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1062 16  Pump Testing

General requirements: 

• The test loop should be designed to allow measuring the true performance curves
without cavitation-induced drop in head or efficiency—right up to maximum
flow! To this end, sufficient NPSHA must be provided for the entire flow range
to be tested as per the appropriate standard or the relevant specification of the
client. In general testing should be performed at least up to q* = 1.3 (preferably
up to q* = 1.5 or maximum possible). If the pump is tested at various speeds, it
must be ensured that no cavitation occurs at the highest speed. Otherwise incor-
rect speed dependence might be erroneously derived from the tests.
• The test loop is to be designed to ensure smooth approach flow in order to avoid
additional testing and correction costs when the specified vibration and noise
limits are exceeded.
• Designing the piping as simple as feasible reduces: (1) investment costs, (2)
operation costs for venting and trouble shooting
• Vibration testing is standard for many pumps. In order not to falsify the measu-
rements, the test pumps must be rigidly mounted. A concrete slab of typically
1000 mm thickness is required as foundation for large pumps.
• When testing pumps with axial suction nozzle, partload flow recirculation can
falsify the suction pressure measurement (affecting head and NPSH). The test
loop layout should then be built as described in context with Fig. 5.16. Ribs in
the suction nozzle are not always sufficiently effective.
• If a vacuum pump is used for NPSHA control, the seals used in the piping and
valves must be designed for vacuum. Otherwise the ingress of air will falsify
the measurements. Shaft seals must be flushed or otherwise be appropriate for
operation under vacuum
• Corrosion of carbon steel is a problem. Rust deposits in low-flow zones e.g. in
heat exchangers.
Safety of personnel must be ensured by appropriate technical measures and pro-
cedures in accordance with legal rules. This topic needs high attention and strict
• Test loops must be designed for the selected design pressure and temperature. If
a vacuum pump is used for NPSH testing, the equipment must also be designed
for an external pressure of 1 bar.
• Air vessels for NPSH control must be equipped with a safety valve.
• A pressure switch should be installed in the suction piping which trips the motor
when the allowable pressure is exceeded as could be the case upon mal-operation
of a valve (e.g. subjecting the suction pipe to the shut-off pressure).
• A pressure switch should also be installed in the discharge pipe which trips the
motor when the design pressure is exceeded
• Electrical equipment requires a special set of rules to ensure safety.