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The Metcom Engineering and Management

MODULE # 9:
SLURRY PUMPING

Metcom Consulting, LLC

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING

page
Objectives
Introduction

1
2

PART I - Pumping System Capacity and Head

Capacity
System elements
Bernoulli's equation
Static pressure
Vertical lift
Friction loss

4
5
16
17
22
25
33
38
45
63

PART II - Centrifugal Slurry Pumps

79

Major components
Slurry pump performance
Manufacturer's pump performance curves

79
81
82
106

Progress Review 1

122

Closing word

133

References

134

Appendix A

135

Glossary

139

SLURRY PUMPING

ii

LIST OF FIGURES
page
Figure 1.

Figure 2.

18

Figure 3.

63

Figure 4.

64

Figure 5.

65

Figure 6.

Changing the vertical lift of the pumping

system (example #1).

76

Changing the constant in Bernoulli's

equation for the pumping system
(example #2).

77

Figure 8.

79

Figure 9.

slurry pump.

80

Figure 7.

Figure 10. Changing the system while maintaining

pump impeller speed (reduced TDH).

82

Figure 11. Changing the system while maintaining

pump impeller speed (increased TDH).

83

84

85

86

90

92

98

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING

iii

LIST OF TABLES
page
Table 1. Conversion factors for the units of

Table 2. Fluid velocities and typical friction

losses for slurry pumping

26

Table 3. Equivalent length of pipe for open

valves and fittings

39

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
OBJECTIVES
The objective of this module is for you to become familiar with slurry
pumping systems. You will learn how to obtain the desired
performance from these systems by learning how to:
Evaluate the elements of the total dynamic head of a
pumping system.
Specify required adjustments to slurry pumps to achieve
Before completing this module, you must have completed the module
entitled "Introduction to the Metcom System". If you have not completed
the module entitled "Hydrocyclone Performance" or if you do not
know how to quickly calculate the specific gravity of a slurry, refer to
Appendix A of this module before moving on.
This module has two parts and you will need a calculator. The estimated time for completion is four hours including a Progress Review
at the end.

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
INTRODUCTION
The slurry pumping systems which are the subject of this module are
the typical systems found in a mineral processing plant. Figure 1
shows such a pumping system feeding an installation of
hydrocyclones.

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
The components of a typical slurry pumping system are:
The pump box where slurry (and sometimes water) is
collected.
The pump.
The piping system including elbows, valves, etc.
The terminal apparatus, in this case, a hydrocyclone
installation.

In Part II of this module, you will learn about centrifugal pumps since
these are generally used in the mineral processing plant.
Right now, let's turn to Part I where you will learn about slurry

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
PART I - PUMPING SYSTEM CAPACITY AND HEAD

CAPACITY
The pumping system capacity is the volumetric flow rate of slurry
that flows from the pump to the terminal apparatus of the pumping
system. "System capacity", "pump capacity", and "system slurry flow
rate" are interchangeable terms.

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING

The pump provides the desired slurry capacity by exerting the fluid
pressure required to overcome all the resistances to flow of the
system at the prevailing flow rate. These resistances are measured
in head * or pressure * .
"Pressure" and "head" are interchangeable expressions. They both
represent energy per unit weight of the fluid being transported by
the system.
In the context of this module, a "fluid" may be any non-viscous fluid
such as water or most solids/water slurries encountered in mineral
processing plants. Pumping oils and highly viscous fluids required
special considerations not covered in this module.
In the case of slurry pumping, you need to know the specific gravity *
of the slurry in order to carry out pumping system calculations. The
specific gravity, SG, of a fluid is the ratio of its density (g/cc) and the
density (g/cc) of water (at 4C):

Specific gravity
of the slurry

Slurry density (g/cc)

Density of water (g/cc)

Since the density of water is 1.0 g/cc, the SG of a given slurry can be
easily calculated. For example, if the density of a slurry is 1.85 g/cc,
then its specific gravity is simply 1.85. Note that SG is unitless as
opposed to density which has units of g/cc or t/m3.
In most of your work on slurry pumping, you will have to calculate
results in height of slurry. However, in some calculations, you will
encounter values of head or pressure that are initially in "height of
water".

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
The relation between "height of slurry" and "height of water" is
expressed as follows:

Here is an example where "height of water" and "height of slurry" are

illustrated.

Example
A column of water is 10 meters high. The equivalent height of this
column in meters of slurry (SG = 2.0) is:

2.0

Therefore a 10-meter column of water provides the same head as a

5-meter column of slurry (SG = 2.0). This is illustrated in the figure
below.

Solve the following exercise.

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
Exercise
A vertical pipe contains water to a height of 9.5 meters. If another
pipe was to contain slurry (SG = 1.8), how high should the slurry level
be to exert the same pressure as the column of water?

SLURRY PUMPING

5.3 meters
Solution
Height of slurry

Height of water
Slurry SG

Height of slurry

1.8

Height of slurry

5.3 meters of slurry

There are several units for head or pressure, e.g. meters of slurry,
meters of water, kiloPascals, pounds per square inch, etc. The
conversion factors for the most commonly used units are presented
in Table 1.

SLURRY PUMPING

Table 1. Conversion factors for the units of pressure or head

1 atmosphere

=
=
=
=
=

101 kPa
14.7 psi
29.92 inches of mercury
33.9 feet of water
10.33 meters of water

1 psi

=
=
=
=
=

6.9 kPa
0.068 atmosphere
2.036 inches of mercury
2.307 feet of water
0.703 meter of water

1 kPa

=
=
=
=
=

0.01 atmosphere
0.145 psi
0.295 inches of mercury
0.334 feet of water
0.102 meter of water

1 meter of water

=
=
=
=
=

9.8 kPa
0.097 atmosphere
1.422 psi
2.896 inches of mercury
3.281 feet of water

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING

10

Since you have already learned how to convert "height of slurry" into
"height of water", you can convert any "height of fluid" into any of the
equivalent units of head or pressure in Table 1.
Here are some examples on how to use the factors in Table 1.

Example 1
The pressure exerted by a three-meter column of water can be
expressed in:
kiloPascals:
3 m water x 9.8

kPa
m water

= 29.4 kPa

psi:
3 m water x 1.422

psi
= 4.3 psi
m water

Example 2
A column of slurry (SG = 1.7) is 15.8 meters high. The pressure it
exerts may first be expressed in meters of water:
15.8 m slurry x 1.7 = 26.9 m water
Then it can also be expressed in other units of pressure:
kiloPascals:
26.9 m water x 9.8

kPa
m water

= 263.6 kPa

feet of water:
26.9 m water x 3.281 ft water = 88.3 ft water
m water

Solve the following two exercises.

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
Exercise 1
A column of slurry is 7.5 meters high. The slurry SG is 1.8. Using
the factors in Table 1, convert this information into the following units
of pressure.

meters of water:

atmosphere:

kiloPascals:

psi:

inches of mercury:

feet of water:

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

11

SLURRY PUMPING

12

meters of water:
7.5 m slurry x 1.8

= 13.5 m water

atmospheres:
13.5 m water x 0.097 atmosphere
m water

= 1.3 atm

kiloPascals:
13.5 m water x 9.8

kPa
m water

= 132.3 kPa

psi:
13.5 m water x 1.422

psi
m water

= 19.2 psi

inches of mercury:
13.5 m water x 2.896 inches of mercury
m water

= 39.1 inches of
mercury

feet of water:
13.5 m water x 3.281 ft water
m water

1989 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

= 44.3 ft water

SLURRY PUMPING
Exercise 2
A column of water is 4.3 meters high and exerts a pressure of
42.1 kPa.
a) If the water were replaced by slurry (SG = 2.1) to the same height
of 4.3 meters, what would be the new pressure of this column:
In kPa?

In atmospheres?

b) If the slurry SG changes to 2.0, what will be the new pressure:

In kPa?

In inches of mercury?

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

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SLURRY PUMPING

14

a) The equivalent height of the 4.3-meter column of slurry (SG = 2.1)
is 9.0 meters of water:
Height of slurry x Slurry SG =
4.3 m slurry x 2.1 =

Height of water
9.0 m water

In kPa, the pressure is 88.2:

9.0 m water x 9.8

kPa
m water

84.3 kPa

In atmospheres, the pressure is 0.87:

9.0 m water x 0.097

atm =
m water

0.9 atm

b) The equivalent height of the 4.3-meter column of slurry (SG = 2.0)

is 8.6 meters of water:
4.3 m slurry x 2.0

8.6 m water

84.3 kPa

In kPa, the pressure is 84.3:

8.6 m water x 9.8

kPa
m water

In inches of mercury, the pressure is 24.9:

8.6 m water x 2.896 inches of mercury
m water

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

24.9 inches
of mercury

SLURRY PUMPING
In this module, we will ask you to use the units of "kPa" and "meters
of fluid" in your calculations. However, feel free to use whichever
system you prefer when you perform calculations for the pumping
We have just presented you with the topics of "capacity" and
"head/pressure". In the next section, we will better define the four
elements that make up slurry pumping system head.

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

15

SLURRY PUMPING
SYSTEM ELEMENTS
The pump in a slurry pumping system must overcome all resistances
to flow in order to deliver the desired volume of slurry. There are
four sources of head or pressure in a pumping system:
1. The change in static pressure * (P) from the initial boundary
(surface of the slurry in the pump box) to the terminal boundary of
the system.
2. The change in velocity head * (V) from the initial to the terminal
boundary of the system.
3. The change in elevation, or vertical lift * (Z) from the initial to the
terminal boundary of the system.
4. The total friction loss * (hf ) from the initial to the terminal boundary
of the system.

The initial and terminal boundaries of the pumping system are

selected to facilitate calculations. The initial boundary is generally
the surface of the slurry in the pump box; this is indicated by the digit
"1" in a triangle. The terminal boundary is generally at the feed to the
terminal apparatus (if the terminal apparatus is a hydrocyclone) or at
the surface of the slurry (if the terminal apparatus is an open tank);
this is indicated by the digit "2" in a triangle.
These four elements add up to form the total dynamic head * , or
TDH, of the system. This is also the total dynamic head that must be
provided by the pump. Therefore the TDH of the system equals that
provided by the pump!

static
velocity
elevation
loss
pressure

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

16

SLURRY PUMPING

17

BERNOULLI'S EQUATION
In mathematical form, Bernoulli's equation is as follows based on the
initial (1) and terminal (2) boundaries of a pumping system:

where

V2

- V1
2g

+ (Z2 - Z1) + hf

TDH

Total dynamic head of the system or provided

by the pump (height of slurry).

Static pressure at the initial boundary of the

system (atm, kPa, or psi).

Static pressure at the terminal boundary of the

system (atm, kPa, or psi).

Fluid (slurry) velocity at the initial boundary of

the system (m/sec).

Fluid (slurry) velocity at the terminal boundary

of the system (m/sec).

Z1

Z2

hf

Elevation of the initial boundary of the system

relative to the pump intakea (height of slurry).
Elevation of the terminal boundary of the
system relative to the pump intakea (height of
slurry).
Total friction loss of the system (height of
water).

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
As you can see, the units of TDH and of the elements are not
common at this stage; however, each unit is one of head or pressure
and all elements will eventually be converted to the common unit of
height of slurry.
The elements in Bernoulli's equation are illustrated in Figure 2.

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

18

SLURRY PUMPING
Because of the conditions normally found in pumping systems in a
mineral processing plant, Bernoulli's equation can be simplified.
When the initial boundary of a pumping system is at the surface of
the slurry in the pump box, the static pressure, P , is atmospheric, or
1
will give a "zero" gauge pressure. Also, since the velocity of the
slurry, V , will be negligible at this point, we can say that:
1
P1 =
V1 =

0
0

2g

Again, when using this equation, the elements will be initially

expressed in various units of head or pressure. However, TDH must
eventually be expressed in "height of slurry".
Here is a very simple example which will introduce you to Bernoulli's
equation.

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

19

SLURRY PUMPING

20

Example
Joe, the metallurgist, was asked to determine the TDH for a slurry
pumping system. Here is the information he is given:
The static pressure gauge reading at the hydrocyclone inlet is
148 kPa.
The velocity (average across the pipe diameter) of the slurry at
the hydrocyclone inlet is 1.94 m/s (this will be covered later).
The vertical distance between the level of slurry in the pump box
and the pump intake is 2.0 m (slurry head).
The vertical distance between the pump intake and the
hydrocyclone inlet is 12.0 m (slurry head).
The piping system has a total friction loss, h , equivalent to
f
2.0 m water.
Here is Bernouilli's equation again:
TDH = P

+ V2 + (Z2 - Z1) + hf
2g

In this case, Joe has:

TDH = 148 kPa + 1.942 m slurry + (12.0 - 2.0) m slurry + 2.0 m water
2g

SLURRY PUMPING

21

Joe must convert all units to "height of slurry". In this particular

system, the slurry SG is 1.73:

For the static pressure he has:

P2 = 148 kPa x 0.102 m water
kPa
P

= 15.1 m water

1.73

V

2
2

2g

(1.94 m/sec)2

= 0.2 m slurry

2 x 9.81 m/sec2

For the vertical lift he has:

Z2 - Z1 = 10.0 m slurry
For the friction loss he has:
hf = 2.0 m water = 1.2 m slurry
1.73
So finally:
TDH = 8.7 + 0.2 + 10.0 + 1.2
TDH = 20.1 m slurry

The pump must therefore provide a total dynamic head of

20.1 m in order to transport the given volumetric flow rate of slurry
through the system.

SLURRY PUMPING

22

Now, let's study each of the four elements of Bernoulli's equation in

more detail.

STATIC PRESSURE
Static pressure is measured at the selected terminal boundary of the
system. When the terminal boundary is the surface of an open tank,
then the static pressure, P2, is atmospheric. If the terminal boundary
is at the inlet of a hydrocyclone, then the static pressure, P , is
2
indicated by a pressure gauge at that point.
Here is an example.

Example
Slurry (SG = 1.60) is being pumped from an open vessel (P1 = 0) into
a tank pressurized at 170 kPa. Therefore P2 is 170 kPa. This static
pressure can also be expressed in other units:
Meters of water:

170 kPa x 0.102 m water = 17.3 m water

Meters of slurry:

1.60

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
Exercise
You are pumping slurry (SG = 1.90) from a pump box to a cluster of
hydrocyclones. The pressure gauge at the slurry distributor indicates
a static pressure of 13.0 psi.
If the terminal boundary of the slurry pumping system has been
selected at the inlet to the cluster, what is P for this system in:
2
a) Feet of slurry?

b) Atmospheres?

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

23

SLURRY PUMPING

24

a) 15.8 ft slurry
Solution
13.0 psi x 2.307 ft water
psi

= 30.0 ft water

30.0 ft water
1.90

= 15.8 ft slurry

b) 0.9 atmosphere
Solution
13.0 psi x 0.068 atm
psi

= 0.9 atm

You will have other opportunities to use P2 throughout this module.

Next, let's look at the velocity head of a pumping system.

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
While V2 is the velocity of the slurry at the terminal boundary of a
slurry pumping system, the expression "V22/2g" is the velocity head
element of the total dynamic head. When the initial boundary of the
system is the surface of the fluid in an open pump box, we can assume that V1 equals zero.
The velocity head is always expressed in "height of the fluid being
pumped ". If the pump is pumping water, then the units are in
"height of water". If the pump is pumping slurry, then the units are in
"height of slurry". In this case, the slurry SG must be specified.
The "velocity" component of the velocity head is calculated based on
the volumetric flow rate of slurry through the piping system (usually
at the terminal boundary) and the inside diameter of the pipe through
which it flows. These calculations have already been done for you
and are found in Table 2. (Values for hf-factor are also displayed in
Table 2; we will examine those later.)

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

25

26
Table 2. Fluid velocities and typical friction losses for slurry pumping (continued)
NOMINAL
DIAMETER OF
SCHEDULE 40
STEEL PIPE
(INCHES AND MM)
SLURRY FLOW
RATE
(cubic meters/hour)

50
60
70
80
90
100
120
140
160
180
200
220
240
260
280
300
320

5 inches
(127 mm )

4 inches
(102 mm )

V
(m/sec)

1.70
2.03
2.37
2.70
3.05
3.40
4.06
4.73

hf factor
(m of water)
(100 m pipe)

0.0
4.3
5.7
7.3
9.2
11.2
16.0
21.6

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

V
(m/sec)

1.94
2.16
2.58
3.01
3.44
3.86
4.29
4.72

6 inches
(152 mm )

hf factor
(m of water)
(100 m pipe)

2.9
3.6
5.1
6.8
8.8
11.0
13.6
16.3

V
(m/sec)

2.09
2.38
2.68
2.98
3.27
3.57
3.87
4.17
4.46
4.76

hf factor
(m of water)
(100 m pipe)

2.7
3.5
4.4
5.3
6.4
7.5
8.8
10.2
11.6
13.2

SLURRY PUMPING

27
Table 2. Fluid velocities and typical friction losses for slurry pumping (continued)
NOMINAL
DIAMETER OF
SCHEDULE 40
STEEL PIPE
(INCHES AND MM)
SLURRY FLOW
RATE
(cubic meters/hour)

200
220
240
260
280
300
320
340
360
380
400
450
500
550
600
700
800
900
1000
1100
1200
1300
1400

8 inches
( 203 mm )

10 inches
( 254 mm )

V
(m/sec)

hf factor
(m of water)
(100 m pipe)

1.72
1.89
2.06
2.24
2.41
2.58
2.76
2.93
3.11
3.27
3.43
3.86
4.29

1.3
1.6
1.9
2.2
2.6
2.9
3.3
3.7
4.1
4.6
5.0
6.3
7.8

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

V
(m/sec)

1.86
1.97
2.08
2.18
2.46
2.73
3.01
3.29
3.82
4.36
4.92

12 inches
(305 mm )

hf factor
(m of water)
(100 m pipe)

1.2
1.3
1.4
1.6
2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
4.7
6.1
7.6

V
(m/sec)

hf factor
(m of water)
(100 m pipe)

1.73
1.92
2.12
2.31
2.69
3.07
3.47
3.85
4.22
4.61
5.00
5.39

0.8
1.0
1.2
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.2
3.8
4.6
5.5
6.4
7.4
SLURRY PUMPING

28
Table 2. Fluid velocities and typical friction losses for slurry pumping (continued)
NOMINAL
DIAMETER OF
SCHEDULE 40
STEEL PIPE
(INCHES AND MM)
SLURRY FLOW
RATE
(cubic meters/hour)

550
600
700
800
900
1000
1100
1200
1300
1400
1600
1800
2000
2200
2500

14 inches
( 356 mm )

16 inches
( 406 mm )

V
(m/sec)

hf factor
(m of water)
(100 m pipe)

1.75
1.91
2.23
2.55
2.86
3.19
3.51
3.83
4.13
4.45
5.09

0.8
0.9
1.2
1.6
2.0
2.4
2.9
3.4
4.0
4.6
5.9

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

V
(m/sec)

1.95
2.19
2.44
2.68
2.93
3.17
3.41
3.90
4.38
4.86

18 inches
(457 mm )

hf factor
(m of water)
(100 m pipe)

0.8
1.0
1.2
1.5
1.7
2.0
2.3
3.0
3.8
4.6

V
(m/sec)

hf factor
(m of water)
(100 m pipe)

1.73
1.92
2.12
2.31
2.50
2.70
3.07
3.47
3.85
4.22
4.82

0.6
0.7
0.8
1.0
1.1
1.3
1.7
2.1
2.5
3.1
3.9

SLURRY PUMPING

29
Table 2. Fluid velocities and typical friction losses for slurry pumping (continued)
NOMINAL
DIAMETER OF
SCHEDULE 40
STEEL PIPE
(INCHES AND MM)
SLURRY FLOW
RATE
(cubic meters/hour)

1100
1200
1300
1400
1600
1800
2000
2200
2500
3000
3500
4000
4500

20 inches
(
(508
mm) )

24 inches
(
(610
mm) )

V
(m/sec)

hf factor
(m of water)
(100 m pipe)

1.70
1.86
2.01
2.17
2.48
2.79
3.10
3.40
3.87
4.65

0.5
0.6
0.6
0.7
1.0
1.2
1.5
1.8
2.3
3.2

1990GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

V
(m/sec)

hf factor
(m of water)
(100 m pipe)

1.72
1.93
2.14
2.36
2.68
3.22
3.76
4.29
4.83

0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.9
1.3
1.7
2.2
2.8

V
(m/sec)

inches
)

hf factor
(m of water)
(100 m pipe)

SLURRY PUMPING

SLURRY PUMPING

30

Notes
1. Select the value of Q in the table which is the closest to yours.
2. If your value of Q falls right between two values of Q in the table,
select the bigger one of the two.

Here is an example on how to use Table 2 to determine the velocity

Example
Water is being pumped from an open reservoir to a nearby pump box
at a rate of 100 m3/h. The discharge pipe is 5 inches in diameter.
The velocity head in the pipe can be determined as follows.
"V" from Table 2 is 2.16 m/sec. Therefore the velocity head is:

V
2
2g

2.162
2 x 9.81

= 0.2 m water

Note that this element of the total dynamic head is generally a

relatively small part of it.
Solve the problem in the following exercise.

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
Exercise
Slurry (SG = 2.2) is being pumped to a set of hydrocyclones at the
3
volumetric flow rate of 250 m /h through a 6-inch pipe.

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32

0.8 meters of slurry
Solution
From Table 2, "V" is 3.87 m/sec. Therefore:

V
2
2g

3.872
2 x 9.81

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SLURRY PUMPING
VERTICAL LIFT
The vertical lift of a pumping system is the net height over which
the fluid must be transported. Its units are always in "height of the
fluid being pumped ". If the pump is pumping slurry, then the units
are "height of slurry".

Here is an example.

Example
Slurry (SG = 1.8) is being pumped to an installation of hydrocyclones
from a pump box. The slurry level in the pump box is 2.5 m above
the pump inlet (Z1). The vertical distance between the pump and the
inlets of the hydrocyclones is 8.2 m (Z2). This is illustrated in the
following figure.

33

SLURRY PUMPING

34

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
Exercise
Water is pumped from an open vessel to an open tank as shown in
the figure below.

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SLURRY PUMPING
Exercise (continued)
Based on the vertical distances indicated in the figure:

b) If this system were to transport slurry (SG = 1.50), what would be

the vertical lift?

36

SLURRY PUMPING

37

a) 11.0 m water

= 10.4

+ 3.9 - 3.3

b) 11.0 m slurry = 10.4

+ 3.9 - 3.3

Note that the vertical lift can be expressed in kPa, inches of mercury,
etc. However, when you calculate the total dynamic head (TDH) in
Bernouilli's equation, the units must eventually be in "height of the
fluid being pumped".
Now, let's look at the last of the four elements of total dynamic head:
friction loss.

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FRICTION LOSS
The total friction loss in a pumping system is due to the friction of
the fluid against the pipe walls as the fluid flows through the piping
system; it is also due to the interference to flow that is created by
elbows, valves, and fittings which are part of the piping system
between the initial and terminal boundaries of the system. We
assume that pump boxes do not create any friction.
The friction loss, h , in a piping system depends on the nominal
f
diameter of the pipe in the piping system and on the volumetric flow
rate of slurry that flows through it. The piping system consists of two
general parts:
1. The total length of straight pipe.
2. The equivalent length of straight pipe created by the presence
of valves (fully open) and fittings.
The former can be measured directly in the plant. The latter can be
determined from tables based on the nominal diameter of the pipe.
Table 3 lists the equivalent length of pipe created by several types of
open valves and fittings.

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39

Table 3. Equivalent length of pipe for open valves and fittings (meters)

NOMINAL DIAMETER OF
SCHEDULE 40 STEEL PIPE
(INCHES AND MM)

18 in.
6 in.
8 in.
10 in.
12 in.
14 in.
16 in.
4 in.
20 in.
24 in.
5 in.
(102 mm) (127 mm) (152 mm) (203 mm) (254 mm) (305 mm) (356 mm) (406 mm) (457 mm) (508 mm) (610 mm)

FITTINGS

1. Regular 90 elbow

1.8

2.2

2.7

3.7

4.3

5.2

5.5

6.4

7.0

7.6

9.1

1.3

1.5

1.7

2.1

2.4

2.7

2.9

3.0

3.4

3.7

4.3

3. Regular 45 elbow

1.1

1.4

1.7

2.3

2.7

3.4

4.0

4.6

4.9

5.5

6.7

4. Tee-line flow or pinch valve

0.85

1.0

1.2

1.4

1.6

1.8

2.0

2.2

2.3

2.5

2.9

5. Tee-branch flow
(branch flow 90 turn)

3.7

4.6

5.5

7.3

9.1

10.4

11.3

13.1

14.3

15.8

18.9

6. Gate valve

0.88

0.94

0.98

0.98

0.98

0.98

0.98

0.98

0.98

0.98

0.98

7. Non-return valve

4.0

4.9

6.1

8.2

9.2

12.2

14.6

15.9

17.7

18.9

24.4

8. Bell-mouth inlet

0.29

0.40

0.49

0.70

0.88

1.1

1.2

1.4

1.6

1.9

2.3

9. Square-mouth inlet

2.9

4.0

4.9

7.0

8.8

10.7

12.2

14.3

16.2

18.6

23.2

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SLURRY PUMPING
In Table 3, we can see, for example, that a regular 90 elbow in a
4-inch piping system is equivalent to 1.8 meters of 4-inch pipe.
Once you know the equivalent length of a piping system, you can
establish the friction loss in the system by using a friction factor,
hf-factor. "hf" stands for "head due to friction" and depends on the
volumetric flow rate of slurry through the piping system.
These factors are listed in Table 2 on page 26.
Have a second look at Table 2.

Notes
1. The h -factors quoted in Table 2 are for the pumping of slurry
f
even though the units are "height of water per length of pipe".
2. The h -factors quoted in Table 2 include an additional 10% to
f
water. This factor is assumed to be the same for all slurries,
independent of slurry SG, % solids, solids size distribution, etc.
Different correction factors may be used by others. However, for
pumping over the relatively short distances encountered in mineral
concentrators, the net effect of the correction factor on the calculated
TDH is negligible.

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SLURRY PUMPING

41

Use the following equation to calculate the friction loss, hf, caused by
the piping system:

= Equivalent length of pipe x hf-factor

in the system
m water
(m pipe)
100 m pipe

Here is an example on how to use the h -factors to solve for the total
f

friction loss of the system, hf.

Example
3
A piping system delivers 160 m /h of slurry to a set of hydrocyclones.
The piping system is composed of the following items:

55.0 meters of straight 6-inch pipe

One square-mouth inlet (at the pump box wall)
One pinch valve

From Table 3, we can establish the equivalent length of 6-inch pipe

created by the presence of the fitting, valve, and elbows:
For the square-mouth inlet, the equivalent length of 6-inch pipe
is 4.9 meters of pipe.
For the pinch valve, the equivalent length of 6-inch pipe is
1.2 meters of pipe.
For the two elbows, the equivalent length of 6-inch pipe is
(2 x 1.7) 3.4 meters.

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42

The total equivalent length of 6-inch pipe for this system is:
55.0 + 4.9 + 1.2 + 3.4 = 64.5 meters of 6-inch pipe
To determine the total friction loss in this piping system, we must go
to Table 2.
In Table 2, the value of h -factor associated with a slurry volumetric
f
flow rate of 160 m3/h is 3.5 meters of water per 100 meters of pipe.

Since we have a piping system that has an equivalent length of

64.5 meters of 6-inch pipe, the total friction loss in this system is:
64.5 m of pipe x 3.5

m water
100 m pipe

= 2.3 m water

This piping system therefore contributes 2.3 m water to the total

dynamic head of the system. If the pump is transporting slurry
(SG = 1.50) instead of water, then the friction loss, hf, becomes
(2.3/1.50) 1.5 m slurry.

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43

Exercise
Calculate the total friction loss, hf, in a system which is pumping

3
slurry (SG = 1.44) at 300 m /h. The piping system consists of:

20.5 m of straight 8-inch pipe

One square-mouth inlet
One pinch valve
Two non-return valves
Six regular 90 elbows

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44

2.0 m water (or 1.4 m slurry)
Solution
For the valves and fittings, the equivalent length of 8-inch pipe, from
Table 3, was:
20.5 m
7.0 m
1.4 m
2 x 8.2 m
6 x 3.7 m
67.5 m water
From Table 2, the friction loss associated with 8-inch piping and a
300 m3/h flow rate of slurry is 2.9 meters of water per 100 meters of
pipe.

m water
= 2.0 m water
100 m pipe

In meters of slurry, this represents (2.0 / 1.44) 1.4 meters of slurry.

Now you know how to determine the value of each element of the
total dynamic head of a pumping system.
Take a break and when you return, you will practice calculating the
total dynamic head of pumping systems.

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45

To summarize what you have learned so far in this module, here is
the simplified Bernouilli's equation:

TDH = P

+ V2 + (Z2 - Z1) + hf
2g

Each of the four elements in this equation carries its own units of
must be expressed in "height of slurry".
We have already presented an example on the use of this equation
on page 20. Solve the following exercise.

Exercise
Determine the total dynamic head, TDH, of the slurry pumping
system illustrated in the following Worksheet 1. This worksheet
Give your final answer in "meters of slurry". Use this space and the
blank page that follows the worksheet for your calculations.

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46

WORKSHEET

SYSTEM INFORMATION
Slurry SG
Vol. flow rate of slurry

= 1.60
= 205 m3/h
= 55 kPa

PIPING SYSTEM INFORMATION

Pipe nominal diameter
Length of straight pipe
Valves and fittings:

= 6 inches
= 50.0 m

One square-mouth inlet

One non-return valve
Two 45 elbows
One pinch valve

SLURRY PUMPING

SLURRY PUMPING
Exercise (continued)

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SLURRY PUMPING

48

TDH = 19.0 m slurry
Solution
TDH = P

+ V2 + (Z2 - Z1) + hf
2g

The static pressure equals 3.5 m slurry:

55 kPa x 0.102 m water
kPa

= 5.6 m water

5.6 m water
1.60

= 3.5 m slurry

The velocity head equals 0.5 m slurry:

From Table 2, V2 is approximately 2.98 m/sec based on a slurry
volumetric flow rate of 205 m3/h and a nominal pipe diameter of
6 inches.
2.982
2 x 9.81 m/sec

= 0.5 m slurry
2

15.8 - 3.0

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

= 12.8 m slurry

SLURRY PUMPING

49

The friction loss equals 2.2 m slurry:
The equivalent length of pipe for the piping system is
67.3 meters:
Straight 6-inch pipe:
One square-mouth inlet:
One non-return valve:
Two 45 elbows:
One pinch valve:

50.0 m
4.9 m
6.1 m
3.4 m
1.7 m
+ 1.2 m
67.3 m

From Table 2, h -factor equals 5.3 m water per 100 meters of

f
pipe:
67.3 m pipe x 5.3 m water
100 m pipe

= 3.6 m water

3.6 m water
1.60

= 2.3 m slurry

Finally we have:
TDH = 3.5 + 0.5 + 12.8 + 2.2
TDH = 19.0 m slurry

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
How did you do in this exercise?
Well? Good work!
Not so well? Study the solution carefully to make sure that you
understand each step.

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SLURRY PUMPING
Up to now, we have defined the boundaries of a pumping system as
the level of slurry in the pump box and the point where the slurry is
discharged to atmosphere or enters a set of hydrocyclones.
In fact, it doesn't matter where you decide to set the boundaries on
each side of the pump: the total dynamic head of the pump will be
the same regardless of the location of the boundaries.
Here is an example.

Example
A slurry pumping system is illustrated in the following Worksheet 1.
In this system, there is one initial boundary (1); however, two
terminal boundaries (2 and 3) have been identified so that we can
calculate the total dynamic head of the pump in two different ways.

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52

WORKSHEET

SYSTEM INFORMATION
Slurry SG
Vol. flow rate of slurry

= 1.60
= 300 m3/h
= 95 kPa

PIPING SYSTEM INFORMATION

Pipe nominal diameter
Length of straight pipe
Valves and fittings:

= 6 inches
= 42.5 m

One square-mouth inlet

One non-return valve

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53

We are going to calculate the TDH for this pump in two ways:
from point "1" to "3" and from "1" to "2".

From point "1" to "3":

Since the slurry is at atmospheric pressure at point "3", P3 equals
zero. Since the velocity of the slurry at point "3" is negligible, V is
3
also zero.
Here is the starting equation:
TDH = 0 + 0 + (17.8 - 4.1) + h

Let's solve for hf. The piping system is as follows.

Straight 6-inch pipe:
One square-mouth inlet:
One non-return valve:

42.5 m
4.9 m
6.1 m
+ 3.4 m
56.9 m

From Table 2, hf-factor equals 11.6 m water per 100 m pipe:

56.9 m pipe x 11.6 m water
100 m pipe

= 6.6 m water

6.6 m water
1.6

= 4.1 m slurry

Finally we have:
TDH = 0 + 0 + 13.7 + 4.1
TDH = 17.8 m slurry

Now let's see what we get if we use points "1" and "2".

SLURRY PUMPING

54

From point "1" to "2":

Since there is a pressure gauge at point "2", P2 has a value. And
since the slurry velocity at point "2" is significant, V2 also has a value.
Here is the starting equation:
2

TDH = 95 kPa + V2 + (10.7 - 4.1) + hf

2g
The static pressure is 6.1 m slurry:
95 kPa x 0.102 m water
kPa

= 9.7 m water

9.7 m water
1.60

= 6.1 m slurry

The velocity head equals 1.0 m slurry:

From Table 2, V is 4.46 m/sec based on a slurry volumetric
2

flow rate of 300 m3/h and a nominal pipe diameter of 6 inches.

2

4.46

= 1.0 m slurry

2 x 9.81 m/sec2
The vertical lift equals only 6.6 m slurry this time.
The friction loss, h , remains at 4.1 m slurry since there are
f
no valves nor fittings between points "2" and "3".
Finally we have:
TDH = 6.1 + 1.0 + 6.6 + 4.1
TDH = 17.8 m slurry

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
As you can see, the total dynamic head of this pump is 17.8 m slurry
no matter where the system boundaries are located. In fact, you
can select any two practical boundary locations to calculate the TDH
of a pumping system.
Solve the following exercise.

Exercise
The pumping system for a closed-grinding circuit is shown in the
following worksheet.

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56

WORKSHEET

SYSTEM INFORMATION
Slurry SG
Vol. flow rate of slurry

= 1.90
= 200 m3/h
= 100 kPa

PIPING SYSTEM INFORMATION

Pipe nominal diameter
Length of straight pipe
Valves and fittings:

= 5 inches
= 22.8 m

One bell-mouth inlet

One non-return valve
Two regular 90 elbows

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING

SLURRY PUMPING
Exercise (continued)
Questions
a) What is the TDH for this pump from points "1" to "2"?

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SLURRY PUMPING
Exercise (continued)
b) What is the TDH of this pumping system from points "1" to "3"?
Hints:

Consider the hydrocyclone as a fitting which causes

a pressure drop of 100 kPa. Convert this pressure as
necessary.
Consider the average elevation of the two discharge
points of the hydrocyclone to be approximately equal
to the elevation at the hydrocyclone inlet
(i.e., Z = Z ).
3
2
Consider the average slurry velocity at the
discharges of the hydrocyclones to be approximately
equal to that at the inlet (i.e., V3 = V2).

The answer to (a) and (b) follows.

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SLURRY PUMPING

59

TDH for both questions (a) and (b) is 18.1 m slurry.
Solutions
a) Here is the starting equation:
TDH = 100 kPa +

V 2 + (12.0 - 2.5) + h
2

2g
The static pressure is 5.37 m slurry:
100 kPa x 0.102 m water
kPa
10.2 m water
1.90

= 10.2 m water

= 5.4 m slurry

The velocity head equals 0.9 m slurry:

From Table 2, V2 is 4.29 m/sec based on a slurry volumetric flow
rate of 200 m3/h and a nominal pipe diameter of 5 inches.
2

= 0.9 m slurry

4.29

2 x 9.81 m/sec

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60

The friction loss, hf , equals 2.3 m slurry:
Straight 5-inch pipe:
One bell-mouth inlet:
One non-return valve:
Two regular 90 elbows:

22.8 m
0.40 m
4.9 m
+ 4.4 m
32.5 m

From Table 2, hf-factor equals 13.6 m water per 100 m pipe:

32.5 m pipe x 13.6 m water
100 m pipe

= 4.4 m water

4.4 m water
1.90

= 2.3 m slurry

Finally we have:
TDH = 5.4 + 0.9 + 9.5 + 2.3
TDH = 18.1 m slurry

b) Since the pressure at point "3" is atmospheric, P equals zero.

3
We have stated that V is equal to V and that Z equals Z .
3
2
3
2
We have:
TDH = 0 +

4.292
+ (12.0 - 2.5) + hf
2 x 9.81

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61

The friction loss, hf, from points "1" to "3" equals 7.70 m slurry.
This equals the value of hf in (a), i.e., 2.3 m slurry plus the
equivalent height of slurry created by the added "fitting" which is
the hydrocyclone between points "2" and "3". This fitting creates a
pressure drop of 100 kPa (the pressure gauge reading at the
hydrocyclone inlet):
100 kPa x 0.102 m water
kPa
10.2 m water
1.90

= 10.2 m water

= 5.4 m slurry

The total hf is:

2.3 + 5.4

= 7.7 m slurry

Finally we have:
TDH = 0 + 0.9 + 9.5 + 7.7
TDH = 18.1 m slurry

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
Note
For multiple-diameter piping systems, you can consider the various
To determine the value of V2, use the diameter of the pipe at
the terminal boundary (point "2").
To determine the total value of h , calculate h for each pipe
f
f
diameter, including valves and fittings. Then simply add them
up.
Those steps are only necessary if the presence of various pipe
diameters is significant in relation to the entire piping system. For
example, you don't have to do this if one out of twenty meters of pipe
is six inches instead of five inches in diameter.

You have just learned how to determine the total dynamic head,
TDH, for a particular pumping system which is transporting a specific
volumetric flow rate of slurry. This defines one point on the "system
capacity versus head" curve which is presented in the following
section.

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SLURRY PUMPING
The total dynamic head of a system (and therefore of the pump in the
system), corresponds to a specific volumetric flow rate of slurry, Q.
This TDH versus Q relationship represents a single operating point
for this system. Look at Figure 3.

Figure 3. The operating point of the system.

In this figure, point "a" represents the total dynamic head of the
3
system, 20.0 m slurry, at a slurry volumetric flow rate of 630 m /h.

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SLURRY PUMPING
If the flow rate of slurry were reduced to zero, but the system was
kept full of slurry, there would still be a total dynamic head. This TDH
would be solely attributable to the vertical lift, (Z2 - Z1), in the
system. Since Q would equal zero, the other three elements of
Bernouilli's equation would also equal zero since they depend on Q.
The vertical lift (at Q equal to zero) is illustrated by point "z " in
a
Figure 4.

Point "za" corresponds to the minimum total dynamic head of

15.0 m slurry for this system at a slurry flow rate of zero.

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SLURRY PUMPING
Points "a" and "za" are possible operating points for the pumping
system. Both points therefore belong to a curve called the "system
capacity versus head" curve or "system" curve. See Figure 5.

In Figure 5, the system curve is represented by the letter "A". As the

volumetric flow rate of slurry changes within a particular pumping
system, TDH changes. Now, let's see how we can draw this curve
for any slurry pumping system.

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SLURRY PUMPING

66

As you can see, the system curve is not a straight line. The
relationship between TDH and Q is non-linear because static
pressure (P), velocity head (V2/2g), and friction loss (h ) are each
f
proportional to Q2.
In order to draw the system curve, you can use Bernoulli's equation.
In this equation, the only element which is independent of Q is the
vertical lift of the system, (Z2 - Z1). Since the other three elements
are proportional to Q2, we can group the elements as follows:

TDH = (Z

- Z ) +
1

+ V2 + h
f
2g

2

elements and Q , the variable on which they depend. This

relationship can be expressed by a single constant for a given
system:

TDH = (Z

- Z ) + Constant x Q
1

You can use this equation and the information you have on one
operating point such as "a" to determine the value of the constant in
the above equation. Once you have evaluated the constant, you can
draw the curve that goes through "za" and "a" for that particular
system.
Please note: This equation will have to be modified (a) if the system is
changed (e.g. the number of operating cyclones is changed); or, (b) if
the static pressure is determined by a head tank (e.g. the system on page 52).

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67

Procedure
point of the system:

TDH (m fluid)

Vertical lift

(Z

Slurry volumetric flow rate

3
Q (m /h)

- Z1) (m fluid)

2. Using the values in step (1), solve for the constant in Bernoulli's
equation for this system:
2
TDH = (Z2 - Z1) + Constant x Q

3. Re-write the equation in Step (2) which is specific to your pumping

system by substituting the values of (Z2 - Z1) and the constant.

TDH
(m fluid)

= __________ (m fluid) + __________ x Q2

4. Use the equation from step (3) to calculate the value of TDH for
several arbitrary values of Q. Tabulate the results.

Q (m /h)

TDH (m fluid)

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING
Procedure (continued)
5. Plot the values from Step (4) on the TDH versus Q graph.
6. Draw the system curve.

Here is an example.

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SLURRY PUMPING

69

Example
The total dynamic head of a pump is 15.2 m slurry for a slurry flow
3
rate of 300 m /h. Bernoulli's equation, with all its elements
expressed in "m slurry", is as follows:

TDH

= P

+ V2 + (Z2 - Z1) + hf
2g

15.2 m slurry = 4.6 + 1.0 + 6.6 + 3.0

The operating point of the system and its vertical lift are illustrated in
the figure below.

SLURRY PUMPING

70

We have the following information (step 1):

TDH

15.2 m slurry

(Z2 - Z1)
Q

6.6 m slurry

3
300 m /h

We have this rearranged equation to solve for the constant (step 2):
- Z1) + Constant x Q2

TDH

= (Z

15.2

Constant

= 15.2 - 6.6 =

8.6

3002

300

We can calculate the value of the constant but it is simpler to keep it

in this fractional form.

TDH

6.6 m slurry +

( m slurry)

8.6

300 2

x Q2

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71

(step 4):
Q (m3/h)

TDH (m slurry)

0
100
200
300
400

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

6.6
7.6
10.4
15.2 (reference point)
21.9

SLURRY PUMPING

72

Solve the following exercise.

Exercise
Here is Bernoulli's equation with its four elements (m slurry) for a
3
system with a volumetric flow rate of slurry of 200 m /h.

TDH

= P2 + V2
2g

+ (Z2 - Z1) + hf

19.1
= 3.5 + 0.5 + 12.8 + 2.3
m slurry

From this information, draw the system curve for this pump in the
following TDH versus Q graph. Use the next page for your
calculations.

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Exercise (continued)

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Exercise (continued)
Question
What would be the total dynamic head of this system if the slurry
throughput rate of the pump were increased to 275 m3/h?

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TDH would be approximately equal to 25 m slurry.
Here is the equation that represents the system curve:
TDH = 12.8 m slurry + 6.3 x Q2
(m slurry)
2002
If Q equals 275 m3/h, TDH equals 24.7 m slurry. This is shown by
the system curve illustrated below.

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You now know how to draw the system curve for a particular system
starting from one operating point. However, if any of the
characteristics of the pumping system change, the curve for the
system will also change.
In Figure 6 below, study the system curve "A" for a pumping system.
The vertical lift of the system, "za", is 15 m slurry.

(example #1).

If the vertical lift of the system is reduced to 10 m slurry, for example

by lowering the discharge tank, point "zb" will result. There will be a
new system curve, "B"; in this case, the shape of the curve will
remain the same but the curve will be lower on the graph.

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Take another situation. Suppose that the hydrocyclone feed
pressure increases at the inlet of the hydrocyclones (because you
have inserted smaller vortex finders). In this case, the vertical lift
remains constant but the system curve will change. You will then
have a new constant in Bernoulli's equation for this system. The new
system curve "B" will result from this change to the system. It is
shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7. Changing the constant in Bernoulli's equation for the

pumping system (example #2).
With the new operating point and vertical lift for the system, you can
determine the new system curve using the procedure on page 67.

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This concludes Part I of this module. Take a break and when you
come back, you will learn about slurry pumps and how to
characterize their performance.

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PART II - CENTRIFUGAL SLURRY PUMPS
Centrifugal slurry pumps are one of the most economical means of
transporting slurries in mineral processing plants.
Here is a brief description of these pumps.

MAJOR COMPONENTS
Figure 8 shows major components of a typical centrifugal slurry pump
assembly.

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You can better see the impeller and the rubber lining of such pumps
in the cross-sectional diagram in Figure 9.

As the impeller rotates, it imparts energy to the fluid in the form of

pressure and velocity head in order to meet the total dynamic head
requirements of the system.

Now, let's see how to obtain the desired performance from these
pumps.

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SLURRY PUMP PERFORMANCE
In this section, we will show you how to use pump performance
curves provided by pump manufacturers. These curves provide the
data needed to obtain the desired pump performance.
As you have seen in Part I, the pump provides the total dynamic head
required for a given slurry flow rate. The operating point, "a", falls on
the system curve "A".
Point "a" not only represents the TDH and Q for the system; it also
represents the TDH and Q for the pump. In addition, point "a"
corresponds to specific pump performance characteristics such as
impeller speed, efficiency, and net positive suction head * . Pump
manufacturers provide you with curves which enable you to
determine the performance characteristics of the pump at the
operating point.
You can draw the system curve and/or plot the operating point for the
pumping system on the set of manufacturer's curves for the pump.
The manufacturers' curves are covered in detail next.

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MANUFACTURERS' PUMP PERFORMANCE CURVES
Let's say that a pumping system is operating at point "a" on the
system curve "A". If we decrease the vertical lift of this system, for
example, by decreasing the elevation of the hydrocyclones, a new
"system" curve, "B", will be defined. At the same impeller speed,
there will be a new operating point "b" in the new system: the pump
can handle more slurry at a reduced TDH.

Figure 10. Changing the system while maintaining pump impeller

speed (reduced TDH).

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Similarly, if the vertical lift of the system is increased, for example, by
increasing the elevation of the hydrocyclones, then at the same
impeller speed, there will be a new operating point, "c": the pump
can handle less slurry at a higher TDH. The corresponding system
curve "C" is illustrated in Figure 11.

Figure 11. Changing the system while maintaining the pump

impeller speed (increased TDH).

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All three points "a", "b", and "c" are based on the same pump
impeller speed. This corresponds to the pump head-capacity curve
for that particular impeller speed. For example, if the impeller speed
is 530 rpm, then the curve can be identified as such. See Figure 12.

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Now consider the original system curve "A" in Figure 13 below.
Increasing the pump impeller speed of this system from 530 to
650 rpm would cause the flow rate of slurry, Q, to increase to point
"aa" along curve "A". Therefore the pump head-capacity curve for
650 rpm is to the right and above the 530-rpm curve. Pump
head-capacity curves have similar shapes for a particular pump.
Study Figure 13.

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The head-capacity curves (at different impeller speeds) for a pump
are determined by the pump manufacturer. The manufacturer also
provides you with two other types of curves for the pump: the pump
"efficiency" and "NPSH" curves. These are presented next.

Efficiency Curves
The efficiency curves for a pump are determined by design and
testing carried out by the pump manufacturer. The pump efficiency at
different impeller speeds and slurry volumetric flow rates depends on
the size and shape of the impeller, internal pump dimensions, etc.
New pumps should be selected to operate close to maximum
efficiency (target design performance) to minimize energy
consumption.
Study the various efficiency curves for a particular pump in Figure 14.
The operating point "a" is also illustrated.

Figure 14. The pump efficiency curves.

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In Figure 14, you can see that the present operating point "a"
indicates that the pump is operating at approximately 75% efficiency.
This is the maximum efficiency of this pump.
If the system were modified and the pump impeller speed changed so
that the new operating point corresponded to a TDH of 15 m slurry for
the same Q, then the efficiency of the pump would decrease to
approximately 73%.

Solve the following exercise.

Exercise
Study Figure 14 again to determine the expected efficiency of the
pump if it were to operate at a TDH of 30 m slurry and a Q of
3
400 m /h.

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Approximately 62% efficiency.

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89

NPSH Curves
"NPSH" stands for "net positive suction head". This is the absolute
(as opposed to gauge) pressure at the feed inlet of the pump which is
actually forcing the fluid into the pump.

Gauge +
pressure

Atmospheric
pressure

Absolute
pressure

"NPSH" curves from pump manufacturers indicate the required fluid

absolute pressure to feed a pump so that cavitation* of the fluid
inside the pump does not occur.
If the static pressure is too low, the fluid can vaporize into gas,
forming bubbles, as it enters the pump. As the fluid is pressurized by
the pump impeller these bubbles can collapse suddenly and violently,
sending shock waves that can cause serious damage to the internal
pump components. When cavitation occurs, it sounds like marbles
are passing through the pump.
Study the typical set of NPSH curves in Figure 15. Again, the
operating point "a" is shown.

SLURRY PUMPING

Figure 15. The pump NPSH curves.

The NPSH curves in Figure 15 indicate that the required net positive
suction head for the operating point "a" is approximately 7 meters of
water.

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Notes
1. The pump impeller, which imparts the energy to the fluid, does not
distinguish between fluids of different specific gravities. Therefore
the units of TDH are in meters of fluid being pumped.
2. The unit of NPSH required is meters of water. The vaporization
of water (in the slurry) is what normally leads to cavitation. The
available NPSH must ensure that the static pressure throughout
the pumping system is high enough so that water does not
vaporize. This pressure, known as "water vapor pressure", is
normally quoted in standard pressure units such as meters of
water.
3. For all these calculations, we assume a relatively low water temperature (0 to 20C). At high temperatures, the vapour pressure of
water must be taken into account.

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The NPSH curves from the manufacturer tell us how much head of
fluid is required ahead of the pump in order to avoid cavitation. We
must establish the available NPSH in the pumping system to verify
that the available NPSH in the system exceeds that required.
The available NPSH in a pumping system has two components:
atmospheric pressure (P ) and fluid pressure (Z ). These are
1
1
illustrated in Figure 16.

Figure 16. The components of the "net positive suction head" for a
pump.

Friction losses from the pump box to the pump can normally be considered as negligible for the purpose of calculating NPSH available
(when the length of the suction pipe is short).

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93

Use the following equation to calculate the available NPSH,

NPSH-A, in a pumping system:
NPSH-A =
(m water)

Atmospheric
pressure
(m water)

pump inlet
(m water)

Here is an example.

Example
An atmospheric pressure of one atmosphere exists in a mineral
processing plant. In the pump box, slurry of SG = 2.0 stands at four
meters deep. The NPSH available in this system is:
NPSH-A

1 atm + 4 m slurry

10.3 m water

18.3 m water

+ (4 x 2.0) m water

The next step is to check with the required NPSH curves from the
manufacturer to make sure that this available NPSH meets the
required NPSH for the pump while it operates at point "a".
If the curves shown back on page 90 in Figure 15 are those for this
pump, then the required NPSH is approximately 7 m water. Since
the system provides more than that, we can say that:

NPSH available

>

NPSH required

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Exercise
In a pumping system, the slurry level is 2.3 meters above the pump
intake. Slurry SG is 1.9.
This pumping system is located at very high altitude where the
atmospheric pressure happens to be 0.82 atm. Determine the NPSH
available in this system for the pump.

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Exercise (continued)
If the required NPSH for this pump is 8 m water, is the available
NPSH in this system sufficient?

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The available NPSH is 12.8 m water:
NPSH-A = 0.82 atm + 2.3 m slurry (SG = 1.9)
NPSH-A = 0.82 atm x 10.33 m water + 2.3 x 1.9
atm
NPSH-A = 12.8 m water
Therefore:
NPSH available > NPSH required

Note
When the level of slurry in the pump box is above the pump intake
(as in Figure 16), the pump is said to be under "flooded suction".
This design is common in mineral processing plants. Flooded suction
helps prevent the collapse of the rubber liners into the pump.

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If you determine for any pump operating point that NPSH required is
less that NPSH available, you cannot operate the pump at that point.
You must either:
a) Choose another pump which has a lower NPSH required.
b) Modify the installation to provide a higher pressure at the pump
inlet.
Now we can present you with a complete set of curves, all on the
same diagram. These are similar to the ones you are given by pump
manufacturers.

Manufacturers' Charts
Figure 17 on the following page shows a manufacturer's
performance chart for a pump. On the graph, you can observe:
1. The head-capacity curves at impeller speeds ranging from 300 to
700 rpm.
2. The efficiency curves, ranging from 70% to a maximum of
approximately 82%.
3. The required NPSH curves (broken lines), ranging from 4 to 8
meters of water.

Study Figure 17 and make sure you can identify the three sets of
curves listed above.

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98

Figure 17. A typical manufacturer's pump performance chart.

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You can draw the system curve on this chart. By knowing the
present impeller speed of the pump, you can locate the operating
point of the system (and pump) along the system curve: it is the
intersect between the head-capacity curve (for that speed) and the
system curve.

Once the system curve is drawn on the chart, you can also move
along the system curve to see how a change in impeller speed would
change the operating point.

Answer the questions in the following exercise.

Exercise
The system curve for a pumping system has been drawn on the
manufacturer's pump performance chart. See the following figure.

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Exercise (continued)
Questions
From the manufacturer's performance chart:
1. Identify the coordinates of the present operating point of the pump:

3. What is the present pump efficiency (approximately) for this pump?

4. If the impeller speed is increased to 700 rpm, what will be the new
flow rate of slurry (approximately) through the pump?

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Exercise (continued)
5. What will be the new pump efficiency at the new speed of 700
rpm?

6. If the vertical lift of the system is decreased from 27.5 m slurry to

20 m slurry (and no other physical characteristics of the system or
the pump has changed), what would be the new expected flow rate
of slurry through the pump based on the original pump speed?
(You must draw a new system curve to answer this question.)

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1. The coordinates for the operating point are:
3
(280 m /h, 37.5 m slurry)

2. Approximately 670 rpm.

3. Approximately 76%.
4. Approximately 300 m3/h.
5. Approximately 77%.
3
6. Approximately 330 m /h. Remember that the pump impeller
speed has not changed; it is still 670 rpm. The following
worksheet shows the new system curve.

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Now that you know how to use the manufacturer's pump performance
curves, let's see how we can adjust pump performance.

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The most common change in performance for a pumping system is to
vary the volumetric flow rate of slurry through the system. This is
normally associated with a change in the total dynamic head of the
system. The solution is generally to vary the pump speed; this is
done by changing the drive sheaves on the motor and pump.
A change in the pump speed must also be done in conjunction with a
verification of the motor capabilities. When the change in speed is
acceptable for the pump but not for the motor, the motor must be
changed. If the change is not acceptable for the pump, then the
whole pump installation must be changed.
There are five pump characteristics to consider when adjusting pump
performance. For both the present and desired pump performance,
they are:
1. The total dynamic head of the pump.
2. The volumetric flow rate of slurry through the pump.
3. The efficiency of the pump.
4. The available NPSH for the pump.
5. The power draw of the pump motor.

You already know how to determine the first four characteristics. You
will now learn how to determine the power draw of the pump motor
for the new target performance since it must not exceed the
capability of the present motor.

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107

Pump Power Draw

To calculate the power draw of the pump, use the following equation:

367.5 x Eff.

Where

Bkw

Power draw of the pump, termed the

"Brake kilowatt" draw (kw)

Q
TDH

=
=

SG
367.5
Eff.

=
=
=

3
Volumetric flow rate of slurry (m /h)
Total dynamic head for the pump
(m slurry)
Specific gravity of the slurry
Constant
Pump efficiency (fraction)

In British units, the "Brake kilowatt" draw is termed the "Brake

horsepower" or BHP.
Here is an example on how to use this equation.

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108

Example
The present power draw of a pump must be calculated. Based on
information from its present performance, we have:
Q
TDH
SG
Eff.

=
=
=
=

300 m3/h
16.5 m slurry
1.8
73%

Bkw

300 x 16.5 x 1.8

367.5 x 73%

Bkw

33 kw

We have:

It happens that the motor for this pump is a 50 HP (37 kw) motor.
The present operating point of the pump is therefore already
demanding near the full capability of the motor.

Note
As a general rule of thumb, the power draw of the pump should not
be greater than approximately 90% of the rated power draw of the
motor.

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Exercise
Refer back to Figure 17 on page 98 to determine the power draw of
the pump for the operating point (250, 35). The slurry SG is 1.6.

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The power draw of the pump is approximately 51 kw.
Solution
Bkw = 250 x 35 x 1.6
367.5 x 74%
Bkw = 51 kw

This pump happens to be connected to a 100 HP (75 kw) motor.

This operating condition is therefore well handled by the motor.

Remember, whenever you change any of the characteristics of a

pumping system, you must determine whether or not the pump motor
is appropriately sized for the new target conditions.

Exercise
Study the figure on the following page and calculate the expected
power draw of the pump after a major change to the system which
is expected to operate at point (450, 25) instead of the existing point
(280, 37.5). Slurry SG is also expected to increase to 1.8.

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Exercise (continued)
Question
If this pump is connected to a 100-HP (75 kw) motor, would you feel
comfortable in operating the pump under the new conditions using
this motor?

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The expected power draw is 72 kw and the answer to the question is
"no".
Solution
Bkw = 450 x 25.0 x 1.8
367.5 x 77%
Bkw = 72 kw

The power draw of this pump is very close to the rated power of the
motor (75 kw). You should consider installing a more powerful motor,
for example, a 125-HP (93 kw) motor.

Major changes to a pumping system may require that the pump itself
be changed. When the expected operating point is outside the limits
set by the manufacturer's performance curves for a pump, you will
need to install a bigger (or smaller) pump for the application.

Here is an example.

Example
In the following figure, the present operating point for the pump is
(280, 37.5). Changes to the system call for a TDH of 32 m slurry and
3
a Q of 650 m /h. The new target operating point therefore falls
outside the operational range of this pump. The present pump is not
designed to handle this new target condition.

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In this case, it was decided that a larger pump would be purchased.
Various pump curves from manufacturers were available; they were
studied and a new pump that could handle the new flow rate at the
new TDH was selected. Its performance curves are shown in the
following figure.

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As you can see, the desired operating point "b" on the graph for the
new pump falls well into its operating range. The speed of the pump
will be approximately 740 rpm. It must be decided what size of motor
is required for this new pump. Therefore the power draw under the
new conditions must be calculated.

367.5 x 72%
Bkw = 141 kw

A 250-HP (186-kw) motor will likely be selected for this pump. A

200-HP (149-kw) motor might do, but it is too close (<10%) to the
estimated power requirements.

Solve the following exercise.

Exercise
Continuing with the previous example (and corresponding figure), the
vertical lift of the system has increased by 8 meters. No other
characteristics of the system have changed.

Questions
3
1. In order to maintain a volumetric flow rate of slurry of 650 m /h,
what should be the new pump impeller speed, approximately?

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Exercise (continued)
2. Can the 200-HP (149-kw) motor handle the new conditions?
(Slurry SG = 1.8)

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119

1. The new impeller speed should be approximately 850 rpm. The
figure with both the actual and desired operating points follow.
2. The expected Bkw for the motor is 182 kw. This is above the rated
capacity of the motor. The motor should therefore be replaced by
a bigger one.

Bkw =

650 x 40 x 1.8
367.5 x 70%

Bkw = 182 kw

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Each pump has an optimum operating point which approximately
corresponds to its average impeller speed and maximum pump
efficiency. For example, in the worksheet on the previous page, the
optimum operating point corresponds to a TDH of approximately 30
meters and a Q of 800 m3/h.
Here are some general guidelines for deciding whether or not you
should change the pump when you modify a pumping system:
If the new Q is more than 1.25 times the optimum Q for the
existing pump, select another pump.
If the new Q is less than 0.50 times the optimum Q for the existing
pump, select another pump.

You have completed the work for another module! Take a break and
then complete the Progress Review.

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PROGRESS REVIEW
Estimated time for completion: 25 minutes

Review.

The following Worksheet 1 shows a pumping system in a mineral

processing plant.

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WORKSHEET

SYSTEM INFORMATION
Slurry SG
Vol. flow rate of slurry

= 1.55
= 250 m3/h
= 66 kPa

PIPING SYSTEM INFORMATION

Pipe nominal diameter
Length of straight pipe
Valves and fittings:

= 6 inches
= 29.0 m

One square-mouth inlet

One non-return valve
One pinch valve
Two 45 elbows
Four regular 90 elbows

SLURRY PUMPING

SLURRY PUMPING

PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

2. The following figure shows the manufacturer's curves for the pump
in this system.

Locate the present operating point of the pump in the figure.

3. Draw the system curve for the pump. Use this space for your
calculations.

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PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

4. The slurry volumetric flow rate for the system must be increased to
3
300 m /h.

a) What will be the expected TDH for the system under the new
conditions?

b) What should the new pump impeller speed be to deliver the new
target flow rate at the new head?

conditions?

e) What is the new NPSH-A in the system under the new

conditions? (Assume normal atmospheric pressure.)

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PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

g) If this pump is connected to a 100-HP (75 kw) motor, can the

motor be safely used for the new operating conditions?

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PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

1. TDH for this pump is approximately 25.3 m slurry.
Solution
TDH = 66 kPa +

f
2 x 9.81

For hf, we have:

Straight 6-inch pipe:
One square-mouth inlet:
One non-return valve:
Two regular 45 elbows:
Four regular 90 elbows:

29.0 m
4.9 m
6.1 m
3.4 m
+ 10.8 m
55.4 m

From Table 2, hf equals 8.8 m water per 100 m pipe:

55.4 m pipe x 8.8 m water
100 m pipe

= 4.9 m water

4.9 m water
1.55

= 3.2 m slurry

TDH = 4.3 + 0.8 + 17.0 + 3.2

TDH = 25.3 m slurry

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129

PROGRESS REVIEW
(continued)

2. The figure on the following page shows the operating point and the
system curve to which it belongs.

3. To draw the system curve, you must solve for the constant that
relates "Q" to three of the elements of Bernouilli's equation.

Solution
25.0 = 17.0 + Constant x 250
Constant =

25.0 - 17.0 =
2

250

TDH = 17.0 +

8.0

8.0
250

2502

Q2

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PROGRESS REVIEW

(continued)

4. a) Approximately 28.5 m slurry.
b) Approximately 570 rpm.
c) Approximately 81%.
d) The new required NPSH will be approximately 6.5 m.
e) The available NPSH will be close to 16.5 m water.
NPSH-A

f)

= 1 atm + 4.0 m slurry

= 10.3 m water + 6.2 m water
= 16.5 m water

g) Yes. The power draw of this pump is expected to be 45 kw.

This is within a reasonable operating range for this motor.
Bkw

367.5 x 81%
= 45 kw

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How did you do in this Progress Review?
Well? Congratulations!
You had some problems? Make sure you understand the
solutions before you take the Certification Test.

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CLOSING WORD
Congratulations in completing another module of the Metcom
Instructional Program.
If you had problems using pump performance curves prior to
completing this module, we hope you can now work with them with
confidence. As you can see, the manufacturer's curves are not that
complex after all.
We cannot close this module without reminding you of the
importance of using the correct set of manufacturer's curves for
the pump under study. The pump model no. and impeller design for
which the curves apply are indicated on the manufacturer's
performance curves. Make sure they correspond to that of your
What you have learned in this module is closely linked to the module
entitled "Hydrocyclone Adjustments". In that module, you learned
volumetric flow rate of slurry and feed pressure to an installation of
hydrocyclones. In this module, you have learned how to adjust pump
performance in order to obtain the new target volumetric flow rate of
slurry and feed pressure to the hydrocyclones.

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133

SLURRY PUMPING
REFERENCES
Anonymous, "Allis-Chalmers Horizontal Rubber-Lined Slurry Pumps,
Technical Data", Bulletin No. Acc-2196-83, 1983.
Anonymous, Standards of the Hydraulic Institute.
Fatzinger, J.E., "The Design and Application of a Centrifugal Slurry
Pump", Mineral Processing Plant Design, AIME,
1980, Chapter 32, pp. 665-678.
Hanney, K.E., "Selection and Sizing of Slurry Lines, Pump Boxes,
and Launders", Design and Installation of Comminution
Circuits, AIME, 1982, Chapter 30, pp. 560-572.
Jackson, L.D., "The Design and Selection of Linatex Anti-Abrasion
Centrifugal Slurry Pumps", Annual General Meeting of the
CIM, Ottawa, 1972.
Loretto, J.C., and Laker, E.T., "Process Piping and Slurry
Transportation", Mineral Processing Plant Design,
AIME, 1980, Chapter 33, pp. 679-702.
McElvain, R.E., "Selection and Sizing of Slurry Pumps for Grinding
Circuits", Design and Installation of Comminution
Circuits, AIME, 1982, Chapter 31, pp. 573-591.
Vennard, J.K., Elementary Fluid Mechanics, John Wiley & Sons,
New York, 1961.
Weiss, N.L. (editor), SME Mineral Processing Handbook, AIME,
1985, pp. 10-54 to 193.

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

134

SLURRY PUMPING
APPENDIX A
PROPERTIES OF A SLURRY STREAM
There are eleven properties of interest in a slurry stream. These are
presented in grid form and in detail in the following Worksheet A. In
the grid, the boxes are numbered so you can easily refer to certain
values. The boxes are not numbered in sequence but you will soon
find out why it is set up this way.
The following characteristics about a slurry stream should be known
in order to calculate all other properties:
1.
2.
3.

Mass flow of solids (box 8).

Percent solids by weight (box 9).
Solids density (box 10).

For the purpose of the grid, the density of water is 1.00 t/m3
so you also know the value in "box 11".
Look at Worksheet A where typical starting values have been
entered.
From these known properties, you can calculate all other values in
the grid. Let's see how the chart in the lower section of the
worksheet works by taking you through an example!

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

135

136

PROPERTIES OF A
SLURRY STREAM

WORKSHEET

Company:
Technician:

Stream:
Date:

Mass
flow rate
(t/h)

Volume
flow rate
3
(m /h)

Solids
Water
Slurry

8
2
1

100.0

% Solids

72.5% (w)

a
b
c

Density
3

(t/m )

3
4
5
b

10
11
7

2.75
1.00

(v)

t/m3 = g/cc
% Solids by weight
% Solids by volume

Calculate:

8 / 9

Mass flow of solids

% solids by weight

1 - 8

Mass flow of slurry

- Mass flow of solids

8 / 10

Mass flow of solids

Density of the solids

3 + 4

Volume flow of solids

+ Volume flow of water

3 / 5

% solids by volume

Volume flow of solids

Volume flow of slurry

1 / 5

Mass flow of slurry .

Volume flow of slurry

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

SLURRY PUMPING

SLURRY PUMPING

137

Example
Refer back to Worksheet A on the previous page. Calculations of the
missing properties of that slurry stream are shown below. Values are
recorded to two decimal places during the calculations.

Box (1): (8) / (9) = 100.0 / 0.725 = 137.93 t/h (Mass flow of slurry)
Box (2): (1) - (8) = 137.93 - 100.00 = 37.93 t/h (Mass flow of water)
Box (3): (8)/ (10) = 100.0 / 2.75 = 36.36 m 3/h (Volume flow of
solids)
Box (4):

(2)

Box (5): (3) + (4) = 36.36 + 37.93 = 74.29 m3 /h (Volume flow of

slurry)
Box (6): (3) / (5) = 36.36 / 74.29 = 48.94% (% solids by volume)
Box (7): (1) / (5) = 137.93 / 74.29 = 1.86 t/m3 (Density of the slurry)

In the worksheet, values are recorded to one decimal place except

for densities which are recorded to two. Conversion factors for water
volumetric flow rates are presented below.

1 tonne/hr water
=
1 short ton/hr water =
1 long ton/hr water =

4.404 USGPM
3.994 USGPM
4.474 USGPM

=
=
=

0.2778 liters/s
0.2519 liters/s
0.2822 liters/s

For volumetric flow rates of solids or slurry, divide by the density of

the solids or slurry respectively.

1990 GPD Co. Ltd. / Metcom Consulting LLC (Rev.4, 2005)

138

PROPERTIES OF A
SLURRY STREAM

WORKSHEET

Company:
Technician:

Stream:
Date:

Mass
flow rate
(t/h)

Volume
flow rate
3
(m /h)

Solids
Water
Slurry

8
2
1

100.0
37.9
137.9

% Solids

72.5% (w)

a
b
c

Density
3

(t/m )

3
4
5

36.4
37.9
74.3

10
11
7

48.9% (v)

2.75
1.00
1.86

t/m3 = g/cc
% Solids by weight
% Solids by volume

Calculate:

8 / 9

Mass flow of solids

% solids by weight

1 - 8

Mass flow of slurry

- Mass flow of solids

8 / 10

Mass flow of solids

Density of the solids

3 + 4

Volume flow of solids

+ Volume flow of water

3 / 5

% solids by volume

Volume flow of solids

Volume flow of slurry

1 / 5

Mass flow of slurry .

Volume flow of slurry

SLURRY PUMPING

139
135

SLURRY PUMPING
GLOSSARY
Cavitation:

The formation followed by the sudden collapse

of vapor bubbles in the fluid passing through a
pump.

Friction loss:

Head or pressure loss due to the drag

forces on the fluid as it is transported
through a pumping system.

Equivalent to "pressure". The energy of

fluid which may take the form of static
pressure, vertical lift, velocity head, or
friction losses in a pumping system.

Net positive suction head: Absolute pressure at the inlet of a

pump which forces the fluid into it.
Pressure:

Equivalent to "head". The energy of fluid

which may take the form of static pressure,
vertical lift, velocity head, or friction losses in
a pumping system.

Specific gravity:

Ratio of the density of a solid or slurry

(g/cc) to that of water (g/cc).

Static pressure:

The pressure associated with the energy

applied to compress a fluid.

elements in a pumping system and
delivered by the pump.

The head associated with the kinetic energy

due to the fluid velocity in a pumping
system.

Vertical lift:

The head or pressure associated with the

increase in elevation of the fluid from the
initial to the terminal boundaries of a
pumping system.