should only be used for services containing solids that have a specific gravity at least twice that of the process fluid. Throat bushings are a requirement when using this flush plan. Disadvantages     The initial cost is more than Plan 21 because of ancillary components. inlet and outlet ports. Can provide a cooled seal chamber thru effective thermosyphon effects when the pump is idle. while the process with the heavier solids is routed back to pump suction. Plan 31 In Plan 31 the product is introduced to an abrasive separator from the discharge of the pump. where floating type bushings with close clearances should be used on low flow rate applications.Figure 5. Plan 23 is very efficient versus the alternative Plan 21. Seal Flush Plan 23 Advantages       The process fluid is used to cool and lubricate the seal.

On small or low differential pumps no orifices are required. It may be necessary to vary the length of tubing or piping or even to add an orifice to one or both discharge lines to get the proper flow established. It is important that the lines running from the clean outlet at top of the separator and the dirty outlet at the bottom be at similar pressures to obtain proper separation and flow rates. The clean fluid moves to an inner spiral and is displaced upwards and out through a vortex finder located at the top center of the unit. On vertical pumps where the seal chamber is at discharge pressure a separate line needs to be added. The proper installation of the abrasive separator is a necessity for this flush plan to work. Seal Flush Plan 31 . the fluid containing the abrasives are fed into the inlet at the top of the cylindrical cone directed tangentially to the wall of the separator at a velocity sufficient to create a spiral or vortex action. The flow rate can be controlled by an orifice in the line running from the pump discharge to the inlet of the abrasive separator. The developed centrifugal force from the rotation of flow throws the heavy abrasive particles to the wall of the separator.125in and should usually be larger. going from the bushing at the bottom of the seal chamber back to suction to reduce seal chamber pressure to allow the clean fluid to enter the seal cavity. the separator needs to have a minimum of a 15-psi differential to operate properly.In an abrasive separator. depending upon the size and the concentration of the particles being removed. The maximum particle size should be less than one-quarter the size of the inlet orifice. Figure 6. where the abrasives collect and pass downward and out of the unit through the separator discharge port. This orifice should not be less than . Either multiple orifices or a "choke tube" can be used to control the flow. Typically.

keeping in mind that only the clean fluid flows to the seal. This plan is almost always used in conjunction with a close clearance throat bushing. as vapor bubbles have a more natural inclination to be channeled into the seal flush connection.Advantages   Solids are removed from the flush stream keeping the seal chamber clean. the abrasive separator does not have to be cleaned. In addition. Plan 32 In Plan 32. Plan 32 is used when a process stream is difficult to condition in a way that will provide adequate cooling and lubrication to the mechanical seal. the flush stream is brought in from an external source. Exceeding the published differential pressure will cause the separator to not function properly. Unless the pressure differential from the two discharges to the final sources are almost the same. Unlike a strainer or filter. The abrasive separator and the piping in the dirty outlet leg can become worn over time from the abrasives spiraling down the coned shaped bore. Disadvantages      It is sometimes difficult to obtain the desired pressure differential required for the abrasive separator to operate efficiently. it is often employed when a process stream includes components. The design of a Plan 32 flush system involves application of hardware and logic that will provide the seal with an environment conducive to long term service. the separator can either starve the seal or allow abrasives to flow into the chamber. The bushing can function as a throttling device to maintain an elevated pressure in the stuffing box or as a barrier to isolate the pumped product from the seal chamber. Improper piping will cause the separator to not operate efficiently. while not compromising the operation and profitability of the process stream. . Not advisable on low vapor margin applications. Various models or sizes of separators are available to provide different flow rates depending upon the pressure differential available. which may either result in abrasive wear or will impede free movement of critical seal components. Less effective with viscous fluids Sizing Generally the flush rate sizing will be the same as a Plan 11.

floating throat bushing should be placed in the back of the seal chamber. can result in vastly extended seal life. one should not allow more than one-quarter of the available flush fluidtemperature margin to be used. The flow rate which will normally achieve solids exclusion is 15-ft/sec. three common scenarios should be considered. In this case. but takes on another dimension when Plan 32 is involved. This scenario is common in process streams which have a tendency to polymerize. which must be in operation whenever the involved pump is on-line. and/or economics almost always surface. when selected and applied properly. Support system costs can be very high and adds additional equipment to the system. When an outside flush source is used. thus heat soak is also a consideration. The process is not at its boiling point. or set up at various stages in a batch process. introduction of an external fluid to the process stream can result in increased energy and reprocessing costs. resulting in improved MTBPM for the pump system. In this situation. Sizing The flush rate is critical to any seal. Seal Flush Plan 32 Advantages The external flush fluid. For these reasons. Disadvantages    Product degradation or dilution will occur when using this plan. With respect to the flush rate. a close clearance. though it has properties which adversely affect seal life. congeal. concerns regarding product dilution. When calculating the flow rate required. the flow rate required to cool the seal should take precedence:    Exclusion of process from the seal chamber is the primary objective. In all cases. Depending on overall system design.Figure 7. simply diluting the process is often . Processes in this category are often hot. The process is at or near its boiling point and other flush plans are not practicable. it is imperative that the seal supplier be adequately informed with regards to any limitations that will be placed on the flush rate.

particularly if the size is less than . and then goes to a heat exchanger to reduce the temperature before being introduced into the seal chamber. Plan 41 Plan 41 is a combination of flush Plans 21 and Plan 31. and often actual flush rate determination may be derived more from experience. or are variable. the device selected to control the rate of flush is the most critical decision to be made. thus allowing "on the fly" control of the flush rate. When Plan 32 is applied to process streams which are hot. fluid properties of the external flush stream should also be presented with the main process details. if the supply pressure and/or box pressure are not well determined. is first directed through an abrasive separator to eliminate solid particles. Further. A manually adjustable needle or globe valve with flow indicator can be employed. In this case. material selections made for the seal should be made based on the extremes of the process fluid conditions and the external flush fluid. The required flush rate may be quite low. careful attention must be paid to protecting the orifice from plugging. the introduction of a lower boiling point liquid into the process stream will lower the NPSHA at the impeller to some degree and will have a negative effect on pump capacity as the liquid vaporizes in the pump. In this case. some methods are:    A drilled orifice or choke tube is the simplest device and will normally be the least costly. A control valve is the ultimate control of flow rate. the pump may vapor lock or be damaged by the resulting disturbances. General Communication between the seal company and the end user is key to success of Plan 32. This approach will allow accurate tuning of the flush rate. though cost can be substantially higher to purchase and maintain such a device. However. However. Optional accessories are an orifice to control the flow and a temperature indicator on the . not the flush by itself.125-in. Plan 32 is not recommended for cooling only. accurate sizing may not be attainable. Simpler is usually better whenever possible. The flush comes off from pump discharge. Finally. In short. to ensure success on Plan 32 applications. Controlling Conditioning and controlling the rate of flush in a Plan 32 system can range from simple and inexpensive to elaborate and costly. As with any application. the flush liquid may have a higher vapor pressure than the process fluid when at the same temperature. though consistent monitoring is required. as the energy costs can be very high. the fluid properties and service conditions of the process stream must be established in order to provide a successful seal design. In the worst case.all that is required to maintain reliable seal operation. the flush rate is often "fine tuned" in a way that provides adequate seal cooling and minimizes vaporization within the pump. knowledge of the process and its interaction with the flush stream are key to success. Also.

Due to this constraint and the potential for high heat loads as noted with Plan 21.125-in and should usually be larger. so the pump manufacturer should be consulted. The maximum particle size should be less than one-quarter the size of the inlet orifice. As with Plan 21. However. temperature indicators are also used to monitor cooling water temperatures. in some cases. the abrasive separator needs to have a minimum of a 15-psi differential to operate properly. going from the bushing at the bottom of the seal chamber back to suction to reduce seal chamber pressure to allow the clean fluid to enter the seal cavity. This flush plan can be very difficult to pipe properly to obtain the correct flow rate through the abrasive separator and the heat exchanger. . On small or low differential pumps no orifices are required. It will be necessary to vary the length of tubing or piping in the dirty discharge from the abrasive separator back to pump suction to obtain the same pressure drop produced by the heat exchanger. the pump manufacturer uses the top bushing as a balance piston. In some installations. It is important that the lines running from the clean outlet at top of the separator and the dirty outlet at the bottom be at similar pressures to obtain proper separation and flow rates. Throat bushings are a requirement when using this flush plan. The flow rate can be controlled by an orifice in the line running from the discharge to the inlet of the abrasive separator. depending upon the size and the concentration of the particles being removed. This orifice should not be less than . On vertical pumps where the seal chamber is at discharge pressure a separate line needs to be added.product outlet side of the heat exchanger. Either multiple orifices or a "choke tube" can be used to control the flow. This Plan should only be used for services containing solids that have a specific gravity at least twice that of the process fluid. it is not a popular option.

Information on quenches was introduced in the first article of this series. Unlike a strainer or filter the abrasive separator does not have to be cleaned. Typically. Exceeding the published differential pressure will cause the separator to not function properly. It is typically used with a floating or segmented bushing to limit the leakage of the quench fluid to atmosphere. Plan 62 Plan 62 is a common flush plan to improve the environment on the atmospheric side of single seals. Depending upon the temperature of the process the heat load on the heat exchanger can be high.Figure 8. or nitrogen to prevent icing on cold or cryogenic applications. resulting in high operating costs for the cooling water and/or fouling of the heat exchanger. Piping this arrangement to get the proper pressure drops in order to get efficient operation of the abrasive separator and the correct flow through the heat exchanger is difficult. but can be used with a fixed bushing if the application permits. Seal Flush Plan 41 Advantages   Solids are removed and product temperature is reduced to enhance the seal's environment. Disadvantages    This plan is not suitable for very low head services as the pressure drop thru both the abrasive separator and heat exchanger may be too great. . water to prevent the formation of crystalline substances on fluids with solids in solution. this is either low pressure steam or nitrogen to prevent coke formation on hot hydrocarbon services.

Figure 9. leakage is directed past or through a reservoir containing a level switch. Leakage can then leak to atmosphere or go to a drain. Seal Flush Plan 62 Advantages  Low cost alternative to tandem seals to improve condition on low pressure side of process seal. This system should have a line running from the upper section of the reservoir connected to the piping downstream of the orifice to excessive leakage to drain. Improper control of steam can allow condensation to form that can boil and cause seal damage on hot processes. This can contaminate the surrounding area or even spray the area in the case of . From the gland drain connection. Poor steam control can lead to a reverse pressure on the seal and/or bearing oil contamination. This should be used on applications where the seal leakage would normally be in a liquid state. If the leakage from the seal is excessive. The downstream orifice should be located in a vertical leg to avoid accumulation of leakage in the pipe. Disadvantages    Leakage of process past primary seal is not contained except with the throttle bushing. especially on larger size seals incorporating larger clearances. Plan 65 Plan 65 is a leakage detection plan that is normally utilized with a single seal. can allow leakage to leak past the bushing. setting off an alarm. through an orifice and finally into either a sewer or liquid collection system. the orifice downstream from the reservoir restricts the flow allowing the level in the reservoir to rise. A fixed bushing. The selection of a proper throttle bushing is important.

Can provide an automatic shutdown of equipment. Disadvantages   Cost of system. it is recommended that either a floating or segmented bushing be used with this plan. If axial space is available. . Leakage levels have to be relatively high to set off the alarm. Figure 10. Seal Flush Plan 65 Advantages   Provides an indication of excessive seal leakage without manual inspection.a severely damaged seal.

The direct contact with the process or flush fluids can be particularly problematic for the storage and reuse of some elastomers. it always is advisable to contact the manufacturers for their recommendations to ensure that the most reliable current practices are employed. while some are static. Dry equipment and seal chamber with compressed air. discharge connections. Nonmetallics include ceramics such as silicon carbide and flexible graphite as well as elastomers such as ethylene propylene rubber (EPR). The mechanical seal assembly is a complex mix of precision metallic and nonmetallic components. storage procedures include:       Drain all product and flush fluid from the equipment and seal chamber. mechanical seal assemblies have been placed in spare parts inventory well in advance of the need to install them as replacements. New pumps have been installed in a plant addition that will not go on line for some time. Storage must be based on preserving the integrity of all components. Cover all equipment openings including pump suction. Storage in Pumps: 3 to 24 Months Generally. so they can be affected differently in service. Given the above assumptions. What about the mechanical seal assemblies? Can they be left in the pumps for extended periods and then be ready for startup? How can I ensure that they will be? In another situation. Turn the shaft one to two revolutions by hand every three months. flush tap. Each has its own unique resistance to aging. While general rules are noted here. Appropriate environmental and plant safety regulations also must be met. mechanical seal assemblies are installed in the pumps and need to be put in the "sleep" mode for storage. and each is essential to effective seal performance. January 2007 A section of the plant has been shut down because of a temporary change in product mix.What procedures should I use when storing my mechanical seals? Written by Fluid Sealing Association Pumps and Systems. . Plug all openings in the seal chamber and gland. provided manufacturers' installation and plant shut down procedures have been followed. mechanical seal assemblies can be stored satisfactorily for this period. Mask or cover the clearance between the seal gland and the shaft to prevent dirt and debris from entering the seal cavity. All of the above speaks to the issue of proper seal assembly storage. etc. Some of these materials are also dynamic sealing elements. In either case.

Dry all parts.Storage for Over 24 Months Storage beyond 24 months will require removal of the seal assembly. package. they can serve as a guide to susceptibility of these materials to aging. Table 1 shows the maximum shelf life of a number of typical secondary seal materials as specified in this standard The premise for Table 1. environmental conditions are more likely to affect the flatness of the rotating and stationary seal faces as well as deteriorate some O-ring and gasket materials. Remove. cool environment. Nevertheless. Specific steps include:      Drain all product and flush fluid from the equipment and seal chamber. Standard SAE ARP5316 lists the maximum recommended shelf life for Oring and molded secondary seal materials. When storage is longer than 24 months. these recommendations are based on storage in an unused. Exclusion of contamination. as received. However. particularly sunlight.such as Orings. so they are not directly applicable to storage after some period of service in a pump. is that any of the elastomers are properly packaged and stored under optimum conditions. disassemble. and gaskets . Exclusion of any radiation.under ambient storage conditions varies with the type of elastomer. Exclusion of ozone from all sources including electrical devices. storage in ultraviolet (UV) resistant polyethylene or polyethylene lined Kraft paper bags ensures optimum storage life. . Secondary Seals The resistance to deterioration of elastomeric secondary seal materials . These include:     Ambient Temperature not exceeding 100 deg-F (38 deg-C). Plant safety procedures and all environmental regulations again must be followed. Ensure that trapped fluid is removed from disassembled Cartridge Seals. and store as individual components. condition. Store in clean. This specification also contains recommended storage practices. as listed in the SAE Standard. V-rings. Generally. and thoroughly clean and decontaminate the mechanical seal.

Figure 1. such as the sleeve.Exposure to process and/or flush fluids can influence the sealing properties of elastomers. Normally. Secondary seals more at risk are those completely encased in hardware. all surfaces should be within two light bands. Faces may have to be re-lapped by an approved method should they be out of flatness. will take a set. Conclusion The storage of mechanical seal assemblies. and consequently shelf life. Replacement can be the most prudent course. Reassembly Once the components have been checked to be acceptable for reuse. etc. The resultant decrease in sealing force can impact performance. swell. must be checked for deterioration. Manufacturers should be consulted to ensure that their condition is acceptable for reuse. such as those that seal the two faces. Static testing of the assembly also may be required. whether in an as received or in service condition. hardness and compression set. should there be any question. so before reinstalling them into any seal assembly it is particularly important that they be thoroughly inspected. gaskets. they can be reassembled and reinstalled in the pump in accordance with manufacturers' recommended procedures. are less at risk. . Those that mate with the pump components. Cross section of O-ring showing compression set. Wear Faces The wear faces of the seal rings and inserts should be tested for flatness with a helium light source and optical flat. considering the potential serious impact of an in-service failure of any of these critical components. All O-rings. Vrings. cracks. Over time constrained elastomers. The manufacturer should be contacted for specifics if this requirement is not met. requires practices that prevent deterioration of critical sealing properties. such as those in a groove. prior to installation.

Exposure to process and flush fluids can limit shelf life and reuse of some elastomeric secondary seal and gasket materials. The FSA Mechanical Seal Handbook referenced below also is a valuable source for troubleshooting conditions noted in this column. always. The most prudent course. depending on type and length of exposure. . This article is intended to provide general guidelines and convey important considerations for storage. is to contact your mechanical seal manufacturer for specific instructions on proper storage procedures to ensure reliable start up and long term operation.

Advanced Diamond Technologies. Diamond has long been sought after as a seal face material because of its unsurpassed hardness. May 2009 Advances in diamond are bringing the well-known properties of the world's hardest material to mechanical shaft seals. and Burgmann Industries GmbH & Co.e. The typical hardness is similar or below that of SiC. Accordingly. Along with the capability of manufacturing a large number of seal faces simultaneously. These new products are used when SiC and WC are not performing adequately. and provide significant improvement to SiC's properties. DLCs adequately reduce scuffing during the brief contact that occurs during start-ups and shutdowns of compressors but have failed to demonstrate sufficient improvement over ceramic material options such as silicon carbide (SiC) and tungsten carbide (WC) in contact sealing applications.. large-scale diamond synthesis processes. In the last decade. West. however. John Crane Inc. the grains are disordered) and vary in composition with about 10 to 80 percent of the carbon bonded as it is in diamond. Huhnseal AB. early applications were relegated to abrasives and tooling that do not require the same high quality surface finishes and tolerances as those found in mechanical shaft seals. increase seal life by reducing face temperatures during intermittent dry operation and reduce wear that results from abrasives and poorly lubricating conditions. but the literature has reported some values exceeding -SiC. KG are marketing products incorporating significantly harder crystalline diamond face materials in universal ANSI pump cartridge seals. a form of softer amorphous carbon known as diamond-like-carbons (DLCs) has been providing scuff resistance to the faces of gas compressor seals. these improvements have made diamond-surfaced seals commercially viable. These synthetic diamond technologies are 100 percent crystalline and . Inc. chemical inertness and low friction. Pumps and Systems. high thermal conductivity. researchers have developed new diamond materials that can be grown directly onto seal faces such as SiC. DLCs. are not crystalline (i. Materials that integrate these allotropes of carbon are typically characterized by two key parameters: crystallinity and the percentage of diamond relative to graphite. profound advances have been made in the development of economical. the range of hardness values in DLCs is also wide. These processes have led to an ability to produce smooth diamond that meets the surface requirements of seal faces. Due to the processing limitations of synthetic diamond.Diamond Advances Seal Face Performance Written by Charles F. In the last couple decades. as well as in several other seal designs. which is the material used on gas compressor faces. The use of carbon coatings on seal faces is not new.. where the extreme properties of diamond are meeting the demanding requirements of customers' applications. Structure of Diamond Materials Two forms of carbon are of interest to users of mechanical seals-graphite and diamond. For years.

As a result of its fine grain structure. these materials are polycrystalline (i. these diamond materials can be made smooth enough to run against counterfaces of much softer carbon or conventional uncoated SiC. They are also. and they exhibit high friction and excessive counterface wear. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) is internationally known for synthesizing thin. These new materials are much harder than SiC and DLCs and are nearly as hard as natural diamond. they consist of many small crystals chemically bonded to each other) and consist of diamond grains that are about 10 to 20 µm (1 µm is about 40 micro inches) in size. due to the crystalline nature. Smooth Diamond Faces The U. . The diamond is not precipitating out from the vapor phase but grows up from the surface of the SiC. Whereas a diamond in an engagement ring consists of a single crystal. Researchers tend to think of synthetic diamond as a family of materials similar to the different types of carbides and carbon-based materials available today for seals. Ultrananocrystalline diamond has grain-sizes measured in nanometers and not micrometers. Huhnseal and those supplied to seal manufacturers by Advanced Diamond Technologies.S. The technology developed at Argonne allows for different types of diamond materials with different surface roughness and other engineering specifications (see Figure 2).e. and early attempts to use these materials for sealing applications failed. How Diamond Is Applied to Seal Faces The diamond seal products now available from John Crane Inc. enabling a wide choice of design options for seal manufacturers. ultrananocrystalline diamond can be deposited on SiC with a surface roughness of 2 to 5 nm Ra. Unfortunately. As these small diamond crystals grow. The relatively high temperature of the process results in a significant chemical interaction and subsequent bonding of the diamond onto the SiC. under the right combination of processing conditions. more chemically resistant and have higher thermal conductivities than other seal materials. well below the surface finish requirements of contacting mechanical seals. A carbon bearing gas such as methane is introduced into the chamber and.. gas composition and temperature are accurately controlled. EagleBurgmann.nearly all of the carbon in these materials is diamond. they coalesce together and form a continuous diamond surface. It is cost prohibitive to finish these rough diamond surfaces to meet the requirements of seal faces.472-deg F). It is then placed into a chamber where the pressure. The process occurs under vacuum at temperatures around 800-deg C (1. diamond crystals grow on the SiC. Specific processing conditions determine the diamond's properties. Tests have shown that the bond between the SiC and the diamond can be stronger than the strength of the SiC itself. By accurately controlling the surface roughness. these synthetic diamond materials suffer from a few drawbacks-the surface roughness is far too high.. Inc. smooth diamond materials with controllable properties which are now available commercially as ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD). Conventional diamond coatings are rough as deposited with a surface roughness of 1 µm Ra or more. Excellent bonding is critical to ensure the diamond adheres well. are fabricated by growing a polycrystalline diamond film onto the face of a conventional finished SiC ring.

the diamond face retains the flatness of the original within one light band of helium. Ultrananocrystalline diamond-faced SiC mating ring Figure 2.Controllable surface roughness also allows for two diamond faces to be paired against each other without the ringing or seizing that can occur when the same hard materials are paired together. including UNCD. Due to these small variations in thickness.6 micro inches). The diamond's thickness is routinely applied with uniformity within ± 0. is applied to SiC faces as a thin film with thicknesses ranging from 2 to 20 µm. Ultrananocrystalline diamond is also suitable for non-contacting seal face designs in which the seal face is precisely machined with spiral grooves or other patterns that give the face three-dimensional features.3 µm (11. UNCD is applied to an asfinished. non-contacting SiC ring with the diamond film conforming to the size and shape of the grooves. Diamond structure can be controlled to meet various seal requirements Conformality and Flatness Vapor-deposited diamond. .

minimizing seal failures during start-up and improving seal life during dry operation. Diamond-faced seals have been shown to have significantly longer useful life in poor lubricating environments such as hot water and during extremely abrasive pumping applications. It is because of the energy saving benefits of low friction materials that the U.. Department of Energy originally funded the development of ultrananocrystalline diamond at Argonne. Second. Applications It is important to remember that a seal face is one of many elements within a properly operating mechanical seal and all the major elements should be considered when diagnosing problem pumps.g. during exposure to abrasive solids in the media and to highly corrosive environments. Diamond. Diamond is an ideal engineering material due to its extreme chemical resistance and unsurpassed hardness. however. enabling the seal design to properly maintain the face lubrication film. High performance single seals are now available that are . the seal face must maintain the required surface quality and geometry even in poorly lubricating conditions (e.04) between diamond and SiC results in less heat generated when face lubrication is interrupted. These new diamond products enable hard face materials to be used while only softer carbon materials are used today due to the requirements of dry running. The low coefficient of friction (µ = 0. enables pumps to function with higher reliability in demanding applications.S. pumping near a fluid's vapor pressure or intermittent dry running). The ideal face material reduces both the heat generation that can result in thermal distortions of the faces and secondary seal failures. First. Inference pattern showing diamond face flatness Wear and Friction Diamond overcomes two of the major challenges of seal face materials.Figure 3. a seal face must be fabricated to micrometer or sub-micrometer precision.

refinery and material processing applications. boiler feeds. IL 60446. As a result of these and other benefits.practical alternatives to the higher costs and maintenance of dual seals and associated systems. particularly if it is susceptible to dry running. deionized (DI) water systems. Inc. 815-293-0900. Weber Road. The added cost of a conventional ANSI pump seal with diamond is equivalent to other face upgrade options. #286.. water recirculation systems. diamond-faced seals are finding their way into a wide range of applications such as pumping light hydrocarbons. consider installing diamond-faced seals during the next maintenance cycle to experience the benefits firsthand. . and pharmaceutical production. West is the vice president of engineering for Advanced Diamond Technologies. Charles F. Romeoville. If an application could benefit from increased hardness and reduced friction. pulp and paper processing. 429 B.

APICS Pumps & Systems. One of our readers. LLC (Knoxville.Various Ways to Determine Pump Flow in the Field Written by Dr. which normally comes in combined or single-line formats. Don Casada of Diagnostic Solutions. ITT Industries .. I compared the pros and cons of one of several techniques that can be used to estimate pump flow when troubleshooting pump operations under less-than-desirable conditions: directly measuring it with a flowmeter. and similar HI guidelines. October 2007 In my August column ("Tricks to Taking Flow Measurements in the Field"). as shown in Figures 1 and 2. we continue our discussion by examining two other indirect methods of determining pump flow in the field:   Pressure (head) measurement Power (amps) measurement In both of these cases. Figure 1. responded to that discussion with criticism of the direct measurement method from several perspectives. you must obtain the pump performance curve for the respective application. the absence of obstructions and bends.E. P. TN). including the correct positioning of the external flowmeter on a pipe with appropriate requirements for a certain length of straight pipe. This month. Pump performance curve in a combined format. Source: 2004 Goulds Pumps Manual. Lev Nelik.

Power (Amps) Method The power curve indicates approximately 3. although a somewhat better .85. which is 5. ITT Industries A combined format curve is typically available from a pump OEM generic catalog. although some assumptions of the power factor and motor efficiency would be required: BHP = (I x V x 1. but the actual flow is found suspect by operators. a 5-hp 460-V motor is used and we actually read 450-V and 3. In this example.73 x EFFmotor x PF) / 1000 In our example. Power can be calculated from these readings. Pressure (Head) Method Let's assume that the discharge gauge reads 55-psig and the suction gauge reads 10psig.0). Power meters (kWmeter) are rarely available.9-amps.Figure 2. with amps and volts being more commonly displayed at the control panel. approximately at 60-gpm. A horizontal 104-ft head line intersects the H-Q curve (at the proper impeller diameter. thus a 45-psi pressure differential exists.2-hp at the rated point. Pump performance curve in a single-line format. a factory-tested solution. while a single-line curve is usually supplied with specific pump quotation. a red triangle denotes the pump-rated point (70-gpm at 100-ft head) where a pump is expected to operate.31 = 104-ft head (assuming cold water. SG = 1. or better yet. Source: 2004 Goulds Pumps Manual.12-in here in this case) at a little less than rated flow. A typical assumption of the product (EFFmotor x PF) is 0. This would correspond to 45 x 2.

This is close to the 2. if the motor rated amps were.85) / 1000 = 2. but requires one to have a pump curve and gauges that are not broken or out of calibration. say. If we also add to this information the approximately 55-gpm data that was registered from the field flowmeter using the technique we discussed (in August) for the less than optimum pipe location. In the realities of the field. too many assumptions and approximations in reading curves bring bad news. these curves are unfortunately long lost or misplaced for the old pumps. The bottom line is that each method has its own place. drop. this answer is sufficient.2-hp. 8. External (ultrasonic) meters are simple.9 x 450 x 1.value can be obtained if one is willing to spend some more time on research work. In our example.9 / 8. the good news is that based on two methods. we can state that the flow appears to be somewhere between 50-gpm and 60-gpm. It can rise. For many troubleshooting purposes. However.a very good thing. depending how accurately you eyeball the curve. but accuracy is limited due to difficulties in locating a good (HI approved) . That's not all. Pumps & Systems June 2007) Direct flow reading is the most sure way.73 x 0. Cutting into lines to install them is impractical and expensive. as is the case for most end suction and split case pumps. we could then assume the actual power is 3. such as mixed flow and vertical turbine pumps. the shape of the power curve can be entirely different. and even if they do exist. then multiplying the result on motor rated power. some people feel more comfortable simply taking the ratio of actual amps to the motor nameplate (if one is still attached!) amps rating. pump power is not a nice continuously rising curve.3-hp. but inaccuracy of the power factor and motor efficiency is a drawback. Thus.5-amps. in our example: BHP = (3. As HI illustrates nearby when comparing impeller profiles for various specific speed designs. The power method can be applied very successfully for field troubleshooting of many pump types. and rated motor power 5-hp. Obviously. Instead. it is often impossible to know the most recent impeller diameter inside the pump after numerous prior pump repairs and modifications.6 hp This is slightly less than the expected 3. but most pumps do not have in-line flowmeters installed.6-hp value we derived earlier by using a power factor and motor efficiency assumption. even making its shape so flat that it becomes difficult to distinguish the difference for a rather wide variation of flows. As a note on the power method. strength and limitations:    The pressure (head) method is the simplest and quickest.6hp intersects the power curve at flow approximately 50-gpm. meaning a straight horizontal line at 2. our confidence of the flow actually being somewhere between 50-gpm to 60-gpm will increase even further . but it has significant drawbacks and cannot be applied for high specific speed (Ns) pumps. or stay constant with flow. (Reference power factor fundamentals presented by Joe Evans in "Power Factor: Electricity Behaving Badly (Part One)" (Pump Ed 101. The power (amps) method does not require one to "get dirty" around the pump replacing broken gauges.5 x 5 = 2.

Keep on pumping! Dr. LLC. an Atlanta-based firm specializing in pump consulting. and pump repairs. As always. and reasons for deviations of practice from the theory.PumpingMachinery.spot along the pipe of the real field installation. comments. Nelik (aka "Dr. Dr. the engineering aspects of centrifugal and positive displacement pumps. increase energy savings. and to what magnitude? The first three correct answers get you a winning ticket to our next Pump School session(s). Pump") is president of Pumping Machinery. our habit for leaving a parting thought with you: What simplifying assumptions were made in describing the pressure (head) method? What additional errors can these assumptions introduce. . Nelik has 30 years experience in pumps and pumping equipment. Often. or to attend his Pump School. he can be contacted at www. training.com. With questions. and optimize pump-to-system operations. He has published over 50 documents on pump operations. be able to explain the peculiarities and inconsistencies of each method. applying all three methods reduces the error by allowing the user to learn to intelligently interpret the reasons for the differences. and maintenance methods to improve reliability. equipment troubleshooting. some understanding of flow mechanics. and correct such inconsistencies by solid reason.

Higher efficiency means less vibration and noise and lower energy bills.10 Ways to Select A Happy Pump Written by Robert X. Be more conservative when the fluid has a single boiling point. i. 6) For single stage pumps never select a pump with a maximum diameter impeller. 10) Consider fluid volatility when making your pump selection. 2) Select your pump so it never operates below 70 percent to 80 percent of its best efficiency point. 8) Use hydraulic stability. 7) Select a driver that allows you to operate to the end of the pump curve. as opposed to a fluid with a wide boiling point range. NPSHr/NPSHa into your selection. February 2007 1) Only select pumps with suction specific speeds less than 11. 5) Use double suction impeller sparingly. as criteria for setting the minimum acceptable pump flow. 9) Incorporate a healthy NPSH margin or ratio. This ratio should be anywhere from 1.1 to 2. A higher value is always better.000 is even better. They are less stable at off-design conditions than single suction impellers. . Perez Pumps and Systems. criticality and suction energy level. You may need to increase the impeller diameter in the future.0 depending on the fluid. not temperature rise.000-less than 9. 3) Remember that 1800-rpm pumps are usually more reliable than 3600-rpm pumps 4) Hydraulic efficiency peaks at specific speeds between 2000 and 3000 and drops dramatically below a specific speed of 500.e.

rated at 33. boiler-feed pump.800 rpm. based on the service. a term defined as the product of the diameter of the pump suction nozzle. . the cavitation damage rate was unacceptable. Understanding NPSH. twice that "required" by the pump. et. Figure 1. What is a Safe NPSH Margin for a Centrifugal Pump? The Hydraulic Institute NPSHA Margin Work Group (1) recommended NPSH margins ranging from zero to four times the NPSHR (NPSHA÷NPSHR = 1 to 5).000 gpm and 5. pump size and peripheral velocity of the impeller eye. provided 500 ft. barrel type. Impellers were made of CA6NM stainless steel. The 3 percent NPSHR was 250 ft. The power plant. Although a 100 percent NPSH margin was provided. 11. McGuire [2]) Sloteman.. What is a Safe NPSH Margin for a Centrifugal Pump? Can You Provide Too Much NPSH? Page 1 of 2 Pumps and Systems.What is a Safe NPSH Margin for a Centrifugal Pump? Can You Provide Too Much NPSH? Written by Terry Henshaw. P.T. click here. click here.500 hp.E. June 2009 Editor's Note: This is the fifth article in the year-long series. pump RPM and the suction specific speed. Recommended centrifugal pump NPSH margins (J. the first-stage impeller experienced a life of about 12 months. seen in Figure 1. To read the previous article. Because of cavitation damage. To read the next article.al. The higher values apply to pumps with high to very high values of suction energy. with a booster pump. (7) reported field experience with a four-stage. McGuire (2) has provided a similar set of recommendations.

Can You Provide Too Much NPSH?

Well, it does seem so. As we have just proven, conventional wisdom is to provide some margin of NPSHA over NPSHR. Unfortunately, the facts indicate that if the pump is operating near the 3 percent head-drop NPSHA, an increase in NPSHA will result in a noisier pump with a higher rate of damage. Grist (3) reported that maximum cavitation-erosion rate corresponded with maximum cavitation noise. Based on the information available, he postulated that this occurs when the NPSHA is about two times the "3 percent" NPSHA. Figure 2 is a reproduction of Figure 2 from Grist's paper (3). Note that this ratio of "two" occurs only at (or near) the BEP. At both lower and higher capacities, the ratio increases. The ratio of two should be taken as typical, for the literature indicates lower ratios for pumps with low suction specific speeds and higher ratios for pumps with high suction specific speeds.

Figure 2. From Grist's "Nett Positive Suction Head Requirements for Avoidance of Unacceptable Cavitation Erosion in Centrifugal Pumps" (3)

Performance Curves and NPSH Tests
Written by Terry Henshaw, P.E. Pumps and Systems, May 2009 Editor's Note: This is the fourth article the year-long series, Understanding NPSH. To read the previous article, click here. To read the next article, click here. NPSHR Shown as a Single Line as a Function of Capacity Only. Figure 1 is an example of single‑line performance characteristics of a centrifugal pump. The independent variable capacity is plotted on the horizontal scale. Power, head, efficiency and NPSHR are plotted on vertical scales-each as a function of capacity.

Figure 1. The centrifugal pump family of characteristic curves Note that the NPSH curve is roughly a lazy "U," reaching a minimum value at a capacity Q about 40 percent of the best‑efficiency capacity. Although most published curves do not show the increased NPSHR at low flows, all centrifugal pumps exhibit such a characteristic. The NPSHR always rises as the pump capacity approaches shut‑off (zero flow rate). Figure 2 is a typical published performance curve. In this example, the NPSH curve is shown as a single line. (Note that it incorrectly shows the NPSHR to be a minimum at shut‑off.)

Figure 2. Typical published performance curve. Single-line NPSH curve.
The Effect of Impeller Diameter on NPSHR

Figure 3 shows all parameters in the same fashion except for NPSH. Instead of a single curve that applies to all impeller diameters, lines of "iso‑NPSH" are shown. Note that for the same capacity, smaller diameter impellers require more NPSH.

Figure 3. Typical published performance curve. NPSH values increase as impeller diameter decreases. It is normal to experience a rise in NPSHR as the impeller diameter is reduced since a 3 percent drop of a smaller head (resulting from a smaller diameter impeller) is a

obtained with the maximum‑diameter impeller. units. this would convert to a head loss. Currently there is no known way to predict this increase in NPSHR. D2.500.S. Adoption of the above suggested criterion would be a further step in decoupling these two independent characteristics. To normalize the NPSH requirements in his tests. resulting in a higher NPSHR for the same impeller.5ft (completely independent of impeller diameter and pump head). This pseudo‑head is therefore (2U1)2/2g. The 3 percent head loss therefore converts to 0. he created a "constant" pseudo‑head on which to base his head loss. What if one of those smaller‑diameter impellers is supplied in a smaller‑diameter casing (with a duplicate inlet passage)? We would be required to base our NPSHR on a 3 percent drop of a lower pump head. of ΔH = (DlxN/5300)2. Adoption by the pump industry of this revised definition of head loss would be a significant step in normalizing NPSH characteristics. In U. A pump develops a head that is approximately U22/2g. Such contradictions account for some of the confusion surrounding this confounding subject of NPSH. Such an adjustment would result in NPSH3 curves being lifted for all pumps with (discharge) specific speeds less than about 1. he calculated the head that would be developed with an impeller diameter that was twice the diameter of the impeller eye (D2=2D1). sigma. It is not. would have an allowable head loss of 11. the pump industry attempted to use the Thoma‑Moody concept. the traditional 3 percent‑head‑drop NPSH varies as the impeller diameter varies. Gongwer (3) recognized this shortcoming in our definition of NPSHR. or 2 U12/g. S enabled us to begin decoupling NPSHR from H. and a lowering of NPSH3 curves for pumps with (discharge) specific speeds above that value. A Method for Eliminating the NPSH Variation Caused by Different Impeller Diameters Because pump head is a function of the impeller diameter. should apply to all diameters supplied for that pump. which stated that NPSHR was proportional to pump head.smaller head drop. S. Testing must therefore be relied on to establish NPSHR at each impeller diameter. Prior to the concept of suction specific speed. With the same degree of cavitation in the impeller eye. we are therefore permitting less cavitation with smaller diameter impellers. Rather than use the actual head of the pump. rotating 3. By our definition of NPSHR.600-rpm. a performance curve would sometimes .03x2UI2/g = 0. a pump with a maximum‑diameter impeller will exhibit a smaller percentage of head drop than the same pump with a reduced‑diameter impeller. Prior to the development of the NPSH concept. Is it fair to penalize the smaller diameter impellers? Some pump vendors reason that it is not-the single‑line NPSHR curve. A 5‑in Âdiameter eye.06 UI2/g. It would be of value to pump users and manufacturers. Numerous authors have so confirmed. for the 3 percent loss.

pump manufacturers often disagree on the appropriate testing method and acceptance criterion. and to further complicate matters. Applied Pump Technology Course) Actual NPSH Test of a Centrifugal Pump NPSHR is a difficult characteristic to measure. The most widely‑accepted criterion is the 3 percent head drop. (There is also disagreement on the definition of "non‑cavitating head. Figure 4. Actual NPSH test points for a process centrifugal pump .") Figure 5 shows the test results obtained during an NPSH test on a centrifugal pump. An older performance curve that shows maximum suction lift instead of NPSHR (Acknowledgement is made to the Center for Professional Advancement.show the inlet characteristics of a centrifugal pump as lines of constant "maximum suction lift. Figure 5." as can be seen in Figure 4. as specified by API 610 (1).

the Hydraulic Institute formed the NPSHA Margin Work Group. would the pump be cavitating? The answer is yes! If pumping cool water. Achieving full (100 percent) head requires from 1." but. How much NPSH is required to eliminate all cavitation? If you provided 75-ft. which is a lot of cavitation. So here is the question: If you bought this pump. We can conclude that it is normally not practical to try to eliminate cavitation. Initial conclusions of this group were published in the August 1997 issue of Plant Services Magazine (2). and provided the "required" 33-ft of NPSH. That destructive sound helped us to understand how cavitation could damage pump components. We then determined how much NPSH was available when the head dropped 3 percent.To get an NPSH point. recirculation. we got a curve as shown in Figure 1. and varies from 2 to 10 times the NPSH3. would that stop the cavitation? That would get the head back up to "non‑cavitating head. Key points in the article include the following:    Cavitation exists in all centrifugal pumps.5 times the "3 percent" NPSHR. we plotted head as a function of NPSHA. even at that point. which was the NPSHR for that capacity. But how much more NPSH is required to eliminate all cavitation? To address this question. then dropped as we approached the 3 percent point.3. it is necessary to run a pump at a fixed capacity for an extended period of time. We heard a loud crackling sound coming from the pump as we reduced the NPSHA. NPSHA at incipient cavitation can be from 2 to 20 times the "3 percent" NPSHR. we can see that this ratio is about 2. installed it in your plant.05 to 2. To obtain a single point for the NPSHR curve. we avoid trying to get NPSHR values at low capacities. pulsations and vibrations). radial thrust. We also noted that the sound level reached a peak. (In Figure 5. we held the capacity constant while reducing the NPSHA.) A study by this author revealed that the NPSH required to achieve incipient cavitation for the typical pump at a capacity correspondent with no Âprerotation at the impeller inlet is a function of the impeller inlet vane angle. but what is a reasonable margin that we should strive for in our system designs? (We will try to answer that in future articles. When we plotted our points and smoothed a curve through them. it would cavitate enough to cause the head to be down by 3 percent. Because of the problems of running a centrifugal pump near shut‑off for any extended period (heating. For each point.) . unfortunately. there is still a significant amount of cavitation in the impeller eye.

DC 20005 2. American Petroleum Institute. 1220 L Street NW. Gongwer. API Standard 610. Centrifugal Pumps for General Refinery Service. Plant Services. Semi‑Annual Meeting..References 1. WI. "Cavitation Problems?". ASME Hydraulic Div. August 1997 3. Hydraulic Institute NPSHA Margin Work Group. NA "Theory of Cavitating Flow in Centrifugal‑Pump Impellers". Washington. Milwaukee. Calvin A. June 1940 .

Definition of NPSH The margin of pressure over vapor pressure. P.Pvap Where: NPSH = NPSH available from the system. click here. In equation form: NPSH = Ps . To read the previous article.31p/SG Where: h = Head. Understanding NPSH. with the pump running Ps = Stagnation suction pressure.E. In equation form: absolute pressure = gauge pressure + atmospheric pressure The above equation provides an answer in units of pressure (psi). customary units.Understanding NPSH: NPSH Definitions Written by Terry Henshaw. suction pressure must also be in absolute terms. NPSH is the difference between suction pressure (stagnation) and vapor pressure. at the pump suction nozzle. both pressures must be in psia. Gauge pressure is converted to absolute pressure by adding atmospheric pressure. with the pump running Pvap = Vapor pressure of the pumpage at inlet temperature Since vapor pressure is always expressed on the absolute scale. click here. at the pump inlet. feet p = Pressure. March 2009 Editor's Note: This is the second article the year-long series.S. This can be converted to units of head (feet) by the following equation: h = 2. Pumps and Systems. at the pump inlet. psi SG = Specific gravity of the liquid . In U. To read the next article in the series. is Net Positive Suction Head (NPSH).

use symbols such as NPIP (for net positive inlet pressure) and NIP (for net inlet pressure). not head units.) . If suction pressure is measured with a gauge. the velocity head in the pipe at the gauge connection should be added to obtain total (stagnation) pressure. it includes velocity head. so the units of NPSH (in the U. and companies. The elevation of the gauge must also be added (if the gauge is above datum) or subtracted (if the gauge is below datum). The a in psia means that the pressure is measured above absolute zero. NPSH is a measurement of pressure above vapor pressure. The vapor pressure of the liquid is 8-psia. the acceleration head must be subtracted. For displacement pumps (rotary and reciprocating).8 FEET Velocity Head is Included Note that suction pressure is stagnation pressure (total pressure). which is normally the case). It should also be noted that the velocity head is normally quite small. NPSH values are neither gauge pressures nor absolute pressures. the atmospheric pressure (at the pump location) must be added to the gauge reading to convert the reading to absolute pressure. kilopascals. regardless of the units used. Units of NPSH For centrifugal pumps.Problem No. some authors.7 PSI NPSH = 2. The g in psig means that the pressure is measured above atmospheric pressure. NPSH values are expressed in units of specific energy (equivalent column height) such as feet or meters. For simplicity.9 SG liquid NPSH = Ps . (More on acceleration head later.Pvap = 1 + 14. For a reciprocating pump (and some rotaries). I'll stick with NPSH. 1: NPSH Stagnation suction pressure is determined to be 1-psig at a sea level installation.S.8 = 7.31) (7. Suction Pressure: The First Half of the NPSH Equation Suction pressure must be determined at the pump suction nozzle when the pump is running. so it can usually be ignored.7 . or bars. Adding velocity head puts all pumps on the same basis. What Symbol Should We Use? Because units of pressure are typically used to express the value of NPSH for a displacement pump. relative to the NPSH. otherwise a pump would require different amounts of NPSH when tested with different sizes of suction lines (assuming that suction pressure is measured in the suction line.7)/0. a perfect vacuum.9 = 19. NPSH values are normally expressed in pressure units such as pounds per square inch (psi). because the units are pressure units. Although often negligible. Calculate NPSH in PSI and feet for a 0.) are just psi or feet.31p/SG = (2.

on the earth's surface. If the pressure is reduced slightly. A Function of Temperature Vapor pressure is a function only of temperature. The vapor pressure of pure. at its bubble point or saturated. correcting to datum. and the boiling stops. Boiling Reestablishes Equilibrium Conditions Any liquid at its vapor pressure is on the verge of boiling (flashing). the portion flashing to vapor will cool. and will also absorb heat from the remaining liquid. NPSH Available: A System Characteristic NPSHA stands for NPSH Available from the system. When that vapor pressure is reached. If we were to place that same open container of cool water on the surface of the moon. An open container of cool water. In such a condition it is said to be in equilibrium. It is a measure of the "desire" of a liquid to boil to a gas. there is no distinction between a liquid and a gas. The lower temperature will result in a lower vapor pressure. This means that if the pressure on the water is reduced below ½.psia. Above the critical temperature. all the liquid would flash to vapor. Why? The atmospheric pressure on the moon is zero. An open container of pure ammonia would quickly boil away. The boiling will continue only until the vapor pressure drops to the pressure which is imposed on the liquid. If the temperature is held constant (which requires heat input) and the pressure held constant (below the vapor pressure). but would evaporate slowly over a period of days. similar to the ammonia. As the temperature of the liquid increases.Vapor Pressure: The Second Half of the NPSH Equation Vapor pressure is more difficult to determine than suction pressure. It can be calculated by measuring suction pressure at the pump suction nozzle. If heat is not provided to the liquid. causing the liquid temperature to drop. it would boil away. This is what happens in the suction passage of a pump. vapor pressure vanishes. The desire of cool water to boil is therefore low. Some liquids. the water will boil. or they will boil (flash). such as butane and ammonia. Cool water has a low vapor pressure. the liquid-vapor mixture is again in equilibrium. adding atmospheric pressure. it will start to boil. Cavitation will cool the liquid and stop the cavitation. a perfect vacuum. They must be kept under pressure. Otherwise. filling the area with noxious ammonia gas. would not boil. have high vapor pressures. air-free water at 80-deg F is about 1/2-psia. the liquid will continue to boil until it has all flashed to vapor. its vapor pressure increases until the critical temperature is reached. adding velocity head and subtracting vapor pressure. It is all fluid. In equation form: NPSHA = Psg + Pz + Patm + Pvel .Pvap Where: . At the critical temperature.

4 = 0.54 feet/sec Hvel = V2/2G = 4. a term which will be explained later. Vapor pressure is 163-psia. psi Problem No. Add atmospheric pressure. The pipe is 3-in standard weight steel. In equation form: NPSHA = Pt + Patm + Pzt . With reciprocating pumps it is also necessary to subtract acceleration head. convened to pressure units.Hvap = (psg + patm . Capacity is 100-gpm.0-psia. 2: NPSHA A suction gauge with its centerline 2-ft below the centerline of a centrifugal pump reads 152-psig. all units can be convened to head (feet) prior to plugging into the equation. psig Pzt = Elevation of liquid in suction tank.31/SG) + Hz + Hvel .321 x 100/7. psia If desired. we will convert all pressure units to feet. at the pump suction nozzle. psi Pf = Friction losses at tank exit and in suction line.Pvap Where: Pt = Tank pressure.321 x Q/A = 0. Calculate the NPSHA in feet.14 x 1.542/64. If the system has not been built. add (or subtract) the liquid level above (below) datum.NPSHA = NPSH available to the pump. psi Pvap = Vapor pressure of the pumpage. psi Patm = Atmospheric pressure.pvap)(2.5. rather than PSI.Pf .07 square inches VEL = 0.52 = 7. Because the desired answer is in feet. subtract all losses from the tank to the pump and subtract vapor pressure.07 = 4. SG is 0. it is necessary to calculate the NPSHA by starting with the pressure in the suction tank.3 feet NPSHA = Hsg + Hz + Hatm + Hvel . converted to pressure units. psig Pz = Elevation of gauge above pump centerline. converted to pressure units. Atmospheric pressure is 14. psi Psg = Gauge pressure measured at suction nozzle. converted to pressure units. psia Pvel = Velocity head. Flow Area of Pipe = 3.

5) + (-2) + 0. reciprocating pumps and related high-pressure equipment and conducts pump seminars. Therefore. he was employed by Ingersoll-Rand and Union Pump.0 .] NPSH Reguired: A Pump Characteristic The letters NPSHR stand for the NPSH required by the pump. For 30 years. .2 + 0. The system must provide more NPSH than the pump requires.= (152 + 14. used to measure the suction pressure. Terry Henshaw is a retired consulting engineer who designs centrifugal pumps.3 = 13.31/0. Test methods and acceptance criteria for different types of pumps will be discussed later.9 .2. He has been awarded six patents. System Requirement For proper operation of the pump. and could have been ignored. He authored a book on reciprocating pumps. or ± 3-psi (14-ft). including chairman of the Reciprocating Pump Section and chairman of the Metrication Subcommittee. He also served as a member of ANSI Subcommittee B73. chairman of the API 674 manufacturers' subcommittee and a member of the ASME Performance Test Code Committee PTC 7.] [Also note that the velocity head was negligible. several magazine articles and the two sections on pumps in Marks' Handbook (11th Edition). normally has an accuracy of ± 1 percent of full scale.163)(2.2.3 = 12 feet [Note: A new 300-psi gauge. and holds engineering degrees from Rice University and the University of Houston. is a life follow of the ASME. This characteristic must be determined by test. Henshaw served in various positions in the Hydraulic Institute. it is necessary that NPSHA > NPSHR. the error in the gauge could be more than the calculated NPSHA. Henshaw is a registered professional engineer in Texas and Michigan.