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Centrifugal Pump Start-up Procedure

Centrifugal pumps:Centrifugal pumps convert energy of an electric motor or turbine into velocity or kinetic energy and then into pressure energy of the fluid being pumped. The energy changes occur around two main parts of the pump, impeller and volute or diffuser. Pump impeller is the rotating part that converts driver energy into the kinetic energy. The volute or diffuser is the stationary part that converts the kinetic energy into pressure energy. The pump driver can be either electric motor or a steam turbine depending upon application. These precautions must be followed before centrifugal pump start-up:

Do not operate the centrifugal pump below the minimum rated flows or with the suction or discharge valves closed. These conditions can quickly lead to centrifugal pump failure and physical injury. Always disconnect and lock out power to the driver before you perform any installation or maintenance tasks. Centrifugal pump start-up in reverse rotation can result in the contact of metal parts, heat generation, and breach of containment. Flush and clean the system thoroughly to remove dirt or debris in the pipe system in order to prevent failure at initial pump start-up. Bring variable-speed drivers (if installed) to the rated speed as quickly as possible. Generally if the temperatures of the pumped fluid will exceed 200F (93C), then warm up the pump prior to pump start-up.

Circulate a small amount of fluid through the pump until the casing temperature is within 100F (38C) of the fluid temperature prior to pump start-up to avoid thermal shock to the liner and impeller and prevent damage of mechanical seal.

General centrifugal pump start up procedure:

Before pump start-up you must perform these tasks:-

1. Open the suction valve. 2. Open any recirculation or cooling lines. 3. Fully close or partially open the discharge valve, depending on system conditions. 4. Start the driver. 5. Slowly open the discharge valve until the pump reaches the desired flow. 6. Check the pressure gauge to ensure that the pump quickly reaches the correct discharge pressure. 7. If the pump fail to reach the correct pressure, perform these steps: a. Stop the driver. b. Prime the pump again. c. Restart the driver. 8. Monitor the pump while it is operating. a. Check the pump for bearing temperature, vibration, and noise. b. If the pumps exceed normal levels, then shut down the pump immediately and correct the problem. 9. Repeat steps 7 and 6 until the pump runs properly.

Pump Performance Curves

Pump performance curves are important drawings produced by the pump manufacturer. Pump performance curves are primarily used to predict the variation of the differential head across the pump, as the flow is changed. But in addition variation of efficiency, power, NPSH required etc, as the flow is changed, can also be represented on the pump performance curves by the manufacturer. Typically a pump performance curve will carry information about the following points.
Variation of differential head Vs flow

This is the primary information reported in the pump performance curves and very important information regarding most of the pump calculations related to differential pressure across the pump. As shown in the sample performance curves, usually 3 curves of differential head Vs. volumetric flow are reported. Differential head h is related to differential pressure P by the equation, P = gh. 1. Curve of differential head for Rated Impeller Diameter represents the variation of differential head with volumetric flow for the impeller with rated diameter which will actually be provided with the pump. 2. Variation of differential head with volumetric flow for Maximum Impeller Diameter is plotted for the impeller with the maximum diameter that can be accommodated within the pump. This impeller can be used in case flow through the pump is increased or if more differential head is required in the future, with the same pump.

3. Variation of differential head with volumetric flow for Minimum Impeller Diameter is plotted for the impeller with minimum possible diameter. If the flow or differential head requirement is reduced in future, this impeller can be used with lower power consumption. Although the 3 curves are plotted for a wide range of volumetric flow rates, the actual operation is to be limited within the Maximum and Minimum allowable flow rates as indicated in the sample pump performance curve. Values of the maximum and minimum flow limits are given by the pump manufacturer. The point on differential head axis (Y-axis) where each of these 3 curves terminates, represents the shut-off differential head for that particular impeller diameter. For normal intended operation, the shut-off differential head for rated impeller diameter is important. It should be note that the pump curves for differential head Vs. volumetric flow rate are plotted for a particular liquid density. If in the future the process liquid or even just liquid density is changed, that effect has to be considered to finally determine the differential pressure. In such as case, revised volumetric flow should be calculated and located on the pump curve and corresponding differential head should be then determined from the curve for the appropriate impeller diameter. This differential head should then be used along with the changed liquid density to determine the differential pressure across the pump.
Pump Efficiency

As indicated in the sample pump performance curve above, the plot of pump efficiency against volumetric flow rate is also commonly reported on the pump performance curves. When the theoretical pumping power requirement is divided by this efficiency for the corresponding flow, the result is pump shaft power requirement. For more information on pump power calculations using efficiency, refer to EnggCyclopedias solved sample problem. The calculated pump shaft power has to be provided by an electric motor. The efficiency curve typically has a maximum within the allowable operating range. This maximum is also known as the Best Efficiency Point (BEP) as indicated in the sample curves. The normal operation should be preferably done close this best efficiency point for minimum power requirements. Sometimes a plot of Pump Shaft Power requirement is also done against the volumetric flow rate on the performance curves. This curve readily gives the value of power requirement for a particular flow rate.
NPSHR (Net Positive Suction Head Required)

Every pump requires certain Net Positive Suction Head (NPSH), for safe and smooth operation and to avoid cavitation in the pumps. The pump manufacturer provides these values by plotting them against the volumetric flow. As seen from the sample performance curves, NPSH requirement increases for increase in volumetric flow. When designing a pump system and positioning the pump, it must always be ensured that NPSH Available is higher than the NPSH

requirement as per pump curves. For details about calculation NPSH Available, refer to EnggCyclopedias solved sample problem.

Sample Problem Pump power calculations

Problem Statement

Estimate the shaft power and motor power requirement to pump 200,000 kg/hr of water available at 250C and atmospheric pressure from a storage tank. The rated differential head requirement is 30 m. Assume the mechanical efficiency of the pump to be 70%. Assume the motor efficiency to be 90%.

The motor power required to run the pump as specified in the sample problem statement, is calculated by first determining the theoretical power requirement and then dividing this requirement by pump efficiency and motor efficiency.

The first step is to determine the important physical properties of water at given conditions. The only important physical property for solving this problem is the mass density of water. Using EnggCyclopedias Liquid Density Calculator, water density at 250C =994.72 kg/m3 Using water density, the mass flow rate is converted to volumetric flow rate. Volumetric flow = 200,000 / 994.72 = 201.06 m3/hr Also the differential pressure is determined using differential head as, P = gh = 994.72 9.81 30/105 = 2.93 bar

The next step is to determine the theoretical power requirement which is essentially the product of volumetric flow (Q) and differential pressure (P).

Power requirement = Q P = 201.06/3600 m3/s 2.93 105 N/m2 Theoretical power requirement = 16350 Watt = 16.35 kW

Pump shaft power requirement = Theoretical power requirement / pump efficiency. For a pump that has been already purchased or has been ordered for manufacturing, the efficiency can be determined using the pump performance curves provided by pump manufacturer. Here the problem statement has specified pump efficiency to be 70%. Hence, pump shaft power requirement = 16.35 kW / 0.7 = 23.36 kW Similarly, motor power requirement = Pump shaft power requirement / motor efficiency Similar to pump efficiency, electric motor efficiency for motors already purchased or ordered, can be provided by the manufacturer of motor. However for purpose of this sample problem the efficiency is to be taken as 90% as per problem statement. Motor power requirement = 23.36 / 0.9 = 25.95 kW = 25.95 1.3596 HP = 35.28 HP Electric motors are available for following standard Horsepower ratings.
1 1.5 2 3 5 7.5 10 15 20 25 30 40 50

60 75 100 125 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1250 1500 1750 2000 2250 2500 3000 3500 4000

Hence in order to have satisfy the minimum power requirement, the motor to be purchased has to have power rating of 40 HP or higher.

Sample Problem vertical separator sizing calculations

Sample Problem Statement

Design a vertical gas-liquid separator for separation of fuel gas bubbles entrained in water flow.

Flow rate of water = 182 m3/hr Entrained Flow of fuel gas = 32 m3/hr Operating temperature of separator = 25 0C Operating pressure of separator = 0.2 barg (near atmospheric) Separation efficiency required is to remove 80% of gas bubbles above the size of 10o microns. Fuel gas properties can be approximately taken as properties of ethane.
Step 1

Water density at 25 0C = 994.72 kg/m3 Water viscosity at 25 0C = 0.9 cP For fuel gas properties, Molecular weight of ethane = 30 gm/gmole Fuel gas density at 25 0C = 1.45 kg/m3 Fuel gas viscosity at 25 0C = 0.0069 cP
Step 2

The gas liquid separation can be modelled using Stokes law. Where gas bubble terminal velocity is expressed as,

The subscripts L and G stand for liquid phase and vapour phase respectively. And the gas bubble diameter Dp is described in microns. Thus, using Dp = 10o micron, Vt = 6.02 10-3 m/s (It should be noted that the use of Stokes law is valid only for Reynolds number lower than 2. EnggCyclopedias vertical degasser sizing calculator uses an iterative procedure for calculation of Reynolds number and terminal velocity to make sure that the correct correlation is used. For higher Reynolds number, other equations govern the phase separation) Here Reynolds number is calculated below,

As Re < 2 Stokes law is valid.

Step 3

A tentative H/D ratio needs to be fixed for the vessel. Since the diameter of vessel (D) and TL-TL height of the vessel (H) are unknown, it makes it necessary to put a handle between then in the form of H/D ratio. Normally this ratio varies from 2 to 5. Here we select 2.5.
Step 4

The residence time requirement between high water level (HLL) and low water level (LLL) remains to be determined. This residence time should be sufficient to allow the separation of gas

bubbles from the liquid. In other words residence time available should be more than separation time requirement for gas bubbles. For gas bubble time required for escape can be said to be the time required to travel from LLL to HLL. Separation time = (HLL-LLL)/Vt Residence time = (HLL-LLL) X X D2 X 3600 / 182 (residence volume divided by volume flow) D = H / 2.5 (from H/D ratio) The minimum requirement for separation is that residence time should be greater than or equal to separation time and we have to evaluate two variables, (HLL-LLL) and H, to satisfy this requirement. This is done in an iterative way, minimum separation requirements between various levels in vessel, usually followed in the industry, suggest that the minimum vessel height should be between 1m to 1.5m. Also, normally minimum spacing of 300-500 mm is desirable between HLL and LLL, as common practice in industry. Thus for the iterations, both the unknowns (HLL-LLL) and H are increased starting from 1m and 0.3 m respectively, in equal steps until the residence time is greater than separation time. It should be noted that the diameter is also increased in each of the iterative step. All these iterative calculations are performed in EnggCyclopedias vertical degasser sizing calculator and the result is, Diameter = 3.30 m Height = 8.25 m Vessel volume = 89.33 m3

Sample problem pump NPSH calculation

Sample Problem Statement

Calculate the Net Positive Suction Head for a pump handling 100,000 kg/hr flow of water coming from an atmospheric storage tank. The water temperature can be taken as 250C The line size of pump suction line is 6 and the suction line is 20m long. The pump suction nozzle is 0.4 m above ground level. The tank is elevated on a 1 m high platform. The minimum liquid level in the tank is 300 mm.

Before solving the sample problem, the equation used to calculate NPSH must be understood.

where, hL is the head loss between 0 and 1, p0 is the pressure at the water surface, pV is the vapour pressure (saturation pressure) for the fluid at the temperature T1 at 1, z is the

difference in height z1 z0 (shown as H on the diagram) from the water surface to the location 1, and is the fluid density, assumed constant, and g is gravitational acceleration. This sample problem is solved in following 4 basic steps.

Important physical properties of water are first determined. Since the water is stored in an atmospheric tank at ambient conditions, Water temperature = 250C Water pressure = atmospheric pressure = 1.031 bar = 1 bar (approximately) Using EnggCyclopedias Liquid Density Calculator, water density at 250C =994.72 kg/m3 Using EnggCyclopedias Liquid Viscosity Calculator, water viscosity at 250C =0.90 cP Using EnggCyclopedias Vapor Pressure Calculator, water vapor pressure at 250C =0.032 bara

Next step to solve this sample problem is to calculate the frictional pressure loss in the suction line. This calculation can be performed using EnggCyclopedias pipe pressure drop calculator. As per line sizing calculator, the frictional pressure loss in the suction line is 1.3 bar/km. Thus for a pipe length of 20m, suction line pressure loss = 1.3 X 0.02 = 0.026 bar This pressure loss can be converted to frictional head loss, head loss = pressure loss /g = 0.026X105/(994.72X9.81) = 0.27 m In this sample problem, fittings in the suction line have not been considered. In case there are some fittings present in the pump suction line such as valves, elbows, reducer etc., EnggCyclopedias K-factor calculator can be used to determine the frictional pressure loss caused by these fittings.

Next step to solve the sample problem is to determine elevation difference (z) between pump suction and the liquid level in the storage tank. Note that for NPSH calculation always the lowest liquid level in the suction vessel or tank is considered for conservative estimate. In the present sample problem, z = elevation of tank + minimum liquid level pump suction nozzle level = 1 + 0.3 0.4 = 0.9 m

In the final of NPSH calculation, the above formula derived from NPSH definition is used. Here, p0 = 1 bar , pv = 0.032 bara (water vapor pressure) = 994.72 kg/m3 (water density) g = 9.81 m/s2 (gravitational acceleration) z = 0.9 m hL = 0.27 m Using the NPSH equation from above, NPSH = (1-0.032)/(994.72X9.81) + 0.9 0.27 = 10.56 m

Note that EnggCyclopedias pump sizing calculator can uses the same equation and method for NPSH calculation. It can be used to quickly determine the NPSH, instead of manually calculating it in 4 steps.

Sample Problem NPSHA calculation for pumps

Sample Problem Statement

Estimate the NPSHA (Net Positive Suction Head Available) for a pumping system which is designed to pump 200,000 kg/hr of water. The water stream is available from a storage tank which operates at atmospheric pressure and 250C. Minimum liquid level in the storage tank above pump suction nozzle is kept as 3m. Suction line is 6 in size and 10m long. The discharge from pump is to be sent to another vessel with a top connection for water inlet. The maximum height for the 6 discharge line above the pump discharge nozzle is 12m. The discharge vessel operates at a pressure of 3 barg. There is no control valve in the discharge line. Discharge line to be assumed 100m long considering all the fittings and valves.

This sample problem can be solved by following these steps.


First physical properties (density, viscosity, vapor pressure etc.) of the process fluid (water in this case) must be determined at given operating pressure and temperature conditions. Using EnggCyclopedias Liquid Density Calculator, water density at 250C =994.72 kg/m3 Using EnggCyclopedias Liquid Viscosity Calculator, water viscosity at 250C =0.90 cP Using EnggCyclopedias Vapor Pressure Calculator, water vapor pressure at 250C =0.032 bara Other adequate reference sources may be used for determination of the physical properties depending on design basis of the project.


The second step of the solution to NPSHA sample problem calculation is to determine the frictional pressure loss in the suction line to the pump. EnggCyclopedias pipe pressure drop calculator for single phase flow can be used for this pressure loss calculation. For help regarding the use of this calculator, refer to solved example for line sizing. In the present case, the pressure drop for 6 suction and discharge lines is around 5 bar/km. For 10m suction line the pressure drop becomes 0.05 bar. If details such as length of the suction line or line size have not be finalized, a suitable and conservative suction line pressure drop should be assumed. Other proprietary software or manual calculations may also be used to determine the suction line frictional pressure drop. For suction line strainer, pressure drop can be calculated using EnggCyclopedias Strainer pressure drop calculator. For this example, the strainer pressure drop is around 0.09 bar. In case of an existing strainer the pressure drop may actually be measured using pressure differential indicators on the pump suction strainer. In case of new strainers being purchased, the strainer manufacturer can give a conservative value for maximum possible pressure drop across the strainer. This value can be used for pump sizing calculations and NPSHA calculations.

By definition of NPSHA,

hL is the head loss between 0 and 1, p0 is the pressure at the water surface, pV is the vapour pressure (saturation pressure) for the fluid at the temperature T1 at 1, z is the difference in height z1 z0 (shown as H on the diagram) from the water surface to the location 1, and is the fluid density, assumed constant, and g is gravitational acceleration.

po = 1.013 bara (atmospheric pressure Problem Statement) pv = 0.032 bara (water vapor pressure at 250C Step1) = 994.72 kg/m3 (water density at 250C Step1) Z = 3 m (minimum liquid level in the suction tank above the pump suction nozzle Problem Statement) hL = head loss in the suction line = pressure loss / g = 0.05 105 / (994.729.81) = 0.5124 m Substituting all these values in the NPSHA equation, NPSHA = (1.013 0.032)105/(994.729.81) + 3.0 0.5124 = 12.54 m Thus net positive head available at the pump suction (NPSHA) is 12.54 m.

Sample Problem Line sizing calculations

Sample Problem Statement Calculate the size of line to handle 100,000 kg/hr of water. Approximate length of this line is around 200m. This water stream is available at 5 barg pressure and 300C.

The project standards requirements are fluid velocity < 3 m/s and pressure drop < 4.5 bar/km Consider 20 nos. of 900 elbows and 4 gate valves in the line and estimate total pressure drop. Solution This sample problem is solved in following 3 steps. Step 1. Solving this sample problem requires determination of important physical properties of given fluid (water) at given temperature and pressure conditions. Using EnggCyclopedias Liquid Density Calculator, water density at 300C =993.41 kg/m3 Using EnggCyclopedias Liquid Viscosity Calculator, water viscosity at 300C =0.81 cP Step 2. Use EnggCyclopedias Pipe pressure drop calculator for single phase flow to get the pressure drop in bar/km. Different pipe sizes are tried and the results are reported in following images. 4 line size.

6 line size

The 4 line size does not satisfy limitations on fluid velocity and pressure drop / km (velocity<3 m/s and pressure drop<4.5 bar/km). The next higher size of 6 is in accordance with these limitations and hence chosen as the line size. Step 3. Final step of solving this line sizing problem is to calculate total pressure drop for this line size considering the fittings and bends in line. EnggCyclopedias K factor calculator can be used for this purpose.

Contribution of fittings (K factor) to the total pressure drop = KV2/2 = 9.5 X 993.4 X 1.532/(2 X 105) bar = 0.11 bar. Pressure drop due to straight pipe length (200 m) = 1.3 bar/km X 0.2 km = 0.26 bar. Total pressure drop = 0.26 + 0.11 = 0.37 bar


Pumps can be broadly classified into two basic categories: Centrifugal pumps and Positive Displacement pumps. Centrifugal pumps have rotating equipment parts imparting momentum to the fluid particles which is later converted to pressure. For centrifugal pumps the discharge flowrate and differential head developed in the pumps are strongly dependant on each other. Whereas for positive displacement pumps, the discharge flowrate is nearly independent of the downstream pressure. Depending on the fluid service, the flowrate handled and differential pressure requirements, either of the pump types can be used effectively. Following figure gives an idea of the basic structure of a centrifugal pump.

Basic structure of a centrifugal pump Positive displacement pumps have different types as indicated in the following figures.

Reciprocating piston pump

External gear pump

Internal gear pump

Double screw pump

Peristaltic pump

Double diaphragm pump in discharge position

Turbine pump with positive displacement characteristics When it comes to selecting between centrifugal pumps and positive displacement pumps a number of factors have to be taken into consideration. 1. Fluid service handled: Centrifugal pumps are preferred for a wide range of fluids from clean and clear non-abrasive fluids to abrasive fluids with high solid content. But centrifugal pumps run into limitations when it comes to handling highly viscous fluids and they have very low tolerance for handling entrained gases. Positive displacement pumps (reciprocating and rotary type) are preferred for handling highly viscous fluids and fluids with entrained gases. I general, it can be stated that positive displacement pumps are equipped to handle a wider range of fluids. 2. Flowrates handled: Centrifugal pumps are preferred for handling of higher flowrates. But centrifugal pumps have limitations on handling of lower flowrates. Positive displacement pumps are preferred when it comes to low flowrates. 3. Differential pressure head: A single stage centrifugal pump cannot deliver very high discharge pressure unless it is operated at very high speeds, which can turn out to be expensive. The operation of a positive displacement pump is nearly independent of the discharge pressure encountered downstream. Positive displacement can achieve very high differential pressures and hence they are preferred for such applications. 4. Efficiency: A Centrifugal pump can operate at the best efficiency for a narrow range of flowrate and differential head values. The positive displacement pumps are not limited in such ways. 5. Space constraints: Centrifugal pumps are compact and require less space compared to reciprocating pumps handling similar flowrates. In case of positive displacement pumps, rotary type of pumps should be preferred to reciprocating pumps as rotary pumps take up less space.

6. Pulsating flow: Centrifugal pumps deliver a smooth flow. Reciprocating pumps deliver a pulsating flow profile thus requiring a pulsation dampener at the pump discharge. Rotary pumps are preferred to reciprocating pumps as they can deliver a smooth flow as well. 7. Costs: Centrifugal pumps are most widely used and regarded as economical. They have low initial cost, low maintenance cost but high power cost. Out of positive displacement pumps, reciprocating pumps are the most expensive alternatives. Reciprocating pumps high initial and maintenance cost, but they consume lower power. Rotary type of positive displacement pumps are always an attractive alternative even to the centrifugal pumps. Rotary pumps have low initial, maintenance and power costs. 8. Summary: Centrifugal pumps have been found suitable for the widest range of application and are most widely used. A variety of users prefer to use centrifugal pumps because of their familiarity with these pumps. The comparison done here indicates that often times positive displacement pumps, especially the rotary type pumps can prove to be an attractive alternative to centrifugal pumps. Use of positive displacement pumps should be specially considered for cases with low flows, entrained gases, highly viscous fluid, high differential head.

Typical P&ID arrangement for pumps

1. Proper pump symbol should be selected first of all, as shown in the presented drawing. This should be selected from the list of equipment symbols on the legend sheets of a particular project. 2. All the nozzles on the pump should then be correctly represented with size and flanges. This includes inlet and outlet nozzles and casing drains and vents as shown in the sample drawing presented here. Generally, the suction and discharge nozzles on the pump are smaller than suction and discharge line sizes. Appropriate reducer / expander to be clearly indicated in such cases. 3. Inlet and outlet lines are the next to be drawn up. Line number, material class, size etc. is to be correctly assigned to each of the lines.

4. Isolation valves, spectacle blinds, spacers etc. to be used for maintenance should be drawn up next on the inlet / outlet lines. The isolation valves on suction and discharge lines should be Locked Open in case of automatic pump start-up. 5. Inlet line to the pump is to be fitted with a strainer for pump protection. This strainer can be equipped with a pressure differential gauge to monitor blockage in the strainer. 6. Pressure gauges are normally to be provided on suction and discharge of the pump. In addition, pressure transmitters connected to Emergency Shutdown (ESD) system can also be provided as per requirements. 7. A check valve should be normally provided on the pump discharge to avoid reverse flow when the pump is not in operation. 8. Downstream to the check valve on the pump discharge, minimum flow recirculation line for the pump needs to be provided. A flowmeter should be provided before the minimum flow line, as shown on the presented sample drawing. 9. A flow control valve with or without bypass is then to be provided on the minimum flow recirculation line. The isolation valves for this control valve need to be locked open or sealed open and the FCV should be of Fail Open type. The minimum recirculation line is normally routed back to the suction vessel of the pump. 10. Drains and vents to be provided on the suction / discharge lines, minimum flow line and on pump casing, so that the pump and associated piping can be completely drained for maintenance. 11. For purging the pump with nitrogen, a connection should be provided right after isolation valve on the suction line. This connection can also be used as a drain. 12. Temperature gauges and transmitters to be provided as per requirements for operating and controlling the equipment. 13. All the guidelines given here are very general and may be modified as per specific requirements of any particular project.