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Pump rules of thumb

SUBJECT : Rules of thumb for pumps 2-7 If you want to know a pumps capabilities, the rules are simple. Look at the manufacturer's published pump curve. The problem is that you do not always have the curve available. Pump companies test their pump to determine its performance, they have no need for general guide lines or "rules of thumb." Over the years I've accumulated many of these rules to help me estimate pump performance. Here are a few of them: PUMP BASICS How to estimate the shut off head of a pump (inch sizes) At 1750 rpm. Shut off head = Diameter of the impeller squared At 3500 rpm. Shut off head = Diameter of the impeller squared x 4 For other speeds you can use the formula : Shut Off Head = D2 x (new rpm / 1750)2 Estimating metric head is a little bit more involved, but it still works: Measure the shaft in mm. ( as an example: 250 mm ) Mark off two places. (2,5) Square the number. (6,25) For 1450 rpm, multiply by 3 (18,75) Add 10 % for the answer in meters. (21 meters ) NOTE: For 3000 rpm, you'd multiply by 12 instead of 3. Although you can estimate shutoff head with these formulas you cannot estimate the pump capacity. you'll need the pump curves for that. The pumps best efficiency point (B.E.P.) is between 80% and 85% of the shut off head. At this point there is little to no radial thrust on the impeller. Also the "power in" is closest to the "power out". The L3/D4 ratio should be below 60 (2.0 in metric) to prevent excessive shaft bending. To calculate it for end suction centrifugal pumps : L = length of the shaft from the center of the inboard bearing to the center of the impeller (inches or millimeters). Caution: do not use centimeters, the numbers will come out wrong. D = diameter of the shaft (under the sleeve) in the stuffing box area (inches or millimeters) Do not use centimeters. Since most shaft materials have a similar modulus of elasticity, changing shaft materials will not prevent shaft bending when you operate off of the B.E.P. Lowering the L3/D4 is the only logical and efficient solution. When pump manufacturers discuss operating off of the B.E.P. they relate problems to the heat that will build up in a minimum flow condition and ignore the problems with shaft bending. A double suction pump can run with 27% less N.P.S.H. or at a 40% faster speed without cavitating. If you double the speed of a pump you'll get twice the capacity, four times the head and it will take eight times the horsepower to do it. A stainless steel shaft has only a small portion of the conductivity of a carbon steel shaft. This is very important when you're pumping at elevated temperatures because we do not want to transmit the high temperature back to the bearing oil. If you double the speed of a pump you'll get almost four times the shaft whip, wobble or run out and eight times the wear. Multistage pumps reduce efficiency 2% to 4%. In many instances, an inducer can lower Net Positive Suction Head Required by as much as 50% . If you're pumping paper stock, modify the curves for head, capacity, and efficiency as follows: 0.725 for 6% stock 1/5

In a constantly running pump this would be only 83 days.5% or less Open impeller clearance settings are determined by the pump manufacturer and normally run between 0. Substitute non fretting labyrinth seals.3 mm) minimum clearance for wear rings less than two inches (50 mm.) These numbers assume that the lubricating oil is not being contaminated by water from one or all of the following sources: Packing leakage The water hose used to wash the packing leakage away from the pump area. (212 F.025 mm) of wear. This corresponds to : A life of 3 months at 100 C.000 metric) Do not buy pumps with a SSS over 12.5% stock 0. Bearing. Auto manufacturers recommend changing their automatic transmission oil every 25. The life of bearing oil is directly related to its temperature.mcnallyinstitute.05 mm) you miss this setting. Try to buy pumps with a Suction Specific Speed (SSS) below 8.) A life of 12 months at 80 C. A typical clearance would be 0. This design will allow the wet end of the pump to expand in two directions instead of from the feet up.015" (0.001" (0.98 for 4% 1.008" and 0. (195 F.. This is the reason proper installation is so critical. If the bearing is over compressed the bearing balls will distort and roll instead of spin causing excessive heat and premature failure. These seals will also damage the expensive shaft and place a stress point at the maximum bending moment arm.94 for 4.000 kilometers) every 2000 hours (83 days in the life of a constantly running pump ). would cover about 100.500 (10.29/1/2014 Pump rules of thumb 0. Wear ring clearances are very similar to impeller clearances.) in outside diameter. Do not use a vent on the top of the bearing case.2 to 0.010 inches (0. An automobile engine running at 1750 rpm.90 for 5% 0.003 inch/inch diameter with 0. At shut down the outside moisture will enter the bearing housing through this vent.000 kilometers) APPLICATION Use Centerline pump designs when the pumping temperature exceeds 200 degrees Fahrenheit (100° C).002" (0.500) unless you're pumping hot water or mixed http://www.5 mm) You lose 1% of the pumps capacity for each 0.) A life of 6 months at 90 C. They will do a better job of directing the moisture to the external drain hole. The rule of thumb used by the SKF Bearing Company. Let the moisture attempt to enter the case through the labyrinth seals The temperature at the bearing race of a properly installed bearing is at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit (5° C) higher than the oil sump temperature. ( 176 F. grease or lip seals have a design life of less than 2000 hours.825 for 5.html 2/5 .5% 0.000 ( metric 16. If you install positive face seals you can forget about this problem. destroying the wear rings.000 miles ( 40.0 for 3. is that the service life of an oil is estimated to be 30 years at 30 degrees Centigrade (86° F) and it's life is cut in half for each 10 degree Centigrade (18 F) temperature increase. Aspiration. It is a good idea to install them in electric motors also to prevent moisture from entering and damaging the motor windings and bearings. The axial clearance in a bearing is ten times the radial clearance.000 miles (160. but you lose 1% pump capacity for each 0. or positive face seals in these locations. as moisture laden air enters the bearing case.

(4. Concentric reducers will trap air. PIPING ETC. If you have a double suction pump you can divide the SSS number by 2 Do not specify a pump with the largest impeller available . sixth edition states : High energy pumps.29/1/2014 Pump rules of thumb hydrocarbons. I've heard about two speed pumps with the second speed wired backwards. High outlet velocities in pipes leaving vessels. Pumps piped in series must have the same capacity (impeller width and speed) Pumps piped in parallel must have the same head (impeller diameter and speed ) Use a rotary positive displacement pump if your capacity is going to be less than 20 gpm. Be sure the eccentric reducer is not installed up side down. require special consideration to avoid blade passing frequency vibrations and low frequency vibrations at reduced flow rates. Cavitation can occur with any amount of air. At 6% it will probably become air bound and stop pumping. allowing the outboard ends to expand with temperature changes. Generally greater than 10 feet/sec. The maximum viscosity a centrifugal pump can handle would be a product similar to 30 weight oil at room temperature. and subsequent bearing problems. Give yourself an additional 5% or 10% you might need it. (3 meters/ dowel both the pump and the motor to the base plate. (1 Meter/ sec. Circulating hot or cold water would be typical applications. A Vortex pump is 10% to 15% less efficient than a comparable size end suction centrifugal pump. This is especially critical in double ended pump designs as the turbulent inlet flow can cause shaft thrusting. There should be at least 10 diameters of pipe between the suction of the pump and the first elbow.E. http://www. They should also be used on long shaft vertical pumps to prevent excessive shaft movement that will cause problems with the packing. as is the case with a boiler feed pump. the variable speed will not be of much help in keeping you on or near the best efficiency point. On the suction side of the pump it will probably cause Cavitation. bearings and critical dimensions.I.5 cubic meters per hour) A centrifugal pump can handle 0..) There is a large concentration of dissolved gases in the liquid. If you have a high static or pressure head.html 3/5 . Suction piping should be at least one size larger than the suction flange at the pump./sec. Vortexing can occur if any of the following conditions are present: Low liquid levels Liquid level falling greater than 3 Ft. On the discharge side of the pump this will cause the pump to run off of its B. Use double volute pumps any time your impeller diameter is 14 inches (355 mm) or greater. After the pump and motor have been aligned. Check impeller rotation after installing the pump. High circulation caused by asymmetrical inlet or outlet conditions. defined as pumping to a head greater than 650 feet (198 meters) and more than 300 horsepower (224 KW) per stage. Use a variable speed pump if your head is mainly system head.P.5% air by volume. with a resultant shaft bending. You'll also notice excessive noise at this time. Be sure to dowel only the feet closest to the coupling.) Liquids near their vapor point. (American Petroleum Institute).P.mcnallyinstitute. They will drive you crazy because the pump will often meet its head requirement but not the capacity when the second speed cuts in. The A. Do not assume it will turn in the correct direction. Substituting a globe valve for a gate valve in a piping system is similar to adding another 100 feet (31 meters) of piping to the system. seals. Use eccentric reducers rather than concentric reducers at the pump suction.

H. and other equipment that is being supported. Up to 500 horsepower (375 KW). Air is entering at the pump suction. Water in the bearing oil will reduce bearing life 48%. Make sure eccentric reducers are not installed upside down at the pump suction.000 metric).) wider than the base plate all around. This clearance should be at least 4% of the impeller diameter up to a 14 inch (356 mm. vertical pump back to the suction side of the pump or air will become trapped in the stuffing box.. or vibration will occur. available is too low. There is liquid turbulence at the pump suction. Cavitation damage just beyond the cutwater. wash down hoses. Any pump that takes its suction from a negative pressure. Required. due to temperature. The problem was created when the pump manufacture tried to come up with too low a N.H. Pipe from the pump suction flange to the pipe rack. the liquid level must be at least one and one half diameters of the blade. often experience this problem. not the other way around. These applications include : Pumps that lift liquid.) wider. Be sure too vent the stuffing box of a sealed.P.) If the specific gravity of the pumping liquid should increase. Check the Suction Specific Speed number to see if it is below 9000 (10. T Branches and elbows should be installed perpendicular to the pump shaft. A repaired or substituted impeller is often the cause of the problem in a non self priming pump. indicates the impeller blade is too close to the cutwater. as air will enter the system through the pump stuffing box. The bearing oil level should be at the center of the lowest most ball of a stationary bearing. Above 500 horsepower (375 KW) the foundation should be a minimum of 6 inches (150 mm.mcnallyinstitute. The vent must be located above the lapped seal faces. Cavitation damage on the leading edge of the impeller blade indicates internal recirculation. not at right angles. above the blade. Consult the Hydraulic Institute Manual or a similar publication for recommended clearances.29/1/2014 Pump rules of thumb Inlet piping too close to the wall or bottom of the tank. if you could solve the emission problem.S. A 6% water content in the oil will reduce bearing life by as much as 83% The mass of the pump concrete foundation must be 5 times the mass of the pump. Pumps that take their suction from a condenser or evaporator. The water enters from packing leakage. should pass through the bottom of the foundation and not the sides. and aspiration caused by the temperature cooling down in the bearing casing after shutdown and moisture laden air entering the bearing case. Imaginary lines extended downward 30 degrees to either side of a vertical through the pump shaft.P. and 6% greater than 14 inch ( 356 mm. Valve stems. The top of the reducer should go straight into the suction flange. Do not use packing in any pump that runs under a vacuum.). TROUBLESHOOTING Cavitation damage on the trailing edge of the impeller blade means : The N. as a result. In a mixer. on the casing and tip of the impeller blade. Higher numbers mean that the problem is with the impeller shape or adjustment. Some self priming pump manufacturers want a maximum clearance of 1/8" (3 mm) and. Heater drain pumps are a typical application.html 4/5 . the foundation must be 3 inches (76 mm.S. base plate. The preferred choice for bearing lubrication would be an oil mist system with positive face sealing at the bearings. there is a danger of http://www.

mcnallyinstitute.. For information about my CD with over 600 Seal & Pump Subjects explained.29/1/2014 Pump rules of thumb overloading the motor and therefore motors having sufficient power should be used. This is a very common problem because of the great number of oversized pumps in existence. click here Link to Mc Nally home page http://www.P.E. The same overloading power will occur if the pump is run too far to the right of its B.html 5/5 .com/02-html/2-7.