You are on page 1of 2

Ejector vs. Eductor (What's the "diff" anyway?

By John Mathews, PE - Chief Applications Engineer, Croll Reynolds, Inc. Frequently, people will send us
an inquiry for a "steam jet eductor vacuum system." This is a misnomer. Although the terms "ejector" and
"eductor" are frequently interchanged, strictly speaking, they are not the same thing. What's the
difference? Both are "jet pumps" that operate in accordance with the well-known Bernoulli equation. A
high pressure/ low velocity motive fluid is converted into a lower pressure/higher velocity jet through a
nozzle. Jetting past a suction connection in the head of the device will entrain a secondary low pressure
fluid. In said head (nothing more than a pipe tee really), some of the kinetic energy of the motive fluid is
transferred almost instantaneously to the suction fluid until the mixture achieves a uniform velocity at the
low pressure. The velocity of this mixture is then converted into an intermediate pressure (i.e. lower than
the motive pressure, but higher than the suction pressure) in the throat or venture of the device. The
mixture's kinetic energy is converted back to pressure energy. This balance could also be done considering
momentum transfer. Where they start to differ is in the motive fluid:
•An ejector uses a gas phase motive, usually steam or air.
•An eductor uses a liquid phase motive, usually water.
Where else do they differ?
•Motive nozzle:
The motive nozzle in a gas jet ejector is almost always a"converging-diverging" nozzle. The gas velocity
leaving the nozzle can be ashigh as Mach 2 (~2000 ft/sec). The motive nozzle for a liquid jet eductor
isalmost always just a "converging" nozzle. The liquid velocity leaving it seldomexceeds 20 ft/sec.
•Suction head size:
The head of a gas jet ejector can be (but not always is) atee 1-2 pipe sizes larger than the suction
connection size. The head of a liquid jet eductor is a tee 2-4 pipe sizes larger than the suction connection
size. Italmost always longer than a "standard" tee of that size.
•Throat bore size:
In a gas jet ejector, it is practice to limit the throat bore sizeto 0.5 - 0.55 X the discharge diameter. In a
liquid jet eductor, this can be asmuch as 0.75 X the discharge diameter.
•Throat velocity:
In a gas jet ejector, this can approach Mach 1 (1000 ft/sec)depending on the compression ratio. This helps
to explain why these units areloud. In a liquid jet eductor, it's usually 10 ft/sec or less. Liquid jet eductors
areusually quiet.
•Throat length:
In a gas jet ejector, the overall throat length (end of suctionhead to outside face of discharge flange) is
usually between 6.5 and 8.5 X thedischarge diameter. (Multinozzle units may be a bit shorter.) In a liquid
jeteductor, this number is usually between 4 and 5 X the discharge diameter.Overall, though, if you see a
unit such as this, it really is hard to determine what it is.Both look the same from the outside. You
probably have to look at the motive lineand/or the nameplate.
In terms of what Croll Reynolds manufactures:

Ejectors (Note: Most of our equipment falls into the "ejector" category.):
•Single and multi-stage vacuum systems
• Thermocompressors of all sorts
•"BL" series NCG scavenging ejectors and turbine gland ejectors (small pressuredifferential operating near
atmospheric pressure)
•Siphon ejectors (steam motive pumping water)
•Atmospheric air ejectors (used to extend the range of liquid ring vacuumpumps)
•Gas jet compressors
•Sulfur pit ejectors The last two are used primarily by the petrochemical industry, where the
word"eductor" is engrained. Try as we might, there probably is no changing this.
•AQUA-DUCTORs (liquid motive with liquid suction, sometimes used for solidstransfer)
•AQUA-VACTORs (liquid motive handling air producing vacuum)
•Circulators (in-tank mixing eductors)\
• Jet venturi scrubbers
It is possible to combine both devices in vacuum service. Although seldom done today,there are instances
where a water jet eductor has served as the final pumping stageand direct contact condenser for one or
two high vacuum steam ejectors. Water jeteductors, rather than the customary liquid ring vacuum pump,
have also been used toback an atmospheric air ejector,Some things we produce are neither "fish nor
fowl." For example a "jet heater" is not a jet at all but simply a steam/water mixer without the pressure
recovery that ischaracteristic of a jet pump. Other examples would be some of our desuperheatersand
high-energy venturi scrubbers.In conclusion, there's no need to fret over the differences. If you say
"eductor" andmean "ejector" or vice-versa, we'll still know what you're looking for; we just wanted to set
the record straight. Little-known fact: "Eductor" was once a trademarked namewhich has come into
generic use, much like the word "Band Aid."