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Handbook of Conveying and Handling of Particulate Solids A. Levy and H. Kalman (Editors) 9 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.

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Slurry and tip clearance effects on the performance of an open impeller centrifugal pump
T. Engin, M. Gur and I. Calli University of Sakarya Faculty of Engineering, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering Esentepe Campus, 54187 Sakarya-TURKIYE In the present study, experiments were conducted to determine the individual effects of solid properties (particle size, solids specific gravity) and solids concentration by weight, as well as tip clearance effects on an open impeller centrifugal pump characteristics. Tip clearance is varied from 1.25 mm to 8 mm over the experiments and maximum particle size was approximately 2.4 mm. Test results have shown that, slurry characteristics and running tip clearance have a considerable impact on the pump performance. These effects, therefore, must be taken into account for pump design considerations and selection. 1. INTRODUCTION Centrifugal pumps handle fine solids in suspension in the china clay and cement industries, dredging, slimes disposal and in some mineral extraction processes. In order to design a slurry transportation system based on centrifugal pumps, it is necessary to know the influence of solids on the performance of the pumps. It is important to realise that suspended solid particles cannot absorb, store or transmit pressure energy. Being restricted in their movement by intermolecular cohesion, molecules of solids can neither participate in maintaining or transmitting pressure energy nor increase their own kinetic energy when surrounded with liquid which carrying the pressure energy. The energy imparted to the liquid by the rotating impeller is utilised to move and support the solid particles in suspension. Solid effects on the centrifugal pumps handling slurries have been a subject of industrial and academic interest for many years. Recently, a few correlations for predicting the head reduction factor have presented in the literature [ 1, 2]. Both closed and open impellers have been widely used in centrifugal pumps handling slurries. Open impellers have some advantages when compared with closed ones. For instance, low manufacturing cost and low disc friction loss are considerable advantages of these impellers. Furthermore, they are suited for pumping suspensions. This types of impeller have only one shroud and are open on one side where a tip clearance takes place between open side of the impeller and the stationary casing as is seen in Fig. 1. Due to pressure difference through the tip clearance, a tip flow occurs between the pressure and suction surface of blades. This flow causes a disturbance in the main flow, which results in additional pressure and flow losses. The most important loss of energy is due to the tip leakage flow in the open impeller pumps.