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General Industry Segment

ENGINEERING MANUAL
Viscous and high density

Ver. 01. 18-12-2008


What is viscosity?........................................................................................................................................ 2
What is density? .......................................................................................................................................... 3
Effect on centrifugal pumps .................................................................................................................... 4
Choosing a pump ........................................................................................................................................ 5
General consideration........................................................................................................................... 5
What Grundfos recommends.................................................................................................................. 5
Shaft seals................................................................................................................................................. 6
WinCaps / WebCaps................................................................................................................................... 8
List of typical coolants ............................................................................................................................... 9
Diagrams for coolants. .............................................................................................................................. 9
Oils.................................................................................................................................................................40
Oils for metal cutting ..........................................................................................................................40
Lubricating oils ......................................................................................................................................42
Vegetable oils ........................................................................................................................................46
Other liquids ...............................................................................................................................................47

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What is viscosity?
Viscosity means resistance to flow within the internal layers of a fluid. The higher the
viscosity, the thicker the fluid. Viscosity is a measure of the thickness of a liquid. Molasses
and motor oil are thick or high-viscous liquids. Gasoline and water are thin, low
viscosity liquids.
The unit of measurement for viscosity is cP (centipoise, normally measured in Pas). In
practice, however, the unit cSt (centistoke, normally measured in mm2/s) is used.
Water has a viscosity of 1 cSt at 20C, while motor oil typically has a viscosity of more than
500 cSt at the same temperature.
The conversion factor between cP and cSt is the specific gravity of the liquid, i.e. the viscosity
value in cP divided by the specific gravity gives the viscosity value in cSt. The table below
shows viscosity values for water and propylene glycol in different units

Example:
If we take the values from the table above, we get the following formula.
cP
73
cSt =
=
= 68,8mm 2 / s
Specificgravity 1,061
cSt is the unit used when sizing a pump in WinCaps/WebCaps, as it influences the pump
curve.
cP relates to the lubricating capability of a liquid. We therefore use cP when discussing a
mediums ability to lubricate the bearings in a pump.
The viscosity of a liquid may change significantly as the temperature of a liquid changes. We
know that hot oil is thinner than cold oil, so we must always know the temperature of a
viscous liquid in order to select the right pump.
Temperature is not the only variable when considering viscosity. Three classes of fluids exist
that change viscosity when agitated and one that does not.

Newtonian fluids are unaffected by the magnitude and kind of motion to which they
are subjected. Mineral oil and water are typical of this type of liquid.
Dilatant fluids increase their viscosity with agitation. Some of these liquids can
become almost solid within a pump or pipe line. We all know that with agitation,
cream becomes butter. Candy compounds, clay slurries and similar heavily filled
liquids act the same way.

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Plastic fluids have a yield value which must be exceeded before they can start
flowing. From that point on, viscosity decreases as agitation increases. Tomato
ketchup is the best example of this type of fluid.
Thixotrophic fluids exhibit a decreasing viscosity with an increase in agitation,
although the viscosity at any particular rate of motion may depend upon the previous
agitation of the liquid. Examples are: glues, non-drip paint, greases, cellulose
compounds, soaps, starches, and tar.

1. The effect of viscosity on centrifugal pump performance


A viscous liquid affects a centrifugal pump in several ways.
Increased power consumption, i. e. a larger motor is required.
The head, flow rate and pump efficiency will be reduced.
What is density?
The density is a measure of the weight of the liquid normally expressed in the unit g/cm3 or
kg/m3. Water at a temperature of 4C has a density of 1 g/cm3 or 1000 kg/m3. The term
Specific gravity is often used. Specific gravity is a measure of the weight of the liquid
compared to an equal volume of 4C fresh water. Specific gravity therefore has no unit of
measurement. Oils have a low specific gravity - lower than that of water while mercury has
a high specific gravity.
1. The effect of high density on centrifugal pump performance
A high density liquid only affects the power consumption of a centrifugal pump.
The head, flow rate and pump efficiency will remain unchanged.
Power consumption increases proportionally as density increases. A liquid with a
specific gravity of 1.2 will thus require a 20% larger power input
An oversize motor will often be required.

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Effect on centrifugal pumps


In many applications a viscous liquid also has a high density, such as in cooling applications
using propylene glycol as an antifreeze. The chart below is based on polypropylene with the
following properties:
Concentration: 50%
Temperature: -20C
Density: 1061 kg/m3
Viscosity: 68.8 cSt.
Fig. 4 CR 32-4 pumping 50% poly propylene glycol at -20C.

The reduction in pump


head is only from the
viscosity.

The reduction in pump


flow is both from
density and viscosity.

Bigger power
consumption is both from
density and viscosity.

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Choosing a pump
General consideration.
The selection of a pump for liquids with viscosity and density different than water can be
difficult and involve a high degree of uncertainty. It is recommended to use the Grundfos
software WinCAPS or WebCaps when making these selections.
Grundfos pumps are designed for Newtonian liquids (for example water). The selection of a
pump for non Newtonian liquids involves a high degree of uncertainty, and should therefore
be considered thoroughly.
When pumping viscous liquids, it is recommended to select a pump large enough to ensure
that the pump works within the nominal duty point on the Q,H curve. Operation outside the
nominal duty point may lead to a wrong duty point.
1. Flow
Liquids with a viscosity lower than 10 cSt. will not affect the flow rate in the pump
significantly. Above 10 cSt it is necessary to make calculations for the reduction in flow rate.
2. Head
Concerning head it will be necessary to make calculations when the liquid exceeds a value
of 5 cSt. The reduction in head is proportional to the flow rate. The pump should therefore
not operate outside its nominal duty point.
3. Power consumption
Power consumption will increase noticeably for viscosities above 5 cSt. Therefore a larger
motor will often be required. Note that the viscosity may be highest at start-up, for instance
if the system has cooled down during standstill. Be aware that the specific gravity of the
liquid also has a large affect on the power consumption.
As written in the 3 bullets above its not necessary to think about the viscosity when
choosing a pump if its low enough. But with the features in WebCaps and Wincaps for
changing the viscosity, when selecting a pump, it will be recommendable to always change
it to the right value. See under WinCaps/WebCaps how to do that.
Grundfos recommends
When you need to pump liquids with a density and viscosity different to that of water,
Grundfos recommends the following:
1. High viscosity.
When pumping viscous liquids, small pumps with low flow rates are affected more than
large pumps with high flow rates. The table below shows the maximum recommended
viscosity for various rated flow rates.

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Note that even though a pump will still be capable of pumping a liquid with a viscosity
higher than that listed in the table, its efficiency will drop off drastically; something which
Grundfos recommends avoiding.
2. Low viscosity.
The minimum permitted viscosity for a pump depends on the pump model. It is therefore
recommended to refer to the relevant pump data booklet for the specific value.
For example, Grundfos CR pumps are capable of pumping liquids with a viscosity down to
0.15 cP while remaining sufficiently lubricated.
Shaft seals
1. Facts about shaft seals in viscous liquids
The basic sealing principle of a mechanical shaft seal is that two smooth surfaces are sliding
against each other at a relatively high surface pressure. The seal faces are typically made of
carbides (tungsten carbide, silicon carbide) or impregnated carbon. Some shaft seals have
carbide/carbide seal faces, while others have carbide/carbon seal faces. The seal faces are
lubricated by the pumped liquid. The liquid enters the seal faces, creates a lubricating liquid
film and finally evaporates outside the mechanical shaft seal. In this way a mechanical shaft
seal is not completely leak-free. With the basic principles of a mechanical shaft seal in mind
it seems logical that a high viscous liquid creates a thicker liquid film with better lubricating
properties. But anyway the following shaft seal problems can occur when pumping viscous
liquids.

If the viscous liquid has a vapour pressure lower than that of water at room
temperature, it will not evaporate. Consequently it accumulates around the shaft
seal. This problem can be solved by using a double shaft seal.
If the liquid contains solvents, these will evaporate and leave an even more viscous
liquid in the shaft seal. This high viscous liquid may precipate a coating on the seal
faces causing leakage or abrasive wear. This problem can be solved by using a double
shaft seal or carbide/carbide seal faces.
Coolants e.g. glycols often contain additives (corrosion inhibitors) that may precipate
and crystallize on the seal faces causing abrasive wear. Therefore it is recommended
to use carbide/carbide seal faces for all coolants.

2. Seal face materials


When pumping viscous liquids, it is always recommended to use carbide/carbide seal faces.
In Grundfos shaft seals carbide seal faces are made of either silicon carbide (code Q) or
tungsten carbide (code U).
Seal faces made of impregnated carbon (code A or B) are not recommended due to their lack
of abrasion resistance.

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3. Surface pressure
To minimize precipitation at the seal faces it is important to ensure a high surface pressure
between the seal faces. This can be achieved by reducing the seal face area (R or G-seals) or
by providing the seal with a tight spring. In shaft seals with a high surface pressure the
sliding surfaces have an even smoother surface than normal in ordinary shaft seals.

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WinCaps / WebCaps
In Caps, you can select a pump with the help of the sizing function. If you know the specific
pump model you can also select it directly from the catalogue.
Regardless of which function you choose, you will be required to make the following
choices:

This list includes the most


commonly-used liquids. If a
particular liquid is missing
from the list, select any
viscous fluid and enter the
viscosity and density values

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If required, contact the manufacturer to obtain the density and viscosity values for a
product not included in the list.
List of typical coolants

Diagrams for coolants.


The charts on the following pages show viscosity and density for different coolants.
Concentrations are generally shown as [mass%]. Concentration in [vol%] will be stated on
the relevant chart.

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Ethylene glycol viscousity

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Ethylene glycol density

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Propylene glycol viscosity

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Propylene glycol density

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Freezium viscosity

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Freezium density

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Hycool viscosity

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Hycool density

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Tyfoxit viscosity

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Tyfoxit density

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Aspen Temper viscosity

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Aspen Temper density

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Pekasol viscosity

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Pekasol density

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Magnesium chloride viscosity

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Magnesium chloride density

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Calcium chloride viscosity

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Calcium chloride density

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Potassium carbonate viscosity

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Potassium carbonate density

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Sodium chloride viscosity

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Sodium chloride density

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Dowtherm viscosity

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Dowtherm density

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Syltherm viscosity

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Syltherm density

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VegoCool viscosity

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VegoCool density

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Ethanol viscosity

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Ethanol density

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Oils.
The word oil is used for a wide range of liquids used in numerous applications, from
crude oil based lubricating oil to the finest vegetabile sweet oil. In this chapter oils for
metal cutting, lubricating oils, and vegetable oils are described.

Oils for metal cutting

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Various cutting oils.

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Lubricating oils
The following curves viscosities for various lubricating oils.
Motor oil, semi-synthetic 5W-30

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Motor oil, synthetic 0W-40

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Gear oil 80 W-90

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Gear oil 85W-140

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Vegetable oils

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Other liquids
Amoniak (NH3)

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Potassium carbonate

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Glycerol

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Sodium Chloride

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Viscosity of typical liquids as a function of liquid temperature

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