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Centrifugal pumps lecture series

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You are on page 1of 22

Section 2: Pumps

1. Some General Notes about Fluid Machinery

Fluid machines either take energy from a fluid and convert it into mechanical energy

or vice versa. Machines which take energy from a fluid are called turbines and

machines which give energy to a fluid are called pumps and fans. From a theoretical

viewpoint there is no difference between the two, in practice there is also a great deal

of similarity.

1.1 Types of pumps and turbines

Both pumps and turbines can be split into two distinct groups, positive displacement

and rotodynamic

1.1.1 Positive displacement

• reciprocating pumps - often used for temporary site drainage

• reciprocating engines - gas, petrol, diesel

• gear pumps – two intermeshing gear wheels, often used for the oil pump

in reciprocating engines

• rotor/stator pumps – essentially a double helix stator with a single helix

rotor inside it – used for pumping food, concrete, sewage and many

other fluids

The behaviour of such pumps is not readily amenable to analytical treatment

by the methods of fluid mechanics.

1.1.2. Rotodynamic

Centrifugal, mixed flow and axial flow pumps

• centrifugal, mixed flow and axial flow pumps – centrifugal pumps are

used for high head, low flow situations and axial flow pumps for low

head high flow e.g. land drainage

• radial, mixed flow and axial flow turbines - radial flow turbines, often

referred to as Francis turbines are used for high head hydroelectric sites

and axial flow turbines for low head sites e.g. tidal barrage schemes

• Pelton wheels - for very high heads, essentially one or more jets and a

wheel with buckets on, called an impulse turbine, the equivalent for a

(highly inefficient) pump would be a rotating wheel with buckets

attached

2

• Banki and Turgo wheels - other less common forms of high head

impulse turbines

These notes will concentrate on rotodynamic pumps with the occasional reference to

turbines. Before any analysis can be undertaken a relationship has to be developed

between torque, power and the normal hydraulic parameters of head and flow. The

next section does this for a turbine, by reversing the signs it applies to a pump.

1.1.3 Why should Civil Engineers study pumps?

The heading to this sub section is a perfectly reasonable question to ask since

normally we are not involved in their manufacture, we are simply users of them.

There are several reasons why it is useful for us to have some idea of how pumps

work and the different types of pumps available, the more important of these are as

follows:-

• matching pumps to pipelines i.e. which is the most suitable size and type

of pump for any given pipeline

• to understand the relationship between head and flow in a pump

• to determine the power requirements of pumps

2. Flow through a rotating curved passage

2.1 Introduction

All rotodynamic machines make use of the effect that occurs when fluid passes

through a rotating curved passage. For turbines energy is transferred from the fluid to

the rotating curved passage and for pumps the energy is transferred from the passage

to the fluid. The moving part of a turbine is called a runner

1

, this consists of two

concentric discs with curved plates between them rather like the ventilated discs used

for vehicle brakes except that the plates are not usually flat but close together at the

outer periphery and more widely spaced at the centre. In the case of a turbine fluid

enters the runner around the outer periphery then flows across the curved blades

between the two plates and leaves through a hole at the centre of the runner, this is

called the eye. The runner is rotating with an angular velocity Ω, as the fluid flows

over the curved blades thus angular momentum is transferred from the fluid to the

runner

2

.

Symbols used in analysis

u

1

peripheral velocity at outer tip of passage

u

2

peripheral velocity at inner tip of passage

V

1

absolute velocity of fluid at inlet

1

For a pump the equivalent name is impeller.

2

In a pump the fluid flows from the eye to the outer periphery and angular momentum is given to the

fluid by the impeller.

3

V

2

absolute velocity of fluid at outlet

V

f1

radial component of V

1

V

f2

radial component of V

2

V

w1

tangential component of V

1

V

w2

tangential component of V

2

the subscript f denotes the flow velocity and w the whirl velocity.

2.2 Development of an expression relating power to flow

Since the runner is rotating about a shaft then only the force in the circumferential

direction performs useful work, hence we need to find the change in angular

momentum

3

in this direction, changes of momentum in the radial direction have no

effect because they do not generate a moment about the axis of rotation of the runner.

It can be assumed that the conditions at entry and exit from the runner are uniform in

both magnitude and direction, this is tantamount to saying that angular momentum is

constant around the periphery of the runner. Figure 1 shows part of a runner, the fluid

enters with a velocity V

1

then flows through the runner and leaves with a velocity V

2

,

in the process of passing through the runner energy is transferred from the fluid to the

runner, most of this performs useful work, a small amount is lost in friction. Any

particle of mass δm passing through the runner has a momentum tangential to the

shaft of

r

w

V m δ

3

Angular momentum is defined as the moment of momentum.

4

Figure 1

where

r

w

V is the radial component of the absolute velocity vector at any radius r hence

the angular momentum (moment of momentum) can be written

r V m

r

w

δ

At entry if the velocity and direction of flow are uniform then the angular momentum

per unit time is

1

1

r V Q

w

ρ , similarly at exit the angular momentum per unit time is

2

2

r V Q

w

ρ , therefore the rate of increase of angular momentum of the fluid is

( )

1

1

2

2

r V r V Q

w w

− ρ

and this equals the torque

4

, T, exerted on the fluid by the runner. Therefore the torque

exerted on the runner by the fluid is

( )

2 1

2 1

r V r V Q T

w w

− = ρ this is called Euler’s equation.

Note that this is a momentum equation therefore is valid regardless of the path taken

by the fluid particles. Civil Engineers are much more interested in power than torque;

for turbines, we need to know how much power a potential hydro-electric site will

provide and for pumps we need to know the power consumption so that we can

determine the size of the pump and the operating costs.

Power, P, is the rate of doing work = work done/s = TΩ where Ω is the angular

velocity of the runner or impeller, we can write

( )

( )

2

2

1

1

2

2

1

1

u V u V Q P

u r but

r V r V Q T P

w w

w w

− = ∴

= Ω

Ω − Ω = Ω =

ρ

ρ

Therefore the work done per unit weight of fluid is

( )

2 1

2 1

u V u V

Q g

Q

w w

−

ρ

ρ

( )

2 1

2 1

1

u V u V

g

w w

− = (2.1)

this has the units of head and is the form in which we generally use it. It is a

fundamental equation which will be used throughout our analysis.

3. Pumps

3.1. Centrifugal pumps

4

Torque about a given axis is defined as the rate of change of angular momentum about that axis.

5

(a) (b)

Figure 2

Consider Figure 2 which shows a simple centrifugal pump. Figure 2(a) shows a cross

section along the line of the drive shaft and Figure 2(b) a cross section through the

impeller. The flow path through the pump can be most easily described by

considering Figure 2(a), the fluid enters the eye of the impeller with no whirl velocity,

in a pure centrifugal pump it is immediately turned through 90

0

and enters the

impeller. As it flows through the impeller it is given energy, after it leaves the

impeller and enters the volute (casing of the pump), the velocity (hence kinetic

energy) is very high. For the fluid to flow along the pipeline we need a high pressure

but do not want a high velocity because this would result in a high head loss, also it

would be dangerous since it may give rise to significant water hammer pressures.

Hence we need to convert the high kinetic energy to potential energy with a minimum

of energy loss, this is achieved in the volute.

This flow pattern can be summarized as follows

• fluid enters the impeller through the eye with no whirl (tangential)

velocity

• as the fluid flows through the impeller it receives energy and is

discharged into the casing of the pump with a high velocity hence high

kinetic energy

• the velocity of the fluid is too high for the pipeline therefore the volute

has to reduce the velocity and hence convert the kinetic energy into

potential energy

• as the fluid flows round the volute and into the pipeline the velocity has

to remain constant to minimise energy losses and, incidentally, satisfy

the assumptions made in deriving Euler’s equation

This type of pump results in a high head and a low flow. If it is necessary to increase

the flow then either the area or the velocity has to be increased. Any significant

increase in the velocity of flow would result in an unacceptably high loss of energy

hence the design has to be altered to increase the area of flow. This is done by

widening the volute and the impeller particularly at the inlet. By doing this the fluid

will enter the impeller and be receiving energy before it is flowing entirely in the

radial direction i.e. the flow will have a component in the axial direction within the

impeller, this is called a mixed flow pump, it delivers a higher flow and a lower head

than a purely radial flow pump. If this design is taken to the limit then the flow

becomes entirely axial and will produce high flow volumes and a low head, in

practice the impeller becomes a propeller within the pipe and the pump is referred to

as axial.

3.1.1.Volutes

Clearly the design of the volute is important since a poorly designed one would not

efficiently convert kinetic to potential energy resulting in a pump of low efficiency.

Volutes will be considered in more detail later in this section.

6

3.1.2. Variations on a simple centrifugal pump

There are many variations on the simple type of centrifugal pump, for example if it is

necessary to increase the flow for the same head then it is possible to have double

suction machines where the fluid enters from both sides of the eye. The impeller then

looks like two single impellers back to back, this doubles the flow at the same head, it

also reduces the thrust on the bearings because of its symmetrical design. If it is

required to increase the head for the same flow then it is possible to have multi stage

machines with several impellers driven on one shaft, the outlet from one becomes the

inlet to the next and so on.

4. Simplified analysis of pumps

4.1 Introduction

Consider Figure 3 which shows a small part of the impeller complete with vector

triangles of the flow pattern at entry and exit. Firstly consider the situation at entry,

V2

Vw2

R2

Vf2

U2

V1 Vt1

R1

U1

=

ß

Q

Figure 3

unlike turbines it is not usual for pumps to have guide vanes at entry therefore the

fluid enters the impeller with no whirl velocity hence the absolute velocity V

1

is equal

to the flow velocity

1

f

V and the inlet vector triangle under design conditions is as

shown. Consideration of this triangle leads to two important points

• since there is no whirl component at inlet velocity

1

1 f

V V = (which is the

component along the radial, this means that the angle between the vector

V

1

and the vector u

1

(the speed of the impeller tip at inlet) is a right angle

7

• in order to minimise energy loss the fluid should impinge on the blade

tangentially, in terms of the vector triangle this means that the angle

between u

1

and R

1

should equal the blade angle, α (defined as the angle

between the tangent to the pitch circle and the leading edge of the

impeller blade).

Figure 4(a) shows the fluid entering the runner tangentially, this is called shockless

entry, and Figure 4(b) shows the fluid entering the impeller non-tangentially i.e. under

non design conditions. When this happens the follow occur

• impact losses occur

• boundary layer separation takes place

• eddies arise which give rise to some back flow into the inlet pipe, this

causes the incoming flow to have some whirl velocity

The result of this non tangential entry is a dramatic drop in the efficiency of the pump.

4.2 Analysis of centrifugal pump behaviour

Consider the inlet triangle in Figure 3, under design conditions we can immediately

write down

1 1

1

1

1

1

1

1

V and

60

, tan

B D

Q

V

N D

u

u

V

f

π

π

α = = = =

where

D

1

diameter of the impeller at inlet

N speed of rotation in RPM

Q flow through the pump

B

1

width of the impeller at inlet

Therefore we can write

( )

⎟

⎟

⎠

⎞

⎜

⎜

⎝

⎛

= ∴

⎟

⎟

⎠

⎞

⎜

⎜

⎝

⎛

=

−

N B D

Q

N D

B D Q

1

2

1

2

1

1

1 1

60

tan

60

tan

π

α

π

π

α

This defines the entry angle of the vane if 0

1

=

w

V .

For the exit triangle three cases have to be considered as follows

(i) Forward facing blades β < π/2

Forward facing blades are ones which face in the same direction as the

rotation as shown in Figure 5(a), the symbols have the same meaning as

for the inlet triangle with the subscripts changed to 2

8

V

2

V

t2

Vw2

U

2

R

2 ß

Figure 5(a)

(ii) Radial blades β = π/2

This case is shown in Figure 5(b), the vector triangle is right angled

hence

2 2

2 2

and

f w

V R u V = =

V

2

Vt2

Vw2 U2

R2

=

=

= 90° ß

Figure 5(b)

(iii) Backward facing blades β > π/2

This is shown in Figure 5(c), for the time being all that needs be noted

from this triangle is that V

2

is smaller than in the other two cases.

9

V

2

Vt2

Vw2

U

2

R

2

ß

For analytical purposes it is easiest to consider the triangle resulting from the forward

facing blades however the results obtained will apply to all the cases with no changes

in the signs.

Using equation 2.1 with

1

w

V set to zero and recalling that since we are now

considering pumps the sign will change then we can say that for an inviscid fluid the

head difference across the pump would be

g

u V

w 2

2

from the triangle in Figure 5(a) we can write

( ) β π − − = cot

2 2

2 f w

V u V

β cot

2 2

2 f w

V u V + = ∴ (4.1)

The head imposed on the fluid

5

is the energy given to it

g

u V

w 2

2

less any losses, h

i

, in

travelling through the impeller. As the fluid leaves the impeller and enters the volute

a relatively small amount of the total energy is potential (i.e. pressure) energy much of

it is kinetic; this has to be converted to potential energy by the volute and diverging

delivery pipe. However efficiently the volute converts the kinetic energy to potential

there is still a head loss, h

v

.

We can now write the energy conservation equation in the form

5

Remember that head is energy per unit weight of fluid.

10

g

v

h h H

g

u V

p

v i

w

2

2

2

2

+ + + =

where v

p

is the velocity of flow in the outlet pipe. In order to advance this analysis we

must be able to evaluate the losses h

i

and h

v

, it is not possible to do this analytically

therefore the same method will be used as for minor losses in pipes. We assume that

the loss in the impeller is proportional to

2

2

R since this is the velocity of flow relative

to the impeller, similarly the loss in the volute is assumed to be proportional to

2

2

V

hence we can now write the energy equation as

g

v

g

V

k

g

R

k

g

u V

H

p

v i

w

2 2 2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

− − − =

v

p

is very small compared to the other terms and can safely be ignored.

We can write

2 2 2

2

2 2

f w

V V V + =

Using equation 4.1 we can now write

( )

( )

( ) [ ]

g

V V u u k V k V u u

H

V

V

R

V V u u

V V u u V

V V u V

f f v f i f

f

f

f f

f f

f f

2

cosec cot 2 cosec cot 2 2

cosec

sin

also

cosec cot 2

cot 1 cot 2

cot

2 2

2

2

2

2 2

2

2

2

2 2

2

2

2

2

2 2

2

2

2

2 2

2

2

2

2

2

2 2

2

2

2

2 2 2 2

2

2

2 2

2 2

2 2

β β β β

β

β

β β

β β

β

+ + − − +

= ∴

= =

+ + =

+ + + = ∴

+ + =

Tidying this expression up yields

( ) ( ) ( ) [ ]

2 2

2

2

2 2

2

2

2

2

2 2

and

60

but

2

cosec 1 cot 2 2

B D

Q

V

D N

u

g

k k v k V u k u

H

f

i v f v f v

π

π

β β

= =

+ − − + −

=

as written - re be ly convenient can equation the hence

2 2

Q C Q N B N A H − + = ∴

where A, B and C are constants defined by the properties of the pump.

11

This equation demonstrates that the H – Q relationship for a pump is parabolic,

examples of the shape of the curves are given in Figure 6 for different blade angles. It

is clear that, unlike most of the equations encountered in fluid mechanics, this one has

dimensions.

Figure 6

For water backward facing blades are usually preferred because the absolute velocity

is lower therefore the velocity head in the volute is less resulting in a reduced head

loss and a higher efficiency. They give a smaller head for a particular size and flow

rate, this disadvantage is usually outweighed by the greater efficiency obtained.

For liquids the usual objective is to increase the pressure substantially i.e. the volute is

required to convert kinetic head to potential head. On the other hand fans are required

to move large quantities of air with very little change in pressure hence forward facing

blades may be preferred.

H - Q Curves for Pumps

0.00

10.00

20.00

30.00

40.00

50.00

60.00

0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12

Flow

H

e

a

d

Backward

Radial

Forward

12

4.3 Manometric Efficiency

Definition of manometric head – Manometric head is the difference in head that

would be recorded on a manometer connected between the suction and delivery

flanges of the pump. The ratio of the manometeric head, H

m

to the Euler head is

called the manometric efficiency, it can be written as

2

2

u V

g H

w

m

man

= η

It represents the effectiveness of the pump in producing pressure from the energy

given to the fluid by the impeller.

The heads H and H

m

are related by the expression

( )

h

g

V V

H H

s d

m

+

−

+ =

2

2 2

where V

d

is the velocity of flow in the delivery pipe, V

s

is the velocity of flow in the

suction pipe and h is the difference in level between the inlet and outlet flanges of the

pump

4.4 Design of the Volute

The volute is the part of the pump where most of the energy losses occur. No

additional torque is given to the fluid once it has left the impeller hence the angular

momentum is constant

6

hence we can write

constant a = r V

w

The radial velocity (velocity of flow) does not vary around the circumference (or at

least it should not); the combination of a uniform radial velocity with a free vortex

gives a pattern of spiral streamlines which should be matched by the shape of the

volute. This situation can only be achieved at design conditions – at all other

conditions there are increased shock losses and variations of pressure hence variation

of radial velocity around the impeller. This results in a rapid reduction in efficiency.

4.4.1 Types of Volute

4.4.1.1 Variable Velocity Volute

The velocity in the volute starts at zero and increases to V

p

. This is the cheapest and

least efficient design of volute.

6

In practice this is not quite true since some friction loss occurs.

13

4.4.1.2 Constant Velocity Volute

The flow velocity in the volute is kept constant, the increasing flow is compensated

for by linearly increasing the cross sectional area of the volute. The energy losses

amount to approximately 25% and can be approximated by the expression

( )

g

V V

h

v w

l

2

2

2

−

=

where V

v

is the velocity of flow in the volute

4.4.1.3 Whirlpool Volute

The velocity decreases in the radial direction across the volute with aconsequent

increase in pressure, the loss of energy is comparatively small. The decrease in

velocity creates a free vortex (v = C/r) where C is the vortex constant. The free

vortex converts high velocity low pressure fluid to low velocity high pressure fluid.

4.5 Speed to Commence Pumping

When there is no flow through the pump the fluid moves as a forced vortex hence we

can write

g

u

H

2

2

2

=

But

60

2

2

N D

u

π

= where D

2

is the diameter of the impeller

Hence we can write

2

2 2

2

2

2 60

2 x 3600

D

gH

N

g

N D

H

π

π

= ∴

=

Where H is the static head through which the water must be lifted before flow can

commence. This speed must be further increased to obtain the required delivery.

4.6 Axial and Mixed Flow Pumps

In order to increase the flow in a centrifugal pump the width of the impeller has to be

increased, if this was not done the velocities, hence friction losses, would become

unacceptably high. By doing this the flow, as it passes through the impeller, is

partially in the axial direction and partially in the radial direction hence the

description of mixed flow. Mixed flow pumps usually operate at lower heads than

pure axial flow pumps. When it is required to increase the flow still further the design

is changed radically to give an axial flow pump which can discharge very high flows

at low heads. An axial flow pump is rather like a ship’s propeller, it is the converse of

14

an axial flow (Kaplan) turbine and similar in appearance although a pump would not

usually have adjustable blades.

The analysis applied earlier to centrifugal pumps applies equally well to both mixed

and axial flow pumps. In axial flow pumps an element of fluid enters and leaves the

pump at the same radius hence u

1

= u

2

= u

Therefore work done/unit weight of fluid is given by

( )

1 2

w w

V V

g

u

−

There is usually no whirl velocity at inlet therefore 0

1

=

w

V however

2

w

V varies with

radius which could cause difficulties with the analysis , this is overcome by designing

the impeller as a free vortex i.e. C r V

w

=

2

. Now r u Ω = therefore we can write the

work done/unit weight of fluid as

g

C

r

C

g

r Ω

=

Ω

Hence the expression for work done/unit weight of fluid applies regardless of radius.

This is not true close to the hub where the assumption of a free vortex will not be

valid.

5. Matching a pump to a pipeline

Matching a pump top a pipeline is a mixture of hydraulics, site engineering and

economics. By considering the Darcy-Weisbach expression for head loss it is readily

seen that a small increase in diameter will cause a significant reduction in head loss

hence a reduction in pump size, this reduces both capital and running costs of the

pump but may increase the capital and construction costs of the pipeline. A further

restriction may be that the retention time of the fluid in the pipe may be limited, for

example when pumping sewage, clearly this restricts the diameter of the pipe. When

all these factors have been considered a pipe diameter is chosen which enables a

friction head to be calculated, the total head is then determined by adding this to the

static head, this is the head that the pipe has to overcome.

Pumps come in a family of different sizes but all geometrically similar. For each

pump in the series the manufacturer will supply the H – Q curve for a specific pump

speed or more correctly the part of the curve around the point of maximum efficiency.

The point where this intersects the H – Q curve for the pipeline gives the flow. This is

shown graphically in Figures 7 and 8. In Figure 7 the operating point does not align

itself anywhere near the point of maximum efficiency hence the pump will not operate

efficiently and the operating costs will always be higher than they ought to be. In

Figure 8 the operating point is reasonably well aligned with the point of maximum

efficiency hence the cost of running the pump will be minimised.

15

Matching Pump to Pipeline

0.00

10.00

20.00

30.00

40.00

50.00

60.00

0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12

Flow

H

e

a

d

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

η

Pump

Pipeline

η

Operating point

Figure 7 – An inefficient system

Matching a pump to a pipeline

0.00

10.00

20.00

30.00

40.00

50.00

60.00

0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12

Flow

H

e

a

d

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

Pump

Pipeline

Operating point

h

static

η

η

Figure 8 – An efficient system

From these diagrams it is clear that the part of the H – Q that lies under the point of

maximum efficiency is quite short thus the remainder of the curve is of little interest.

Pump manufacturers use this property to put the efficient part of the H - Q for all the

pumps in an homologous series onto one graph. An example

7

of this is shown in

Figure 9. The short length of curve is that part of the curve under the highest point of

the efficiency curve, this enables the user, once the H – Q for the pipeline is known to

read off the model number of the pump most suitable for the job.

7

This diagram is reproduced by kind permission of Weir Pumps Ltd., Glasgow.

16

Figure 9

If one pump cannot produce sufficient head then two or more pumps may be used in

series; for the great majority of pipelines this would not be considered a good

17

arrangement, it would be better to specify a larger pump. However such an

arrangement is frequently used in deep boreholes.

If the pump cannot produce sufficient flow then two or more pumps are used in

parallel. This arrangement is very common is water supply and sewerage pumping

stations. In fact in these designs it is usual to have several pumps running in parallel,

with the pumps cutting in sequentially as the flow increases. When pumps are

running in parallel it is essential to fit reflux (non return) valves so that one pump

does not drive another pump as a turbine.

6. Dynamic Similarity for Pumps

Many pumps are too large to be tested in a laboratory therefore it is essential to be

able to test small geometrically similar ones and then scale the results up to the

required size. Like any other scaling problem in fluid mechanics this is achieved by

scaling up dimensionless variables.

6.1 Geometric Similarity

Geometric similarity is a prerequisite of dynamic similarity. Geometric similarity

must be preserved for all the hydraulically important part of the pump, for example

entrance and discharge passages, impeller and diffuser (if one is fitted). Machines

which are geometrically similar in these respects from a homologous series (from the

Greek homos – same and logos – ratio).

6.2 Dynamic similarity

Dynamic similarity means a fixed ratio of forces, to achieve this kinematic similarity

is also required i.e. a fixed ratio of velocities. In practice this means that the inlet and

outlet velocity triangles must be geometrically similar.

6.3 Analysis

The variables in the analysis are as follows:-

H difference of head across the machine (energy/unit weight. of fluid)

[L]

N rotational speed [T

-1

]

P power transferred from impeller to fluid [ML

2

T

-3

]

g gravitational force [LT

-2

]

ρ density of the fluid [ML

-3

]

µ viscosity of the fluid [ML

-1

T

-1

]

Q flow through the pump [L

3

T

-1

]

18

D diameter of the impeller [L]

k mean height of roughnesses in the machine [L]

Hence we can write

( ) 0 , , , , , , , , = k D Q g P N H f μ ρ

g is included because we need a definition of velocity head. Now we need to have

parameters to describe the fluid, the size of the machine and the flow pattern. The

obvious parameters would be ρ, D and N. However this would have the disadvantage

that when they were combined with H then we would have a π group D/H which

would not be of any use. A method of avoiding this is to combine g and H into one

variable gH (energy per unit mass). Hence we can write

( ) 0 , , , , , , , = k D Q P N gH f μ ρ

By applying Buckingham’s second π theorem it is clear that there are 5 π groups

hence we can write

( ) 0 , , , ,

5 4 3 2 1

= π π π π π f

Using ρ, D and N as the recurring variables we can write

5 5 5

4 4 4

3

2 2 2

1 1 1

5

4

3 3

3

2

1

c b a

c b a

c b a

c b a

c b a

N D

N D

N D

P N D

gH N D

ρ π

ρ π

μ ρ π

ρ π

ρ π

=

=

=

=

=

By expressing these π groups as dimensionless equations we can write

L L M T L

T L L M T L

T ML L M T L

T ML L M T L

T L L M T L

c c b a

c c b a

c c b a

c c b a

c c b a

5 5 5 5

4 4 4 4

3 3 3 3

2 2 2 2

1 1 1 1

3

5

1 3 3

4

1 1 3

3

3 2 3

2

2 2 3

1

− −

− − −

− − − −

− − −

− − −

=

=

=

=

=

π

π

π

π

π

Considering

1

π we can write

19

( )

( )

( )

( ) head Specific

D N

gH

a

c M

b b T

c a L

2 2

1

1

1

1 1

1 1

2

0

2 0 2

0 2 3

= ∴

− = ∴

=

− = ∴ = − −

= + −

π

Similarly we can write

( )

( )

D

k

N D

Q

N D

N D

N D

P

=

=

=

=

=

5

3 4

2

3

2 3

3 5 2

discharge Specific

No. Reynolds of form a

hence inverted is his Normally t

π

π

ρ

ρ

π

ρ

μ

π

ρ

π

Consider the specific capacity ND is a typical velocity of the impeller

8

and

2

D

Q

is a

typical velocity of the fluid hence if the specific capacities of the model and prototype

machines are equal then the ratios of all the velocities are equal therefore kinematic

similarity is achieved i.e. the velocity vector triangles is similar.

Consider the Reynolds number, clearly for complete similarity this will have to be

equal in both model and prototype. If we assume that the density and viscosity of

both the prototype and model fluids are the same or, at least similar then

( ) ( )

prototype

2

model

2

N D N D = . Since the ratio

model

prototype

D

D

may be quite large and the square

of this ratio even larger the speed of rotation of the model has to be very much larger

than that of the prototype, in practice this is usually very hard to achieve; this is called

scale effect. Fortunately the variation of efficiency and other non-dimensional

parameters with the Reynolds number is not great therefore the requirement that the

Reynolds numbers be equal is not usually necessary i.e. scale effect can usually be

neglected. For practical purposes dynamic similarity is satisfied when

ρ

3 5 2 2 3

and ,

N D

P

D N

gH

ND

Q

are equal in both model and prototype.

D

k

can safely be

ignored because great efforts are made to make the surface of the impeller as smooth

as possible.

8

This can readily be seen by recalling that

60

N D

u

π

=

20

6.4 Unit speed, quantity and power

A pump which is designed to operate under one set of conditions may be required to

operate under a set of different conditions, for example when the speed of rotation of

the power supply is changed or when it is being moved from one pipeline to another.

The methodology for doing this is to scale the values for N,P and Q to the values for

unit head (H = 1 metre). This is a similar process to the simple unitary method taught

in primary schools to work out the cost of, for example, apples although in this case it

is not linear.

First consider the specific capacity

N

QN

Q

D N

Q

ND

Q

u

u

u

u

= ∴

=

3 3

where Q

u

is the flow when the head generated is 1 metre and N

u

is the corresponding

speed of rotation, D is the same since it is the same machine. Similarly for specific

head

quantity) unit (

and

speed) (unit

definition by 1 but

2 2 2 2

H

Q

Q

H

N

N

H

D N

gH

D N

gH

u

u

u

u

u

=

= ∴

=

=

Finally consider power

2

3

3

3

5 3 5 3

H

P

P

H N

N

P

N

N

P P

D N

P

D N

P

u

u

u

u

u

= ∴

⎟

⎠

⎞

⎜

⎝

⎛

=

⎟

⎠

⎞

⎜

⎝

⎛

= ∴

=

ρ ρ

Since

o o

QH g P η η η ρ = =

u

clear that is it then , in other words these unitary

transformations ensure that the machine continues to run at its maximum overall

efficiency

o

η .

21

In summary we can now say that once an H – Q curve has been obtained for a small

machine then the results can not only be scaled to any machine within the

homologous series but also, for a particular machine, scaled to a different set of

operating conditions.

6.5 Specific Speed

For a pump the important design variables are N, H and Q, it would be very useful if

all three could be combined into one dimensionless variable which uniquely described

the type of pump necessary to satisfy the design condition for a particular application

without any regard to the specific size of the pump. In order to see the relevance of

this consider a specific pump and recall that it is a member of a homologous series

which are likely to vary in size from quite small ones to very large ones. They will be

all of the same type, either centrifugal, mixed or axial flow, however the particular

values of H and Q at maximum efficiency may be very different. In other words it is

not possible to look at the actual physical values of H and Q and know whether we

need a centrifugal, mixed or axial flow machine. The concept of specific speed

allows this problem to be overcome.

We need a dimensionless number which includes N, H and Q but does not include the

size (measured by D). This is easily achieved by combining the specific head and the

specific discharge; recall that all the π groups are dimensionless therefore we can

multiply them together in any way we wish and still retain the dimensionless property.

Thus we can write

( )

2

3

2

2

3

2 2

3

gH

QN

D N

gH

ND

Q

=

⎟

⎠

⎞

⎜

⎝

⎛

which removes the size of the machine, D. This number is quite large therefore it is

usual to take the square root

( )

4

3

gH

Q N

This is called Addison’s shape number for pumps and when plotted on a graph against

efficiency allows a designer to know which type of pump to use for specific situation.

Unfortunately engineers usually use the number without the g which gives it

dimensions, in this form it is known as the specific speed. This has the serious

disadvantage of requiring the user to be careful which units are used to calculate it; N

is almost invariably in RPM, H is usually in meters or feet but Q can be in a wide

variety of units, for example m

3

/s, m

3

/hour, ℓ/s, gallons/minute (gpm), cubic feet/s

(ft

3

/s). Just to create even more confusion the gallons may be either Imperial or US.

7. Cavitation

7.1 Vapour Cavitation

22

Vapour cavitation is the process that takes place when the pressure in a liquid falls

below the vapour pressure at that temperature with the result that the liquid boils.

This causes small bubbles of vapour to form which are carried along in the flow.

When the flow enters a zone of higher pressure the bubbles suddenly collapse as the

vapour turns back to liquid. The surrounding liquid rushes in from all sides and

collides in the middle of the cavity giving rise to very high local pressures. If the

bubbles are in contact or near a solid surface then intense pitting of the surface can

result which will ultimately lead to failure from fatigue. The sequence of formation

and collapse of the bubbles may take place at a very high frequency. Cavitation

causes vibration and noise (imagine the sound of gravel flowing through the pump),

the flow becomes very disturbed and the efficiency falls rapidly.

Look at the axial flow impeller (the one painted a silver colour) in Lecture Theatre A,

the surface is pitted by cavitation, some text books contain photographs of ships

propellers which are severely damaged by cavitation.

7.2 Air Cavitation

Air cavitation is similar to vapour cavitation although not usually as severe, it is

simply air coming out of solution when the pressure drops, it has a similar effect of

the efficiency of the machine.

I.M. Goodwill,

March, 2006.

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