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Nomenclature and Definitions


apor pressure, cavitation, their parent liquid and boil at a lower where PB = barometric pres-
and NPSH are subjects temperature. While vapor pressure sure in feet absolute, VP = vapor
widely discussed by engi- curves are readily available for liq- pressure of the liquid at maximum
neers, pumps users, and uids, they are not for solutions. pumping temperature in feet
pumping equipment suppliers, but Obtaining the correct vapor pressure absolute, Gr = gauge reading at
understood by too few. To grasp for a solution often requires actual the pump suction, in feet absolute
these subjects, a basic explanation laboratory testing. (plus if the reading is above baro-
is required. CAVITATION metric pressure, minus if the read-
ing is below the barometric
VAPOR PRESSURE Cavitation can create havoc with pressure), and hv = velocity head
Knowledge of vapor pressure pumps and pumping systems in the in the suction pipe in feet
is extremely important when form of vibration and noise. Bearing absolute.
selecting pumps and their failure, shaft breakage, pitting on the NPSH R can only be deter-
mechanical seals. Vapor pressure impeller, and mechanical seal leak- mined during pump testing. To
is the pressure absolute at which a age are some of the problems caused determine it, the test engineer
liquid, at a given temperature, by cavitation. must reduce the NPSHA to the
starts to boil or flash to a gas. When a liquid boils in the suc- pump at a given capacity until the
Absolute pressure (psia) equals the tion line or suction nozzle of a pump, pump cavitates. At this point the
gauge pressure (psig) plus atmos- it is said to be “flashing” or “cavitat- vibration levels on the pump and
pheric pressure. ing” (forming cavities of gas in the system rise, and it sounds like
Let’s compare boiling water at liquid). This occurs when the pres- gravel is being pumped. More
sea level in Rhode Island to boil- sure acting on the liquid is below the than one engineer has run for the
ing water at an elevation of 14,110 vapor pressure of the liquid. The emergency shut-down switch the
feet on top of Pikes Peak in damage occurs when these cavities first time he heard cavitation on
Colorado. Water boils at a lower or bubbles pass to a higher pressure the test floor. It’s during these
temperature at altitude because region of the pump, usually just past tests that one gains a real apprecia-
the atmospheric pressure is lower. the vane tips at the impeller “eye,” tion for the damage that will occur
Water and water containing and then collapse or “implode.” if a pump is allowed to cavitate for
dissolved air will boil at different NPSH a prolonged period.
temperatures. This is because one
is a liquid and the other is a solu- Net Positive Suction Head is the CENTRIFUGAL PUMPING
tion. A solution is a liquid with dis- difference between suction pressure Centrifugal pumping terminol-
solved air or other gases. Solutions and vapor pressure. In pump design ogy can be confusing. The follow-
have a higher vapor pressure than and application jargon, NPSHA is the ing section addresses these terms
net positive suction and how they are used:
head available to the Head is a term used to
FIGURE 1 pump, and NPSHR is express pressure in both pump
the net positive suc- design and system design when
tion head required analyzing static or dynamic condi-
by the pump. tions. This relationship is
The NPSH A expressed as:
must be equal to or
100 100 100 greater than the (pressure in psi x 2.31)
FEET FEET FEET NPSHR for a pump head in feet =
STATIC STATIC STATIC specific gravity
HEAD HEAD HEAD to run properly. One
way to determine the Pressure in static systems is
NPSH A is to mea- referred to as static head and in a
sure the suction pres- dynamic system as dynamic
sure at the suction head.
43 psi 32.5 psi 52 psi
nozzle, then apply To explain static head, let’s
the following formu- consider three columns of any
Water Gasoline SaltWater la: diameter, one filled with water,
Sp. Gr. = 1.0 Sp. Gr. = .75 Sp. Gr. = 1.2 one with gasoline, and one with
NPSHA = PB – VP ± Gr salt water (Figure 1). If the
Static head using various liquids.
+ hv columns are 100 ft tall and you

The Pump Handbook Series 1

measure the pressure at the bot- FIGURE 2
tom of each column, the pres-
sures would be 43, 32.5, and 52
psi, respectively. This is because
of the different specific gravities, Total
or weights, of the three liquids. Head
Remember, we are measuring Static
pounds per square inch at the Discharge
bottom of the column, not the Head

total weight of the liquid in the Static

column. Suction
The following four terms are Total
used in defining pumping systems Head
and are illustrated in Figure 2.
Total static head is the verti- Static
cal distance between the surface Lift

of the suction source liquid and

the surface level of the discharge
Static discharge head is the
vertical distance from the center- Total static head, static discharge head, static suction head,
line of the suction nozzle up to and static suction lift.
the surface level of the discharge
resistance can come from pipe fric- at a pump suction flange, convert-
Static suction head applies
tion, valves, and fittings. Values in ing it to head and correcting to the
when the supply is above the
feet of liquid can be found in the pump centerline, then adding the
pump. It is the vertical distance
Hydraulic Institute Pipe Friction velocity head at the point of the
from the centerline of the suction
Manual. gauge.
nozzle up to the liquid surface of
the suction supply. Pressure head is the pressure in Total dynamic discharge
feet of liquid in a tank or vessel on the head is the static discharge head
Static suction lift applies
suction or discharge side of a pump. It plus the velocity head at the pump
when the supply is located below
is important to convert this pressure discharge flange plus the total fric-
the pump. It is the vertical dis-
into feet of liquid when analyzing sys- tion head in the discharge system.
tance from the centerline of the
tems so that all units are the same. If a This can be determined in the field
suction nozzle down to the surface
vacuum exists and the value is known by taking the discharge pressure
of the suction supply liquid.
in inches of mercury, the equivalent reading, converting it to head, and
Velocity, friction, and pressure feet of liquid can be calculated using correcting it to the pump center-
head are used in conjunction with the following formula: line, then adding the velocity
static heads to define dynamic head.
heads. in. of Hg x 1.13
vacuum in feet = Total dynamic suction lift is
Velocity head is the energy in specific gravity the static suction lift minus the
a liquid as a result of it traveling at velocity head at the suction flange
some velocity V. It can be thought When discussing how a pump
plus the total friction head in the
of as the vertical distance a liquid performs in service, we use terms
suction line. To calculate total
would need to fall to gain the same describing dynamic head. In other
dynamic suction lift, take suction
velocity as a liquid traveling in a words, when a pump is running it is
pressure at the pump suction
pipe. dynamic. Pumping systems are also
flange, convert it to head and cor-
This relationship is expressed as: dynamic when liquid is flowing
rect it to the pump centerline, then
through them, and they must be ana-
subtract the velocity head at the
hv = V2/2g lyzed as such. To do this, the follow-
point of the gauge.
ing four dynamic terms are used.
where V = velocity of the Total dynamic head in a
liquid in feet per second and g = Total dynamic suction head is
system is the total dynamic dis-
32.2 ft/sec2. the static suction head plus the veloc-
charge head minus the total
ity head at the suction flange minus
Friction head is the head dynamic suction head when the
the total friction head in the suction
needed to overcome resistance to suction supply is above the pump.
line. Total dynamic suction head is
liquid flowing in a system. This When the suction supply is below
calculated by taking suction pressure
the pump, the total dynamic head

2 The Pump Handbook Series

is the total dynamic discharge head
plus the total dynamic suction lift.
Centrifugal pumps are dynamic
machines that impart energy to liq-
Pumping Terms
uids. This energy is imparted by
changing the velocity of the liquid as Have you had a momentary (or continuing) problem with con-
it passes through the impeller. Most verting gallons per minute to cubic meters per second or liters per
of this velocity energy is then con- second? Join the crowd. Though the metric or SI system is probably
verted into pressure energy (total used as the accepted system, more than English units, it still presents
dynamic head) as the liquid passes a problem to a lot of engineers.
through the casing or diffuser. Authors are encouraged to use the English system. Following is a
To predict the approximate total list of the common conversions from English to metric units. This is
dynamic head of any centrifugal far from a complete list. It has been limited to conversions frequently
pump, we must go through two steps. found in solving hydraulic engineering problems as they relate to
First, the velocity at the outside diam- pumping systems.
eter (o.d.) of the impeller is calculated PUMPING UNITS
using the following formula:
v = (rpm x D)/229
(U.S.) gallons/min (gpm) x 3.785 = liters/min (L/min)
where v = velocity at the periph- (U.S.) gpm x 0.003785 = cubic meters/min (m3/min)
ery of the impeller in ft per second, D cubic feet/sec (cfs) x 0.028 = cubic meters/sec (m3/s)
= o.d. of the impeller in inches, rpm
= revolutions per minute of the HEAD
impeller, and 229 = a constant. feet (ft) x 0.3048 = meters (m)
Second, because the velocity pounds/square inch (psi) x 6,895 = Pascals (Pa)
energy at the o.d. or periphery of the
impeller is approximately equal to the
total dynamic head developed by the horsepower (Hp) x 0.746 = kilowatts (kW)
pump, we continue by substituting v GRAVITATIONAL CONSTANT (g)
from above into the following equa- 32.2 ft./s2 x 0.3048 = 9.81 meters/second2 (m/s2)
H = v2/2g
lb/ft3 x 16.02 = kilogram/cubic meter (kg/m3)
where H = total dynamic head VELOCITY (V)
developed in ft, v = velocity at the
o.d. of the impeller in ft/sec, and g = ft/s x 0.3048 = meters/second (m/s)
32.2 ft/sec2. VELOCITY HEAD
A centrifugal pump operating at V2/2g (ft) x 0.3048 = meters (m)
a given speed and impeller diameter
will raise liquid of any specific gravi- SPECIFIC SPEED (Ns)
ty or weight to a given height. (gpm–ft) x 0.15 = Ns(m3/min–m)
Therefore, we always think in terms Ns = N(rpm)[(gpm)0.5/(ft)0.75]
of feet of liquid rather than pressure
when analyzing centrifugal pumps J. Robert Krebs is President of Krebs Consulting Service. He serves on
and their systems. ■ the Pumps and Systems Editorial Advisory Board.

Patrick M. Flach is the western

hemisphere Technical Services Manager TABLE 1. ENGLISH TO METRIC CONVERSION
for the Industrial Division of EG&G
Sealol. Basic Units Multiply English x Factor = Metric
Length Feet x 0.3048 = Meter (m)
Mass Pound x 0.454 = Kilogram (Kg)
Force Pound x 4.448 = Newton (N)
Pressure Pound/Square In. (psi) x 6,895 = Pascal (Pa)
Time Seconds x1 = Seconds (s)
Gallon (US) Gallon x 0.003785 = Meter Cubed (m3)
Gallon (US) Gallon x 3.785 = Liter (L)

The Pump Handbook Series 3


Centrifugal and Positive Displacement Pumps

in the Operating System

n the many differences that exist can develop is reduced as the capacity When the pump curve is super-
between centrifugal and positive increases. Conversely, as the capacity imposed on the system curve, the
displacement pumps, one which drops, the pressure it can achieve is point of intersection represents the
has caused some confusion is the gradually increased until it reaches a conditions (H,Q) at which the pump
manner in which they each operate maximum where no liquid can pass will operate.
within the system. through the pump. Since this is usually
Positive displacement pumps have a relatively low pressure, it is rarely Pump Curve
a series of working cycles, each of necessary to install a pressure relief or
which encloses a certain volume of safety valve. H
fluid and moves it mechanically When discussing the pressures
through the pump into the system, developed by a centrifugal pump, we
regardless of the back pressure on the use the equivalent linear measurement System Curve
pump. While the maximum pressure referred to as “head,” which allows the
developed is limited only by the pump curve to apply equally to liquids Q
mechanical strength of the pump and of different densities.
system and by the driving power [Head (in feet)=Pressure (in p.s.i.) x Pumping conditions change
available, the effect of that pressure 2.31+ Specific Gravity of the liquid] ONLY through an alteration in
can be controlled by a pressure relief either the pump curve or the sys-
or safety valve. SYSTEM CURVE tem curve.
A major advantage of the posi- The system curve represents the When considering possible
tive displacement pump is that it pressures needed at different flow rates movements in these curves, it
can deliver consistent capacities to move the product through the sys- should be noted that there are only
because the output is solely depen- tem. To simplify a comparison with a few conditions which will cause
dent on the basic design of the the centrifugal pump curve, we again the pump curve to change its posi-
pump and the speed of its driving use the ‘head’ measurement. The sys- tion and shape:
mechanism. This means that, if the tem head consists of three factors: • wear of the impeller
required flow rate is not moving • static head, or the vertical eleva- • change in rotational speed
through the system, the situation tion through which the liquid • change in impeller diameter
can always be corrected by chang- must be lifted • change in liquid viscosity
ing one or both of these factors. • friction head, or the head required Since these conditions don’t nor-
This is not the case with the cen- to overcome the friction losses in mally develop quickly, any sudden
trifugal pump, which can only the pipe, the valves and all the fit- change in pumping conditions is
react to the pressure demand of the tings and equipment likely to be a result of a movement
system. If the back pressure on a • velocity head, which is the head in the system curve, which means
centrifugal pump changes, so will required to accelerate the flow of something in the system has
its capacity. liquid through the pump (Velocity changed.
This can be disruptive for any head is generally quite small and Since there are only three ingre-
process dependent on a specific often ignored.) dients in a system curve, one of
flow rate, and it can diminish the As the static head does not vary which is minimal, it follows that
operational stability, hydraulic effi- simply because of a change in flow either the static head or the friction
ciency and mechanical reliability of rate, the graph would show a straight head must have changed for any
the pump. line. However, both the friction movement to take place in the sys-
head and the tem curve.
CENTRIFUGAL PUMP A change in the static
will always head is normally a result of
The interdependency of the sys- a change in tank level. If
vary direct- Head
tem and the centrifugal pump can be the pump is emptying a
ly with the System
easily explained with the use of the Curve Friction & tank and discharging at a
capacity. The Velocity Head
pump performance curve and the fixed elevation, the static
system curve. head against which the
of all three Static Head
A centrifugal pump performance pump must operate will be
creates the Capacity
curve is a well known shape which gradually increasing as the
system curve.
shows that the pressure the pump

4 The Pump Handbook Series

suction tank empties. This will cause When the operating conditions of a
the system curve to move upwards system fitted with a centrifugal pump
as shown. change, it is helpful to consider these
curves, focus on how the system is
controlling the operation of the pump,
and then control the system in the
appropriate way. ■

Ross C. Mackay is an independent con-

sultant located in Tottenham, Ontario,
Canada. He is the author of several papers
on the practical aspects of pump mainte-
nance, and a specialist in helping companies
An increase in friction head can reduce their pump maintenance costs.
be caused by a wide variety of con-
ditions such as the change in a valve
setting or build-up of solids in a
strainer. This will give the system
curve a new slope.

Both sets of events produce the

same result: a reduction of flow
through the system. If the flow is
redirected to a different location
(such as in a tank farm), it means
that the pump is now operating on
an entirely new system which will
have a completely different curve.

Thus, it is clear that regardless of

the rated capacity of the centrifugal
pump, it will only provide what the
system requires. It is important to
understand the conditions under
which system changes occur, the
acceptability of the new operating
point on the pump curve, and the
manner in which it can be moved.

The Pump Handbook Series 5


Cavitation and NPSH in Centrifugal Pumps


avitation is the formation involves both the net positive suction friction in the suction pipe is a
and collapse of vapor bub- heads available in the system common negative component of
bles in a liquid. (NPSHA) and the net positive suction NPSHA, the value of NPSHA will
Bubble formation head required by the pump (NPSHR). always decrease with flow.
occurs at a point where the pres- NPSHA is the measurement or NPSHA must be calculated to
sure is less than the vapor pres- calculation of the absolute pressure a stated reference elevation, such
sure, and bubble collapse or above the vapor pressure at the as the foundation on which the
implosion occurs at a point where pump suction flange. Figure 2 illus- pump is to be mounted.
the pressure is increased to the trates methods of calculating NPSHA NPSHR is always referenced
vapor pressure. Figure 1 shows for various suction systems. Since to the pump impeller center line.
vapor pressure temperature char-
This phenomenon can also FIGURE 1
occur with ship propellers and in -60° to 240°F
other hydraulic systems such as 1000 985


bypass orifices and throttle 800 800

valves—situations where an 600 E

increase in velocity with resulting 500 O XID
400 XID US 400
decrease in pressure can reduce N
NE 300
300 O A E
pressure below the liquid vapor CA
pressure. 200 ET LUO G EN 200
R OP CH 100
100 M 80


DI 60
60 UR
Flow is reduced as the liquid E LF 50

is displaced by vapor, and 40 O 40
mechanical imbalance occurs as L
E 30
the impeller passages are partially 30 NE ET RM H ER 20
FO ET 14
A L L )
filled with lighter vapors. This 20 PR
results in vibration and shaft M E M ET
T AN E O M 2
deflection, eventually resulting in BU R ID OR 5

10 O E HL

L D C 6 10"

bearing failures, packing or seal CH RI NE RI .1


8 NE 1

leakage, and shaft breakage. In CH LE 70


multi-stage pumps this can cause 5 YL

G 20"

loss of thrust balance and thrust 4 ET CH (S

M I R 22.5"

bearing failures.







2 HE




1. Mechanical damage occurs as




the imploding bubbles remove




segments of impeller material.



2. Noise and vibration result from .60

the implosion. Noise that .40
sounds like gravel being .30
pumped is often the user’s first 29.4"

warning of cavitation. .20 29.5"

.10 29.72"
When designing a pumping 60 30 0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240
system and selecting a pump, one TEMPERATURE–F
must thoroughly evaluate net posi-
tive suction head (NPSH) to pre- Vapor pressures of various liquids related to temperature.
vent cavitation. A proper analysis

6 The Pump Handbook Series

It is a measure of the pressure
drop as the liquid travels from
-with Suction Lift -with Suction Head
inlet to the pump impeller. This
loss is due primarily to friction
and turbulence. CL PB
Turbulence loss is extremely
high at low flow and then
decreases with flow to the best
efficiency point. Friction loss NPSHA=PB + LH – (VP + ht)
increases with increased flow. As
NPSHA=PB – (VP + Ls + ht)
a result, the internal pump losses PB
will be high at low flow, drop- CL
ping at generally 20–30% of the
best efficiency flow, then increas-
ing with flow. The complex sub-
ject of turbulence and NPSHR at
low flow is best left to another
discussion. -with Suction Lift -with Suction Lift
Figure 3 shows the pressure
profile across a typical pump at a CL p

fixed flow condition. The pres-

sure decrease from point B to
point D is the NPSHR for the
pump at the stated flow. NPSHA=p + LH – (VP + ht)
The pump manufacturer
NPSHA=p – (Ls + VP + ht)
determines the actual NPSHR for
each pump over its complete p
operating range by a series of
tests. The detailed test procedure
is described in the Hydraulic
Institute Test Standard 1988
Centrifugal Pumps 1.6. Industry Calculation of system net positive suction head available (NPSHA) for typical
has agreed on a 3% head reduc- suction conditions. PB = barometric pressure in feet absolute, VP = vapor
tion at constant flow as the stan- pressure of the liquid at maximum pumping temperature in feet absolute, p =
dard value to establish NPSHR. pressure on surface of liquid in closed suction tank in feet absolute, Ls = max-
Figure 4 shows typical results of a imum suction lift in feet, LH = minimum static suction head in feet, hf = fric-
series of NPSHR tests. tion loss in feet in suction pipe at required capacity.
The pump system designer
must understand that the pub-
lished NPSHR data established
above are based on a 3% head FIGURE 3
reduction. Under these condi-
tions the pump is cavitating. At FRICTION INCREASING
the normal operating point the ENTRANCE FRICTION ENTRANCE

by a sufficient margin to elimi- E

nate the 3% head drop and the D

resulting cavitation.
The NPSHA margin required

will vary with pump design and



other factors, and the exact mar-

gin cannot be precisely predicted.
For most applications the NPSHA
will exceed the NPSHR by a sig-
nificant amount, and the NPSH A B C D E

those applications where the

NPSH A is close to the NPSH R The pressure profile across a typical pump at a fixed flow condition.

The Pump Handbook Series 7

(2–3 feet), users should consult the specific speed by substi-
pump manufacturer and the two tuting design flow rate and FIGURE 4
should agree on a suitable NPSH the system designer’s
margin. In these deliberations, fac- NPSHA. The pump speed
tors such as liquid characteristic, N is generally determined
minimum and normal NPSH A, by the head or pressure Q1
and normal operating flow must required in the system. Q2

be considered. For a low-maintenance
pump system, designers 100% CAP Q3
SUCTION SPECIFIC SPEED and most user specifica- 3% Q4

The concept of suction specif- tions require, or prefer, Ss
ic speed (Ss) must be considered values below 10,000 to
by the pump designer, pump 12,000. However, as indi-
application engineer, and the sys- cated above, the pump Ss
tem designer to ensure a cavita- is dictated to a great
tion-free pump with high extent by the system con-
reliability and the ability to oper- ditions, design flow, head, NPSH
ate over a wide flow range. and the NPSHA.
N x Q0.5 Figures 5 and 6 are Typical results of a four-point net posi-
Ss = —————— plots of Ss versus flow in tive suction head required (NPSHR) test
(NPSHR)0.75 gpm for various NPSHA based on a 3% head drop.
or NPSH R at 3,500 and
where N = pump rpm 1,750 rpm. Similar plots
Q = flow rate in gpm at the can be made for other common gpm if the maximum Ss is to be
best efficiency point pump speeds. maintained at 12,000. Various
NPSHR = NPSHR at Q with Using curves from Figure 5 and options are available, such as
Figure 6 allows the system designer reducing the head to allow 1,750
the maximum impeller
to design the system Ss, i.e., for a sys- rpm (Figure 7). This would allow
tem requiring a 3,500 rpm pump flows to 4,000 gpm with 20 feet of
The system designer should with 20 feet of NPSHA, the maxi- NPSHA.
also calculate the system suction mum flow must be limited to 1,000


9 3
S, Suction specific speed

8 24
9 V= 28
10 HS
12 32 50 55
V= 45
14 16 20 36 HS 60 65
18 40
Solution for
2 S=N Hsv0.75
for N=3,500 rpm

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1
Q, Capacity, gpm

A plot of suction specific speed (Ss) versus flow in gallons per minute (gpm) for various NPSHA or
NPSHR at 3,500 rpm. (Single suction pumps. For double suction use 1/2 capacity). Hsv=NPSHR at
BEP with maximum impeller diameter.

8 The Pump Handbook Series


4 6

S, Suction specific speed

4 5 50
2 V=4
5 V=1 HS
14 4 28
16 18 V=2 32 36 40
7 20 HS
9 10
Solution for
S=N Hsv0.75
for N=1,750 rpm
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1

Q, Capacity, gpm

A plot of suction specific speed (Ss) versus flow in gallons per minute (gpm) for various NPSHA or
NPSHR at 1,750 rpm. (Single suction pumps. For double suction use 1/2 capacity.) HSV=NPSHR at
BEP with the maximum impeller diameter.

It is important for As a general rule, the higher

FIGURE 7 the pump user to under- the suction specific speed, the
stand how critical the higher the minimum stable flow
system design require- capacity will be. If a pump is
ments are to the selec- always operated at its best efficien-
tion of a reliable, cy point, a high value of Ss will not
trouble-free pump. create problems. However, if the
Matching the system pump is to be operated at reduced
and pump characteristics flow, then the Ss value must be
is a must. Frequently, given careful consideration. ■
more attention is paid to
the discharge side. Yet it REFERENCES
2 is well known that most 1. Goulds Pump Manual.

pump performance
3 2. Durco Pump Engineering
problems are caused
by problems on the
suction side. 3. Hydraulic Institute Test

4 Figure 7 is a typical Standards—1988 Centrifugal

plot of the suction and Pumps 1.6.
discharge systems.
It is important that Paul T. Lahr is the owner of
points A, B, and C be well Pump Technology, a consulting firm.
GPM established and under- He serves on the Pumps and
stood. A is the normal Systems Editorial Advisory Board.
A typical plot of the suction and discharge operating point. B is the
systems. Curve 1 = pump head capacity maximum flow for cavi-
performance, curve 2 = total system curve, tation-free operation. C is
curve 3 = suction system curve NPSHA, the minimum stable flow,
and curve 4 = pump NPSHR. which is dictated by the
suction specific speed.

The Pump Handbook Series 9


Pump Suction Conditions


f a wide receiver has the right Hf= the friction losses in the

a function of the system design on
speed and good hands, all that’s the suction side of the pump. suction piping.
needed from the quarterback is Consequently, it is in the control of The NPSH Available may also
to throw the ball accurately, the system designer. be determined with this equation:
and the team will probably gain To avoid cavitation, the NPSH
good yardage, maybe even a available from the system must be NPSHA= Ha + Hg + V2/2g - Hvp
touchdown. greater than the NPSH required by
Believe it or not, much the the pump, and the biggest mistake where
same is true of a pump and its suc- that can be made by a system design-
tion conditions. If it has the right er is to succumb to the temptation to Ha= atmospheric pressure in
speed and is the right size, all provide only the minimum required feet of head.
that’s required from the quarter- at the rated design point. This leaves Hg= the gauge pressure at the
back is to deliver the liquid at the no margin for error on the part of the suction flange in feet of
right pressure and with an even designer, or the pump, or the system. head.
laminar flow into the eye of the Giving in to this temptation has V2= The velocity head at the
impeller. proved to be a costly mistake on 2g point of measurement of
If the quarterback’s pass is off many occasions. Hg. (Gauge readings do not
target, badly timed, or the ball’s In the simple system as shown include velocity head.)
turning end over end in the air, in Figure 1, the NPSH Available can
the receiver may not be able to be calculated as follows: RULE #2.
hang on to it, and there’s no gain REDUCE THE FRICTION LOSSES
on the play. When that hap-
When a pump is taking its
pens, the quarterback FIGURE 1
knows he didn’t throw it suction from a tank, it should be
properly and doesn’t blame Ha located as close to the tank as pos-
the receiver. Unfortunately, sible in order to reduce the effect
that’s where the compari- of friction losses on the NPSH
son ends. The engineering Available. Yet the pump must be
”quarterbacks” tend to Hvp far enough away from the tank to
blame the pump even when Hs ensure that correct piping practice
its their delivery that’s bad! Hf can be followed. Pipe friction can
Just as there are tech- usually be reduced by using a larg-
niques a quarterback must er diameter line to limit the linear
learn in order to throw velocity to a level appropriate to
accurately, there are rules the particular liquid being
which ensure that a liquid pumped. Many industries work
arrives at the impeller eye with with a maximum velocity of about
the pressure and flow characteris- NPSHA = Ha + Hs - Hvp - Hf 5ft./sec., but this is not always
tics needed for reliable operation. acceptable.
RULE #1. Ha= the head on the surface of the RULE #3.
PROVIDE SUFFICIENT NPSH liquid in the tank. In an open NO ELBOWS ON THE
Without getting too complicat- system like this, it will be SUCTION FLANGE
ed on a subject about which com- atmospheric pressure.
Much discussion has taken
plete books have been written, Hs= the vertical distance of the
let’s just accept the premise that place over the acceptable configu-
free surface of the liquid ration of an elbow on the suction
every impeller requires a mini- above the center line of the
mum amount of pressure energy flange of a pump. Let’s simplify it.
pump impeller. If the liquid is There isn’t one!
in the liquid being supplied in below the pump, this
order to perform without cavita- There is always an uneven
becomes a negative value.
tion difficulties. This pressure flow in an elbow, and when one is
Hvp= the vapor pressure of the liq- installed on the suction of any
energy is referred to as Net
uid at the pumping tempera- pump, it introduces that uneven
Positive Suction Head Required.
ture, expressed in feet of
The NPSH Available is sup- flow into the eye of the impeller.
plied from the system. It is solely This can create turbulence and air

10 The Pump Handbook Series

entrainment, which may result in of pipe in a length FIGURE 3
impeller damage and vibration. equivalent to 5-10
When the elbow is installed times the diameter Air Pocket
in a horizontal plane on the inlet of that pipe. The
of a double suction pump, smaller multiplier
uneven flows are introduced into would be used on
the opposing eyes of the the larger pipe
impeller, upsetting the hydraulic diameters and vice
balance of the rotating element. versa.
Under these conditions the over-
loaded bearing will fail prema-
turely and regularly if the pump OR VAPOR ENTERING
is packed. If the pump is fitted THE SUCTION LINE
with mechanical seals, the seal Any high spot
will usually fail instead of the in the suction line
bearing-but just as regularly and can become filled
often more frequently. with air or vapor which, if trans- tices are more difficult to trou-
The only thing worse than ported into the impeller, will create bleshoot in a closed tank simply
one elbow on the suction of a an effect similar to cavitation and because they can’t be seen as
pump is two elbows on the suc- with the same results. Services easily.
tion of a pump— particularly if which are particularly susceptible Great care should be taken
they are positioned in planes at to this situation are those where the in designing a sump to ensure
right angles to each other. This pumpage contains a significant that any liquid emptying into it
creates a spinning effect in the amount of entrained air or vapor, does so in such a way that air
liquid which is carried into the as well as those operating on a suc- entrained in the inflow does not
impeller and causes turbulence, tion lift, where it can also cause the pass into the suction opening.
inefficiency and vibration. pump to lose its prime. (Figure 3) Any problem of this nature may
A well established and effec- A similar effect can be
tive method of ensuring a lami- caused by a concentric FIGURE 4
nar flow to the eye of the reducer. The suction of a
impeller is to provide the suction pump should be fitted with
of the pump with a straight run an eccentric reducer posi-
tioned with
FIGURE 2 the flat side
(Figure 4).
If a pump
is taking its
suction from
a sump or
tank, the for-
mation of vortices can require a change in the relative
draw air into the suc- positions of the inflow and outlet
tion line. This can usu- if the sump is large enough, or
ally be prevented by the use of baffles. (Figure 5)
providing sufficient RULE #5.
submergence of liquid
over the suction open-
ing. A bell-mouth design Piping flanges must be accu-
on the opening will rately aligned before the bolts
reduce the amount of are tightened and all piping,
submergence required. valves and associated fittings
Suction This submergence is should be independently sup-
completely independent ported, so as to place no strain
of the NPSH required by on the pump. Stress imposed on
the pump. the pump casing by the piping
It is worthwhile reduces the probability of satis-
noting that these vor- factory performance.

The Pump Handbook Series 11

FIGURE 5 RULE #6. doesn’t automatically make a
WHEN RULES 1 TO questionable piping practice cor-
Inflow Inflow 5 HAVE BEEN rect. It merely makes it lucky.
IGNORED, FOLLOW The suction side of a pump is
RULES 1 TO 5. much more important than the
piping on the discharge. If any
Piping design
mistakes are made on the dis-
Baffle is one area where
To Pump To Pump charge side, they can usually be
Suction the basic princi-
Suction compensated for by increasing
ples in-volved are
the performance capability from
regularly ignored,
the pump. Problems on the suc-
resulting in
tion side, however, can be the
hydraulic instabil-
source of ongoing and expensive
Under certain conditions the ities in the impeller which trans-
difficulties which may never be
pump manufacturer may identify late into additional shaft loading,
traced back to that area.
some maximum levels of forces higher vibration levels and pre-
In other words, if your
and moments which may be mature failure of the seal or bear-
receivers aren’t performing well,
acceptable on the pump flanges. ings. Because there are many
is it their fault? Or does the quar-
In high temperature applica- other reasons why pumps could
terback need more training? ■
tions, some piping misalignment vibrate, and why seals and bear-
is inevitable owing to thermal ings fail, the trouble is rarely
growth during the operating cycle. traced to incorrect piping.
Under these conditions, thermal It has been argued that Ross C. Mackay is an indepen-
expansion joints are often intro- because many pumps are piped dent consultant who specializes in
duced to avoid transmitting piping incorrectly and most of them are advanced technology training for
strains to the pump. However, if pump maintenance cost reduction.
operating quite satisfactorily, pip-
the end of the expansion joint He also serves on the editorial adviso-
closest to the pump is not ing procedure is not important.
ry board for Pumps and Systems.
anchored securely, the object of Unfortunately, satisfactory opera-
the exercise is defeated as the pip- tion is a relative term, and what
ing strains are simply passed may be acceptable in one plant
through to the pump. may be inappropriate in another.
Even when ”satisfactory”
pump operation is obtained, that

12 The Pump Handbook Series


Elements of Minimum Flow


inimum flow can be mechanical handbooks. temperature. The difference
determined by examin- What is the maximum allowable between the allowable temperature
ing each of the factors temperature rise? Pump manufactur- and the temperature at the pump
that affect it. There are ers usually limit it to 15°F. However, inlet is the maximum allowable
five elements that can be quanti- this can be disastrous in certain situa- temperature rise. Knowing ∆T and
fied and evaluated: tions. A comparison of the vapor pres- C p , the minimum flow can be
sure to the lowest expected suction determined by finding the corre-
1. Temperature rise (minimum
pressure plus NPSH required (NPSHR) sponding head and efficiency.
thermal flow)
by the pump must be made. The tem- When calculating the maxi-
2. Minimum stable flow perature where the vapor pressure mum allowable temperature rise,
equals the suction pressure plus the look at the pump geometry. For
3. Thrust capacity
NPSHR is the maximum allowable instance, examine the vertical can
4. NPSH requirements
5. Recirculation FIGURE 1
The highest flow calculated
using these parameters is consid-
ered the minimum flow.
Temperature rise comes from
energy imparted to the liquid
through hydraulic and mechanical
losses within the pump. These
losses are converted to heat,
which can be assumed to be
entirely absorbed by the liquid SUCTION DISCHARGE
pumped. Based on this assump-
tion, temperature rise ∆T in °F is Low Pressure High Pressure
expressed as: Lower Higher
Temperature Temperature
H 1
∆T = ————— x ——————
778 x Cp η–1

H = total head in feet
Cp = specific heat of the liquid,
Btu/lb x °F
η = pump efficiency in decimal
778 ft–lbs = energy to raise the
temperature of one pound of
water 1°F
To calculate this, the specific
heat and allowable temperature
rise must be known.
The specific heat for water is
1.0, and other specific heats can A high-pressure vertical pump. Asterisks (*) denote where low-
be as low as 0.5. The specific temperature fluid is exposed to higher temperatures. Flashing and
heats for a number of liquids can vaporization can occur here. Temperature increases as fluid trav-
be found in many chemical and els from A towards B.

The Pump Handbook Series 13

pump in Figure 1. Although pressure 1. The liquid pumped FIGURE 2
increases as the fluid is pumped must be uninhibited
upward through the stages, consider at both the suction
the pump inlet. The fluid at the inlet and discharge ves-
(low pressure, low temperature) is sels.
exposed to the temperature of the
2. One element in the
fluid in the discharge riser in the
system must be able
head (higher pressure, higher tem-
to store and return
perature). This means that the vapor
energy, i.e., a water
pressure of the fluid at the pump
column or trapped
inlet must be high enough to accom-
modate the total temperature rise
through all the stages. If this condi- 3. Something must
tion is discovered during the pump upset the system to
design phase, a thermal barrier can make it start hunt-
be designed to reduce the tempera- ing, i.e., starting
ture that the inlet fluid is exposed to. another pump in
Some books, such as the Pump parallel or throttling
Handbook (Ref. 5), contain a typical a valve.
chart based on water (Cp = 1.0) that
Note: All of these
can be used with the manufacturer’s
must be present at the
performance curve to determine
same time to cause the
temperature rise. If the maximum
pump to hunt.
allowable temperature rise exceeds
Minimum flow
the previously determined allowable
based on the shape of
temperature rise, a heat shield can
the performance curve
be designed and fitted to the pump
is not so much a func-
during the design stage. This require-
tion of the pump as it is
ment must be recognized during the
a function of the system
design stage, because once the pump
where the pump is
is built, options for retrofitting the
placed. A pump in a sys-
pump with a heat shield are greatly
tem where the above
criteria are present Recirculation zones are always on the pres-
MINIMUM STABLE FLOW should not have a droop- sure side of the vane. A shows discharge
Minimum stable flow can be ing curve in the zone of recirculation (the front shroud has been left
operation. out for clarity). B shows inlet recirculation.
defined as the flow corresponding to
the head that equals shutoff head. In Because pumps with
other words, outside the ”droop“ in a drooping head/capacity
the head capacity curve. In general, curve have higher effi- tistage) with integral bearings. These
pumps with a specific speed less ciency and a lower operating cost, it bearings can be sized to handle the
than 1,000 that are designed for opti- would seem prudent to investigate the thrust. Thrust can be balanced by the
mum efficiency have a drooping installation of a minimum flow bypass. use of balanced and unbalanced
curve. Getting rid of this ”hump“ THRUST LOADING stages or adding a balance drum, if
requires an impeller redesign; how- necessary. These techniques for
Axial thrust in a vertical turbine
ever, note that there will be a loss of thrust balancing are used when high
pump increases rapidly as flows are
efficiency and an increase in NPSHR. thrust motors are not available. It is
reduced and head increased. Based on
What’s wrong with a drooping worth noting that balanced stages
the limitations of the driver bearings,
head/capacity curve? A drooping incorporate wear rings and balance
flow must be maintained at a value
curve has corresponding heads for holes to achieve lower thrust; there-
where thrust developed by the pump
two different flows. The pump reacts fore, a slight reduction in pump effi-
does not impair bearing life. Find out
to the system requirements, and ciency can be expected, and energy
what your bearing life is and ask the
there are two flows where the pump costs become a factor.
pump manufacturer to give specific
can meet the system requirements.
thrust values based on actual tests. NPSH REQUIREMENTS
As a result, it ”hunts“ or ”shuttles“
If a problem exists that cannot be How many pumps have been
between these two flows. This can
handled by the driver bearings, con- oversized because of NPSH available
damage the pump and other equip-
tact the pump manufacturer. There (NPSHA)? It seems the easiest solu-
ment, but it will happen only under
are many designs available today for tion to an NPSH problem is to go to
certain circumstances:
vertical pumps (both single and mul- the next size pump with a larger suc-

14 The Pump Handbook Series

impeller design. The problem is the
result of a mismatched case and
impeller, too little vane overlap in
the impeller design, or trimming the
impeller below the minimum diame-
R2 ter for which it was designed.
Recirculation is one of the most
difficult problems to understand and
D2 document. Many studies on the
B1 topic have been done over the years.
D1 R1
Mr. Fraser’s paper (Ref. 1) is one of
the most useful tools for determin-
ing where recirculation begins. In it
he describes how to calculate the
inception of recirculation based on
.14 .32 specific design characteristics of the
.30 impeller and he includes charts that
.12 .28 can be used with a minimum
.26 amount of information. An example
Cm2 Ve .24 of Fraser calculations, which show
.22 the requirements to calculate the
U2 .08 U1 .20
inception of suction and discharge
.06 .16
recirculation, is shown in Figure 3.
.04 .12
.10 Figure 3 indicates the user-
.02 .08 defined variables and charts required
10 15 20 25 30 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
to make the Fraser calculations for
Discharge Angle β2 Inlet Angle β1 minimum flow. Information to do the
detailed calculations include:
Incipient recirculation. Minimum flow is approximately 50% of Q = capacity at the best
incipient flow, while minimum intermittent flow is approximately efficiency point
25% of incipient flow. See text under “Recirculation Calculations” H = head at the best efficiency
for details point
NPSHR = net positive suction head
required at the pump suction
N = pump speed
tion, thereby reducing the inlet loss- Recirculation is caused by over- NS = pump specific speed
es. A couple of factors become entan- sized flow channels that allow liquid NSS = suction specific speed
gled when this is done. A larger to turn around or reverse flow while Z = number of impeller vanes
pump means operating back on the pumping is going on (Figure 2 shows h1 = hub diameter (h1 = 0 for sin-
pump curve. Minimum flow must be recirculation zones). This reversal gle suction pumps)
considered. Is the curve stable? What causes a vortex that attaches itself to D1 = impeller eye diameter
about temperature rise? If there is the pressure side of the vane. If there D2 = impeller outside diameter
already an NPSH problem, an extra is enough energy available and the B1 = impeller inlet width
few degrees of temperature rise will velocities are high enough, damage B2 = impeller outlet width
not help the situation. The thrust and will occur. Suction recirculation is R1 = impeller inlet radius
eye diameter will increase, possibly reduced by lowering the peripheral R2 = impeller outlet radius
causing damaging recirculation. velocity, which in turn increases F1 = impeller inlet area
When trying to solve an NPSH prob- NPSH. To avoid this it is better to rec- F2 = impeller outlet area
lem, don’t take the easiest way out. ognize the problem in the design β1 = impeller inlet angle
Look at other options that may solve stage and opt for a lower-speed β2 = impeller outlet angle
a long-term problem and reduce oper- pump, two smaller pumps, or an The above information is
ating costs. increase in NPSHA. obtained from the pump manufactur-
Discharge recirculation is er curves or impeller design files. The
caused by flow reversal and high impeller design values are usually
Every pump has a point where velocities producing damaging vor- considered proprietary information.
recirculation begins. But if this is the tices on the pressure side of the KVe and KCm2 can be determined
case, why don’t more pumps have vane at the outlet (Figure 2). The from the charts in Figure 3.
problems? solution to this problem lies in the

The Pump Handbook Series 15

With all of the above informa- is economical, efficient, and insures 5. I.J. Karassik. Pump Handbook.
tion at hand, suction recirculation a trouble-free pump life. It takes a McGraw-Hill (1986). ■
and the two modes of discharge coordinated effort by the user and
Terry Wold has been the engi-
recirculation can be determined. the manufacturer to come up with
neering manager for Afton Pumps
As previously mentioned, an optimum system for pump selec-
for the last four years. He has been
Fraser has some empirical charts tion, design, and installation.
involved in pump design for 25
at the end of his paper that can be
REFERENCES years. Mr. Wold graduated from
used to estimate the minimum
1. F.H. Fraser. Recirculation in cen- Lamar Tech in 1968 with a bache-
flow for recirculation. A few of
trifugal pumps. Presented at the lor’s degree in mechanical engineer-
the design factors of the impeller
ASME Winter Annual Meeting ing and is currently a registered
are still required. It is best to dis-
(1981). engineer in the State of Texas.
cuss recirculation with your
Thanks to P.J. Patel for his
pump manufacturer before pur- 2. A.R. Budris. Sorting out flow recir- comments and assistance in prepar-
chasing a pump, in order to culation problems. Machine Design ing the graphics.
reduce the possibility of problems (1989).
with your pump and system after
installation and start-up. 3. J.J. Paugh. Head-vs-capacity
characteristics of centrifugal
SUMMARY pumps. Chemical Engineering
Minimum flow can be accu- (1984).
rately determined if the elements
4. I. Taylor. NPSH still pump appli-
described above are reviewed by
cation problem. The Oil and Gas
the user and the manufacturer.
Journal (1978).
Neither has all the information to
determine a minimum flow that

16 The Pump Handbook Series


Effects of Oversizing

ne of the greatest sources intersection of its

of power waste is the prac- head-capacity curve
tice of oversizing a pump with the system-
by selecting design condi- head curve, as long H – Q Curve
tions with excessive margins in as the available System-
Head Curve
both capacity and total head. It is NPSH is equal to or
strange on occasion to encounter a exceeds the required
great deal of attention being paid NPSH (Figure 1).
to a one-point difference in effi- To change this op-

ciency between two pumps while erating point in an
at the same time potential power existing installation
savings are ignored through an requires changing
overly conservative attitude in either the head-
selecting the required conditions capacity curve or
the system-head Capacity
of service.
curve, or both. The Pump H-Q curve superimposed on system-head
POWER CONSUMPTION first can be accom- curve
After all, we are not primarily plished by varying
interested in efficiency; we are the speed of the
more interested in power con- pump (Figure 2), or FIGURE 2
sumption. Pumps are designed to its impeller dia-
convert mechanical energy from a meter while the at Full Speed
driver into energy within a liquid. second requires System-
Head Curve
This energy within the liquid is altering the friction Head-Capacity
at Full Speed H1
needed to overcome friction loss- losses by throttling (N2)
es, static pressure differences and a valve in the pump ity at Full Sp
eed (N ) H2
3 H
discharge (Figure

elevation differences at the desired 3

flow rate. Efficiency is nothing but 3). In the majority } Friction
the ratio between the hydraulic of pump installa- Pressur e
energy utilized by the process and tions, the driver is or Head
the energy input to the pump dri- a constant speed
ver. And without changing the motor, and chang-
ratio itself, if we find that we are ing the system-head
assigning more energy to the curve is used to Capacity Q3 Q2 Q1max
process than is really necessary, change the pump
capacity. Thus, if Varying pump capacity by varying speed
we can reduce this to correspond
to the true requirement and there- we have provided
fore reduce the power consump- too much excess
tion of the pump. margin in the selec- FIGURE 3
It is true that some capacity tion of the pump
head-capacity curve, Head-Capacity
margin should always be includ- at Constant Sp
eed System-
ed, mainly to reduce the wear of the pump will have H3 Head Curve
internal clearances which will, to operate with con- H2 H1
SystemHead Curve
with time, reduce the effective siderable throttling by Throttling Valve
pump capacity. How much mar- to limit its delivery
gin to provide is a fairly complex to the desired value.
} Friction

question because the wear that If, on the other Losses

will take place varies with the hand, we permit Pressur e
type of pump in question, the liq- the pump to oper- or Head
uid handled, the severity of the ate unthrottled,
service and a number of other which is more like-
variables. ly, the flow into the Capacity Q3 Q2 Q1max
A centrifugal pump operating system will increase
in a given system will deliver a until that capacity Varying pump capacity by throttling
capacity corresponding to the is reached where

The Pump Handbook Series 17

If we operate it throttled at the
FIGURE 4 required capacity of 2700 gpm,
operating at the intersection of its
head-capacity curve and curve B,
H-Q 1800 R.P.M. B the pump will require 165 bhp.
The pump has been selected
220 14 /4"Impeller
H-Q 1800 R.P.M.
with too much margin. We can
safely select a pump with a small-
Feet Total Head

200 14"Impeller er impeller diameter, say 14 in.,

D with a head-capacity curve as
shown on Figure 4. It will inter-
sect curve A at 2820 gpm, giving

% Efficiency
us about 4% margin in capacity,
160 which is sufficient. To limit the
flow to 2700 gpm, we will still
140 have to throttle the pump slightly
90 and our system head curve will
become curve C. The power con-
Static Head
sumption at 2700 gpm will now be
200 80
only 145 bhp instead of the 165 bhp
required with our first overly con-
180 70 servative selection. This is a very

respectable 12% saving in power





160 pe 60 consumption. Furthermore, we


3 / 4"
Im no longer need a 200 hp motor. A

4 3/

150 hp motor will do quite well.


140 er 50

p The saving in capital expenditure

4"Im is another bonus resulting from
120 η− 40 correct sizing.
Our savings may actually be
100 30 even greater. In many cases, the
pump may be operated unthrot-
80 20 tled, the capacity being permitted
to run out to the intersection of the
head-capacity curve and curve A.
10 If this were the case, a pump with
a 14-3/4 in. impeller would operate
at approximately 3150 gpm and
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 take 177 bhp. If a 14 in. impeller
Capacity in G.P.M.
were to be used, the pump would
Effect of oversizing a pump operate at 2820 gpm and take
148 bhp. We could be saving more
than 15% in power consumption.
the system-head and head-capaci- margin to the total head above the Tables 1 and 2 tabulate these
ty curves intersect. system-head curve at this rated flow, savings.
we end up by selecting a pump for And our real margin of safety
3000 gpm and 200 ft. total head. The is actually even greater than I have
Let’s use a concrete example, performance of such a pump, with a indicated. Remember that the fric-
for which the maximum required 14-3/4 in. impeller, is superimposed on tion losses we used to construct the
capacity is 2700 gpm, the static the system-head curve A in Figure 4. system-head curve A were based
head is 115 ft and the total friction The pump develops excess head on losses through 15-year old
losses, assuming 15-year old pipe, at the maximum required capacity of piping. The losses through new
are 60 ft. The total head required 2700 gpm, and if we wish to operate piping are only 0.613 times the
at 2700 gpm is therefore 175 ft. at that capacity, this excess head will losses we have assumed. The sys-
We can now construct a system- have to be throttled. Curve “B” is the tem-head curve for new piping is
head curve, which is shown on system-head curve that will have to that indicated as curve D in Figure
curve A, Figure 4. If we add a be created by throttling. 4. If the pump we had originally
margin of about 10% to the If we operate at 3000 gpm, the selected (with a 14-3/4 in. impeller)
required capacity and then, as is pump will take 175 bhp, and we will were to operate unthrottled, it
frequently done, we add some have to drive it with a 200 hp motor. would run at 3600 gpm and take

18 The Pump Handbook Series

TABLE 1. COMPARISON OF PUMPS WITH 143/4 IN. AND C l e a r l y , ufacturer. The original
14IN. IMPELLERS, WITH THE SYSTEM THROTTLED important energy impeller is then stored for fu-
savings can be ture use if friction losses are
Throttled to 2700 GPM achieved if, at the ultimately increased with time
Impeller 143/4" 14" time of the selec- or if greater capacities are
Curve “B” “C” tion of the condi- ever required.
BHP 165 145 tions of service,
Savings 20 hp or 12.1% r e a s o n a b l e 3. In certain cases, there may be
restraints are exer- two separate impeller designs
cised to avoid available for the same pump,
TABLE 2. COMPARISON OF PUMPS WITH THE incorporating one of which is of narrower
SYSTEM UNTHROTTLED excessive safety width than the one originally
margins into the furnished. A replacement nar-
Unthrottled, on Curve “A”
rated conditions of row impeller can then be
Impeller 143/4" 14" service. ordered from the manufactur-
GPM 3150 2820 er. Such a narrower impeller
BHP 177 148 EXISTING will have its best efficiency at
Savings 29 hp or 16.4% INSTALLATIONS a lower capacity than the nor-
But what of mal width impeller. It may or
TABLE 3. EFFECT OF DIFFERENT SIZE IMPELLERS IN existing installations may not need to be of a small-
SYSTEM WITH NEW PIPE AND RESULTING in which the pump er diameter than the original
SAVINGS NEW PIPE (UNTHROTTLED or pumps have impeller, depending on the
OPERATION, CURVE “D”) excessive margins? degree to which excessive
Is it too late to margin had originally been
Impeller 143/4" 14" 133/4" achieve these sav- provided. Again, the original
GPM 3600 3230 3100 ings? Far from it! As impeller is put away for possi-
BHP 187.5 156.5 147 a matter of fact, it is ble future use. ■
Savings 31 hp 40.5 hp possible to establish
16.5% 21.6% more accurately the Igor J. Karassik is Senior
true system-head Consulting Engineer for Ingersoll-
187.5 bhp. A pump with only a curve by running a performance test Dresser Pump Company. He has
14 in. impeller would intersect the once the pump has been installed and been involved with the pump industry
system-head curve D at 3230 gpm operated. A reasonable margin can
for more than 60 years. Mr.
and take 156.6 bhp, with a saving then be selected and several choices
Karassik is Contributing Editor -
of 16.5%. As a matter of fact, we become available to the user:
could even use a 13-3/4 in. impel- Centrifugal Pumps for Pumps and
1. The existing impeller can be cut Systems Magazine.
ler. The head-capacity curve would
down to meet the more realistic
intersect curve D at 3100 gpm, and
conditions of service.
the pump would take 147 bhp.
Now, the savings over using a 2. A replacement impeller with the
14-3/4 in. impeller becomes 21.6% necessary reduced diameter can
(See Table 3). be ordered from the pump man-

The Pump Handbook Series 19


Fluid Viscosity Effects on Centrifugal Pumps


hen sizing a pump for a

new application or eval-
uating the performance
of an existing pump, it is
often necessary to account for the
effect of the pumped fluid’s vis-
cosity. We are all aware that the
head-capacity curves presented in
pump vendor catalogs are pre-
pared using water as the pumped
fluid. These curves are adequate
for use when the actual fluid that
we are interested in pumping has
a viscosity that is less than or
equal to that of water. However,
in some cases—certain crude oils,
for example—this is not the case.
Heavy crude oils can have
viscosities high enough to increase
the friction drag on a pump’s
impellers significantly. The addi-
tional horsepower required to
overcome this drag reduces the
pump’s efficiency. There are sev-
eral analytical and empirical
approaches available to estimate
the magnitude of this effect. Some
of these are discussed below.
Before beginning the discus-
sion, however, it is vital to empha-
size the importance of having an
accurate viscosity number on
which to base our estimates. The
viscosity of most liquids is strong-
ly influenced by temperature. This
relationship is most often shown
by plotting two points on a semi-
logarithmic grid and connecting
them with a straight line. The rela-
tionship is of the form:
µ = AeB/T
µ = the absolute viscosity of the
A and B = constants
Reproduced from the Hydraulic Institute Standards (Figure 71)
T = the absolute temperature of the
the normal operating temperature The effect of pressure on the
Plotting this relationship as well as the minimum tempera- viscosity of most fluids is small.
requires knowledge of two data ture that might be expected during For mineral oils, for example, an
points, and using them effective- other off-design conditions such as increase of pressure of 33 bars
ly requires some judgement as to start-up. (≈480 psi ) is equivalent to a tem-

20 The Pump Handbook Series

These are fluids where the
shear rate-shear stress relationship
is nonlinear. They can be divided
into four categories:
• Bingham-plastic fluids are
those in which there is no
flow until a threshold shear
stress is reached. Beyond this
point, viscosity decreases with
increasing shear rate. Most
slurries have this property, as
does America’s favorite veg-
etable, catsup.
• Dilatant fluids are those of
which viscosity increases
with increasing shear rate.
Examples are candy mixtures,
clay slurries, and quicksand.
• Pseudo-plastic fluids are simi-
lar to Bingham-plastic fluids,
except there is no definite
yield stress. Many emulsions
fall into this category.
• Thixotropic fluids are those of
which viscosity decreases to a
minimum level as their shear
rate increases. Their viscosity
at any particular shear rate
may vary, depending on the
previous condition of the fluid.
Examples are asphalt, paint,
molasses, and drilling mud.
There are two other terms
with which you should be familiar:
• Dynamic or absolute viscosity
is usually measured in terms
of centipoise and has the units
of force time/length2.
• Kinematic viscosity is usually
measured in terms of centis-
tokes or ssu (Saybolt Seconds
Universal). It is related to
absolute viscosity as follows:
kinematic viscosity =
absolute viscosity/mass density
Reproduced from the Hydraulic Institute Standards (Figure 72 )
The normal practice is for this
term to have the units of length2/
perature drop of 1°C. NEWTONIAN time. Note:
The following definitions are These are fluids where viscosity is
used when discussing fluids and 1 cSt = cP x sp gr
constant and independent of shear
viscosity. There are five basic 1 cSt = 0.22 x ssu – (180/ssu)
types of liquid that can be differ- rate, and where the shear rate is linear-
entiated on the basis of their vis- ly proportional to the shear stress. 1 cP = 1.45E-7 lbf – s/in2
cous behavior; they are: Examples are water and oil. 1 Reyn = 1 lbf – s/in2

The Pump Handbook Series 21

The explana- who need a quick answer to a par-
TABLE 1. WATER-BASED AND VISCOUS PERFORMANCE tion further de- ticular problem may need to look
Water scribes the motion elsewhere for help.
Curve-Based of fluid in the In the book, Centrifugal
Performance % of BEP Capacity immediate neigh- Pumps, V. Lobanoff and R. Ross
60% 80% 100% 120% borhood of the discuss the effect of viscous fluids
Capacity, gpm 450 600 750 900 spinning impeller. on the performance of centrifugal
Differential Head, ft. 120 115 100 100 There Stepanoff pumps. They make the point that
Efficiency 0.70 0.75 0.81 0.75 mentions the exper- because the internal flow pas-
Horsepower 18 21 21 27 imental results of sages in small pumps are propor-
Viscous (1,000 ssu) others demonstrat- tionally larger than those in larger
Performance ing that, by reduc- pumps, the smaller pumps will
Capacity, gpm 423 564 705 846 ing the clearance always be more sensitive to the
Differential Head, ft. 115 108 92 89 between the sta- effects of viscous fluids. They
Efficiency 0.45 0.48 0.52 0.48 tionary casing and also introduce a diagram from the
Horsepower 25 29 28 36 the impeller, the re- paper “Engineering and System
quired power can Design Considerations for Pump
Note: Pumped fluid specific gravity = 0.9 be reduced. He Systems and Viscous Service,” by
also writes about C.E. Petersen, presented at
The process of determining the details of some investigations Pacific Energy Association,
the effect of a fluid’s viscosity on that demonstrate the beneficial October 15, 1982. In this dia-
an operating pump has been stud- effect of good surface finishes on gram, it is recommended that the
ied for a number of years. In the both the stationary and rotating sur- maximum fluid viscosity a pump
book Centrifugal and Axial Flow faces. Included is a chart prepared should be allowed to handle be
Pumps, A.J. Stepanoff lists the by Pfleiderer, based on work by limited by the pump’s discharge
losses that affect the performance Zumbusch and Schultz-Grunow, nozzle size. The relationship is
of pumps as being of the follow- that gives friction coefficients for approximately:
ing types: calculating disk friction losses. The
chart is used in conjunction with viscositymax = 300(Doutlet nozzle –1)
• mechanical losses the following equation: where
• impeller losses
(hp)d = KD γ u2 3
viscosity is given in terms of ssu
• leakage losses
• disk friction losses D is measured in inches
K = a constant based on the Reynolds
Of all external mechanical number With respect to the prediction
losses, disk friction is by far the of the effects of viscous liquids on
most important, according to D = impeller diameter the performance of centrifugal
Stepanoff. This is particular- pumps, Lobanoff and Ross direct
ly true for pumps designed with γ = fluid density the reader to the clearly defined
low specific speeds. Stepanoff methodology of the Hydraulic
u = impeller tip speed
gives a brief discussion of the Institute Standards. This technique
physics of a rotating impeller and Like most of Stepanoff’s writing, is based on the use of two nomo-
emerges with a simple equation this presentation contains great depth grams on pages 112 and 113 of the
that summarizes the drag force with considerable rigor. It makes 14th edition (Figures 71 and 72).
acting upon it: interesting reading if you are willing They are reproduced here as
to put forth the time. Those of us Figures 1 and 2. They are intended
(hp)d = Kn3D5
K = a real Correction
constant Factor
Dx1 Dx2 Dx3 Dx4 Dx5 Dx6
n = the pump
Cη 1.0522 -3.5120E-02 -9.0394E-04 2.2218E-04 -1.1986E-05 1.9895E-07
CQ 0.9873 9.0190E-03 -1.6233E-03 7.7233E-05 -2.0528E-06 2.1009E-08
CH0.6 1.0103 -4.6061E-03 2.4091E-04 -1.6912E-05 3.2459E-07 -1.6611E-09
D = the impeller CH0.8 1.0167 -8.3641E-03 5.1288E-04 -2.9941E-05 6.1644E-07 -4.0487E-09
diameter CH1.0 1.0045 -2.6640E-03 -6.8292E-04 4.9706E-05 -1.6522E-06 1.9172E-08
CH1.2 1.0175 -7.8654E-03 -5.6018E-04 5.4967E-05 -1.9035E-06 2.1615E-08

22 The Pump Handbook Series

below and above 100 gpm, respec- Cη CQ CH0.6 CH0.8 CH1.0 CH1.2
tively, which permits the user to
Per Table 7 of HI Standards 0.635 0.95 0.96 0.94 0.92 0.89
estimate the reduction of head,
capacity, and efficiency that a vis- Per Polynomial Expressions 0.639 0.939 0.958 0.939 0.916 0.887
cous fluid will produce on a pump Pseudocapacity is used with the head at a capacity of 750 gpm, we
curve originally generated with following polynomial coefficients to would proceed as follows:
water. A variation on this tech- determine viscosity correction terms
nique is described below. that are very close to those given by Hwater = Hviscous service/CH1.0
The following example is Figure 72 in the Hydraulic Institute
taken from pages 114-116 of the Qwater = Qviscous service/CQ
Standards. These polynomials have
Hydraulic Institute Standards sec- been checked throughout the entire The next step would be to
tion on centrifugal pump applica- range of Figure 72, and appear to give find a pump having the required
tions. There, the use of Figure 72, answers within 1.0% of those found performance on water. After
“Performance Correction Chart using the figure. determining the efficiency of the
For Viscous Liquids,” is discussed. The polynomial used is of the pump on water, we would correct
Table 1 was calculated using poly- form: it for the viscous case as shown
nomial equations developed to above:
replace the nomogram presented C x = D x1 + D x2P + D x3P 2 + D x4P 3 +
in Figure 72. The results of the cal- ηviscous service = ηwater x Cη
Dx5P4 + Dx6P5
culation are within rounding error The horsepower required by
of those presented in the standard. where the pump at this point would be
And the approach has the addi- calculated as follows:
tional benefit of being more conve- Cx is the correction factor that must be
nient to use, once it has been set hpviscous service =
applied to the term in question
up as a spreadsheet.
In the course of curve-fitting (Qviscous service x Hviscous service x sp gr)
Dxn are the polynomial coefficients listed
Figure 72, it was convenient to
in Table 2 (3,960 x ηviscous service)
define a term known as pseudoca-
pacity: As with water service, the
P is the pseudocapacity term defined horsepower requirements at off-
pseudocapacity = above design conditions should always
be checked. ■
1.95(V)0.5[0.04739(H)0.25746(Q)0.5]-0.5 For comparison, the correction
factors for the example above (tabu-
where lated in Table 7 of the Hydraulic Gunnar Hole is a principal in
Institute Standards) and those calculat- Trident Engineering, Inc. in
V = fluid viscosity in centistokes ed using the polynomial expressions Houston, TX. He has been involved
above are listed in Table 3. in the selection, installation, and
H = head rise per stage at BEP, mea- The problem of selecting a pump troubleshooting of rotating equip-
sured in feet for use in a viscous service is relative- ment for the past 15 years. Mr.
ly simple once the correction coeffi- Hole is a graduate of the University
Q = capacity at BEP in gpm cients have been calculated. If, for of Wisconsin at Madison and is a
example, we had been looking for a Registered Professional Engineer in
pump that could deliver 100 feet of Texas.

The Pump Handbook Series 23


Pump Balancing Criteria


he subject of balancing Presented below is a description commonly referenced by flexible
rotors is one of the funda- of the problem, definitions of some of coupling vendors. It has the
mentals of rotating equip- the more important terms used, and advantage of being conceptually
ment engineering. A references that can be consulted for a simple. For the gear manufactur-
number of balancing standards more thorough review. A table also ers who developed this standard,
have been developed over the compares three of the most common it allowed the use of manufactur-
years to meet the requirements of balancing criteria used in the pump ing process tolerances as balanc-
pump manufacturers and users, industry. ing tolerances. In Paragraph 3.2.7,
and the idea of balancing is simple. Perhaps the least controversial API 610 7th Edition suggests that
Unfortunately, the definitions and comment that can be made to an couplings meeting AGMA 515.02
mathematics used in describing experienced equipment specialist is Class 8 should be used unless oth-
balancing problems can be confus- that “accurate rotor balancing is criti- erwise specified.
ing. This article compares these cal to reliable operation.” I could add The SCVM is based on con-
criteria so the end user can use some spice to the conversation by giv- siderations of mechanical similari-
consistent reasoning when making ing my opinion on how good is good ty. For geometrically similar rigid
balancing decisions. enough, but I would rather address rotors running at equal peripheral
the standards used in the pump speeds, the stresses in the rotor
industry and show how they take and bearings are the same. This
different approaches to resolve the method is described in ISO
Unbalanced Specified Specified problem of balancing rotors. Standard 1940—Balance Quality of
Force Eccentricity Circular I use the term rotor repeated- Rigid Rotors. It also forms the
Method Method Velocity ly in this discussion. For the pur- basis of API Standard 610 7th
As per API 610 As per Method
6th Edition AGMA 510.02 As per API 610
pose of this article, I include Edition’s very stringent 4W/N bal-
7th Edition partially and fully assembled ancing requirement. Standards
Residual Unbalance pump shaft/sleeve/impeller as- based on this methodology are
(RUB), in.–oz 56347 Wj 16 ε Wj 4 Wj semblies as well as individual becoming more common.
where: N2 N
pump components installed on In Table 1 the three balancing
Wj = rotor weight per
balancing machine arbors in this criteria discussed above are com-
definition. pared with respect to their effect on
balance plane, Ibf
The three major criteria used the various parameters involved in
N = rpm
will be referred to as the balancing. The terms used in the
ε = eccentricity, in. Unbalanced Force Method (UFM), table are defined as follows:
Eccentricity (ε) or the Specified Eccentricity Method
Specific Unbalance (SEM), and the Specified Circular RESIDUAL UNBALANCE
in.–oz/lbm 56347 16 ε 4 Velocity Method (SCVM). This is the amount of unbal-
N2 N In the UFM the allowable ance present or allowed in the
unbalance permitted in a rotor is rotor. It has the units of mass and
in.–lbm/lbm 3522 ε 0.25 the amount that will result in a length. It is computed by taking
N2 N dynamic force on the rotor system the product of the rotor mass (per
where RUB = εWj see Table 2 equal to some percentage of the balance plane) times the distance
Unbalance Force (UBF), rotor’s static weight. This allow- from the rotor’s center of mass to
lbf where: able unbalance is therefore related its center of rotation. Note that 1
UBF = εMω2 to the operating speed of the rotor. in.–oz is equivalent to 72.1 cm–g.
0.10 Wj εWjN2 WjN
and M = Wj/386 lbf–s2/in. 35200 140800 An example of this method can be ECCENTRICITY
ω = 2 π N/60 rad/s found in API Standard 610 6th
This is the distance that the
Circular Velocity (CV),
Edition, where the unbalance
center of mass of the rotor is dis-
force contributed to a rotor system
in./s 368 εN 0.26 placed from the rotor’s center of
by a rotating unbalance is limited
N 9.54 rotation. It has the unit of length.
to 10% of the rotor’s static weight.
It can also be considered as a mea-
The SEM attempts to specify
mm/s 9347 2.66 εN 0.665 balance quality by limiting the
sure of specific residual unbal-
N ance, having the units of
distance by which the center of
where CV = εω mass of the rotor can be offset
length–mass/mass. This term is
ISO Standard 1940 G – 9347 G – 2.66 εN G – 0.665 the basic criterion of SEM balanc-
from the center of rotation of the
Balance Grade N ing rules (see Table 2). Note that 1
rotor. This method is used in
in. is equivalent to 25.4 mm.
AGMA Standard 515.02, which is

24 The Pump Handbook Series

The elastic deflection of flexible Edition briefly discusses some of
Note: AGMA 515.02 refers to several Balance the implications of operating a
rotors sets up additional centrifugal
Quality Classes. They are summarized as follows: rotor near a critical speed. The
forces that add to the original unbal-
ance forces. Such rotors can be bal- guidelines given there recom-
Equivalent ISO
anced in two planes for a single speed mend separation margins that
AGMA Balance Quality Grade
Class ε, µ-in. 1,800 rpm only. At any other speed they will specify how far away from a criti-
3,600 rpm
8 4,000 19.2 38.3 become unbalanced. Balancing the cal speed you can operate a rotor.
9 2,000 9.6 19.2 rotor to allow it to run over a range of These margins depend on the sys-
10 1,000 4.8 9.6 speeds involves corrections in three tem amplification factors (also
11 500 2.4 4.8 or more planes. This process is called known as magnification factors),
12 250 1.2 2.4 multi-plane balancing. which are directly related to the
One important point is that the damping available for the mode or
UNBALANCE FORCE pump/coupling/driver system must resonance in question. The net
This is the force that is exert- be considered as a whole when eval- result of these recommendations
ed on a rotor system as a result of uating balance quality. A simple is to limit the maximum operating
the non-symmetrical distribution pump rotor can be balanced to meet amplification factor to a maxi-
of mass about the rotor’s center of API 610 7th Edition’s 4W/N criteria mum of about 3.75. The amplifi-
rotation. The units of this term are in a modern balancing machine with- cation factor can be thought of as
force. This term is the basic criteri- out too much trouble. An electric a multiplier applied to the mass
on of UFM balancing rules. Note motor rotor may be even easier to eccentricity, ε, to account for the
that 1 lbf is equivalent to 4.45 balance due to its simple construc- effect of system dynamics.
Newton. tion. But the coupling connecting Algebraically, the physics of the
them can be a completely different situation can be represented as
CIRCULAR VELOCITY matter. follows:
This is the velocity at which The coupling will likely have x = X sin (ωt – Φ)
the center of mass of the rotor more residual unbalance than either
rotates around the center of rota- the pump or the motor. And every (ω/ωn)2
tion. You can think of it as a tan- time you take the coupling apart and X = ε ————————————
gential velocity term. It has the put it back together you take the ([1 – (ω/ωn)2]2 + (2ζω/ωn)2)0.5
units of length per unit time. It chance of changing its balance condi-
forms the basis for balancing rules tion. As written, API 610 7th Edition 2ζω/ωn
based on the ISO Standard 1940 allows a coupling to have a specific Φ = tan–1 ————————
series. In fact, the Balancing residual unbalance nearly 60 times 1 – (ω/ωn)2
Grades outlined in ISO 1940 are higher than for a 3,600 rpm pump. where
referenced by their allowable circu- This can be a significant problem if x is the displacement of a point on
lar velocity in millimeters per sec- you use a relatively heavy coupling. the rotor
ond. The balance quality called for These balancing methods are pri- X is the magnitude of the vibration
in API 610 7th Edition is better marily intended for use on rigid at that point
than the quality that ISO 1940 rec- rotors—those operating at speeds
ommends for tape recorder drives under their first critical speed.
ε is the mass eccentricity
and grinding machines. ISO 1940 Flexible rotors, which operate above ω is the operating speed or fre-
recommends G–6.3 and G–2.5 for their first critical speed, are consider- quency of the rotor
most pump components, where ably more complicated to balance. Φ is the phase angle by which the
API 610 calls for the equivalent of The process of balancing flexible response lags the force
G–0.67. Note that 1 in./s is equiva- rotors is discussed in ISO Standard
lent to 25.4 mm/s. ζ is the damping factor for the
5406–The Mechanical Balancing of
mode of vibration under consid-
RIGID ROTOR Flexible Rotors and ISO Standard
5343–Criteria for Evaluating Flexible
A rotor is considered rigid Rotor Unbalance. X/ε is the amplification factor
when it can be balanced by mak- The basic concepts of rigid and ω/ωn is the ratio of operating speed
ing mass corrections in any two flexible rotor balancing are the same. to the critical speed under con-
arbitrarily selected balancing The main difference is that with rigid sideration
planes. After these corrections are rotor balancing we are only con-
made, the balance will not signifi- A more detailed discussion on
cerned with the rigid body modes of the topic of damped unbalance
cantly change at any speed up to vibration. With a flexible rotor, we
the maximum operating speed. response (or whirling of shafts)
have to consider some of the higher can be found in any introductory
With the possible exception of modes of vibration as well. In these
home ceiling fans, I believe that vibration textbook. ■
cases the deflection of the rotor affects
two-plane balancing is the mini- the mass distribution along its length. Gunnar Hole is a principal in
mum required for rotating equip- In general, each of the modes has to Trident Engineering, Inc. in Houston,
ment components. be balanced independently. TX.

The Pump Handbook Series 25


Bearing Basics

ntifriction bearings, which
can utilize either balls or
rollers, are used to transfer
radial and axial loads
between the rotating and station-
ary pump and motor assemblies
during operation. Even under the
best of installation, maintenance,
and operating conditions, bearing
failures can and will occur. The
purpose of this article is to provide
a working-level discussion of bear-
ings, the types of failures, and
how bearings should be installed
and maintained for optimum life
Due to space limitations, we
cannot address all the different
sizes and types of bearings avail-
able, or all the constraints cur- Photo 1. Typical radial bearings
rently utilized in design.
However, because electric motors
are used more often to drive cen- must transfer radial loads at the outer race. The “back” of the bear-
trifugal pumps, our discussion other end of the motor, and they ing has the wider lip on the outer
will be based on bearings typical- must transfer all axial loads. Photo 1 race and usually has various sym-
ly used in quality motors. These shows several typical radial bearings, bols and designators on it. Photo 2
bearings usually include a single and Photo 2 shows DACBs. shows two pairs of DACBs. The
radial bearing and a matched set pair on the left is positioned face-
of duplex angular contact bear- DIFFERENT BEARING
to-face while the pair on the right
ings (DACBs). Together, these CONFIGURATIONS is back-to-back. Note that the lip
bearings must: Radial bearings may be provided on the outer races of the first pair
• allow the unit to operate satis- with either 0, 1, or 2 seals or shields is narrower than on the second
factorily over long periods of that are effectively used to prevent pair. This distinguishing character-
time with minimum friction entry of foreign material into the istic provides an easy identifica-
and maintenance bearings. If the bearing is equipped tion of which side is the face or
• maintain critical tolerances with one seal or shield, the installer back. In tandem, the narrow lip of
between rotating and stationary should determine which end of the one bearing is placed next to the
assemblies to prevent contact motor the seal or shield should face. wide lip on the other. In other
and wear Failure to install radial bearings prop- words, all bearing faces point
erly in the correct orientation may either toward the pump or away
• transmit all variable radial and
result in the blockage of grease or from it.
axial loads in all operating con-
lubricant to the bearings during rou- To facilitate the installation of
ditions, which include reverse
tine maintenance. DACBs, the bearing faces should
rotation, startup, shutdown,
The orientation of DACBs is be marked with a black indelible
maximum flow, and maximum
more complex, DACBs must be marker showing where the bur-
discharge pressure
installed in one of four configura- nished alignment marks (BAMs)
Each bearing has a specific tions, as determined by design: are on the back. This is because
purpose. The radial bearing, the four BAMs, two on each bear-
1. face-to-face
which is located at one end of the ing, must be aligned with their
motor, only transfers radial loads 2. back-to-back
3. tandem: faces toward the pump counterparts, and not all BAMs
such as minor unbalanced rotor are visible during installation. For
loads—and the weight of the rotor 4. tandem: faces away from the pump example, when the first bearing is
itself in the case of horizontally The “face” of the DACB is that installed in a face-to-face configura-
oriented components. The DACBs side that has the narrow lip on the tion, the BAMs are on the back

26 The Pump Handbook Series

ing cannot be hammered into posi-
tion or removed and reused
because it will be destroyed inter-
nally by these actions.
2. DACBs
Installation of DACBs follows
the some procedure, except that
additional care must be taken to
position the bearings properly,
line up the burnished alignment
marks, and not erase the indelible
marks added on each bearing
face. After the first bearing has
Photo 2. Two pairs of DACBs, with the pair on the left positioned been installed, rotate the rotor (if
face-to-face, the pair on the right back-to-back necessary) so the alignment mark
on the inner race is at 12 o’clock,
then rotate the outer race so it too
side, hidden from the installer. cause the rotor loads to change is at 12 o’clock. Before proceeding
Marking the face of each bearing direction or be eliminated, the bear- with the second bearing, mentally
allows the installer to see where the ing balls will still be loaded and ball walk through the procedure.
BAMs are, so that all four BAMs skid should not occur. Remember which direction the
may be aligned in the same relative One disadvantage of using pre- face goes and that the burnished
position, such as 12 o’clock. loaded bearings is that bearing life alignment marks must be in the
will be reduced due to the increased same position as the first bearing
BEARING PRELOAD loading. Preloaded bearings should marks. Also remember you have
Under certain operating con- not be used unless design conditions about 10 seconds before the bear-
ditions (hydraulic forces, gravity, require them. ing seizes the shaft.
and movement of the pump and If uncertain about the need for The purpose of aligning the
motor foundation such as on a preload, users should contact manu- four burnished alignment marks
seagoing vessel), the rotor may be facturers. is to minimize off-loading (fight)
loaded in either direction. If this and radial runout loads that will
occurs, the balls in a DACB with BEARING INSTALLATION
occur if the true centers of the
no preload could become Once the proper bearings have bearings are not lined up. Minor
unloaded. When this happens, been obtained and the correct orien- imperfections will always occur,
the balls tend to slide against the tation determined, installation is rela- and they must be minimized.
races (ball skid) rather than roll. tively simple. Failure to align the marks will
This sliding could result in per- The shaft and especially the result in the bearings loading
manent damage to the bearings shaft shoulder should be cleaned each other.
after about five minutes. and any welding or grinding opera- DACBs come only in
To prevent ball skid, bearing tions secured. The bearings must be matched pairs—they must be used
manufacturers provide bearings installed in a clean environment, together. To verify that a pair is
that have a predetermined clear- and the shaft must be free of nicks matched, check the serial number
ance between either the inner or and burrs that may interfere with on the bearing halves—they
outer races. Face-to-face bearings installation. should be the same, or properly
have this clearance between the designated, such as using bearing
outer races. When the bearings are “A” and bearing “B.”
clamped together at installation To install radial bearings, they
(the outer races are clamped should be heated in a portable oven NEW BEARING RUN-IN
together), the balls are pressed to 180–200°F. Then, using clean After new bearings have been
between the inner and outer races, gloves and remembering the correct installed, they should be run in
causing the preload. Back-to-back orientation, quickly slide each bear- while monitoring their tempera-
bearings have the clearance on the ing over the shaft and firmly onto the ture, noise, and vibration. Run-in
inner races, which are usually shaft shoulder. Do not drop or slap is often called the “heat run” or
clamped together with a bearing them into position. Experience indi- “bearing stabilization test.”
locknut. cates that you have about 10 seconds To perform this test, first
By increasing the clearance after removing the bearing from the rotate the pump and driver by
between races, the preload can be oven before it cools and seizes the hand to check for rubbing or bind-
increased from zero to a heavy shaft. If it seizes the shaft out of loca- ing. If none occurs, operate the
load. This way, when conditions tion, remove it and scrap it. The bear-

The Pump Handbook Series 27

installed and the balls ride on the
ball ridge located on the outer
race. Evidence of reverse loading
appears as “equator” bands
around the balls.
Contamination (failure to
follow Rule 3): Contamination of
bearings almost always occurs
during installation, but can also
occur when liquids or other con-
stituents from the pump leak or
are present in the surrounding
environment. If contamination is
found in a new bearing before
installation, the bearing should be
carefully cleaned and repacked.
Evidence of solid contamination in
used bearings usually appears as
very small, flat dents in the races
and balls.
Photo 3. Radial bearing disassembly Excessive Lubrication (fail-
ure to follow Rule 4): Too much
grease in a bearing may cause the
unit at the design rating point and 2. DACBs must be installed in the balls to “plow” their way through
record bearing temperatures correct orientation. If not, they the grease, resulting in increased
every 15 min. Bearing tempera- may experience reverse loading friction and heat. If the bearings
tures should increase sharply and and fail. See “Reverse Loading” and bearing caps are packed full
then slowly decline to their nor- under “Bearing Failures.” of grease, ball skid could occur.
mal operating temperature, usual- 3. Bearings must be installed in a When it does, the balls do not roll,
ly 20–60°F above ambient. clean environment. Contami- but actually slide against the races.
During the heat run care nation is a leading cause of pre- Experience shows that the bear-
should be taken to ensure that mature failures. ings may be permanently damaged
the temperature does not exceed 4. Do not pack the bearing and after more than five minutes of
the value specified by the manu- bearing cups full of grease. ball skid. Finding packed bearings
facturer. If it does, the unit Excessive grease will cause over- and bearing caps is a good indica-
should be secured and allowed to heating and ball skid. See tion that too much grease caused
cool to within 20°F of ambient, “Excessive Lubrication” under the bearing to fail. Bearing manu-
or for 2 hours. The unit may then “Bearing Failure.” facturers usually recommend that
be restarted and the test repeated bearings have 25-50% of their free
BEARING FAILURES volume filled with grease.
as necessary until the bearing
temperature peaks and begins to Failure to follow these four
basic rules will result in premature Excessive Heat: Failure to
bearing failures. These and other provide adequate heat transfer
If, after repeated attempts,
failures will occur for the following paths, or operating the component
bearing temperatures do not show
reasons: at excessive loads or speeds may
signs of stabilization, too much
True Brinelling (failure to fol- result in high operating tempera-
grease may be present. The bear-
low Rule 1): This type of bearing tures. Evidence of excessive tem-
ing should be inspected and cor-
failure occurs when removing bear- perature usually appears as
rective actions taken as necessary.
ings with a gear puller. The force silver/gold/brown/blue discol-
Now let’s cover some basic
required to remove a bearing from oration of the metal parts.
rules to follow when working
with bearings: a shrink-fit application is great False Brinelling: False
enough that when it is transferred brinelling occurs when excessive
1. Never reuse a bearing that has
through the balls to the inner races, vibrations cause wear and break-
been removed using a gear
the balls are pressed into the inner down of the grease film between
puller, even if it is new. The
and outer races forming permanent the balls and the races. This condi-
bearing has been internally
indentations. tion may be accompanied by signs
destroyed in the removal
of corrosion. A good example of
process. See “True Brinelling” Reverse Loading (failure to how false brinelling could occur
under “Bearing Failures.” follow Rule 2): Reverse loading would be when a horizontally
occurs when DACBs are improperly positioned component is shipped
28 The Pump Handbook Series
how we disassemble a bearing DACB DISASSEMBLY
for inspection. Before disassem- To disassemble DACBs, sup-
bling any bearing, however, turn port the face of the outer race and
it by hand and check it for rough press down against the inner race.
performance. Note its general The back of the bearing must be
condition, the grease (and quanti- on top.
ty thereof), and whether there is
any contamination. If solid conta- HANDLING, TRANSPORTATION,
mination is present, the particles AND STORAGE
should be collected using a clean Common sense applies in
filter bag as follows: handling, storing, or transporting
1. Partially fill a clean bucket or precision bearings. They should
container with clean diesel not be dropped or banged. They
fuel or kerosene. should be transported by hand in
2. Insert a clean filter bag into the cushioned containers, or on the
kerosene container. This seat of vehicle—not in a bike rack.
ensures that no contamination They should be stored in a cool,
from the container or the clean, dry environment.
kerosene gets into the filter Because nothing lasts forever,
Zero-leakage magnetic liquid seal bag. including bearing grease, bearings
developed to retrofit process pumps should not be stored for more than
3. Using a clean brush, wash the
a few years. After this, the grease
grease and contamination out
degrades and the bearings may
across the country and not cush- of the bearing. The grease will
become corroded. At best, an old
ioned from a rough road surface. dissolve and any contamination
bearing may have to be cleaned
The load of the rotor is passed will be collected in the filter bag
and repacked, using the correct
through the bearing balls, which for future evaluation.
type and amount of grease.
wear away or indent the races.
Evidence of false brinelling looks
similar to true brinelling, but may After removing the grease and Routine maintenance of bear-
be accompanied by signs of corro- any contamination, you should disas- ings usually involves periodic
sion where the grease film has not semble radial bearings by removing regreasing (followed by a heat run)
been maintained. Correction sim- any seals or shields, which are often and monitoring bearing vibrations,
ply involves protecting the unit held in place by snap rings. Then, to which will gradually increase over
from excessive vibration and using remove a metal retainer, drill long periods of time .
specially formulated greases through the rivets and remove both To maintain pumps and dri-
where past experience demon- retainer halves. Then the bearing vers that are secured for long
strates the need. should again be flushed (in a differ- periods of time, simply turn the
ent location) to remove any metal rotor 10–15 revolutions every
Fatigue Failure: Even when
shavings that may have fallen three months by hand. This will
all operating, installation, and
between the balls and races when ensure than an adequate grease
maintenance conditions are per-
drilling out the rivets. If the bearing film exists to prevent corrosion of
fect, bearings will still fail. In this
does not freely turn by hand, some the bearing. If this action is not
case, the bearings have simply
metal particles are still trapped taken, the bearings may begin to
reached the end of their useful
between the balls and races. corrode due to a breakdown in
life, and any additional use results
Next, place the bearing on the the grease film. ■
in metal being removed from the
floor as shown in Photo 3 with the
individual components. Evidence
balls packed tightly together on the Ray W. Rhoe, PE, has a BSCE
of fatigue failure appears as pits.
top. Insert a rod or bar through the from The Citadel and 15 years’ expe-
BEARING DISASSEMBLY FOR inner race and press down, hard if rience with pumps, testing, and
INSPECTION necessary. Note: If the balls are not hydraulic design.
packed tightly together, disassembly
Now that we know what to
will not occur.
look for in failed bearings, let’s see

The Pump Handbook Series 29


Centrifugal Pump Efficiency


he efficiency of centrifugal where ehp = electrical power in and can have significant power
pumps of all sizes is becoming horsepower. requirements.
more important as the cost Internal leakage occurs as the
and demand for electricity EFFICIENCY LOSSES result of flow between the rotating
increases. Many utilities are empha- Pump efficiency is influenced by and stationary parts of the pump,
sizing conservation to reduce the hydraulic effects, mechanical losses, from the discharge of the impeller
number of new generating facilities and internal leakage. Each of these back to the suction. The rate of leak-
that need to be built. Utilities have factors can be controlled to improve age is a function of the clearances in
increased incentives to conserve pump efficiency. Any given design the pump. Reducing the clearances
power with programs that emphasize arrangement balances the cost of will decrease the leakage but can
demand side conservation. These pro- manufacturing, reliability, and power result in reliability problems if mating
grams often help fund capital equip- consumption to meet users needs. materials are not properly selected.
ment replacements that reduce Hydraulic losses may be caused Some designs bleed off flows from
electrical consumption. Demand side by boundary layer effects, disruptions the discharge to balance thrust, pro-
management programs make replac- of the velocity profile, and flow sepa- vide bearing lubrication, or to cool
ing old pumping equipment more ration. Boundary layer losses can be the seal.
feasible than ever before. minimized by making pumps with
clean, smooth, and uniform hydraulic EXPECTED EFFICIENCIES
DETERMINING PUMP EFFICIENCY passages. Mechanical grinding and The expected hydraulic efficien-
The efficiency of a pump ηp is polishing of hydraulic surfaces, or cy of a pump design is a function of
ratio of water horsepower (whp) to modern casting techniques, can be the pump size and type. Generally,
brake horsepower (bhp). The highest used to improve the surface finish, the larger the pump, the higher the
efficiency of a pump occurs at the decrease vane thickness, and efficiency. Pumps that are geometri-
flow where the incidence angle of the improve efficiency. Shell molds, cally similar should have similar effi-
fluid entering the hydraulic passages ceramic cores, and special sands pro- ciencies. Expected BEPs have been
best matches with the vane angle. duce castings with smoother and plotted as a function of specific speed
The operating condition where a more uniform hydraulic passages. and pump size. A set of curves that
pump design has its highest efficien- Separation of flow occurs when a may be used to estimate efficiency is
cy is referred to as the best efficiency pump is operated well away from the provided in Figure 1. The specific
point (BEP). best efficiency point (BEP). The flow speed (Ns) of a pump may be deter-
ηp = whp/bhp separation occurs because the inci- mined from the equation:
The water horsepower (whp) dence angle of the fluid entering the Ns = NQ0.5/H0.75
may be determined from the equa- hydraulic passage is significally dif- where N = speed in rpm, Q = capac-
tion: ferent from the angle of the blade. ity in gpm, and H = developed head
whp = QHs/3,960 Voided areas increase the amount of in feet.
where Q = capacity in gallons per energy required to force the fluid Using a pump performance
minute, H = developed head in feet, through the passage. curve, the highest efficiency can be
and s = specific gravity of pumped Mechanical losses in a pump are determined and the specific speed
fluid. caused by viscous disc friction, bear- calculated using the head and capaci-
Preferably, the brake horsepow- ing losses, seal or packing losses, and ty at that point. Using the specific
er supplied by a driver can be deter- recirculation devices. If the clearance speed and the pump capacity, the
mined using a transmission between the impeller and casing side- expected efficiency can be estimated.
dynameter or with a specially cali- wall is too large, disc friction can If the pump has bearings or seals that
brated motor. Brake horsepower increase, reducing efficiency. require more power, such as tilting
determined in the field by measuring Bearings, thrust balancing devices, pad thrust bearings or multiple seals,
kilowatt input and multiplying by the seals, and packing all contribute to this should be considered when cal-
motor catalogue efficiency can be frictional losses. Most modern bear- culating the expected efficiency.
inaccurate. If motor power is deter- ing and seal designs generate full
mined in the field, data should be fluid film lubrication to minimize fric- MOTOR EFFICIENCIES
taken at the motor junction box, not tional losses and wear. Frequently, Efficiencies for new “premium
at the motor control center. recirculation devices such as auxiliary efficiency motors” are provided in
Overall pump motor efficiency impellers or pumping rings are used Figure 2. Using these values, with
ηo may be determined from the equa- to provide cooling and lubrication to anticipated pump efficiencies in
tion: bearings and seals. Like the main Figure 1, the expected power con-
ηo = whp/ehp impeller, these devices pump fluid sumption for a well designed pump

30 The Pump Handbook Series

calculated power consumption can be
compared with an existing installa- Motor Minimum Acceptable Efficiency
tion to determine the value of
Horsepower 1200 rpm 1800 rpm 3600 rpm
improving pump performance or
replacing the unit. 5 88.0 88.0 87.0
10 90.2 91.0 90.2
EXAMPLE CALCULATION OF 15 91.0 92.0 91.0
PUMP EFFICIENCY 20 91.7 93.0 91.7
A single-stage end-suction 25 92.4 93.5 92.0
process pump will be used as an 30 93.0 93.6 92.4
example for an efficiency calculation. 40 93.6 94.1 93.0
The pump uses a mechanical seal and 50 93.6 94.1 93.0
an angular contact ball bearing pair 75 94.5 95.0 94.1
for thrust. The pumped fluid is water 100 94.5 95.0 94.5
with specific gravity of 1.0. The 125 94.5 95.4 94.5
pump operates at its BEP of 2,250
150 95.0 95.4 94.5
gpm, developing 135 feet of head.
The pump speed is 1,750 rpm (note: 200 95.0 95.0 95.0
with the new motor the speed may Over 200 95.0 95.4 95.0
change, but to simplify the example it
will be assumed the new and old The antifriction bearings and typ- If power costs 8 cents a kilowatt hour
motor both operate at 1,750 rpm). ical mechanical seal do not require a and the pump operates continuously,
The expected power consumption for power adjustment. However, if a tilt- the savings of replacing this unit on
a new unit can be calculated. ing pad thrust bearing or other an annual basis can be calculated:
First the pump specific speed device, such as a special seal, that cost = 9.5 kw x $0.08 per kw hr x
will be calculated: used more power was part of the 8,760 hr/yr
[1,750 rpm x (2,250 gpm)0.5]design, the correction would be made cost = $6,658 year
Ns = (135 ft)0.75 here by adding the additional horse- This figure can be used to deter-
Ns = 2,096 power to the calculated value. mine if the additional power con-
Figure 1 can be used at Ns = 2,100 Using Figure 2, the minimum sumption justifies replacing the
and interpolated for 2,250 gpm. efficiency for a 100 Hp motor is 95%. pump. If a replacement pump and
The expected efficiency is 86%. The efficiency value may change motor of this size can be purchased
The water horsepower is: slightly for the operating condition and installed for $40,000, and the
(2,250 gpm x 135 ft x 1.0) and should be verified with a motor electric utility offers a 50% rebate
whp =
3,960 manufacturer. The 95% efficiency program, the net cost of $20,000 for
will be used in this example. The the user is certainly worth consider-
whp = 76.7 Hp
expected electrical horsepower is: ing.
The expected brake horsepower is:
ehp = 89.2 Hp/0.95
bhp = 76.7 Hp/0.86
bhp = 89.2 Hp
ehp = 93.9 Hp SUMMARY
or Remember, for any centrifugal
ehp = 93.9 Hp x pump to operate efficiently it needs
.7457 kw/Hp to be properly applied. When
ehp = 70.0 kw processes require changing flow rates
The last time this frequently, variable speed drives can
pump was rebuilt be a solution. A pump operating far
and put in ser- from its BEP will be neither efficient
vice, power was nor reliable. Many times changing
measured at 79.5 the pump size to better match the
kw. The differ- system will reduce power costs dra-
ence in power matically. ■
between the exist-
ing unit and a David L. Cummings is an indepen-
new unit can be dent consultant who provides engineer-
calculated: ing services and equipment for
ehp = 79.5 kw - specialized applications.
70.0 kw
ehp = 9.5 k.
Efficiency of various pumps sizes and specific speeds

The Pump Handbook Series 31


Motor Size Selection for Centrifugal Pumps


Q: How do I select the practical for the designated equip- relatively new or infrequently test-
proper motor size for ment design, but does have a toler- ed pump designs.
my centrifugal pump ance range which may be ex- The user should be informed
applications? In some perienced for any specific pump for of this potential variation if the
applications we have experi- such characteristics as the Total impeller requires replacement
enced driver overload, while Dynamic Head (TDH) at a specific due to normal operating wear of
other applications appear satis- flow rate. the pump, especially if it is to be
factory using the same selec- Brake horsepower is related to purchased from a source other
tion method. the TDH by the following formula: than the original equipment man-
What seems to be a ufacturer, which may not have

A: straightforward re-
quirement of selecting
a pump motor too fre-
quently results in a
major problem when commission-
(TDH) x Flow x Specific Gravity
3960 x Efficiency x Viscosity
historical test records of the origi-
nal hydraulic design.
Industry practice is to guaran-
tee only the TDH (with a tolerance
range) at a specified flow rate and
ing the pumping system and the *See Hydraulic Institute Standards for Values the pump efficiency. The resulting
installed motor overloads and is brake horsepower is guaranteed
tripped off the line. Correcting the only by the same tolerance, and
Most pump users will not accept then only if the pump is tested.
problem can be as simple as
a lower than specified rating point
adjusting a manual valve. And it MECHANICAL SEAL
TDH, and the manufacturer is fre-
can be as complex and time con- HORSEPOWER LOSSES
quently required to test the equip-
suming as replacing the motor,
ment prior to shipment to confirm The performance curve pub-
motor starters, and service wire
that the pump meets the specified lished by the pump manufacturer
with a larger size, and altering the
requirements. If the installed and described above does not pro-
flow control system.
impeller should produce less TDH vide allowances for the power
A simple rule of thumb of
than specified, the manufacturer required to turn a mechanical seal
supplying a motor size that
must replace the impeller with a that is loaded to typical process
exceeds the pump manufacturers
larger diameter. If high alloy materi- conditions. For a high suction
rated point brake horsepower by
als are involved, there may be con- pressure, double mechanical shaft
some fixed margin, or of supply-
siderable expense and delay seal pump installation, this can be
ing a motor size equal to the brake
involved. Hence the practice in the a measurable amount and must be
horsepower at the end of the
pump industry is to publish a perfor- added to the horsepower required
selected impeller diameter curve,
mance curve (TDH vs. Capacity) for to move the liquid. An allowance
may not work in all cases. The
a given impeller diameter that is of one to two horsepower, for
person selecting the motor must
somewhat less than can actually be example, may be required for
have a thorough knowledge of the
achieved by the specified diameters. some ANSI style pump designs to
pumping system and its character-
Should a test then be specified and compensate for seal losses. Hence,
istics, pump industry practices,
the impeller TDH test higher than if the generalized performance
and limitations of the generalized
allowed tolerances at a given flow curve rating point results in a BHP
data provided by the pump manu-
rate, the impeller can be reduced to a of 7.5 Hp, a motor of 10 Hp may
facturer with the quotation.
smaller diameter to provide the be considered for the application if
GENERALIZED PERFORMANCE required values without replacing it. no allowance is given for factors
CURVE LIMITATIONS One of the current pump indus- like seal drag.
The brake horsepower values try acceptance test criteria, the As part of the equipment quo-
published by the pump manufac- Hydraulic Institute Standards, per- tation, an estimate for the seal
turer on the generalized hydraulic mits the TDH to exceed the design horsepower drag should be
performance curves (TDH, effi- point requirements by as much as requested for all pumps requiring
ciency, BHP vs. capacity) are the 8%. Sometimes pump impellers will mechanical seals. If a double
basis for the rated point BHP exceed the published data by as mechanical seal has been specified
returned to a potential customer much as 20% when first tested. This with a buffer fluid pressurized
when responding to a request for is not usually the case, but there is a flush, the buffer fluid pressure
quotation for a specific applica- range of performance, especially on must be specified by the seal and
tion. The data is as accurate as pump manufacturer and observed

32 The Pump Handbook Series

by the user to assure the estimated examined and those FIGURE 1
seal drag horsepower is not fluid characteristics
exceeded. Over pressurizing the which affect brake
double mechanical seal buffer sys- horsepower evaluated
tem at the site can result in a before selecting a dri-
motor overload condition not ver.
anticipated during the motor selec- As examples: TDH
tion phase. Is there an alter-
Seal horsepower losses typi- nate start-up or shut-
cally have a greater impact on the down flush liquid A
installations at or below 25 Hp, required which has a
but they should be considered for higher specific gravity
all installations. liquid than the rated
flow material?
FLOW CONTROL What is the actu-
Since the BHP of most pump al liquid viscosity at a
designs increases with increasing lower temperature
flow through the pump, it is the than rated conditions,
user’s responsibility to assure that and will it increase
the actual system flow does not the BHP of the
exceed the rated flow originally pump? Even though
specified when the pump was pur- the pump and piping
chased. Pumping systems that is well insulated, Flow
limit flow only by the resistance of without heat tracing
installed piping have a tendency to the system will be at Pump performance curve. A=calculated system
be sized with safety factors to ambient temperature curve with safety factors, B=actual system curve.
“assure” the pump selected will during a start-up. This
provide adequate flow (see the will cool the incom-
above comments regarding gener- ing liquid below the
alized performance curves). A continuous on-line conditions that control of the pump manufacturer.
motor may overload when the would exist once the piping system There is no simple rule of thumb.
pump operates at a higher flow is in operation and at equilibrium. Oversizing motors to compen-
rate than anticipated and requires sate for all of the conditions that
a greater horsepower. Should the PUMP WEAR may or may not exist on every
actual system curve extend A certain amount of internal installation can be a major addi-
beyond the end of the published recirculation takes place inside a tional expense when considering
pump curve and not intersect the centrifugal pump casing at all times. the total electrical system. This
pump curve, the actual horsepower As internal clearances change due to article has illustrated the variables
will be greater than the “end of wear, the rate of this circulation that must be taken into account. ■
curve” horsepower frequently increases. If the system demands
used as basis for motor selection. down stream of the pump remain Robert J. Hart is a Senior
With adequate NPSH available to constant and the system is designed Consultant at the DuPont Company.
the pump, the performance curve to maintain process flow, the pump He also serves on the Pumps and
and corresponding horsepower must flow at a higher rate to com- Systems Editorial Advisory Board.
may extend to greater than pub- pensate for this recirculation.
lished values (Figure 1). Because of this, it may require a cor-
responding higher horsepower. See
FLUID CHARACTERISTICS I.J. Karassik’s recent article “When
Both specific gravity and vis- to Maintain Centrifugal Pumps”
cosity can affect the required (Hydrocarbon Processing, April
pump brake horsepower (see 1993) for additional information on
equation above). Motors are nor- this topic.
mally selected on the basis of
rated conditions of head, flow, SUMMARY
specific gravity, temperature, and Motor selection for centrifugal
viscosity. pumps involves many considera-
The off-design conditions of tions, some of which are beyond the
these characteristics should be

The Pump Handbook Series 33


Setting the Minimum Flows for Centrifugal Pumps


I am presently in- • temperature rise in

volved in replacing a the liquid pumped
newly purchased pump.
• desire to avoid
It was accepted by the
overload of drivers QRSA
purchaser, but the
of high specific- QSRB
shop test was noisy. The manufac-
speed axial-flow
turer said this was due to the poor
pumps Unstable
suction piping. The field test was region Safe Zones
unacceptable and noisy, and there • for pumps hand- pump B
was disagreement about whether ling liquids with of Operation
the noise was due to improperly significant amounts

Min. Flow

Min. Flow
placed elbows in the suction piping of dissolved or

Pump B
Head, H
or if the pump was inappropriately entrain-ed air or
selected. The pump, probably gas, the need to
designed for flows much greater maintain sufficient-

Pump A
than system requirements, was ly high fluid veloci-
recirculating. The noise was a very ties to wash out this
low frequency, random banging. air or gas along
The single-stage, double-suction, with the liquid
twin-volute design had four times
Since then, a new 25% 100%
more NPSH than required. How
phenomenon has been
would your experts have diagnosed Capacity of Q in%
discovered that affects
this costly problem?
the setting of minimum
What witness shop test should Comparison of safe zones of operation for
flows. At certain
be conducted so that the pump normal and for high S value impellers
reduced flows, all cen-
purchaser can be assured of a safe
trifugal pumps are sub-
continuous flow as quoted in the
ject to internal
proposal? What measurements, strong controversy. Accept my com-
recirculation, both in the suction and
observations (both audible and ments as a personal opinion.
discharge areas of the impeller. This
visual), and instrumentation One theoretical method exists to
produces pulsations at both the suc-
should be used to detect the onset predict the onset of recirculation (Ref.
tion and discharge, and the vibration
of suction and/or discharge recircu- 1 and 2). The results of this method
can damage impeller material in a
lation? If the pump does not per- have been verified by many tests,
way similar to classic cavitation,
form as quoted, are minor shop with actual pumps and plastic trans-
although taking place in a different
alterations conceivable? parent models where the onset could
area of the impeller.
I would like to suggest to the be observed with a strobe light. The
Each of these effects may dictate
Hydraulic Institute that a minimum results corresponded within no more
a different minimum operating
nonrecirculating flow test be added than 5% deviation from the predic-
capacity. Clearly, the final decision
to the standards. Your thoughts? tions.
must be based on the greatest of the
J. P. Messina, Professional individual minimums. The internal Assuming that the pump is prop-
Engineer, Pump and Hydraulics recirculation usually sets the recom- erly furnished with the necessary
Consultant, Springfield, NJ. mended minimum, which appears to instrumentation, such as flowmeter,
be what happened in your case. pressure gauges with sufficient sensi-
You’ve actually raised two tivity to show pulsations, and vibra-
questions: tion and noise monitoring devices, an
Until about 25 years ago,

A: 1. How can one determine the experienced test engineer should be

there were only four fac- able to pinpoint the onset of internal
tors to consider when set- onset of recirculation?
ting an acceptable 2. After determining the onset, But it is the setting of the mini-
minimum flow for cen- what should be the recommend- mum flow which—for the time
trifugal pumps: ed minimum flow in relation to being—remains controversial.
the recirculation flow? Obviously, any material damage can-
• higher radial thrust developed
by single volute pumps at Unfortunately, the answers to not serve as a standard, because by
reduced flows both questions remain in the realm of the time the correctness of the deci-

34 The Pump Handbook Series

a consensus about the recirculation. For cold water, this
acceptable limits of refers to values over 10,500. And for
vibration and noise will more conservative S values, such as
be difficult. The choice 8500 to 9500, set the minimum flow
of a minimum flow is at 25% of the best efficiency capacity
much more subjective if (Figure 1).
it is based on problems These comments represent my
arising from internal personal opinion. I am aware that
recirculation than when some users may be more conservative
the temperature rises, and insist that the minimum flow
and radial thrust and should never be less than the recircu-
overload of drivers lation capacity. In that case, users
of high specific-speed should specify this restriction in their
pumps are concerned.
In these situations, the
effect of operating at FIGURE 3
any given low capacity
can be quantified. Even Projections
the effect of handling from casing
liquids laden with air or wall to
gas is easy to determine reduce
since at some given axial
flow the noncondensi- unbalance
ble content of the liquid
will not be washed
away, and will accumu-
“Bulk-head ring” construction used to elimi- late within the pump,
nate unfavorable effects of excessively large which will stop pump-
impeller eye diameter ing.
Another major
obstacle to overcome in
sion has been verified, it is too late. achieving a consensus is to define
Therefore, the magnitudes of pres- what is continuous service and what
sure pulsation, noise and vibration is intermittent. When Warren Fraser
are the only criteria for establishing (who did all the seminal work on
the minimum flow. internal recirculation) and I tried to
Regarding vibration, the produce a quantitative value that Projections from casing wall
Hydraulic Institute Standards would distinguish between these two, provided to reduce problems
includes a chart, plotting maximum we first tried to define 25% of the created by discharge side
permissible peak-to-peak amplitudes time as the breaking point between recirculation
against frequency, and it is applica- them. At first this seemed reasonable,
ble “when the pump is operating at but we soon realized that we had
rated speed within plus or minus another problem to face. There was a
10% of rated capacity.” This could FIGURE 4
difference between running a pump
create a serious problem whenever a for six hours per day at or below an
pump meets these limits but is sub- arbitrary flow and running it for three Annular ring
ject to considerably higher vibrations Annular ring
months out of a year for some strictly
when operated below the recircula- climatic conditions. So, we decided to
tion flows. The API-610 Standard is avoid making any formal distinction
more specific, defining the minimum between continuous and intermittent.
continuous stable flow at which the I admit that I do not have a defi-
pump can operate without exceeding nite and final answer to offer on the
the noise and vibration limits subject of selecting a minimum flow
imposed by the Standard. These lim- standard. I continue to use a guide-
its are expressed in inches per sec- Addition of two annular rings
line that I established some years ago
ond rather than mils of to impeller shrouds to reduce
(Ref. 3). Because the choice of
displacement. axial movement of rotor
required NPSH affects the onset of
The Hydraulic In-stitute should caused by internal recircula-
internal recirculation, for high suction
probably set up rules for establishing tion at discharge
specific speeds the minimum flow
a minimum flow test. But obtaining should correspond to the onset of the

The Pump Handbook Series 35

requests for bids. But this could you can achieve some relief by the ASME Winter Annual
only be acceptable if guidelines providing projections from the Meeting (1981).
are published on how to conduct a casing wall (Figure 3).
3. I.J. Karassik. Centrifugal
test for recirculation or a formula Alternately, annular rings can be
pump operation at off-design
becomes widely accepted on how fitted to the outer shrouds of the
to calculate the onset of internal impeller (Figure 4).
Chemical Processing (1987).
I hope these comments will serve
Regarding your question Igor J. Karassik is Senior
to open a dialogue between pump
about what minor alterations may Consulting Engineer for Ingersoll-
users and manufacturers. Such a dis-
be made if the pump does not per- Dresser Pump Company. He has
cussion should lead to the undertaking
form satisfactorily in this connec- been involved with the pump industry
of a series of tests that will shed addi-
tion, there are two possible for over 60 years. Mr. Karassik is a
tional light on the problem of accept-
able minimum flows. These tests, in member of the Pumps and Systems
1. For suction recirculation, you
turn, could permit the Hydraulic Editorial Advisory Board.
can reduce the minimum
Institute to include guidelines in its
acceptable flow by incorporat-
standards. ■
ing a “bulk-head ring” with an
apron overhanging the eye of REFERENCES
the impeller (Figure 2). Of
1. W.H. Fraser. Flow recirculation
course, this does increase the
in centrifugal pumps. Proce-
required NPSH and can only
edings of the Texas A&M Tenth
be done if there is the neces-
Turbomachinery Symposium
sary margin between avail-
able and required NPSH.
2. W.H. Fraser. Recirculation in
2. If the problem is caused by
centrifugal pumps. Presented at
discharge side recirculation,

36 The Pump Handbook Series


Estimating Maximum Head in Single –

and Multi-Stage Pump Systems

The maximum How can you estimate ditions (0 gpm), can be easily esti-
the maximum (shutoff) mated if the impeller diameter,
head or discharge head that a centrifugal number of impellers used, and
pressure pump can deliver? rpm of the driver (electric motor,
gas engine, turbine, etc.) are
of a centrifugal known.
The maximum pressure a
pump can be
easily estimated
if the impeller
A: centrifugal pump delivers
should be known in order
to ensure that a piping
system is adequately
designed. Any pump that operates
Let’s say we have a single-
stage pump with a 10-in. diameter
impeller and an 1,800 rpm driver.
To determine the head in feet,
simply take the impeller diameter
diameter, at a high flow rate could deliver in inches and square it. Our 10-in.
number of significantly more pressure at zero impeller at 1,800 rpm would yield
(0) gpm flow, such as when the dis- 102, or 100 ft of head. An 8-in.
impellers used, charge valve is closed, than it impeller would yield 82, or 64 ft of
and rpm delivers at operating flow. head, while a 12-in. impeller
The maximum head or discharge would yield 122, or 144 ft of head.
of the driver pressure of a centrifugal pump, Now let’s assume that our
are known. which usually occurs at shutoff con- 10-in. diameter impeller is driven
by a 3,600 rpm motor. We first
determine the head at 1,800 rpm,
FIGURE 1 but then multiply this value by a
factor of four. The basic rule is
that every time the rpm changes
17 by a factor of two, the head
changes by a factor of four. The
head at 3,600 rpm for our 10-in.
15 impeller is therefore 102 x 4, or
14 400 ft of head. Our 8-in. impeller
at 3600 rpm would give us 82 x 4,
13 or 256 ft of head, and our 12-in.
Head in Feet x 1000

12 impeller would give us 122 x 4, or

11 576 ft of head.
For multiple stages (more
10 than one impeller), simply multi-
9 ply the final head for one impeller
by the total number of impellers
in the pump. For a pump with
7 three 10-in. impellers and a speed
6 of 3,600 rpm, we get (102 x 4) x
3 = 400 x 3 = 1,200 ft. of head.
5 Now what happens if we
4 reduce the speed below 1,800 rpm?
3 The same rule still applies: a
change in speed by a factor of two
changes the head by a factor of
1 four. Therefore, a 10-in. diameter
impeller spinning at 900 rpm deliv-
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ers only one fourth the head it
would at 1,800 rpm: 102/4 = 25 ft.
RPM x 1000 Plotting several head-versus-
Rotations per minute (rpm) vs. head in feet to estimate rpm points on a curve will allow
maximum head the user to estimate the maximum

The Pump Handbook Series 37

head at any given speed. Let’s say an interface region that deforms
we have a turbine-driven pump
that injects water into the ground
to raise the subterranean oil
reserves to the surface for process-
ing. The vendor tells you that the
Q: What different types of
seal lubrication exist?

A mechanical seal is
elastically under contact pressure.
This deformation creates larger
film areas and very thin films.
Such lubrication systems are nor-
mally used to control wear in
maximum head is classified, but
you have been requested to
resolve system problems that you
believe are pressure related. The
vendor tells you that the pump
A: designed to operate in
many types of fluids. The
product sealed becomes
the lubricant for the seal
faces. Many times the fluid being
rolling element bearings. In seals
where the viscosity of the fluid
sealed increases with increasing
lubrication occurs.
has four 8-in. diameter impellers sealed is a poor lubricant or contains Boundary lubrication is
and is driven by the turbine at abrasives that must be taken into important for seal faces that are
13,000 rpm. You would estimate account in the seal design. The moving very slowly under heavy
the maximum head as follows: design of the seal faces, materials of load. Here, hydrodynamic and
Step 1 Determine the head at construction, and seal lubrication elastohydrodynamic lubricant
1,800 rpm: play an important role in successful pressures are insufficient to sepa-
operation. Achieving a high level of rate the seal faces. The sliding
82 x 4 stages = 256 ft reliability and service life is a clas- surfaces are protected by the tri-
Step 2 Multiply the head at sic problem in the field of tribolo- bological properties of the materi-
1,800 rpm by four to get gy, the study of friction, wear, and als of construction. An example
the head at 3,600 rpm: lubrication. of a seal operating within this
The lubrication system for two lubrication system is a dry-running
256 x 4 = 1,024 ft
sliding seal faces can be classified as agitator seal.
Step 3 Multiply the head at follows: 1) hydrodynamic, 2) elasto- Mixed-film lubrication, a com-
3,600 rpm by 4 to get the hydrodynamic, 3) boundary, and 4) bination of all the previous sys-
head at 7,200 rpm: mixed film. tems discussed, occurs in all
Hydrodynamic conditions exist contact seals. Here the fluid film
1,024 x 4 = 4,096 ft
when the fluid film completely sepa- becomes very thin and is a combi-
Step 4 Multiply the head at rates the seal faces. Direct surface nation of both the liquid and the
7,200 rpm by 4 to get the contact between seal faces does not gas phases of the fluid sealed.
head at 14,400 rpm: take place, so there is no wear, and Asperities from one surface may
4,096 x 4 = 16,384 ft heat generation from friction is zero. penetrate the lubricating film and
The only heat generation occurs contact the opposite surface. The
Step 5 Plot the rpm-versus-head from shearing of the fluid film, seal face load is then supported
points to obtain the curve which is extremely small. A hydro- partially by the fluid film and par-
shown in Figure 1. dynamic seal may rely on design fea- tially by solid contact. If the gener-
tures such as balance factors, surface ated head at the seal faces is not
As you can see, the estimated waviness, or spiral grooves to sepa- removed, surface wear and dam-
head at 13,000 rpm is 12,500 ft. To rate the seal faces. The Society of age can occur. For applications
convert head in feet to psi, simply Tribologists and Lubrication where the seal face load is too
divide the head by 2.31 to get Engineers (STLE) guideline in high or the fluid viscosity is too
5,411 psi. “Meeting Emissions Regulations low, designs of seal faces can be
with Mechanical Seals” lists hydro- changed through balance and face
Ray W. Rhoe, PE, has a BSCE dynamic seals as a technology to geometry to improve seal perfor-
from The Citadel and 15 years’ expe- control emissions. mance. ■
rience with pumps, testing, and Elastohydrodynamic lubrication
hydraulic design. (EHD) is also found in sliding sur- James Netzel is Chief Engineer
faces, but more often this involves at John Crane Inc. He serves on the
rolling surfaces separated by an oil Editorial Advisory Board for Pumps
film. Here the moving surfaces form and Systems.

38 The Pump Handbook Series


Tips on Pump Efficiency


When trimming a pump decrease with the trimming of the

impeller to change the flow
and head, I sometimes get GAP “A”
too much of a reduction. GAP “B”
What is the problem?

With a constant rotational Q: What is the effect of

impeller trimming on
NPSH required?

speed, as is the case with
most pumps, the “Affinity Small reductions in
Laws” commonly used for
calculating the trim do not
accurately reflect the relationship
between the change in impeller diam-
eter and the hydraulic performance
cised in altering the diameter of a
mixed flow impeller.
A: impeller diameter will
increase the required
NPSH only slightly.
Diameter reductions great-
er than about five to 10 percent will
achieved by the pump. The calcula- increase NPSH required, which

tions generally dictate more of a cut occurs because specific vane loading
than required to affect the desired What is the effect of is raised by the reduced vane length,
head and flow reduction. The trimming an impeller on affecting velocity distribution at the
“Affinity Law” errors can be on the pump efficiency? impeller inlet. Not all pump compa-
order of 20 percent of the calculated nies consistently show their pump
It depends on the specific

reduction. If the calculated reduction curves the increase NPSHR with
trimming calls for a 10 percent reduc- speed of the impeller. The reduced impeller diameters. Atten-
tion in diameter, only seven or eight specific speed index classi- tion must be paid to this factor when
percent reduction should be made. fies the hydraulic features the margin between NPSHR and
The lower the specific speed of the of pump impellers accord- NPSHA is very narrow or the NPSHR
impeller cut, the larger the discrepan- ing to their type and proportions. for a pump is extremely low.
cy. This subject is covered in only a Most refinery pumps fall between
few pump handbooks. The subject is about 900 and 2,500 on this index.
well covered on pages 18 and 19 of
Centrifugal Pumps - Design and
Application, First Edition, by Val
Lobanoff and Robert R. Ross. There
are several reasons for the actual
Some vertical multistage pumps are
in the 4,000 to 6,000 range.
For radial designs, impeller
diameter should not be reduced more
than 70 percent of the maximum
Q: What effect does trim-
ming an impeller have on
axial vibration?

Excessive impeller shroud-

head and flow being lower than that
1. The “Affinity Laws” assume
that the impeller shrouds
are parallel. In actuality, the
diameter design. Reductions in pump
impeller diameters also alter outlet
channel width, blade exit angle and
blade length and may significantly
reduce the efficiency. The greater the
A: to-casing clearances (Gap
“A”) and suction recircula-
tion cause eddy flows
around the impeller, which
in turn cause low frequency axial
shrouds are parallel only in impeller diameter reduction from vibrations. Flow disturbances related
lower specific speed pumps. maximum diameter and the higher to suction recirculation and cavitation
2. The liquid exit angle is altered the specific speed (not suction specific are always present in both diffuser
as the impeller is trimmed, so speed), the more the pump will and volute type pumps. As the
the head curve steepens
3. There is increased turbulent
flow at the vane-tips as the Gap “A” Gap “A”
impeller is trimmed, if the
shroud-to-casing clearance
Gap “B” Gap “B”
(Gap “A”) is not maintained.

All of these effects contribute to


a reduced head development and

flow. Pumps of mixed flow design
are more affected than the true radial
flow impellers found in higher head
pumps. More caution has to be exer-

The Pump Handbook Series 39


ming an im-
peller from
its maximum
diameter to
adjust the head and
flow developed by a
centrifugal pump,
what is the best way
to cut the impeller? Is
it best to trim the
impeller vanes and Length of blend for over filing
impeller diameters are reduced, the the shrouds or just the Impeller diameter, in “A” distance of blend, in
flow distribution pattern across the vanes? 10 & below 1 1/2
exit width of the impeller becomes 10 1/16 through 15 2 1/2
more unstable. The tendency for the No hard and 15 1/16 through 20 3 1/2
high-pressure liquid to return to the
low pressure side and create tip recir-
culation is greatly increased. Again,
the higher energy level pumps are of
major concern (above 200 HP and
A: fast guidelines
for the mechan-
ical aspects of
impeller trim-
ming exist, but there are several
20 1/16 through 30
30 & larger

is best to cut the impeller vanes

650 feet of head per stage). pump construction and hydraulic obliquely (Figure 2), which leaves the
design factors to consider while mak- shrouds unchanged or to cut the
ing the decision of what to trim. vanes only (Figure 3). Trimming the

Q: What are the effects of

trimming an impeller on
radial vibration?

Careful machining of the

How the impeller is trimmed
will greatly influence the hydraulic
performance of the pump as well as
the vibration levels experienced. You
must evaluate the hydraulic charac-
vanes only tends to even out the exit
flow pattern and reduce recirculation
tendencies at the exit area. Gap “A”
should be about 0.050 inch (radial)
for minimum vibration due to vane-

A: volute or diffuser tips to

increase Gap “B” while
maintaining Gap “A” has
ben used for a number of
years to greatly reduce the vane-pass-
teristics before you decide how to
trim the impeller.
For volute type pumps, the
entire impeller, vanes and shrouds
may be cut as shown in Figure 1.
passing frequency.
In most diffuser type pumps, it is
best to trim only the vanes (Figure 3)
to control tip recirculation and the ill
effects of an increased Gap “A”. This
ing frequency vibration. The pulsat- However, in some pumps, this cut yields a more stable head curve.
ing hydraulic forces acting on the method will alter Gap “A” (shroud-to- The uniform flow reduces the ten-
impeller can be reduced by 80 to 85 case clearance), leading to uneven dency for tip recirculation, and the
percent by increasing the radial Gap flow distribution at the impeller exit possibility of suction recirculation is
“B” from 1 percent to 6 percent. area, which can cause axial vibration greatly reduced at the exit area.
There is no loss of overall pump effi- and other problems. The double suc- Structural strength of the shrouds
ciency when the diffuser or volute tion impeller type pump is especially is a factor in the decision in how to
inlet tips are recessed, contrary to the sensitive to problems caused by trim the impeller. There may be too
expectations of many pump design- increased Gap “A”, so trimming the much unsupported shroud left after a
ers. The slight efficiency improve- entire impeller is not a good choice. It major reduction in diameter. The
ment results from the reduction of
various energy-consuming phenome- TABLE 1. RECOMMENDED RADIAL GAPS FOR PUMPS
na: the high noise level, shock, and
vibration caused by vane-passing fre-
quency, and the stall generated at the Type of Gap “A” Gap “B” +/- percentage
diffuser inlet. Pump Design of impeller radius
Table 1 gives recommended
dimensions from Dr. Elemer Makay Minimum Preferred Maximum
for radial gaps of the pump impeller Diffusers 50 mils 4% 6% 12%
to casing. Note that if the number of Volute 50 mils 6% 10% 12%
impeller vanes and the number of dif-
fuser/volute vanes are both even, the *B = 100 (R3-R2)
radial gap must be larger by about 4
where R3 = Radius of diffuser of volute inlet
and R2 = Radius of impeller
40 The Pump Handbook Series
I frequently encounter face of the vanes (Figure 4). This
Q: “vane-passing” frequen-
cies during vibration
analysis of a pump.
What are some of the
methods that can be used to
technique has the additional advan-
tage of restoring the vane exit angle
to near that of the maximum impeller
design (i.e., before the diameter was
Original outlet width
reduce this problem? 2. Underfiling: Sharpening the
New outlet width
Mill or grind away
underside of the trailing edge of the
The most effective method vane (Figure 5) can enlarge the outlet

Max. sharpening
of reducing vane-passing area of the liquid channel. This will
Leave at
least 1/8 ”
frequencies is to carefully generally result in about five percent
maintain proper Gap “A” more head near the best efficiency
and Gap “B” clearances to point, depending on the outlet vane
reduce impeller-casing interaction. angle. At least 1/8 inch of vane tip
Sometimes, impellers manufactured thickness must be left. Sharpening
oblique cut leaves the shrouds with blunt vane tips cause distur- the vanes also improves the efficien-
unchanged and solves the structural bances in the impeller exit area and cy slightly. Where there are high
strength problem as well as improv- in the volute area by generating stage pressures, you must sharpen
ing the exit flow pattern. hydraulic “hammer” even when the the vanes carefully because the vanes
impeller O.D. is the correct distance are under high static and dynamic
from the cut water (Gap “B”). stresses. ■
Corrections can be achieved by two
methods: Ed Nelson is a consultant to the
1. Overfiling: This disturbance turbomachinery and rotating equipment
may be partly or entirely eliminated industries. He serves on the Pumps and
by tapering the vanes by “overfiling” Systems Editorial Advisory Board.
or removal of metal on the leading

The Pump Handbook Series 41


Examining Pump Capacity Problems


We have a 1,200 gpm tight. And the as-built drawings cooling water application. The

Q: centrifugal pump that

transfers water from a
public reservoir up to
our makeup reservoir
inside the plant. The change in
should also be studied to determine if
there might be any irregularities
(such as improper pitch or high spots)
along the pipeline in which air pock-
ets could form.
centrifugal pump was rated at
1,000 rpm for a suction lift of 15
ft against an 80 ft total head
when running at 750 rpm. Using
the rules governing the relation
of capacity, head, and speed, we
elevation is about 30 ft over a If air is the cause of reduced thought it should be possible to
distance of roughly a mile. The pump capacity, this can be confirmed obtain 1,400 gpm against a total
pump does not operate continu- by stopping the pump, opening and head of 150 ft by replacing the
ously, rather it is turned on and closing the vent valve on top of the original motor with a larger,
off by plant staff who check the volute, and immediately restarting 1,050 rpm motor. However, in
makeup reservoir level once per the pump (which should run at full its new service, the pump has
shift. According to operators, the capacity). Do not open the vent valve not provided anywhere near the
pump seems to deliver ”full while the pump is operating. Even if anticipated capacity. What could
flow“ when first started, but is air is present in the pump during be wrong?
operating at a much lower capac- operation, it will be trapped near the Switching a pump from
ity when checked later. What
could cause this consistent
decline in pump capacity?
Your problem could
center of the impeller while the heav-
ier water will be forced to the outer
edge (and out the vent valve if it is
open) (see Ask the Experts,
A: one service to another
frequently appears to
be an easy and cost-
effective way of avoid-

A: have a couple of caus- November 1993). ing the purchase of a new pump
es. One cause might A second possible source of your designed for the desired use.
be air that has entered difficulty is the intake at the public Unfortunately, such switches can
the system and accu- reservoir. From the information pre- be tricky business (as discussed in
mulated in the pump. While it is sented, the system probably has a this column in March, 1993). Yet
possible for the reservoir water to submerged offshore intake with some since almost everyone will be
be saturated with air that will form of screening to prevent the tempted to engineer such a switch
come out of solution in the pump, entrainment of unwanted materials. at least once during a career, it
most centrifugal pumps can han- Underwater plants, particularly fila- might be helpful to review key
dle a small amount of air (2–3% mentous grasses, can be drawn into calculations that are needed in an
by volume), which will pass and entangled in the intake screening, effort to determine what went
through as bubbles with the liq- blocking flow. When the pump is not wrong in this case.
uid. Instead, the introduction of operating, the natural underwater Summarizing the information
air is more likely equipment relat- currents can clear some or all of the you provided, we have one pump
ed. Depending on the pump and blockage so that full flow is temporar- intended to handle streams of
piping system, air can get into the ily restored at pump startup. comparable quality (basically cold
water in several ways. The intake can also contribute water) that has been operated
For the pump, check the shaft air to the system. If the level of the with two different motors.
sleeves to ensure that the seal public reservoir has dropped, the dis- Knowing the original design
between the sleeves and the tance between the surface of the capacity and total head, we can
impeller hub is adequate. Then water and the submerged intake quickly determine the same infor-
examine the stuffing boxes. For might not be adequate to prevent the mation for the new application by
pumps operating with a suction formation of vortices whenever the the following equations:
lift, lantern rings should be pump is operating. Such vortices can
installed and have seal water bring significant amounts of air into Q2 = Q1 x (N2/N1)
under positive pressure. the system.
Piping can be more difficult to We recently decided to and
examine because most of it will
likely be underground. However,
any surface piping should be
inspected to assure that it is air-
Q: move a relatively old but
infrequently used stand-
by service water system
pump to an auxiliary
H2 = H1 x (N2/N1)2

42 The Pump Handbook Series

where Using this equation and the origi- to respond quickly and efficiently
nal pump design data (Q = 1,000 to lower (and higher) flow
Q = pump capacity (gpm)
gpm; N = 750 rpm), the value of S is demands, enabling you to con-
N = motor speed (rpm) 2,737. Since the suction specific serve energy as well as water.
speed is constant for a given pump, However, electrical adjustable-
H = total head (ft)
this equation can be rearranged to speed drives can be expensive and
calculate the NPSHR for the pump’s should be thoroughly evaluated
As you expected, the corre- new application (Q = 1,400 gpm; N from an economic perspective for
sponding capacity and total head = 1,050 rpm). The increase in pump ”older“ pumps.
for the new motor (at 1,050 rpm) capacity and speed mean an increase A second, more common
should be: in the NPSHR from 17.8 ft to 34.9 ft. approach is simply to throttle the
As a result, the conditions of the discharge. Doing so will introduce
Q2 = 1,000 x (1,050/750) = 1400 gpm new application correspond to a suc- a new artificial friction loss com-
tion head as opposed to a suction lift: ponent to the head. This will shift
2 the present system–head curve
H2 = 80 x (1050/750) = 157 ft barometric pressure (abs.) = 33.9 ft upward to intersect the pump
– vapor pressure of water = 1.1 ft head–capacity curve at a new
So far so good. According to operating point (corresponding to
these calculations, the pump + suction lift = 2.1 ft reduced capacity). It should also
should be able to provide the NPSHR = 34.9 ft reduce the energy requirement
desired flow against the estimated slightly.
head. But before a pump can It is never advisable to throt-
transfer any fluid, the liquid must If the NPSH available (the differ- tle the pump suction. This
have enough outside energy to ence between the absolute suction approach (occasionally referred
enter the pumping element at the pressure and the liquid vapor pres- to as operating in the ”break“)
velocity corresponding to the sure) is reduced below the NPSH changes the pump head–capacity
required pump flow rate. For a required, then the pump capacity is curve through cavitation. The
centrifugal pump, this energy reduced, and the pump is likely to resulting operation is not only
must be great enough to make the cavitate. Unless you can change the inefficient but potentially damag-
fluid flow into the impeller eye suction conditions for the auxiliary ing to internal pump compo-
with sufficient force to prevent the cooling water application, it would be nents.
fluid pressure from dropping better to buy a new pump than The third option is more
below its vapor pressure when attempt this switch. energy-efficient than throttling,
passing the inlet vane edge. As the result of a recent- but only suitable if a permanent
This outside energy require-
ment is known as the Net Positive
Suction Head Required or NPSHR.
Assuming that your system is at
sea level, this value (for the origi-
Q: ly implemented water
management program,
several of our older, con-
stant-speed centrifugal
pumps now provide significantly
reduction in pump capacity is
acceptable. The pump impeller
can be cut down, essentially low-
ering the pump head–capacity
curve. However, before trim-
nal pump design) can be deter- more water than is required. What ming an impeller, a number of
mined as follows: is the best approach for operating other factors and resulting impli-
these pumps at reduced capacity? cations should be carefully con-
barometric pressure (abs.) = 33.9 ft Congratulations. Many sidered. (These were discussed in
– vapor pressure of water = 1.1 ft
– suction lift = 15.0 ft
NPSHR = 17.8 ft
A: would envy the problem
produced by your success
in water conservation.
Fortunately, there are
three well-proven solutions to reduc-
this column in the January, 1993
issue.) ■

Wayne Micheletti is a water and

wastewater consultant and a member
For centrifugal pumps, the ing existing pump capacity. of the Pumps and Systems Editorial
NPSHR can be correlated to pump If the system flow is expected to Advisory Board.
capacity and motor speed by a change frequently or irregularly, new
value known as the suction specif- adjustable-speed drives might be in
ic speed (S) according to the fol- order. For variable-torque applica-
lowing formula: tions (such as centrifugal pumps),
solid-state AC or DC drives are usu-
S = (N x Q0.5)/(NPSHR)0.75 ally best. They will allow the pump

The Pump Handbook Series 43


Venting Pump Systems


for a number of pump and seal com-

umps sometimes suffer
damage unnecessarily
because they are not 100%
full of liquid before they
are started. The systems in which
they function either are not or can-
panies, showed that the liquid in the
seal chamber circulates around the
chamber at a large fraction of shaft
rotation speed. A secondary flow was
observed heading away from the
Q: Why would gas end
up close to the shaft?

not be completely vented. A com- impeller, along the outside diameter Imagine the seal cham-
mon misconception is that a pump of the seal chamber, and toward the ber is more than half
that produces discharge pressure impeller along the shaft. Together, full of liquid as the
immediately after start-up was suf- these two flow patterns explained pump is started. As the
ficiently full of liquid. For some how erosion damage was occurring pump shaft (and
users, this is the working definition in a few cases where abrasive solids mechanical seal) picks up speed,
of the word “primed.” were present (Figure 1). viscous drag causes the liquid to
Igor J. Karassik, an interna- An unexpected byproduct of this begin to circulate around the
tionally recognized authority on testing was the realization that gas or chamber. Soon, centrifugal force
pump systems, has written for vapor that is present in the seal overcomes gravity, and the liquid
years about the need to remove all chamber at the time the pump is is thrown to the outside of the seal
of the gas or vapor from pumps started can be trapped there for sev- chamber. Any gas is forced inward
before starting them. eral minutes by these same flow pat- by the denser liquid.
Widespread understanding of terns. Worse, trapped vapors or gases
the problems trapped gasses can
cause developed during 1991 from
an effort to understand erosion
problems with enlarged, tapered-
bore seal chambers used on ANSI
tend to accumulate close to the shaft,
near the rear of the seal chamber.
For most single mechanical seal
installations, that is where the seal
faces are located.
Q: What problems are
caused by the gas?

The most common

B73.1M chemical pumps. Testing,
independently performed by and

Here are some common ques-
tions on venting pump systems:
A: problem is mechanical
seal damage. If the gas
bubble is big enough to
surround the seal faces,
it can prevent the liquid in the seal
chamber from cooling and lubri-
cating the faces. Large pockets of
gas can damage wear rings and
bushings, but gas would tend to be
swept out of these areas quickly.

Q: My pumps have flood-

ed suctions. Won’t
they fill completely
when I open the suc-
tion valve?

Probably not! While it is
true most most modern
pumps are designed to
be completely self-vent-
ing, there is an assump-
tion that there is someplace for the
gas to go as the liquid enters.
Unless the discharge valve is
opened slightly and there is no dis-
charge pressure, the gas has
Primary and secondary flow patterns can result in nowhere to go. When a horizontal
erosion damage. end-suction pump is installed (or
re-installed after a repair), and the

44 The Pump Handbook Series

suction valve is opened, it will be capable of being completely vented.
often fill to the top of the suction When the liquid can be released to the
pipe. When the gas (air, in this
case) can no longer escape out the
atmosphere, a vent valve is all that may
be required. See the sidebar at the end
suction pipe, it will compress a
small amount in response to the
of this article for a procedural solution to
a common situation. While discussing
Your Pumps
suction pressure. A very large gas system design, it should be noted that It is common to have venting
pocket remains in the pump at the suction line should not have any problems when a pump is con-
this point, although the pump is high points. The suction line should rise nected to a system that is pres-
probably “primed.” continuously either toward the pump or surized even when the pump is
back to the source. If a local high spot is not running. These systems often

Q: Why has this cause of

seal damage remained
necessary, it will also have to be vented.
I have seen many long suction lines that
were designed to be level that still had
local high spots several pipe diameters
above the ends. This can be due to prob-
employ a check valve in addition
to a discharge valve. Some users
drill a small hole in the check
valve flapper to help vent the
pump, but this technique is not
A big reason why pock-

lems with the original installation or the effective for the most common
ets of gas have not been shifting of pipe supports at a later time. operating strategies.
a concern is that they The following is a simple
don’t always cause an CONCLUSION procedure that can be used to get
immediate failure. Seal Whoever has responsibility for more complete venting of these
face damage progresses each time the design of the “system” will need hard-to-vent systems. It assumes
the pump is started while it is not information on the pump, the piping, the pump is empty of liquid and
full. Venting is not an issue in and the operating conditions to assure both suction and discharge valves
many pump starts because the that it can be vented. ■ are closed.
pump was not drained since its • Open suction valve (pump
last use. If a pump seal fails about Michael D. Smith is a Senior fills part way).
once a year, we assume it has a Consulting Engineer at the DuPont • Close suction valve.
one-year wear life. We don’t even Company in Wilmington, DE.
consider that it might be failing • Open discharge valve part
every third time the pump is start- way (once pressure equal-
ed without being 100% full of liq- izes, air will rise into dis-
uid. charge piping).
• Open suction valve.

Q: How can the problem

be avoided?
• Start pump.
The pump seal will be
exposed to full discharge pres-
The operator must under-

sure using this procedure.
stand why it is important
Never start a pump with the
to fill the pump complete-
suction valve closed.
ly. The pump system must

The Pump Handbook Series 45


Installation and Start-Up Troubleshooting


lot of time and money are days to locate them, and they were Steam turbines often have carbon rings
spent manufacturing and test- delivered a week after that. and seals. Remove them to prevent
ing centrifugal pumps and Pumps are easily damaged dur- corrosion under the rings, or continu-
developing purchasing specifi- ing transportation, storage, or ously purge the case with dry nitrogen.
cations for bidding and selecting installation. Most baseplates are
them. However, events after leaving designed to be lifted with an over-
the manufacturer may result in a head device or moved by fork lift. As mentioned, prepare a docu-
pump that won’t perform reliably or Care must be taken to prevent dam- ment to ensure proper installation.
deliver the desired hydraulics. age to auxiliary piping from lifting Outline specific requirements, in
slings or hooks. Storage facilities sequence, for each pump. Define
often don’t have an overhead crane, tasks and inspections, who is respon-
Once the pump/driver/baseplate so a forklift moves the assembly off sible, and special procedures—grout-
assembly leaves the factory, anything the truck and around the storage ing plans, cold alignment targets,
can happen if specific instructions on area. Again care must be taken to pre-start-up checks, hot alignment
how it should be shipped, received, balance the load before lifting and checks, etc.
stored, and installed are not followed. to avoid bumping or dropping the Vendors often give details on
A document that records what was assembly (falling just an inch can installation, and writings on the sub-
and must be done, what must be crack the mechanical seal face ject are available. Here is a list to aid
approved and by whom, and when ring). Never lift the pump by its installation:
these events should happen is crucial. shaft or auxiliary piping.
Without this, work will be missed or
duplicated. • Prepare the foundation surface.
Manufacturers prepare products Sometimes the pump goes direct- Chip latence off, exposing aggre-
for shipping differently. Some mount ly from truck to foundation, but the gate. Remove loose material,
pumps in custom-made crates, while assembly is often stored for a time. grease, and water.
others hang the shipping tag on auxil- Storage may be a graveled yard or a
• Level the baseplate using jack-
iary piping and bolt two-by-fours to warehouse with overhead lifting
bolts bearing on jackplates
the base. The purchaser should define equipment and a controlled environ-
(Photos 1 and 2). Jackplates
special requirements. Will the pump ment. In any case, following three
should have rounded corners.
be shipped overseas? Is long-term stor- rules will help avoid problems:
It’s easier to slice sections from
age required? Is there lifting equip-
1. Keep oil/grease in the bearings. round stock than to cut plate.
ment at the site? These questions must
be answered ahead of time. 2. Keep water/moisture out of the • Remove pump and motor before
In all cases, Material Safety Data case (seal, windings, etc.). installation; it’s easier to level the
Sheets should be included during baseplate and pour grout.
3. Protect the pump from abuse.
shipping and installation. Everyone
• Check the baseplate bottom for
who comes in contact with the pump Check the pump over. To pre-
cleanliness. Verify that each
needs to know what’s in it. vent baseplate distortion, place it level
compartment has grout and
There are other questions, too. and out of traffic. See that all cover
vent holes. Drill holes before
What form of transportation will be plates are bolted on. Be sure no auxil-
lifting the baseplate onto the
used? A dedicated truck or a com- iary piping or components were lost
mon carrier? Who will receive the or damaged in transit; replacing a part
equipment? When? A dedicated may delay start-up. Bearing housings • Don’t grout around anchor bolts.
truck usually has two drivers dri- should be filled with oil to the bottom Baseplates are grouted to provide
ving around the clock, directly from of the shaft and rotated periodically to uniform load distribution. Anchor
manufacturer to delivery site. This keep bearings coated. Document who bolts hold the pump down. To
is costly but quick. A common car- turns it and when. Pumps stored long- keep anchor bolts free to stretch,
rier is less expensive but can take term with oil mist lubrication should install sleeves around bolts.
longer. For example, pumps from be hooked to a portable mist genera-
• Install the baseplate, establishing
an East Coast manufacturer, des- tor. Verify that the mechanical seal
correct elevation (within 1/8 in.)
tined for Texas, were loaded on a sleeve locking collar is tight and that
and pedestal level (within 0.002
truck Friday afternoon. The pumps the shaft turns freely.
in./ft). Some contractors like to
arrived 15 days later. With no one Stored drivers may require extra
put pumps back on the baseplate
to receive them, the driver left care. Heaters on electric motors should
to shoot the nozzle elevation.
them at a warehouse. It took two be energized to keep windings dry.

46 The Pump Handbook Series

This is unnecessary and may dis- the DSBE set with the motor • After fabrication and pipe test-
tort the baseplate. rotor in its magnetic center. ing, remove temporary bracing
and lock-pins from spring hang-
• Coat forms with furniture paste • Make sure the mechanical seal
ers and check strain.
wax to ease removal. Fix forms drive collar locking screws are
to the foundation block at differ- tight, then roll locating cams out • Remove flange covers and
ent elevations to avoid fracture of the drive collar. Lock cams out inspect the pump for debris.
lines from anchor studs. Drilled of the way or remove them. Clean out the case. Bring the
holes with screws look better Remember that future work will piping to the pump flanges.
after removing forms and elimi- require cams to reset seal com- Flange holes should drop
nate potential impact cracks pression—don’t loose them. The through with no binding.
from hammering nails or using shaft should turn freely.
• Place dial indicators to monitor
charged drivers.
• Align motor to pump, free of vertical and horizontal move-
• Tape or grease machined mounting any piping, using, as a mini- ment of pump shaft relative to
surfaces for protection. mum, the reverse indicator driver shaft. Make up suction
alignment method. To avoid and discharge flanges separately,
• Ensure that grout flows into all
soft foot, minimize shims under continuously observing indicator
compartments by using a head
each support area. When align- readings. If movement exceeds
box and vent tubes. The head
ment is achieved, tighten hold- 0.001 in., piping strain is exces-
box can be six-inch sonotubes
down bolts and recheck. sive. Readjust pipe, retighten,
RTV’d to the baseplate surround-
and retest.
ing the pour holes. Vents can be • To check for soft foot, place a
plastic pipe. These should be at dial indicator on each mounting
least six inches high to provide foot, then loosen the hold-down
enough head to get all voids bolt. If the reading changes The period from installation until
under the baseplate. more than .001 in., reshim. full operation may be the most
important phase of pump life. It’s
• Grout between 60 and 90°F
PIPING filled with activity and riddled with
(Photo 3). Cooler temperatures
Care in fabricating and aligning pitfalls that can complicate start-up
don’t allow curing. Higher tem-
piping avoids problems that may and prevent establishing a reliable
peratures may cause fast curing
require recutting, fitting, rewelding, system. The rules above also apply
and heat cracks. Grout should
and retesting the pipe or lead to pre- here:
harden in 24 hours.
mature pump failure. Good system 1. Keep bearings lubricated.
• As soon as the grout firms (not design supports piping loads and
hardens), remove vent pipes forces along spring hangers and 2. Keep moisture out of the case.
and head boxes. Grout consis- bracing that don’t have to be 3. Protect the pump.
tency should be like hard rub- removed during normal mainte-
ber, making it easy to trim. nance. The system should be fabri- Drain and flush bearing housings
cated starting at the pump flanges, with clean oil. Oil rings may have
• Forms can usually be removed
working toward the pipe rack, using moved during handling, so look
after 48 hours. Remove jack-
temporary braces/supports to avoid through the vent caps to verify that
bolts from baseplate and fill
pump strain. they’re in position. On oil mist instal-
holes with RTV.
The most common piping fabri- lations see that mist reclassifiers have
MOUNTING/ALIGNMENT cation error, producing the largest been installed correctly. Directed oil
• Set pump on its pedestals, center piping strain, is nonparallel flange mist fittings have a “V” at the orifice.
bolts in their holes, and snug. faces. A feeler gauge helps detect this. This must be pointed towards the
This allows movement if side-to- If you see a difference in two facing bearing. Insure that all mist lines are
side motor adjustment can’t flange planes, piping strain will sloped so no low points cause liquid
achieve alignment. result. For example, during installa- buildup and block flow.
tion of circulating water pumps in a Greased bearings should be
• Mount motor with a minimum repacked with the correct grease.
refinery, suction piping was forced to
of 1/8 in. stainless shims under Make sure all old grease is displaced
the pump flange without checking for
the feet using the required dis- by new. Different greases (lithium-
non-parallel faces. The resulting
tance between shaft ends vs. soda-based) have incompatible
strain distorted the casing to the point
(DBSE). This is usually found on additives. Mixing two greases can
where the shaft and impeller would
the general arrangement or cou- give an inferior blend.
not turn. Fortunately, no serious
pling drawing. With sleeve bear- Bump check motors for proper
damage occurred. The cases were
ing motors, the magnetic center rotation. Do not attempt this while
reclaimed after the piping was
of the motor with respect to the the motor is coupled to the pump.
aligned and supported.
stator must be determined and Reverse rotation can cause the
impeller to loosen or come off the

The Pump Handbook Series 47

shaft. If rotation is correct, run the charge piping. If there are pressure gauges on the pump.
motor alone for at least one half hour. leaks, return to a safe situation Using flow and differential
Monitor bearing temperatures and and repair them. If leaks occur head, determine where the
motor bearing housing vibration. This around the shaft, determine if pump is operating on the
should reveal any major problems. seal faces are leaking or if the curve. Low flow, high head
Most others will not be revealed until leak is under the seal sleeve. may indicate running too far
it is loaded and generating heat. Stop leaks between sleeve and back, leading to bearing or seal
Install the coupling spacer and guard shaft by adjusting the drive col- problems. High flow, low dif-
and verify smooth assembly rotation. lar. Stop leaks around the seal ferential head means the pump
Don’t overlook small steam tur- flange by retorquing the bolting is running out on its curve and
bine drivers. Verify rota- to clamp the sta- could cavitate. Check differen-
tion direction by inspecting tionary gasketing. tial across the inlet screen and
nozzle orientation. As soon It’s important to use a spare pump before low
as steam is available, know where the suction pressure causes cavita-
check the operation of the
Good system leak is before tion.
governor and overspeed design pulling the pump
• Where flow can’t be measured
systems. Run the turbine apart.
supports directly with a meter, estimate
solo at least one half hour.
• If no leaks are it using motor current, horse-
Mechanical seals and
bearings are easily piping loads seen, open the power requirement of the
inlet valve 100%. pump, and plotting that point
destroyed during initial and forces Vent areas of the straight up to the performance
start-up on hot pumps
system that don’t curve. The intersection of the
where water is circulated along spring self-vent. Crack vertical line from the horsepow-
for cooling. Install pressure
gauges, temperature indi- hangers and the discharge er curve to the performance
valve. Start-up curve should be the capacity
cators, and valves so water bracing that horsepower is point as long as specific gravity
flow can be regulated and
minimum to the is similar to horsepower curve
adjusted. Throttling valves don’t have to left hand side of specific gravity. Differential
are typically installed on
be removed the pump curve. head on the pump should be
parallel outlet lines to
On systems pump- similar to differential head on
adjust flow to each pump
skid area. It’s a good idea during normal ing higher specific the curve at the capacity point
gravity liquids at determined from the horsepower
to flow most cooling water maintenance. start-up than dur- calculation.
through the seal and bear-
ing normal opera-
ing coolers initially. From Figure 1:
tion (typical of
Debris in the pump
cold start-ups), the Example point 1.
and seals is a problem dur-
discharge system may have to
ing initial start-up. A welding rod
be throttled to avoid motor P2 – P1
lodged in an impeller eye can seize
overloading. Throttling to 50% TDH = 2.31 —————— = 188 ft
the pump. To prevent this, use suc-
BEP is acceptable in most cases, S.G.
tion screens. Insert temporary stain-
but more than that may cause
ers if they’re not built in. Pressure
seal problems. where
gauges on both sides of the strainer
indicate when it is plugging. • Start the pump. Slowly open P1 = 3 psig
the discharge valve. If a dis-
charge control valve is installed
The electronic equipment adage, and on automatic, the control S.G. = 0.7
“If it works the first hundred hours it valve will be wide open until
should work a lifetime,” also applies the block valve opens enough
to centrifugal pumps. Knowledge of √3xIxVxη
for the control system to take
the equipment and the system it will M.H.O. = ——————— = 26.5 Hp
over. If the pump cavitates,
operate in are key to successful start- 746
there may be too much flow.
up. While each installation is differ- Start to pinch down on the dis-
ent, this general procedure will help where
charge valving, preferentially
prevent problems: using the control valve. Most M.H.O. = motor horsepower out-
• Close case drains and vents. systems have a flow meter. put
Slowly open the suction line. Flow can sometimes be deter-
V = motor voltage = 460 V (30 Hp
Look for leaks at the case mined from the meter directly,
motor, 3φ, 460 V [line to
flanges, seal area, seal piping, and the differential across the
drain piping, and inlet dis- pump can be determined using

48 The Pump Handbook Series

John Dufour has more than 20
FIGURE 1 years of experience working with
mechanical equipment. He is Chief
250 Engineer, Mechanical Equipment
Point 2 Services, for Amoco Oil Co, and is
200 Point 1 responsible for specification, selection,
installation, and consultation for rotat-
Total Head (ft.)

ing equipment throughout the compa-

150 ny’s refinery, pipeline, and marketing
operations. He holds bachelor’s degrees
in metallurgical engineering and engi-
100 40 neering administration from Michigan
30 Technological University. Mr. Dufour

also serves on the Pumps and Systems
50 20 Editorial Advisory Board.
0 0 Lynn Fulton is a professional
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 engineer registered in Indiana and
Flow (gpm)
Illinois. He has been with Whiting
Engineering more than ten years, in
Head and BHP vs. Flow. Operating point 1: using the BHP vs. flow mechanical services and maintenance.
curve with horsepower calculation derived from measurement of He has a bachelor’s degree in
current with voltage assumed to be 460 V, flow is found to be 405 mechanical engineering from the
gpm. The calculated 188 ft based on pressure differential confirms University of Illinois at Chicago and
flow to be 405 gpm. Operating point 2: similar calculations for is chairman of the Chicago chapter of
horsepower and head at operating point 2 also confirm the calcula- the Vibration Institute.
tion method. See text under “Initial Operation” for calculations.

η = motor efficiency = 90% (2- V = motor voltage = 460 V (30 Hp

pole motor, 90% efficiency) motor, 3φ, 460 V [line to
I = phase amp measurement =
27.2 amps η = motor efficiency = 90% (2-
pole motor, 90% efficiency)
Example point 2. I = phase amp measurement =
27.2 amps
Throttling pump discharge

P2 – P1
• Check motor and pump vibra-
TDH = 2.31 —————— = 214.5 ft
tion. Vibration levels should be
below 0.15 in./sec. Most new
equipment vibrates less than 0.1
in./sec. true peak.
P1 = 3 psig
• Compile documents for each
P2 = 68 psig
pump and file them for refer-
I = 20.8 amps ence. ■

M.H.O. = ——————— = 20 Hp

M.H.O. = motor horsepower out-

The Pump Handbook Series 49


Upgrading Utility and

Process Pumps
Improvements to make your equipment better than new.


pgrade (up + grade, v.): to FIGURE 1
raise the grade of; to raise the
quality of a manufactured prod-
uct (Webster’s Third New
International Dictionary).
A pump upgrade (also called a
revamp or retrofit) involves changing
mechanical or hydraulic design or
materials to solve a problem or increase
reliable run time. An upgrade is differ-
ent than a repair, which attempts to
duplicate original construction and
design, whereas an upgrade improves
the design beyond the original.
Rerates are a type of hydraulic
upgrade, usually involving a change
in pump head capacity. Repowering
may involve repairs and/or upgrades.
Philosophically, repowering is differ-
ent from normal pump maintenance
because the plant being repowered
Original residual heat removal pumps in safety service at
has decided to spend capital monies
nuclear power plants. The design has high maintenance
to extend the plant’s useful life. Plants
hours and exposure dosage due to short mechanical seal life
being repowered are candidates for
and an overhung shaft design that makes seal maintenance
pump upgrades because they are
expected to run reliably with high
capacity factors and can justify the
additional cost (above and beyond
normal repairs) to upgrade pumps. Air Act Amendments of 1990) THE UPGRADE PROCESS
Pump upgrade goals include: • minimizing the risk of fire or other
• decreasing plant operations and To identify upgrade candidates,
safety hazards pump users should review mainte-
maintenance expenses • eliminating hazardous materials nance records to see which pumps
• increasing mean time between
Pump upgrades can be divided were responsible for a disproportion-
failures (MTBF)
into major categories: ate share of expenses or caused safe-
• increasing pump and plant avail- ty or reliability concerns. Once these
ability • mechanical design
pumps are identified, work with the
• increasing pump efficiency • hydraulic design upgrade supplier to identify and eval-
• complying with the latest legisla- • material uate upgrades available for your par-
tive mandates (such as the Clean • ancillary/system ticular pump. Provide the supplier

50 The Pump Handbook Series

- replace nickel-aluminum-bronze
parts with austenitic stainless steel
- use other special alloys for criti-
cal parts
- install non-metallic bearings
Ancillary/systems upgrades:
• install vibration monitoring and
recording instrumentation
• improve lube oil system and
• modify seal injection
• perform pump intake scale model
The following are examples of
upgrades to improve pump operation:
These pumps are residual heat
removal pumps, close coupled design
An upgrade of Figure 1. Spacer coupling between pump in safety service at nuclear power
and motor allows seal access without disassembling the plants (Figure 1). The original design
pump. A bearing above the seal limits shaft deflection. resulted in considerable time,
Conversion from non-cartridge mechanical seal to cartridge- expense, and man-rem exposure for
type seal eases assembly. Benefits: increased seal life, normal maintenance activities like
decreased leakage, and decreased personnel exposure while seal change-out and motor thrust
changing seals. bearing replacement. There was also
a high risk of damaged equipment
with a maintenance history so prob- Hydraulic design upgrades: from the difficulties of rigging in
lem areas can be addressed. • redesign first stage impellers to cramped quarters. Pump upgrade kits
Plan for a future outage where reduce cavitation damage add a bearing and a spacer coupling.
the plant or process will be shut Installation of these kits allow seal
• redesign impellers to lower vibra-
down long enough to complete removal without pump disassembly.
tion for part load/peaking opera-
design and hardware changes. This is The original design frequently
important—upgrades take time to resulted in seal change-out times
• control “A” and “B” gaps to reduce longer than the 72 hours permitted by
engineer and implement, and they pressure pulsations and vibration
must be planned in advance based on most plant safety evaluations. The
repair or outage schedules. This • improve efficiency upgrade easily accommodates a seal
approach can also save money; • optimize blade number to reduce or motor bearing change in 72 hours,
upgrading worn out parts during the pressure pulsations and vibration without the high man-rem dosage
normal repair cycle (instead of replac- • increase pump head capacity to involved in pump casing disassembly.
ing components that still have life meet system requirements This reduction in personnel exposure
left) minimizes incremental cost. is an important benefit in any case,
The following are upgrade exam- Material upgrades: but it is especially so given the
ples from each of the areas above: • eliminate asbestos, an environ- increased industry focus on the issue.
Mechanical design upgrades: mental hazard These coupling modifications
• install a stiffer shaft/rotor to • install impellers made of cavita- have been supplied to several utility
reduce vibration tion-resistant materials for longer companies as bolt-on hardware kits
life installed during short outages (1 or 2
• modify structural elements to weeks). Other items like oil drain loca-
remove natural frequencies from • use hardened wear parts to
increase MTBF tion and mechanical seal venting have
the range of pump forcing fre- also been improved in the design.
quencies (rotational frequency, • eliminate leaded bronzes because
blade pass frequency, etc.) of environmental problems with BOILER FEED PUMPS
• eliminate threads (a source of lead
Boiler feed pumps are at the
breakage) on pump shafts • improve product-lubricated bear- heart of most power plants, and eco-
• modify components to make ing materials nomical plant operation depends on
assembly/disassembly easier • change materials for seawater use reliable pump operation. Many
• convert mechanical seals to fur- - replace Monel components with pumps from the utility building boom
ther restrict or eliminate leakage austenitic stainless steel of the 1950s–70s had larger capacities

The Pump Handbook Series 51

overlap can be modified to cur- due to unsteady hydraulic loads. FIGURE 4
rent standards. By evaluating Using a shrouded diffusor elimi-
the cost of these modifications nates breakage problems and
in light of expected benefits, allows improved alignment.
users can choose the modifica- 10. Improved bearing designs are avail-
tion required to meet process able, including ”high stability“
requirements with the least cost. designs to eliminate half frequency 9
6. Improved first-stage impeller (”oil whirl“) problems. Special atten- 1
inlet designs expand the stable tion is paid to individual plant oper-
operating range to lower flow ating modes (low-speed operation,
rates without cavitation dam- turning gear, etc.) in recommending
age, vibration, or pressure pul- a particular bearing design.
sations. Material upgrades for
first stage impeller service resist CIRCULATING WATER PUMPS
cavitation damage while main- Circulating water pump mainte-
taining ductility, corrosion resis- nance requirements vary greatly, 2
tance, and weld repairability. depending on whether the pumps are
used in freshwater or seawater.
7. Dry couplings (like the flexible For most freshwater applica-
disc or diaphragm-type) elimi- tions, typical problems requiring
nate the need for periodic lubri- pump maintenance are excessive
cation and the associated chance vibration and premature bearing
of failure. They are often lighter wear.
than gear couplings, resulting in Vibrations can be analyzed using
lower vibration, and they tolerate modal analysis or standard spectrum
more misalignment than gear- analysis techniques to identify the
type couplings. 8
root cause of the vibration. If neces- 3
8. Instrumentation can be added to sary, a finite element analysis (FEA)
monitor and protect pumps. model of the pump can be built and
Possibilities range from simple correlated to the field data to verify
vibration/temperature switches the cause. It can also be used to help
to complete monitoring of all key redesign the pump.
operation variables, including To improve bearing and sleeve
remote monitoring, diagnostics, life, upgrades are available to increase 7
etc. The most common items wear resistance through material selec-
monitored include: tion and hardcoating.
a. shaft or bearing cap vibration Circulating water pumps in sea- 4
b. lube oil temperature and water face additional problems due to
pressure corrosion. Material selection is criti-
c. axial and radial bearing cal, and the selection process must
temperature consider general corrosion as well as
velocity effects, galvanic compatibili- 5
d. casing (or barrel) temperature ty, and pitting resistance, plus manu-
Additional items include: facturability and cost.
e. pump suction condition The cost difference between
(pressure, temperature) materials can be significant because
f. pump discharge condition these pumps are large; care must be
(pressure, temperature) taken not to over-specify materials
and inflate the price of equipment for Circulating water pump upgrades.
g. pump flow rate See text under ”Circulating Water
marginal benefits. In some cases,
h. horsepower, efficiency lower-cost material may be more reli- Pumps“ for details.
i. balance drum leak off (tem- able. For example, 316 stainless steel
perature, flow rate) has better pitting resistance than ing, stopping, unit trips, and
j. seal (drain temperature, Monel in seawater, yet Monel is other transients.
mechanical seal face temperature, more expensive. 2. A flanged inner column with
stuffing box temperature, etc.) Upgrades for circulating water rabbet fits replaces screwed
Monitoring can be stand-alone or can pumps include (Figure 4): inner columns, resulting in bet-
feed into the plant’s control system. 1. An inner column stop on pull- ter bearing alignment and easier
9. Some older pumps have open out style pumps to hold down disassembly.
vane diffusors. Vanes can fatigue the pump element during start-

The Pump Handbook Series 53

overlap can be modified to cur- due to unsteady hydraulic loads. FIGURE 4
rent standards. By evaluating Using a shrouded diffusor elimi-
the cost of these modifications nates breakage problems and
in light of expected benefits, allows improved alignment.
users can choose the modifica- 10. Improved bearing designs are avail-
tion required to meet process able, including ”high stability“
requirements with the least cost. designs to eliminate half frequency 9
6. Improved first-stage impeller (”oil whirl“) problems. Special atten- 1
inlet designs expand the stable tion is paid to individual plant oper-
operating range to lower flow ating modes (low-speed operation,
rates without cavitation dam- turning gear, etc.) in recommending
age, vibration, or pressure pul- a particular bearing design.
sations. Material upgrades for
first stage impeller service resist CIRCULATING WATER PUMPS
cavitation damage while main- Circulating water pump mainte-
taining ductility, corrosion resis- nance requirements vary greatly, 2
tance, and weld repairability. depending on whether the pumps are
used in freshwater or seawater.
7. Dry couplings (like the flexible For most freshwater applica-
disc or diaphragm-type) elimi- tions, typical problems requiring
nate the need for periodic lubri- pump maintenance are excessive
cation and the associated chance vibration and premature bearing
of failure. They are often lighter wear.
than gear couplings, resulting in Vibrations can be analyzed using
lower vibration, and they tolerate modal analysis or standard spectrum
more misalignment than gear- analysis techniques to identify the
type couplings. 8
root cause of the vibration. If neces- 3
8. Instrumentation can be added to sary, a finite element analysis (FEA)
monitor and protect pumps. model of the pump can be built and
Possibilities range from simple correlated to the field data to verify
vibration/temperature switches the cause. It can also be used to help
to complete monitoring of all key redesign the pump.
operation variables, including To improve bearing and sleeve
remote monitoring, diagnostics, life, upgrades are available to increase 7
etc. The most common items wear resistance through material selec-
monitored include: tion and hardcoating.
a. shaft or bearing cap vibration Circulating water pumps in sea- 4
b. lube oil temperature and water face additional problems due to
pressure corrosion. Material selection is criti-
c. axial and radial bearing cal, and the selection process must
temperature consider general corrosion as well as
velocity effects, galvanic compatibili- 5
d. casing (or barrel) temperature ty, and pitting resistance, plus manu-
Additional items include: facturability and cost.
e. pump suction condition The cost difference between
(pressure, temperature) materials can be significant because
f. pump discharge condition these pumps are large; care must be
(pressure, temperature) taken not to over-specify materials
and inflate the price of equipment for Circulating water pump upgrades.
g. pump flow rate See text under ”Circulating Water
marginal benefits. In some cases,
h. horsepower, efficiency lower-cost material may be more reli- Pumps“ for details.
i. balance drum leak off (tem- able. For example, 316 stainless steel
perature, flow rate) has better pitting resistance than ing, stopping, unit trips, and
j. seal (drain temperature, Monel in seawater, yet Monel is other transients.
mechanical seal face temperature, more expensive. 2. A flanged inner column with
stuffing box temperature, etc.) Upgrades for circulating water rabbet fits replaces screwed
Monitoring can be stand-alone or can pumps include (Figure 4): inner columns, resulting in bet-
feed into the plant’s control system. 1. An inner column stop on pull- ter bearing alignment and easier
9. Some older pumps have open out style pumps to hold down disassembly.
vane diffusors. Vanes can fatigue the pump element during start-

The Pump Handbook Series 53

FIGURE 5 8. Keyed shaft coupling improves Another option, if extremely
shaft alignment and eliminates low levels of emissions are required
New Design Original Design problems associated with (for instance, pumping benzene, a
removing threaded couplings. carcinogen), is to use sealless (mag-
Leak-Off to Shafts can usually be re- netic drive) technology. This can be
Low Pressure
Heater machined and re-used. accomplished by repowering (re-
(Deaerator) using the casing, bedplate, and dri-
9. Rabbet-fit drive couplings replace
body-bound bolt couplings and ver, along with upgraded pump
improve alignment repeatability. internals) or replacing the whole
Auxiliary Fill Boiler circulating pumps (BCPs)
Connection These descriptions cover some
Injection from are in a particularly severe duty,
discharge of typical upgrades. This article focused
boiler feed handling 600°F water at over 3,000
on specific types of pumps, but
pump psig.
upgrades are available for most models
Many of the original pumps sup-
Throttle and sizes. Pump companies are useful
Bushing plied in the 1950s and 60s exhibited
resources for aid in problem solving.
less-than-desirable life spans. In light
They are usually anxious to apply new
of this, an upgrade program was
technology and gain field experience
developed that:
with new designs and materials. Most
• adds a graphite-impregnated
upgrade suppliers can customize
upgrades for individual users. Review
• improves the primary sealing your maintenance problems and dis-
device cuss them with your pump supplier.
• incorporates other reliability Pump upgrades are a cost-effec-
”lessons learned“ (Figure 5) tive way to improve plant perfor-
Right: Original boiler circulating To date, more than 200 BCPs mance within budget constraints.
pump design. The throttle bushing have been upgraded to this new When upgrades are properly per-
and throttle sleeve wear quickly, design, and the resulting MTBF is formed, an upgraded pump may well
reducing floating seal ring life and typically two to three times that of be ”better than new.“ ■
shortening service intervals between the pumps before upgrading. Kurt Schumann is Manager of
pump rebuilds. Left: The upgraded API PROCESS PUMPS Pump Upgrades for the Engineered
design. The retrofit incorporates a Pump Group of the Ingersoll-Dresser
water-lubricated carbon bearing and Process pumps may handle Pump Company, located in Phillipsburg,
redesigned floating seals. hazardous materials, and as a result NJ. He has 18 years of experience in
seal leakage is critical. Industry design engineering and field service of
standards (API 610 7th Edition), as utility and process pumps.
well as federal legislation like the
3. Bearing spiders provide stiffer Clean Air Act, address mechanical
bearing support. seal reliability and pump mainte-
4. Shroud metallurgy upgraded in nance.
high-velocity areas eliminates There are up- FIGURE 6
erosion and corrosion damage grades available for
and extends efficient pump life. process pumps to A-Line 7th Edition Upgrades
5. Inlet bell modifications lower the improve seal reliabili- Reduced Shaft TIR Large Seal Chamber
Steel Bearing
required submergence and reduce ty and reduce emis- Cartridge Seal
vortexing. Intake studies can be sions (Figure 6),
performed to correct vortexing including:
and other inlet problems and give • using a heavy-
uniform flows to the pump, duty rotor (shaft
resulting in stable operation. and bearings)
6. Modified impellers optimize cool- • enlarging the
ing water flow, increase plant stuffing box bore
output, or save pumping horse- for better seal Non-Cartridge
Cast Iron Bearing
power. Upgraded impeller materi- cooling Small Seal Seal

als resist erosion, corrosion, and • using a heavy- Chamber

Existing A-Line (6th Edition)
cavitation damage. duty cartridge seal
7. Erosion in iron casing vanes can (single, double, or Pump modification kits upgrade API 5th and 6th edi-
tandem) tion process pumps with the features of the 7th edition
be repaired. Coatings can be
applied to extend casing life.
54 The Pump Handbook Series

Variable Speed Pumping

Variable speed pumping can save you money if you select and use systems wisely.


ost users operate their cen- represented by a fixed curve. With For a variable speed pump, flow
trifugal pumps at a fixed the discharge throttling valve fully is changed by varying speed. The
speed and accomplish any opened, the pump seeks equilibrium variable speed pump retains its
required changes of flow with the system (point 1 in Figure 1: characteristic performance curve
by using a throttling valve. This prac- flow = Q1 and head = H1). shape, changing flow and head in
tice is much like driving an automo- To change the flow to Q 2, the accordance with the well-known
bile with the accelerator fully throttling valve is partially closed, affinity laws (Figure 2). With vary-
depressed and changing speed by changing the steepness of the system ing speeds, pumps have wide
stepping on the brake! curve as seen at a point between the rangeability and thus any head-
There is a better way to drive an pump and the valve (at B-B in flow combination within the enve-
automobile and there is a better way Figure 1). Closing the valve causes lope can be achieved. And with
to accomplish variable flow for a cen- the pump to “run back” on its curve appropriate precautions, pumps
trifugal pump. Variable speed motors to point 2, producing flow Q 2 as can be operated at even higher or
and associated electronic drives can desired. The pump, which can only lower speeds than those shown on
be used to adjust pump speed to pro- operate on its fixed curve, produces the curve.
duce exactly the desired flow and head H3 at point B-B. The pump thus The shape of the system curve
head. By varying the speed of the produces H3 at Q2 but only H2 at Q2 influences the amount that flow
pump, users can enhance perfor- will change with a
mance, save energy, eliminate the FIGURE 1 change in speed. Flow
need for throttling valves and reduce is proportional to speed
inputs of heat to the pumped liquid. if no static lift exists
But to achieve these advantages, but not proportional to
you must properly select the compo- speed if static lift exists
nents of a variable speed system. And (Figure 3). In systems
proper selection requires a thorough with static lift, a mini-
understanding of pump, motor and mum speed exists
driver designs for variable speed below which the pump
operation. will produce no flow.
BEHAVIOR OF VARIABLE Such behavior does
SPEED PUMPS not violate the affinity
laws. It simply reflects
A good place to begin a discussion the interaction of the
of variable speed pumping is the shape of the system
interaction between variable speed curve with those laws.
pumps and the fluid handling system. In fact, it’s this interac-
These interactions are different from tion that makes variable
those of a fixed speed pump. speed pumping advanta-
Fixed speed centrifugal pump operation
For a fixed speed pump with flow geous (which also illus-
controlled by a throttling valve, trates that users must
process demand depends on system is delivered to the system. The addi- understand these interactions).
back pressure and piping resistance, tional head (H3 - H2) is wasted across
as shown by a fixed system curve the valve in the form of heat and
(Figure 1). Pump performance is also noise.

The Pump Handbook Series 55

FIGURE 2 increased speed, centrifugal flow points due to changing speed
pumps produce increased rather than by dis-charge throttling
head and flow. (Figure 4). For instance, by achieving
As mentioned above, 60 percent of design flow and head
variable speed pumping can through variable speed, users can
also eliminate the need for save 50 to 80 percent on energy costs
a throttling valve. Also, compared to fixed speed pumping
bypass valves may no with a throttling valve.
longer be necessary since Another advantage variable speed
minimal flow requirements pumping offers is reduced heat to the
for stable operation pumped fluid. At constant speed,
decrease with speed. efficiency falls with reduced flow
Elimination of valves can rate. The result of hydraulic ineffi-
reduce capital expense, ciencies is heat rise in the fluid. But
maintenance costs, risk of variable speed pumps remain effi-
leakage and pressure losses cient at low flows (i.e., low speeds).
(pressure drop across the Furthermore, horsepower levels are
valve often accounts for 10 lower at low speeds, which means
percent of total pressure that heat input to the fluid is kept
Variable speed centrifugal pump operation rise required). minimal. Variable speed pumping
One user saved $20,000 by can thus be advantageous for light
BENEFITS OF VARIABLE converting to variable speed hydrocarbon and other volatile fluid
SPEED PUMPING pumping in an application involving applications.
Because variable speed pumps injection of water into the combustion
chamber of gas turbine engines. Since
can produce a desired head and SIZE PUMP
flow over a broad range of the system curve had relatively little
static lift, the pump could be slowed to Like any pumping application,
hydraulic conditions, users do not variable speed pumping requires
have to be as certain of required produce only the desired flow and head
and still maintain good efficiency. A proper sizing of pumps. But unlike
flow when they select a pump. constant speed pumps, variable
Instead of finding the exact fixed change from a fixed speed pump with
throttling valve and bypass valve to speed pumps are not selected for a
speed pump for the job, they can single design point. To select the cor-
install a variable speed pump and variable speed eliminated the two
valves, reduced the power requirement rect size pump, you should construct
adjust the speed to produce the the desired head versus flow range
exact conditions they require. of the system from 100 hp to 75 hp
and made the assembled skid of for all anticipated specific gravities.
For example, one user required Then be sure to specify a pump that
Pump A to produce 125 gpm flow at equipment smaller.
Dramatic power savings are avail- can cover that range (Figure 5 shows
2500 ft head in an upset condition a pump that cannot reach point B).
and 100 gpm at 1500 ft under normal able because of reduced head and
con-ditions and Pump B for a 125 gpm
flow at 1500 ft head under normal FIGURE 3 FIGURE 4
conditions. The user needed an
installed spare for each pump, for a
total of four pumps. But by specify-
ing variable speed pumps, the user
required only three pumps: one for
each duty level and a single spare
which was valved to allow opera-
tion under either condition. Further
savings were achieved for the main
pumps since identical pumps were
used (desired conditions were met
by varying the speed). Parts were
interchangeable and significantly
less energy was required when run-
ning Pump A at the normal (i.e.,
In addition to covering a wide Effects of changing speed of a
range of conditions, variable speed centrifugal pump Hydraulic HP savings for a centrifugal
pumping can also eliminate the pump
need for multiple stages. With

56 The Pump Handbook Series

You may need to specify a “fictitious” the VFD cannot provide
100% speed point to ensure the increasing voltage, so torque FIGURE 5
pump has adequate range (Figure 6). falls due to the falling volts/hz 120
100% SPEED
You must also ensure that ratio. Horsepower capability, - P UM
NPSHA and motor horsepower are however, remains constant 100 "A"
adequate for all combinations of since speed is increasing. DESIRED

flow and speed. NPSHR and efficien- Electrically, induction motors 80

cy vary approximately as the square can be run at approximately

of the speed (Figure 7). Since NPSHR 90 hz in this configuration. CAN'T
increases with speed, in-ducers may But mechanical constraints "B"
be required to reduce NPSHR to avail- may limit the safe running
able levels. Bearing loads and other speed to well below 90 hz.
pump characteristics must also be VFDs can be used to pro-
carefully examined. vide extra motor horsepower 20

MOTOR-VARIABLE FREQUENCY DRIVE above 60 hz. Recall that motor

torque capability is propor- 0
BEHAVIOR 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140
tional to the volts/hz ratio. If a
One of the most common meth- FLOW%
motor is designed for a given
ods of changing motor speed is the PUMP 1 SIZED FOR "A"-UNABLE TO DO "B"
volts/hz ratio, and that ratio
AC Variable Frequency Drive (VFD).
can be maintained at a higher Improper sizing to meet required duty points
VFDs are designed to take advantage
speed, torque
of the fact that speed, torque and
capability will be constant.
horsepower of an AC motor are all
This technique can frequently be VFDs. High efficiency is not a
related to the frequency and voltage
used with standard motors which are requirement, but the extra copper
of the electric power supply:
commonly wound for either 230 V or and other features are advanta-
460 V at 60 hz. By connecting for 230 geous for VFD use.
2 x hz x 60
Nominal speed V at 60 hz and operating to 460 V at Increased heat can lead to envi-
# of Poles 120 hz, both motor and horsepower ronmental hazards. Motors pro-
capability and speed are doubled. Be posed for use in hazardous (e.g.,
Torque Capability = F(volts/hz) sure to check with the motor manu- explosive) environments must be
facturer before using this technique. designed differently or derated.
HP Capability = f(Torque x Speed) The motor may not have the thermal The skin temperature of a standard
capacity or mechanical integrity to motor operating on a VFD could
run at speeds considerably above 60 exceed an area gas autoignition
VFDs convert incoming AC elec-
hz. Also, the motor may not be prop- temperature at nameplate horse-
trical power to DC then invert the
erly matched electrically to the VFD. power. Motors nameplated for use
DC power into variable frequency
in Class I, Division I, Groups C and
and voltage AC power. A number SELECTING THE MOTOR D environments, for example, are
of technologies are available to VFDs are most frequently used with available for VFD use but must
switch the DC power through semi- the familiar NEMA B squirrel cage AC generally be purchased with a
conductors to achieve the desired induction motors. Some special “matched” VFD from a single sup-
voltage or current pulses. The tech- considerations for selecting motors plier.
nologies differ in their ability to for use with VFDs include cooling,
create optimal waveforms. Because efficiency and operation in haz- SELECTING A VFD
the motor’s torque and torque rip- ardous (e.g., explosive) environ- Important factors for selecting
ple are determined by the current, ments. VFDs include power supply voltage
the VFD affect motor and pump Motors operated on VFDs oper- and frequency, amperage require-
operation. Thus, by knowing the ate at higher temperatures due to ments, torque requirements and
characteristics of the VFD output, the irregular shape of the electrical motor and load characteristics.
you can select a VFD suitable for waveforms produced by the VFD. VFDs must be selected to match
your pump. To ensure that the motor will not the power supply and frequency.
Most VFDs produce a constant overheat, the motors are typically Many VFDs are switch selectable
volt/hz ratio, thus constant motor derated at full load from 3 to 10 for a number of voltage/frequency
torque capability up to name-plate percent, depending on the type of combinations.
frequency (typically 60 hz or 3550 VFD used. You can determine the amper-
rpm for a two-pole motor — see This additional heat makes age requirement of a motor using
Figure 8). Horsepower capability motors operated on VFDs less effi- the equation:
therefore rises from zero at zero cient than when operated across
speed to full horsepower at name- the line. Thus, many users specify
plate speed. Above nameplate speed, high efficiency motors for use with

The Pump Handbook Series 57

characteristics. The 9). Fortunately, many pumps are
FIGURE 6 more commonly used of a stiff staff design and will oper-
Pulse Width Modul- ate below their first lateral critical
ation and Six Step speed. A vendor may be able to
100% SPEED
"A" VFDs do not require change the mechanical design to
100 this matching. They raise or lower the critical speed to
are suitable for a provide full range speed adjust-
80 wide variety of ment.
78% SPE
motors. Most VFDs Be aware of torsional critical

2 operate on 480 V speed. Torsional critical speeds are
input and produce a resonant frequencies at which
68% SP
PUM maximum of 480 V motor and driven equipment shafts
40 LIMITS OF output. If a higher can begin to oscillate with angular
PUMP2 voltage motor is displacement as a result of torsion-
desired, you can al excitation. VFDs can cause tor-
install a step-up trans- sional excitation problems known
former between the as torque ripple. For example,
0 VFD and the motor rather than delivering a continuous
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140

FLOW% or use a higher volt- 295 ft-lb of torque, a VFD-driven,

PUMP 2 SIZED FOR "C"-UNABLE TO DO "A" & "B" age VFD. 200 HP motor may deliver torque
cycling between 250 and 340 ft-lb
Proper sizing to meet required duty points APPLICATION at some 21,000 cycles per minute.
This oscillation could be damaging.
Be sure the motor Clearly, careful analysis and selec-
will be capable of delivering enough tion of the VFD, motor, coupling
HP x 746 torque to the pump. Motor torque and pump train are needed to
AMPS = capability (including breakaway or avoid torsional problems.
Volts x 1.732 x start-up torque) must exceed pump
Motor Efficiency x Motor torque required at every speed. ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS
Power Factor Generally, if the motor and VFD are To avoid potential problems in
properly sized for 100 percent speed, your application of VFDs, you
Nominal horsepower ratings are they will be adequate at lower must take a few precautions
usually given by the VFD vendors speeds. However, in certain regarding their environment.
but in some instances a VFD will instances, such as applications with Locate VFDs indoors. Units can
only produce the stated nominal high suction pressure, motor and be placed outdoors with the prop-
horsepower if a high efficiency VFD sizing may be governed by er enclosure, but the cost of the
motor is used. Unlike motors, start-up conditions. VFDs on positive enclosure can run into thousands
VFDs generally have no continuous displacement pumps must routinely of dollars. Fortunately, the VFD
service factor. Momentary over- be oversized to provide sufficient can be up to several hundred feet
loads, however, are permitted. start-up torque.
VFDs generally exceed 97 percent Avoid lateral FIGURE 7
efficiency at full load. critical speeds. As
VFDs are designated constant an example, API SPEED
% D
torque or variable torque, depend- Specification 610 80 EE EED

12 S

ing on their current overload 50


@ %

states that depend-


EN @ 1

capacity. Variable torque VFDs can


ing on the unbal-



produce 110 percent of rated cur- anced response 200 40


rent for one minute. Constant amplification fac-


torque VFDs can produce 150 per- tor, a pump may 150 NPS
cent of full load current for one not be operated 20 % S P E E D
minute and even more for shorter between 85 percent NPS
100 H @ 10 0 % SPEEED
periods. Variable torque VFDs are and 105 percent of
generally used for centrifugal its critical speed. NPSH @ 80% SPEED

pumps. Adherence to these 50

VFDs must be matched to the rules can block out
load and motor characteristics. a large portion of 0
Certain VFDs, known as Current 0 25 50 75 100 125 150
the allowable per-
Source Inverters or CSIs, may require FLOW - % OF 100% SPEED FLOW
formance envelope
addition or deletion of capacitor of the variable Centrifugal pump NPSHR and efficiency vs. speed
banks to match the load and motor speed pump (Figure

58 The Pump Handbook Series

instrument signals if ment in operating parameters will
they are fed from the make VFDs easier to use and inte-
same supply trans- grate into a system.
T HP former as the VFD. Improved reliability and fault
460 100%
IS IT WORTH IT? tolerance will make VFDs easier to
%T, apply. You can expect manufactur-
Despite the list T
V ers to add adjustment capabilities
of precautions, vari-
230 50% HP of output voltage and current
POSSIBLE able speed pumping
THERMAL waveforms to optimize motor effi-
DERATING can save you
ciency and smoothness. Improve-
money. As shown,
ments in power semiconductors
you can eliminate
will provide higher efficiency and
0 30 60 90 120 0 30 60 90 120 the need for throt-
HZ HZ smoother output.
tling valves. You
T = f (V/HZ) Sizes of VFDs will diminish as
may be able to use
components on circuit boards are
one variable speed
integrated into chips. Reduced size
Performance of conventional variable speed motor pump in place of two
and improved efficiency will allow
fixed speed pumps.
packaging to be more compact and
VFDs also elimi-
environmentally rugged, which
from the motor. So it can be nate the need for a
will allow placement even in haz-
indoors even if the motor is out- motor starter. Variable speed
ardous environments.
doors. pumping often reduces power
Prices will come down, possi-
Derate for high temperatures and requirements. And some electrical
bly by up to 25 percent over the
high elevations. If operated above utilities provide rebates for compa-
next five years.
104o F, VFDs must be derated. They nies that use energy saving devices
Even today, you can achieve
must also be derated if used at eleva- such as VFDs. Rebates can be up to
greater flexibility, energy savings,
tions above 3300 ft. one-third the purchase price of the
equipment savings and extra head
Be cautious of power supply. device. Other cost savings come
and flow through variable speed
VFDs are sensitive to stiffness and through better process control due
pumping, provided you take extra
irregularities in the electrical sup- to lower heat inputs and fluid
care in assembling an appropriate
ply. You may need to install a line shear.
combination of pump, motor and
reactor or isolation transformer These savings frequently pay
VFD. With improvements in tech-
between the VFD and supply main back the costs of utilizing variable
nology, more and more users will
if the feed transformer is very stiff speed pumping (such as the cost of
begin to take advantage of variable
(high KVA). Input line reactors or the VFD, possibly extra costs for
speed pumping. ■
isolation transformers may also be high-efficiency motors and possibly
necessary to prevent the VFD from oversized pumps). Payback periods
feeding electrical noise back into the of as little as one year are typical Stephen P. Murphy is Senior
supply main. Such noise can distort when using variable speed pump- Business Development Specialist
ing. for Sundstrand Fluid Handling in
Variable speed pum-
1 0 0 % D E SIG
ping will become more
popular as the technol-
ogy establishes its
track record. And as
more system and plant

5% engineers design for

variable speed opera-
15% tion early in the devel-
opment cycle, benefits
PEED BAND beyond energy conser-
vation will become
0 20 40 60 80 100 120
Advances in VFD
FLOW technology will also
increase user accep-
Avoiding lateral critical speeds tance. New features
such as greater adjust-

The Pump Handbook Series 59


Centrifugal Pumps
The ability to self-prime can be a cost effective solution for many applications.


ith greater global competi- tively easy to maintain. To better liquid towards the outside diameter

W tion and increased environ-

mental regulations, mod-
ern industrial applications
over the years have evolved into
sophisticated operations, demanding
understand the working principle of
a self-priming centrifugal pump, let’s
first examine the centrifugal force
principle and a standard or conven-
tional centrifugal pump.
of the impeller. Once the liquid
reaches the tip of the impeller vane
it leaves the impeller at its greatest
velocity. As the liquid leaves the
impeller, its direction is controlled
more control over their liquid han- All centrifugal pumps incorpo- by the pump casing (the most com-
dling processes. This is particularly rate the centrifugal force principle, mon casing shapes are spiral or
evident on the ”dirty“ liquid side of a which may be illustrated by a car volute and circular).
plant’s manufacturing process, in the running on a wet road (Figure 1). The spiral or volute casing sur-
drainage, filtration/pollution con- The tires pick up water and throw it rounds the impeller, beginning at the
trol/wastewater areas. Self-priming by centrifugal force against the fend- point where the liquid leaves the
centrifugal pumps are important in er. Centrifugal pumps incorporate impeller. The liquid enters the casing
meeting this demanding challenge. the same principle, but the tire is and follows the rotation of the
Single stage end suction centrifu- replaced by an impeller with vanes impeller to the discharge. Within the
gal pumps may be divided by their and the fender is replaced by the casing there is a section called the
designs into conventional or standard casing (Figure 1b). The liquid enters throat or cutwater.
centrifugals and self-priming centrifu- the center or eye of the impeller. As The cutwater, also called the
gals. Centrifugal pumps incorporate a the liquid reaches the impeller vane, tongue, is a cast section of the volute
simple design with minimum moving its velocity is greatly increased. casing, near the discharge that is
parts - impeller, shaft and bearings. Centrifugal force, created by the positioned close to the maximum
They are reliable, durable and rela- impeller blades or vanes, directs the impeller diameter. As the liquid




60 The Pump Handbook Series

reaches the cutwater it is diverted FIGURE 2 ous, but it is actually a very easy task
into the pump’s discharge opening for a correctly installed self-priming
(Figure 2). centrifugal pump, and it happens
automatically in a relatively short
time (20 - 30 seconds for a normal 15
Self-priming centrifugal pumps foot suction lift).
incorporate all the above standard It’s this feature that differentiates
centrifugal pump design features and self-priming centrifugal pumps from
add the following internal modifica- standard centrifugal models. On a
tions: suction lift condition, a standard cen-
trifugal pump, with only air in the
• A casing design that surrounds casing and having no ability to sepa-
the volute and impeller and rate air and liquid to create a vacu-
enables the pump to retain liquid um, would have an impeller that
in a built-in reservoir, or priming simply spins, acting as a fan, because
chamber. This reservoir is filled it has no way to lower the suction
during the initial prime of the line pressure. By placing a foot valve
pump, and when the pump com- on the end of a suction line and filling
pletes a pumping cycle and shuts the pump and suction line with liq-
down, the reservoir retains liquid uid, a standard centrifugal pump can
for the next priming cycle. in the pump reservoir to be direct- be made to operate and pump in a
ed to the discharge cavity via cen- conventional mode.
• An internal recirculation channel trifugal force. Simultaneously, a If the foot valve leaks and air
or port. This channel connects lower pressure is formed in the suc- enters the suction, such as under a
the pump’s discharge cavity back tion reservoir. This draws the liquid shutdown condition, a standard cen-
to the suction reservoir internal- from the discharge cavity back into trifugal pump stands the risk of losing
ly, allowing the continuous recir- the suction reservoir through the its prime and becoming air bound.
culation of liquid from discharge pump’s internal recirculation chan- Under suction lift conditions, self-
back to suction during the prim- nel. This is a continuing action dur- priming centrifugal pumps are ideal
ing, usually to the peripheral por- ing the priming cycle. While this is for unattended use.
tion of the impeller (Figure 2B). occurring, the air in the suction line Standard centrifugal pumps are
is drawn by the lower pressure into sometimes fitted with priming sys-
These two internal design fea- the eye of the impeller with the tems to fill the pump and suction line
tures, the priming chamber and inter- priming liquid and travels through with liquid prior to starting. In such
nal recirculation channel, are what the volute into the discharge cavity. cases, a control device tells the pump
distinguishes a self-priming centrifu- At this point velocities decrease, when all air is evacuated and the unit
gal pump from a standard centrifugal allowing the air and liquid mixture to is liquid filled to start.
pump. Self-priming can also be separate. The air flows up and is STYLES
accomplished by a diffuser design ejected, and the priming liquid recir-
centrifugal pump that is used primari- culates back into the impeller. Self-priming centrifugal pumps
ly for clear liquids. This process continues to draw are usually classified into two groups:
all the air from the submerged suc- basic self-priming pumps and trash-
HOW IT WORKS handling self-priming pumps.
tion line. In applications where the
Self-priming centrifugal pumps liquid level is at atmospheric pres- Basic self-priming pumps usually
can be placed above the liquid level sure, that pressure on the liquid sur- come with different impeller configu-
of the source (Figure 3). Only the face, coupled with the lower pressure rations, including fully enclosed and
suction pipe enters the liquid being in the suction pipe due to the evacua- semi-open. Like all centrifugal
pumped. The pump is initially tion of air, serves to push the liquid pumps, the pressure developed is
primed by adding liquid to the pump in the sump into the pump. When all dependent on the impeller diameter
casing through a priming port, nor- air is evacuated liquid pumping auto- and rpm.
mally located near the discharge. The matically begins. • Fully enclosed impellers allow
liquid fills the discharge reservoir, Note that the diffuser design self- self-priming pumps to develop
traveling into the eye of the impeller prime principle incorporates an medium to medium-high dis-
through the pump’s recirculation impeller rotating in a stationary charge pressures, up to about 110
channel. The suction line, itself, is multi-vane diffuser (Figure 4). During psi or 254 ft total dynamic head
not filled. A check valve is usually priming, the diffuser separates the air (TDH). Normal pump sizes range
located just inside the suction reser- from the pumped liquid until priming from 1 in. through 6 in. suction
voir. All connections must be air- is completed. and discharge. Pumps with a
tight. During initial start-up, the This priming action might seem fully enclosed impeller have a
impeller rotation causes the liquid somewhat complicated or mysteri- very limited solids handling capa-

The Pump Handbook Series 61



Flap Valve


Ball Bearings


Relief Valve


A cut-away view of a self-priming centrifugal pump designed to handle solids-laden liquids and

bility, with sizes from 1 1/32 in. are sometime referred to as gen- rations, with capacities upwards
through 5/8 in. in diameter, eral-purpose self-priming pumps. of 3,400 gpm. Normal pump
depending on the size of the They are excellent for handling sizes range from 1-1/2 in.
pump. This configuration is dirty, contaminated liquids. through 10 in. suction and dis-
excellent for handling clear liq- Applications include extensive charge. The impeller design
uids, including processed hydro- use in industrial filtration opera- allows for excellent solids han-
carbons, along with general tions and a wide range of engine- dling capability, ranging from l
wash-down pressure applications. driven models that serve the in. to 3 in. spherical solids diam-
• Semi-open multi-vane impellers construction market. eter, depending on the pump
are usually designed for slightly size.
Trash handling self-priming
lower head conditions than fully Trash handling self-priming
pumps generally use a trash-type,
enclosed impellers, but they pumps are often referred to as the
semi-open, two-vane impeller that
have greater solids handling workhorse of centrifugal pumps due
allows the pump to pass larger spher-
capabilities. Pump sizes usually to their rugged design and large
ical solids.
range from 3/4 in. through 12 in. solids handling capabilities. These
suction and discharge, with • Trash handling self-priming pumps can be found on some of the
capacities to more than 5,500 pumps generate medium dis- most severe pumping applications
gpm. Spherical solid sizes range charge pressures in the area of within plants or on construction
from 3/4 in. through 3 in. in 62 psi or 145 ft TDH on electric sites.
diameter, depending on the size motor drives and discharge pres- A desirable design feature of a
of the pump. Basic self-priming sures upwards of 75 psi or 173 ft trash handling self-priming pump is a
pumps with semi-open impellers TDH on engine-driven configu- removable cover plate, located

62 The Pump Handbook Series

FIGURE 3 ical applications. Alloys must be protected against freezing to
available for pump avoid damage.
construction also offer The vapor pressure of the liquid
the same diversity. and the presence of high levels of
Cast iron and ductile entrained air are serious considera-
iron are used for gener- tions in suction lift application.
al purpose and refined The NPSHA (net positive suction
hydrocarbons, hard- head available) must exceed the man-
ened austempered duc- ufacturer’s published NPSHR (net
tile iron (ADI) is positive suction head required) by a
employed for abrasive margin that accounts for the liquid
applications, CD4MCu properties.
SS serves in corrosive Repriming time increases with
and abrasive applica- suction lift. Suction lifts with water as
tions, and 316 SS, Alloy the liquid at normal ambient temper-
20 SS, Hastalloy B, and ature should be limited to 15 to 18 ft.
Hi-Resin Epoxy Plastic best efficiency range, although maxi-
are used for other spe- mum practical lifts are obtainable to
cial chemical applica- 25 feet. For other liquids or liquid
tions. mixtures, the vapor pressure of the
liquid or the most volatile compo-
nents of a mixture must be consid-
ered. Reducing the speed of operation
The principal (rpm) significantly reduces the
application area for NPSHR. Suction line piping should
self-priming pumps is be sized to velocities in the 5 to 7 ft.
where their ability to range at design flow. For self-priming
self-prime is a cost pumps it is recommended that the
effective solution; and suction piping should be the same
directly in front of the impeller on when it is more convenient and desir- size as the pump’s suction inlet.
the suction side of the pump. Trash able to locate a pump ”high and dry“ The self-priming centrifugal
handling self-priming pumps may be above the liquid. Some general guide- pump offers a unique solution to
applied in waste sump applications lines are in order: many pumping applications. ■
where they are exposed to various The liquid being pumped should
size solids. Any pump may clog try- be of low viscosity ( 550SSU or less). Terry W. Bechtler has been
ing to pump larger solids than it was Horsepower and efficiency correc- Manager of Inside Sales for The
designed to pass. The removable tions are needed for liquid viscosity Gorman-Rupp Co. in Mansfield, OH for
cover plate allows quick access to the above 550 SSU. If subjected to liquid four years.
suction side of the pump, expediting freezing temperatures, the pump
the removal of blockage. Some
designs allow removal of the cover
plate without disturbing the suction
and/or discharge line. FIGURE 4
As discussed, self-priming cen-
trifugal pumps have a broad design
range that allows them to serve a
wide variety of applications. Many
metallurgical choices and shaft seal
configurations are available to best
serve particular services.
Mechanical shaft seals can be
single, double, or tandem. They are
available as double grease lubricated
for general purpose applications, oil
lubricated with silicon carbide faces
for industrial applications with abra-
sives, carbon against Ni-Resist faces
for clean water or refined hydrocar- Volute Priming Diffuser Priming
bon applications, or Teflon fitted
with carbon/ ceramic faces for chem-
The Pump Handbook Series 63

Centrifugal Pump Testing

Laboratory and on-site testing ensure pumps are up to their tasks.


The test lab

s industry becomes increas- A reasonable split between the
ingly competitive, pumps are two approaches should be employed,
provides being sized to precisely meet depending on the nature of the evalu-
their duty requirements with- ation and the user’s ability to conduct
a tightly out oversizing. This allows users to on-site testing. Also, the user and
maximize efficiency and minimize manufacturer must agree to a set of
controlled first capital costs. There is also a guidelines such as those published by
small but growing trend to question the Hydraulic Institute (HI). Among
environment the economics of in-line spares and other things, HI standards generally
large spare parts inventories. These define the methods and acceptable
and thereby developments make it more critical tolerances to be used. However,
than ever that rotating equipment regardless of the standard employed,
generates precisely meets all hydraulic, materi- good laboratory practice requires that
al, and safety requirements. This is all instrumentation be calibrated
the most assured by thorough testing of perti- prior to the test. For maximum accu-
nent parameters by manufacturers racy the instruments should be locat-
accurate data. prior to shipment and by customers ed after straight runs of pipe where
at their job sites. steady flow conditions exist. In addi-
The level of justifiable testing tion, the local barometric pressure
will depend on the nature of the ser- must be considered, especially in
vice and significance of the parame- applications requiring suction lift.
ter to be measured. For instance, a The data obtained should be recorded
water transfer application can be in a test log, and each round of evalu-
served with a stock pump that has ations must be identified in this docu-
undergone the manufacturer’s stan- ment by the manufacturer’s and
dard quality and performance checks. user’s serial/ equipment numbers.
However, a corrosive, high pressure, Also, the question of user repre-
or environmentally hazardous appli- sentation during testing should be
cation may justify additional testing clearly defined. This includes issues
for material conformity and quality of such as site location, the amount of
construction. advance notice prior to testing, and
In addition to the extent of test- cost. Usually, the added cost and logis-
ing, several other factors must also be tics problems make such witness test-
considered. The first is location. A ing inadvisable—unless the user has
shop or laboratory test is typically very limited experience with the man-
conducted at the manufacturer’s facil- ufacturer. This, as well as any other
ity. The test lab provides a tightly requirements, must be written into the
controlled environment and thereby specification prior to purchase.
generates the most accurate data. In A brief description of the most
contrast, field tests sacrifice some common performance and quality
accuracy, but they provide useful evaluations is given below. For sim-
data under the actual conditions of plicity, these tests have been charac-
service. terized in terms of certifying

64 The Pump Handbook Series

existing motors and starters are to be
reused. Such tests are typically con-
ducted on water using certified
motors. Data are collected at several
points, depending on the level speci-
fied as part of the performance test.
This information can be used to gen-
erate both wire to water and
hydraulic efficiencies.
The usual considerations for
material conformance testing are cor-
rosion and erosion resistance. Again,
the added cost for these procedures
must be justified with regard to the
particular application, as well as the
consequences of process downtime
and personnel or environmental
A technician attaches a mag drive pump to a test tank.
conformance in hydraulic capability, holding the flow constant and reduc- The most basic type of documen-
materials, or physical integrity. ing the suction head until a defined tation is in the manufacturer’s certifi-
level of cavitation occurs. The data cate of material conformity. This is a
are used to generate a curve of the guarantee that the pump is made of
The determination of hydraulic cavitation coefficient, Sigma, for the
performance is the most basic and the materials called out in the specifi-
pump at the specified capacity. Sigma cation. This certificate is based solely
common category of testing. This is defined as the net positive suction
typically involves performance, net on the standard quality tests per-
head available divided by the total formed by the manufacturer.
positive suction head (NPSH), and pump head per stage. According to HI
power evaluation. standards, the NPSH requirement of CHEMICAL ANALYSIS
PERFORMANCE TESTING the pump is defined as the point at This involves confirmation of the
The performance test of a spe- which a 3% head drop occurs on the material of construction by chemically
cially ordered or job pump typically Sigma curve. However, this criteria is testing small samples from the pump.
involves the generation of its head- somewhat controversial. The major These tests range from sophisticated
versus-capacity curve at the rated issue is that incipient cavitation is well chemical analysis to a basic screening
impeller trim. Such pumps are shop under way prior to the occurrence of utilizing chemical test kits.
tested on water at the manufactur- the 3% head drop. In fact, some com-
panies are considering an internal NUCLEAR ANALYSIS
er’s site. If the HI standards are fol- This confirms materials used by
lowed, the acceptance level must be specification defining the NPSH
requirement as only a 1% head drop means of a nuclear analyzer. This is a
defined. Level A requires that seven nondestructive test involving direct
test points of head, flow, and effi- on the Sigma curve.
measurement on the surface to be
ciency be evaluated. Level B testing POWER/EFFICIENCY TESTING analyzed. The composition of the
requires that five test points be Power and efficiency testing is material is determined by the equip-
checked. Each level of acceptance becoming increasingly critical as ment and matched with its internal
refers only to the head and capacity companies are closely evaluating database to generate an identification.
as specified by the customer for the power consumption during the pump Due to the high cost of this equip-
service, also known as the rated or selection process. Another relevant ment, many sites utilize sub-contrac-
guarantee point. The defined toler- issue is the growing trend of retro- tors for this work.
ances for these parameters will vary fitting sealed applications with seal-
depending on the size of the pumps less designs. As is well known, due to HARDNESS TESTING
and the level of testing required. magnetic coupling and viscous losses, Hardness testing may be
NPSH sealless pumps inherently have slight- required by the user, especially for
ly greater power requirements than pumps in highly erosive services.
The NPSH test is basically a Though the type of hardness test can
measure of the suction head require- their sealed counterparts. Therefore,
a confirmation of the published vary, the Brinell hardness test is fairly
ment necessary to prevent cavitation. common.
The procedure typically involves power requirements may be in order,
especially for installations where

The Pump Handbook Series 65

MILL CERTIFICATION sons its use is most often limited to • The fact that the coupling is
An extensive form of evaluation critical applications in the power already inherently tested during
involves mill certification. Basically, industry. generation of the hydraulic perfor-
the mill certs follow the pump along GAS LEAK DETECTION mance curve.
each step of the manufacturing
This involves pressurizing the BREAKING TORQUE
process. This includes data from the
pump with an inert gas such as arc- A “low tech” but effective way of
initial pour at the foundry to the final
ton to detect any leak paths from the site testing synchronous magnetic
checks of the finished components.
pump. Leaks are typically detected couplings is by measuring the break-
The downside of mill certification is
by means of a sniffer or mass spec- ing torque. Breaking torque is simply
that it tends to be costly. Also,
trometer. This test is extremely sensi- the force required to break or decou-
because additional data are required
tive and able to detect the slightest ple the two opposing halves of the
from the initial pour, stock pumps
porosity in castings. magnetic coupling. This is accom-
may not be used. Some parameters
typically measured in mill certs HYDROSTATIC TESTING plished by anchoring the inner rotat-
include: Hydrostatic pressure testing is a ing assembly and applying torque to
standard quality check. The proce- the outer magnet ring (OMR). Force is
•Mechanical Test Certification, applied and measured by a torque
which includes tensile strength, dure usually involves filling pressure-
containing components with water wrench fitted to the drive shaft of the
proof stress, and elongation. pump (the drive shaft is mechanically
and pressurizing to 1.5 times the
•Analysis certificates detailing the rated working pressure. This pressure coupled to the OMR). The data gener-
chemical composition. is held for a specified time, and the ated is then compared to the manu-
piece is inspected for leaks. facturer’s standards.
•Intercrystallation corrosion and As in Gauss testing, this proce-
ultrasonic tests. TESTING SEALLESS PUMPS dure is usually unnecessary for a new
PHYSICAL INTEGRITY TESTING The testing procedures utilized to pump. However, it is a useful field
evaluate standard sealed centrifugals tool for confirming the strength of the
As the name implies, this catego- magnetic coupling. This is especially
are commonly used for sealless con-
ry of testing basically involves a con- important during a rebuild after a dry
figurations as well. However, due to
firmation of the pump’s ability to run failure. During dry runs, the mag-
the unique design of sealless pumps,
maintain the liquid boundary under nets are exposed to extreme tempera-
some additional procedures may be
the conditions of service. The chief tures that may reduce their strength.
considered. A complete discussion of
areas of concern prompting such test- By utilizing the breaking torque pro-
this topic can be found in the
ing are the integrity of welds and pos- cedure, maintenance personnel can
Hydraulic Institute Standard for seal-
sible porosity of castings. pretest the magnetic coupling prior to
less centrifugal pumps. (HI 5.1–5.6,
DYE PENETRANT TESTING 1st edition, 1992) reinstallation.
involves the use of an
The strength of the
extremely low surface ten- CANNED MOTOR DRIVES
sion liquid to detect possi- The permanent magnets in a
magnetically driven seal- The stator housing in canned
ble leak paths in cast and determination less pump can be evaluat- motor pumps is often used as a sec-
welded surfaces. If the dye ondary containment vessel. Testing
ed with a Gaussmeter.
penetrates the surface, the of hydraulic This instrument directly typically involves gas leak detection
piece is either rejected or
weld repaired. If the com- performance measures the strength of on the finished stators. For designs
the magnetic field in utilizing potting of the wire leads,
ponent is repaired, the user is the most confirmation of the integrity of the
Gauss or Milligauss.
is notified and the part secondary containment chamber as
Gauss testing is usually an
retested to confirm the basic and overkill for new pumps the equipment ages may be in order.
integrity of the weld. This is especially relevant in services
common for the following reasons:
with high temperature cycling, which
• The relative unifor-
Radiographic testing is category mity of production
may damage the potting compound.
primarily used to confirm magnets. MAG DRIVE DESIGNS
the integrity of welds in of testing.
• The high safety fac- In some mag drive designs the
pressure-containing compo- coupling housing and an inboard
nents. Procedures depend tor incorporated into a
magnetic coupling’s power trans- magnetic seal are utilized for sec-
on the configuration and dimensions ondary containment. Testing usually
of the component, as well as the mission capability. (A safety factor
of 2.0 under full load conditions is involves a hydrostatic or gas leak
nature of the equipment being used. detection of this assembly.
The test itself is somewhat costly and typical.)
may impact delivery. For these rea-

66 The Pump Handbook Series

• After the pump has achieved
steady state, the bearing frame,
process, and ambient tempera-
tures should be monitored and
recorded. This data will be used
as an initial check as well as for
future reference.
• Proper operation of all protective
instrumentation should also be
verified and any outputs record-
ed. For instance, many sealless
pumps utilize a thermocouple
temperature monitoring system
to protect against dry runs. The
initial temperature reading
should be recorded in the com-
missioning data sheet.

There are many options for test-
ing the performance and integrity of
An A range pump hooked up for testing. centrifugal pumps. The use of such
procedures depends on the signifi-
cance of the service and the nature
SITE TESTING impeller. Such loading can dramat- of the pumpage. Users will find that
One of the most important and ically decrease the mean time in most cases the standard compli-
often overlooked opportunities for between failures for the equip- ment of manufacturing testing will
evaluating and documenting pump ment. be sufficient. However, critical ser-
performance is the initial commis- vices involving serious environmen-
• Evaluation of the operating point
sioning. Information gathered at this tal or health risks may warrant the
should be conducted for all condi-
time is critical in verifying initial per- added assurance of supplemental
tions the pump will experience.
formance and providing a bench- testing. In either case, the user and
For example, many pumps in
mark for future diagnostic and manufacturer must work as partners
transfer applications deliver liquid
troubleshooting efforts. to achieve the best engineering solu-
to various locations and are peri-
It is suggested that, as a mini- tion for the particular application. ■
odically operated in a recirculation
mum, the following areas be evalu- mode. Each of these duty points
ated: Leo Richard is a Technical Service
must be determined and possible
Manager with the Kontro Company,
• The total differential head generat- problems identified. If necessary,
Inc. Mr. Richard has experience in
ed by the pump. It is strongly rec- modifications in the pump and/or
process and project engineering with
ommended that both suction and process should be made. Common
General Electric and W.R. Grace.
discharge gauges be installed to corrective actions include resizing
facilitate measurement of this orifices, changing valve settings,
parameter. Once determined, it and adjusting the impeller trim.
should be noted whether the actu-
al operating point differs from the • The amp draw of the motor
duty listed in the specification. If should be measured. This is then
so, the user must first confirm compared with the manufacturer’s
proper operation of the pump and stated requirements to evaluate
process. If these check out, an proper operation. Gross differ-
evaluation of potential problems ences between these figures may
associated with the new duty indicate various conditions such as
point must be evaluated. This cavitation, operating to run out or
includes a possible increase in the shut in, or mechanical problems.
NPSH requirement and power • The vibration level should be mea-
consumption. Also note that con- sured. This will confirm proper
tinuous operation at extremely operation and serve as a bench-
high or low flows will significantly mark for future testing.
increase dynamic loading on the

The Pump Handbook Series 67


The Canned Motor vs.

Magnetic Drive Debate

erhaps you’ve decided to pur- Manufacturers of canned motor counter that internal clearances are

P chase sealless centrifugal

pumps. The arguments are
compelling: zero emissions, no
need for complicated seal support
systems, no need to replace expen-
pumps counter that claim with two
arguments. First, the thicker shell of
a magnetic drive pump reduces oper-
ating efficiency. Second, the shell
must be thicker (and the internal
designed to accommodate bearing
wear, not to accommodate solid par-
ticles. The crucial dimension, they
say, is bearing clearance and that is
the same for both types of sealless
sive seals periodically. All manufac- clearances wider) because magnetic pumps. Further, canned motor
turers of sealless centrifugal pumps drive pumps do not contain bearing pumps can effectively handle solids
agree on these basic advantages. But monitors. Unmonitored bearing wear if they are outfitted with external
their agreement ends there. can cause the inner magnetic ring to flush or filters to remove particulates
As the two major camps in the contact the shell. A thin shell would from the pumpage before they circu-
sealless centrifugal debate — canned be too prone to such damage. Canned late around the bearings.
motor or magnetic drive — try to motor pumps can use a thinner shell
position their chosen technology as HIGH PRESSURE APPLICATIONS
because bearings are closely moni-
the most reasonable choice, they let tored and bearing wear can be pro- One point on which all parties
loose a flurry of claims and counter- jected from the data. agree is that magnetic drive pumps
claims. It can get confusing. cannot tolerate as high pressures as
To help you prepare for the bar- HIGH TEMPERATURE SERVICE canned motors pumps can. A canned
rage, we present advantages for both Permanent magnets can toler- motor pump is a pressure vessel
types of sealless centrifugal pumps as ate heat better than motor wind-
commonly stated by manufacturers ings can. Thus, magnetic drive
and users. Consider the arguments pumps can pump hot liquids — up
and decide which are most pertinent to 750° F with just air cooling.
to your situation. Then you’ll be bet- Canned motor pumps can also be
ter prepared to discuss your specific used in hot service but need water
concerns with manufacturers. cooling jackets. Manufacturers of
THICKNESS OF CONTAINMENT SHELL canned motor pumps agree that
canned pumps should be water
Magnetic drive pumps can use cooled for high temperatures. But,
thicker containment shells since their

they reply, so should magnetic

inner and outer magnetic rings do not drive pumps since even rare earth
have to be as close together as the permanent magnets cannot tolerate
rotor and stator in a canned motor extremely high temperatures.
pump. Manufacturers of mag-drive
pumps claim that the thicker shell SOLIDS HANDLING
— up to five times thicker than that
With greater internal clearances
of canned motor pumps — vastly
reduces the chances of breaching and thicker containment shells, mag-
the shell, especially as a result of netic drive pumps can handle solids
Sealless canned motor pump designed
bearing wear. more easily, their manufacturers say.
for hazardous liquids.
Canned motor manufacturers

68 The Pump Handbook Series

ples or loses a bearing, the skin tem- we’re getting comfortable with
perature on the drive unit can exceed that technology, too,” he said.
the autoignition temperature of the This user and another engi-

explosive compound. neer at a major chemical plant

report high reliability of both
COMPACT DESIGN types of pumps. Both report that
Canned motor pump manufactur- reliability increased as they gained
ers cite compact design as an added more experience with sealless
advantage. Canned motor pumps not pumps. In each facility the major
only save space but also require no cause of damage to sealless pumps
foundation work. Magnetic drive man- is operator and specification error.
ufacturers counter that they can make And as they learned to size the
compact pumps by using a close cou- pumps correctly — to operate at
Magnetic drive process pump pled design. Besides, they add, the the best efficiency point of the
designed for zero leakage services. pump — and to avoid operating
absolute dimensions aren’t as impor-
the pumps off design, mean time
tant as meeting ANSI standard dimen-
between failure increased substan-
since the stator windings lend addi- sions. ANSI standard dimensions
tially. “We’ve gotten seven years
tional mechanical strength. make magnetic drive pumps easier to without failure from some of our
retrofit, according to their proponents. sealless pumps,” said one user,
ALIGNMENT “but we’ve also had cases where
According to one manufacturer we replace the pump nearly every
of magnetic drive pumps, the biggest Canned motor pumps have an month because of dead head oper-
advantage magnetic drives offer is the integrated single shaft and thus come ation, running dry or cavitation.”
ability to use non-metallics. These perfectly aligned from the factory. All the above manufacturers
pumps are thus able to pump highly Alignment of the motor and magnetic agree that pumps must be speci-
corrosive materials, solvents, and coupling can be tricky in a magnetic fied correctly for the application
other difficult fluids. That may be drive pump. and that operators must be trained
true for some fluids, counter manu- adequately. “Users need to make
facturers of canned motor pumps, A USER’S PERSPECTIVE sure we know everything about
but other issues are involved. For one user, an engineer at a the application,” says one manu-
Hazardous materials require failsafe chemical processing plant in the mid- facturer. “We especially need to
containment. Canned motor pumps, west, UL area classification is the know temperatures and vapor
they point out, offer sealless double most important reason he prefers pressures at startup and shut-
containment. If the stator lining canned motor over magnetic drive down, not just normal operating
blows, a backup shell will contain the pumps — in situations where canned conditions.”
materials. Doubly contained magnet- motor pumps are optimal. This user Another key point: don’t sim-
ic drive pumps rely on a mechanical also relies on magnetic drive pumps ply substitute pump problems for
seal — the very thing we’re trying to for high temperature applications seal problems. In other words, if
avoid, say the manufacturers of (e.g., heat transfer fluids), high horse- you’re faced with recurring seal
canned motor pumps. power requirements and for aqueous failures, be sure to root out the
Canned motor proponents point hydrochloric acid service (which cause of the failure before you
to another benefit of their technology requires nonmetallic pumps). simply bring in sealless pumps.
in hazardous environments: UL list- Maybe the fault isn’t the seal. If
Another advantage this user
ing for the entire unit. Because a the problem lies elsewhere in the
states for canned motor pumps is he
canned motor pump integrates the system, you’ll be left wondering
can predict bearing wear and thus
electrical and mechanical portions, why your sealless pumps failed
schedule maintenance more easily.
the entire pump must be UL listed just like the seals did. ■
for use in, say, explosive atmos- FURTHER ADVICE ABOUT
pheres. Sundstrand canned motor GOING SEALLESS
pumps, for example, are tested under
a procedure in which UL fills the “We’ve been using canned
pump with oxygen and ethylene and motor pumps for some time and are
ignites the gas. The explosion must be comfortable with the technology,”
contained in the pump with no prop- the user says. “Our electricians are
agation of flames up or down the dis- adept at repairing the pumps — both
charge piping. Magnetic drive pumps mechanically and electrically. We
are not UL listed — only the motors are bringing in more magnetic drive
need to be. If a magnetic drive decou- pumps for certain applications and

The Pump Handbook Series 69


National Electric Code

Impact on Sealless
Centrifugal Pumps

ump users are no different liquid mist. Since electrical devices

P from other users of industrial

processing equipment who
must comply with several
codes and government regulations. It
can be a formidable task to keep up
are present in these areas, the NEC
imposes requirements to reduce the
risk of fires and explosions.
A Division 1 area is where explo-
sive materials are routinely present in
What users to date and appropriately apply rules the atmosphere (such as the bottom of
to specific situations. A greater effort a spill containment, or a below-grade
is required to get code and regula- installation where vapors could col-
need to know tions updated and clarified to keep lect) and requires U.L.-approved elec-
pace with changing technology. trical devices. Most sealless pumps,
about the Nonetheless, users need to under- however, are operated in Division 2
stand the impact of the National areas where explosive materials may
National Electrical Code on sealless centrifugal occasionally be present in the atmos-
pumps and to know what monitoring phere. (In the chemical industry, the
Electric Code options are available. vast majority of materials are handled
in closed systems.) The two areas are
covered in the NEC where they have
the potential to form an explosive
The National Fire Protection cloud in the atmosphere. A growing
monitoring Association (NFPA) has produced cloud that comes in contact with a
several codes for reducing the risk of source of ignition, such as a hot elec-
options can and damage from fires. One of these trical device, can cause a large explo-
is the National Electric Code (NEC). sion and fire.
Section 500 of this document applies To reduce this risk, the NEC
help. to electrical devices operating in haz- requires that the Auto-Ignition
ardous environments—where flam- Temperature (AIT) be determined for
mable/explosive materials are either each stream in the process area as
routinely or may be present in the well as its geographical area.
atmosphere. These materials can be Electrical devices intended for opera-
gasses/vapors, liquids, a solid dust or tion in hazardous areas are also

70 The Pump Handbook Series


Temperature monitor on containment

shell by liquid exit from magnet area

Mag drive pump cooling circuit flow temperature measurement is made after the fluid has
picked up eddy current heat and partial bearing heat.

required by the code to have “T rat- requires that you take precautions to regarded as heat produced by an elec-
ings.” If users follow this section of prevent the ignition of flammable trical device and, therefore, not clear-
the code, these electrical devices will vapors from nonelectrical sources. ly addressed in the NEC.
not constitute a potential source of Preventive measures are to be deter-
ignition, vastly reducing the chance mined by an engineer and/or “the
of an explosion should an explosive authority having jurisdiction.” Since
cloud ever develop. “hot surfaces” are normally present The “skin” or outside tempera-
AITs are a concern for light in chemical processing environ- ture of the canned motor pump is an
hydrocarbons including n-butane and ments, one precaution typically issue in hazardous areas. These
acetylene, which have AITs below taken is to handle materials in closed pumps contain a thermal cut-out
600°F; pentane and hexane, which systems. switch, which is located in the stator
have AITs below 500°F; and diethyl winding hotspot and shuts down the
ether and heptane, which have AITs motor if its setpoint is exceeded. The
below 400°F. Canned motor and magnetic user is required to wire this switch
drive pumps with metallic liner/con- into the motor control circuit. If the
tainment shells generate heat due to motor cooling is lost due to some
eddy current loss. Eddy currents are upset or misoperation, the pump will
Ignition by nonelectrical sources— created by changes in magnetic field heat up and eventually open the
for example, steam, heat transfer strength during pump operation in a switch and shut off the power, pre-
lines and reactor vessel walls—are given area of a stator liner or contain- venting an excessive “skin” tempera-
also possible in process areas. The ment shell. In most applications, ture on the can. If the pump is in a
NEC does not address these sources. pumps will operate at temperatures volatile liquid service, it’s usually
Another NFPA code covers nonelec- well below 400°F (which is below destroyed. In most cases, the switch
trical sources of ignition in section most AITs) because of the cooling will not protect the pump from dry
30, the Flammable and Combustible effects of the pumpage. In general, running—it is there only to meet NEC
Liquids Code. Specifically, Chapter 5 the eddy current heat source is not requirements.

The Pump Handbook Series 71

For canned motor pumps, the FIGURE 2
NEC currently covers only conduit
seals. This is to prevent hazardous Temperature monitor on
pumpage from traveling through the containment shell by liquid
conduit system to the motor starter entrance to magnet area
room in case of a stator liner and pri-
mary seal failures.
Mag drive pumps with metallic
containment shells are not typically
regarded as electrical devices, despite
eddy current generation. (Mag drives
with nonmetallic containment shells
have insignificant eddy current gener-
ation and associated heat-up poten-
tial.) These losses are about 17% of
the maximum rated horsepower of
the drive, which works out to
between 2 and 3 KW of power loss
for a drive rated for 20 hp. If an upset
or misoperation results in dry run-
ning, recent tests have shown that the
containment shell temperature can Mag drive pump temperature measurement is made on the cooling
reach 800°F to 1200°F in one to two circuit inlet. Temperature variations will be much smaller here.
minutes of continued operation.
Furthermore, mag drive pumps that insulation in these instances. The
of flammable vapors or gasses to come
operate for several minutes with no only option for a canned motor pump
in contact with the containment shell.
cooling provided to the magnet area is a unit with a cooling jacket, the
Depending on maintenance proce-
have straw-blue rings in the areas of necessary service water lines, and a
dures, there is also a small possibility
the strongest magnetic flux, indicat- conventional stator with the appropri-
that the pumpage will leak undetected
ing temperatures of at least 900°F. ate thermal cut-out switch. The cur-
past an improperly installed gasket and
Even more disturbing, with this type rent mag drive claim, again, is that
collect near the bottom of the contain-
of failure there is a good chance of a there is nothing in the pump that
ment shell, next to the outer magnet
spill or release occurring! meets the definition of an electrical
assembly. Therefore make sure the
Currently, there is no require- device; therefore, no special monitor-
containment shell temperatures do not
ment to monitor mag drive pumps ing or shutdown devices are required
rise above the AIT of the materials pre-
for an abnormal condition and by code. If the magnets can operate
sent. Some mag drive manufacturers
subsequently shut down the pump. In at the required service temperature,
offer a leak monitor option for this sec-
most cases, containment shell tem- no cooling water is required.
tion of the pump, partially addressing
perature, motor power, or pump flow Although difficult, it may be pru-
this concern.
monitoring with alarm and shut- dent to revise pump and piping lay-
down capabilities can greatly reduce HEAT TRANSFER FLUID PUMPS outs so that no low AIT materials are
the possibility of ever reaching unac- near the pump.
Mag drive and canned motor
ceptable temperatures. Today these
pumps with ceramic insulation on
monitoring options are routinely CODE APPLICATION AND CLARIFICATION
the stator windings in heat transfer
available. Most mag drive manufac- A word of caution: The NEC has
service may present a problem since
turers provide the option of contain- been adopted by OSHA as a refer-
in some situations the suction fluid
ment shell temperature monitoring. ence standard and you are required
temperature can be in the 600°F
However, there is no widely accepted to follow it as a minimum. Be careful
range. If this temperature exceeds an
agreement on the best monitoring when interpreting the code and
AIT for other nearby materials, there
method for mag drive pumps. Each remember that common sense does
is no increase in safety by applying
method has strong and weak points. not always apply! When making
this portion of the NEC to either
Several mag drive pump manufac- interpretations or determinations
pump. In this case, the “skin” temper-
turers have recently taken steps to iso- regarding legal regulations, a team
ature already exceeds limitations set
late the containment shell from the approach is advisable. More informed
by the NEC for electrical devices!
outside atmosphere, eliminating the air determinations are made, and mis-
Current NEC interpretations by sev-
cooling used in some designs. This will takes are less likely.
eral users preclude the use of a
not necessarily prevent the migration
canned motor pump with ceramic

72 The Pump Handbook Series

FIGURE 3 perature can be monitored. Note the
direction of the cooling circuit flow
next to the temperature measurement
Temperature moni- point. A more sensitive measurement
tor on rear bearing results by monitoring at the exit point
housing at liquid exit for the cooling circuit flow after it has
from rotor-stator picked up heat from the magnet area
liners (Figure 1). This flow configuration can
find this exit point near the rotating
magnets in pumps that use a dis-
charge-to-discharge pressure circula-
tion with a pumping vane near the
rotating magnets. On pumps that use a
discharge-to-suction pressure configu-
ration to drive cooling circuit flow
(that is, where the cooling circuit inlet
flows past the containment shell at the
measurement point, before the tem-
perature rise takes place) temperature
Canned motor pump cooling circuit temperature measurement made
rise monitoring will not be as effective
at its hottest point.
(Figure 2). Canned motor pumps may
also have temperature monitoring
If the NEC panel would clarify can be more prone to sudden break- installed. More sensitive readings can
the application of the code to mag age and failure due to misoperation; be taken when the monitor point is
drive pumps with metallic contain- hence, these conditions must be located after the cooling fluid passes
ment shells, it would help pump identified and the pump automatical- between the rotor and stator liners
users considerably. Specifically, does ly shut down if encountered. (Figure 3). With the temperature probe
eddy current generation fall within Pump monitoring is a relatively in this location, dry run protection will
the code definition of an “electrical new concept for most operations not be as effective as what can be pro-
device”? And for electrical devices of people and not well understood. Yet vided by power monitoring.
which the “skin” temperature already these workers play a key role in The second temperature moni-
exceeds an applicable AIT by non- implementing monitoring methods. toring point is on the suction line or
electrical sources, does the NEC pre- Everyone involved should have supply vessel, providing suction tem-
vent its use? patience in finalizing the alarm and perature compensation and takes into
A National Electric Code change shutdown setpoints for successful account temperature changes from
can occur no sooner than 1999, when implementation of the methods day to night, and seasonal variations.
it’s scheduled for update. Until then, used. Nonetheless most users go This greatly eliminates false shut-
users will have to operate under the through several “false shutdowns” or downs and failures. Keep enough dis-
current code, taking precautions as even a pump failure before deter- tance between this point and the
they deem appropriate. mining the proper setpoints. pump to ensure that suction recircu-
lation will not conduct heat from the
SAVING MORE THAN THE PUMP measurement point during dead-
For a single method, tempera-
Although monitoring adds cost, ture rise monitoring offers the best head operation. Locating this point
users can take advantage of automat- overall protection against most pump upstream of a suction basket strainer
ic shutdowns for other abnormal con- failures, including dead-head/very may provide enough isolation to be
ditions (such as dry running) before low flow, dry run operation, and effective. If you go to the tank for this
the pump is destroyed and provide restricted cooling circuit flow in the temperature, keep in mind that the
better assurance that AITs are not magnet area. Moderate cavitation sun can warm up the suction line and
exceeded. Monitoring can also and gas entrainment in the pumpage pump unit much faster than it can
improve pump reliability in handling are also involved when they reach warm the tank during nonoperation.
heat sensitive materials. the point of upsetting the cooling cir- If this happens and you get an inac-
Monitoring is especially impor- cuit flow. curate measurement, you may shut
tant with silicon/tungsten carbide Two temperature points are down the pump on start-up when
bearings. (Most sealless pump manu- required to implement this monitor- there is nothing wrong.
facturers offer carbide bearings at ing. One is on the containment shell The temperature rise is deter-
least as an option.) Monitoring these of the pump. In all current designs, mined by the difference between the
bearings requires a different this point must be located between containment shell and suction tem-
approach than for carbon bearings in the magnet assembly and the contain- peratures (Figure 4). Pump suppliers
order to extend life. Carbide bearings ment shell flange limiting what tem- can provide an expected “normal”

The Pump Handbook Series 73

temperature rise. Typical alarm and trol computer, adding these monitoring FIGURE 4
shutdown points may be 10°C and devices can be relatively inexpensive.
20°C above this value. Field experi- The only other hardware required is
ence will be required to finalize these an output relay in the pump motor ALARM

setpoints for each application, since control circuit. Then the software is TDI

this is a relatively new concept for programmed to implement a low level

pump users. A good approach is to shutdown or a high flow/low flow
find a temperature rise that is suffi- shutdown for the pump. The low level
ciently far away from the normal method is effective against running the 1942
operating range (with its usual varia- tank dry but does not cover other 1942
tions), and that still results in liquid in common pump failures. 1942 PG
the containment shell, with a few Flow monitoring provides a little
degrees of boiling point margin left in better protection because it protects
the magnet area. Pump suppliers can against closed suction and discharge
help by supplying pump cooling cir- valves in addition to dry running. It
cuit pressure. Knowing the pressure, can also protect against excessive flow. Temperature rise is calculated
you can calculate the liquid boiling The narrower the range between the in a process control computer
point in the cooling circuit. The maxi- shutdown setpoints and normal opera- and compared to alarm and
mum cooling circuit temperature tion, the better the protection; howev- shut-down setpoints for appro-
needs to stay below this value. er, false shutdowns must be avoided. priate action.
Recent discussion about contain- Neither of these methods protects
ment shell temperature rises down- against mild cavitation, a plugged cool- amp draw can also be effective as
plays the effectiveness of containment ing circuit flow path, or worn inner long as the horsepower draw is near
shell temperature monitoring. Some bearings. In services where these the motor’s nameplate rating.
say the temperature measurement is other modes of failure are unlikely, Otherwise, the amp draw versus
not sensitive enough for the rapid rise this method can be quite effective. pump curve becomes flatter, and it’s
found in dry running. However, tem- more difficult to determine realistic
perature rise monitoring does not shutdown setpoints.
need a large change in containment In this case, motor power (kilo-
shell temperature to be effective. watt draw) is monitored, usually in CONCLUSIONS
Also, temperature rise monitor- the pump starter room. It has the Until the National Electric Code
ing does not protect against motor or advantage of not requiring any is either revised or clarified, users
outer magnet bearing failure. Periodic process connections to install, making will need to make their own determi-
vibration monitoring or additional it one of the easiest to incorporate into nations of the potential hazards of
bearing temperature monitoring are existing processes. This can eliminate pump operations and choose suitable
two proven ways to protect against corrosion/erosion concerns in slurry means of reducing the resulting
these types of failure. or acid service where exotic materials risks. Efforts are underway at several
Wear of the inner sleeve bear- of construction are required. It is easi- pump manufacturers to improve
ings may be detected by temperature er to establish shutdown setpoints if continuous pump monitoring. A
rise monitoring if there is enough the pump is operating in the range of more universally accepted method
wear to alter the cooling circuit flow 60% to 90% of its BEP. should result. ■
or the eddy current heat generation. As with any electronic device in
This will depend on the pump used an operating plant, it must not be Robert H. (Bob) Martelli is
since temperature rise is not always a affected by radio frequency interfer- Engineering Specialist in Facilities
direct result of bearing wear. ence (e.g., portable radios). Power Engineering, Dow Corning Corporation,
monitoring has the same advantages Midland, MI.
and disadvantages as flow monitoring
For processes where the supply in protecting against previously
tank level or pump flow are already described failures.
measured and sent into a process con- Current monitoring of the motor

74 The Pump Handbook Series


Pumping Hydrofluoric Acid

Consider proper metallurgies, compatible bearing materials, and hydraulic and
pump configurations when pumping this acid.


second variable is the percent con- either alloy, stress-corrosion cracking

ydrofluoric acid has touched
all of our lives because so centration. Table 1 and Figure 1 may be inevitable if water or oxygen
many industries use it in their define the most suitable metallurgies are present, and in that case, corro-
manufacturing processes. For for given applications. When chemi- sion and cracking would be wide-
example, a beryllium-shafted golf cal process industries use hydrofluo- spread and not localized.) Both of
club and a coffee mug with an etched ric acid, its nature is generally these metallurgies are excellent
design have been manufactured using aggressive. Consequently, worst case choices for handling hydrofluoric
hydrofluoric acid. It has also been scenarios have more significance in acid.
used as a catalyst in the manufacture decision-making choices.
of ozone-friendly refrigerants. Yet Temperature and concentration
hydrofluoric acid is a potentially dan- are not the only variables that impact Bearing material is every bit as
gerous chemical. Acid leaks can yield corrosion rates. Factors such as crucial to a pump’s mechanical stabil-
devastating effects, ranging from velocity, aeration and other contami- ity as its overall metallurgical compo-
toxic fume inhalation to severe chem- nates play equally important roles in sition because the bearings are
ical burns, injuring people and dam- metallurgical corrosion. exposed to the acid. This is particu-
aging equipment. Five metallurgies (Table 1 and larly important in canned motor tech-
Many plants pump hydrofluoric Figure 1) are suitable for any given nology because the pumping process
acid using traditional seal technology. condition. Silver, gold is responsible for the
Of course, mechanical seals can leak. and platinum are among cooling and lubrication
Because of the potential danger the metals most resis- of the bearings.
involved, hydrofluoric acid leaks are tant to hydrofluoric acid Temperature What is the proper
not tolerated. One way to reduce the corrosion. Two other and percent bearing material? What
threat of leakage is to use a sealless metallurgies are more will hold up under the
technology. Consider several key fac- affordable and provide concentration unforgiving corrosive-
tors when selecting a sealless pump excellent results, main- ness of hydrofluoric
for hydrofluoric acid applications, taining corrosion at less dictate what acid? The answer is
including proper metallurgies, com- than 20 mils per year
patible bearing materials, and (mpy) during adverse
metallurgies are 100% alpha grade sil-
icon carbide, which is a
hydraulic and pump configurations. conditions. One is 66Ni necessary under pressureless sintered sil-
32Cu (Monel 400), and icon carbide. Bearings
the other is 54Ni 15Cr made of this material
Proper pump metallurgy is criti- 16Mo (Hastelloy C-276®). can withstand high tem-
cal for pumping hydrofluoric acid. There are some pitfalls conditions. peratures and maintain
Two primary variables dictate what in the composition of dominating resistance to
metallurgies are necessary under 54Ni 15Cr 16Mo. This strong acids. Alpha
pump operating conditions. The first alloy is less resistant to corrosion grade has better resistance to wear
is temperature. Hydrofluoric acid is than 66Ni 32Cu, especially if oxygen and abrasion than the beta version of
similar to many other acids in that as is present; whereas 66Ni 32Cu is silicon carbide. However, both are
temperature increases, so does the generally corrosive resistant, even to pressureless sintered, or self-sin-
aggressive nature of the fluid. The temperatures up to 300°F. (With tered, silicon carbide products.

The Pump Handbook Series 75

speed, meaning poor oric acid is fairly poor. If adequate
FIGURE 1 NPSHA existed for most hydrofluoric
hydraulic efficiency.
Specific speed is a acid applications, the ability of the
dimensionless number that process to dissipate heat would not
250 121 relates the hydraulic perfor- be crucial. However, NPSHA is often
POINT mance of centrifugal lacking.
pumps to the shape and NPSHA is the net pressure of a
225 physical properties of its process fluid at the suction of a
impeller. The equation to pump. Having adequate NPSHA is
calculate specific speed is important when pumping hydrofluo-
200 93
shown in Figure 2. Where ric acid because of the volatility of
low flow and high head are the process. The graph in Figure 3

175 requirements, use a partial demonstrates the relationship of tem-
emission pump with an
6 open or closed radial vane TABLE 1. CODE FOR HYDROFLUORIC
150 66 impeller. A standard guide- ACID GRAPH
3 5
line for pumping a fluid as
Materials in shaded zone have repeated
volatile as hydrofluoric acid
is to keep the specific speed corrosion rate of <20 mpy
above 200. This ensures the Zone 1 Zone 4
100 38 pump will maintain a rea-
sonable hydraulic efficien- 20Cr 30Ni 70Cu 30Ni
cy (25% to 30%). 25Cr 20Ni Steel 66Ni 32Cu1
1 2 7 Specific speed can be 70Cu 30Ni1 54Ni 15Cr 16Mo
easily manipulated by 66Ni 32Cu1 Copper1
increasing, gallon by gallon, 54Ni 15Cr 16Mo Gold
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
the flow of a pump until Copper1 Lead1
the desired N s value is
Zone definition for common metallurgies Gold Platinum
achieved. Another way to
Lead1 Silver
impact specific speed
Do not use reaction-bound sili- includes increasing the rotative Nickel1
con carbides for hydrofluoric acid speed. This technique is sometimes Nickel Cast Iron Zone 5
processes. These forms of silicon car- difficult because many motors have Platinum 70Cu 30Ni1
bide contain free silicon or graphite fixed rotating speeds. To manipulate Silver 66Ni 32Cu1
because reaction-bound silicon car- speed, a variable frequency drive 54Ni 15Cr 16Mo
bides require silicon as a sintering must be used. A variable frequency Zone 2 Gold
aid. Free silicon is subject to the drive can increase the speed at which 20Cr 30Ni Lead1
attack of corrosive acids, resulting in a motor runs while maintaining a 70Cu 30Ni1 Platinum
bearing breakdown. In alpha and constant voltage. However, these 54Ni 15Cr 16Mo Silver
beta grades of silicon carbide, no sin- devices can be expensive. Regardless, 66Ni 32Cu1
tering aids are used, giving both the results are the same—increased Copper1 Zone 6
grades almost complete chemical hydraulic efficiency. Gold 66Ni 32Cu1
inertness. The bottom line is that Hydraulic efficiency is important Lead1 54Ni 15Cr 16Mo
there is little difference between the when pumping hydrofluoric acid
Nickel1 Gold
alpha and beta grades of silicon car- because it has a steep vapor pressure
Platinum Platinum
bide. Most of the difference lies with- curve. Unproductive energy, which is
a direct byproduct of inefficiency, is Silver Silver
in the processing of the final
products. Nonetheless, alpha grade lost in the form of heat. This added
heat must not be allowed to localize Zone 3 Zone 7
silicon carbide is the preferred mater- 20Cr 30Ni 66Ni 32Cu1
in the suction zone of the pump case.
ial for chemical processes that use 70Cu 30Ni 54Ni 15Cr 16Mo
If it does, and suction pressure is not
hydrofluoric acid. Both alpha or beta
great enough to suppress vaporiza- 54Ni 15Cr 16Mo Carbon Steel
grades of silicon carbide should
tion, the pump may fail. The ability 66Ni 32Cu1 Gold
exceed bearing expectations.
to carry the heat away is directly Copper1 Platinum
HYDRAULIC CONFIGURATIONS related to the specific heat of the Gold Silver
fluid. Specific heat is the ratio of a Lead1
For hydrofluoric acid applica- fluid’s thermal capacity to that of Platinum
tions, the same challenges arise again water at 15°C; in other words, a Silver
and again: low NPSHA, low flow and fluid’s ability to carry away energy in 1 = No air
high head. In centrifugal pumps, low the form of heat. Unfortunately, this
flow and high head yield low specific thermodynamic property of hydroflu-
76 The Pump Handbook Series
17 PSIA – 36 PSIA =
19 PSIA In this example adequate
FIGURE 2 NPSHA is not being supplied. If this
75°F – 115°F 40°F
Example A = 0.475 PSIA/°F data is plotted on a vapor pressure
1 1 versus temperature curve, the end
Ns = NQ ⁄2
( Ns = 3550 (15 ⁄2)
2. Solve for the maximum allow-
H 3⁄4 900 3⁄4 able temperature rise that can result is obvious—the HF is vapor
Ns = 83.7 occur before the HF flashes. (Figure 5).
To calculate how much NPSHA
(NPSHA – NPSHR) sp gr = PSI
Ns = Specific speed is necessary to keep the HF from
2.31 0.475 PSI per °F vaporizing:
N = Revolutions per minute
= maximum allowable temperature rise °F 1. Total hydraulic temperature rise
Q = Capacity, at best efficiency, in gpm
(Actual) = 7.37°F
H = Total head developed by maximum
(7 – 6) 0.92 = 0.39 PSI
diameter impeller at best efficiency, in feet 2. Convert 7.37°F to PSIA using
2.31 0.475 PSI per °F calculated vapor pressure curve
Equation to calculate specific speed
slope and consider allowable
= 0.83°F allowable
temperature rise (0.83°F)
temperature rise °F
perature to pressure. As the tempera- 7.37°F – 0.83°F (Allowable
ture rises, the required pressure to 3. Calculate hydraulic temperature Temperature Rise) = 6.54°F
maintain the acid in a liquid phase rise due to inefficiencies. 6.54°F x 0.475 = 3.1 PSI
increases, and the vapor pressure Convert 3.1 PSIA to feet
curve becomes dramatically steeper H (1 – n) = Temperature Rise
2.31 x 3.1 PSIA
at higher temperatures. Any point left 778 x n x Cp = 7.78 feet
sp gr (0.92)
of the curve means the process is liq-
uid; conversely, any point right of the Where
3. Thus, 7.78 feet in addition to cur-
curve means the process is vapor. If n = hydraulic efficiency
rent NPSHA must be provided.
hydrofluoric acid is being pumped at Cp = Specific heat
100°F, the NPSH must be equal to or Current = 7 feet+7.78 feet Newly Calculated
greater than 27 psi. If not, the process (Actual) = 14.78 feet Total NPSHR
will flash, resulting in a heavily cavi- 790 (1 – 0.15) = 7.37°F These calculations are conserva-
tated or dry running pump. 778 x 0.15 x 0.78 tive because they assume that the
To ensure adequate NPSHA, the total temperature rise will take place
heat input from the pump must be Conclusion: at the suction of the pump. This
considered. Hydraulic temperature rise Slope of curve = 0.475 PSIA/°F tends to be valid at minimum flows,
can be calculated. The equation Max allowable temperature rise but is conservative at design flow.
(Figure 4) considers three variables: allowed = 0.83°F These examples do not encompass
hydraulic efficiency, head, and the spe- Total hydraulic temperature every possible scenario that could be
cific heat value of a process. By using rise = 7.37°F experienced, but they are effective
this equation and considering the
vapor pressure versus temperature rise FIGURE 3
curve, you can predict if adequate
NPSHA is provided. The following is 140
an example.
Fluid Pumped = HF acid 80
Head (H) = 790 feet 60
Flow (Q) = 20 gpm AFTER
NPSHA = 7 feet, Mechanical NPSHR 40 HYDRAULIC
= 6 feet 20 RISE
Temperature (P) = 95°F 0
Vapor Pressure (P.T. PSIA) = 25 -50 0 50 100 150 200 250
Specific Heat (BTU/lb°F) = 0.78 DEGREES F
Pump Hydraulic Efficiency (n) = 15%
Specific Gravity (sp gr) = 0.92 PSI
1. Solve for the slope of the vapor Series 1
pressure curve. Pick one temper-
ature/PSIA point below the
design temperature and another Graph demonstrating the relationship of temperature to pressure
20°F above the operating point. for hydrofluoric acid
Convert data into PSIA per °F.

The Pump Handbook Series 77

guidelines in the determination of sure in the motor to keep the acid liq- FIGURE 4
adequate NPSHA. In addition to uid. These configurations are often H (1-n)
these calculations, always multiply referred to as pressurized or reverse = Hydraulic temperature rise due to
778nCp inefficiencies of pump performance
your final calculated NPSHR by a 1.3 circulation designs.
safety factor to ensure a successful Magnetically coupled pumps are H = Rated head in feet at design flow
pump application. Clearly, increasing also ideally suited to the handling of n = Rated efficiency at design point
NPSHA can be an expensive proposi- hydrofluoric acids. Mag-drive pumps Cp = Specific heat of a process fluid
tion. However, it may be lower in with metallic containment shrouds defined as BTU/lb°F
cost than reinvesting money into a (sometimes called cans) also produce Equation for hydraulic temperature
problem pump caused by borderline eddy current losses that transmit heat rise
NPSHA versus NPSHR margins. to the pumpage. Some manufacturers
NPSHA, flow and head play equally offer different internal circulation
important roles when selecting a paths, including rear-mounted increase. These devices signal a possi-
pump configuration. impellers to compensate for pressure ble problem and allow for review of
drop and temperature rise. the pump and system before extreme
PUMP CONFIGURATIONS damage occurs. However, they are
Several mag-drives are available
Several effective pump configu- with nonmetallic shrouds. In these no not independent of process tempera-
rations exist for handling hydrofluoric heat is produced due to eddy current ture fluctuations and may be effective
acid. Before selecting a configuration, losses, which increases overall pump only in constant temperature applica-
accurately evaluate the NPSHA ver- efficiency and decreases motor tions. Bearing monitors are also
sus NPSHR, flow, head, efficiencies, requirements in most cases. Shroud important because they can detect
and temperature rise. materials include ceramics, silicon problems, such as fracturing with sili-
Canned motor pumps offer two carbide, PEEK and reinforced fluoro- con carbide bearing systems. Some of
designs that are extremely effective plastics. Remember, factors such as the most effective bearing wear mon-
for pumping hydrofluoric acid. These inlet temperature, NPSH, contami- itors detect axial and radial wear.
designs can pressurize the fluid in the nates and system requirements must These monitors are important in
motor to increase vapor pressure be taken into account with either scheduling proactive maintenance
margins or to reverse the motor flow canned motor or magnetically cou- versus reactive maintenance, which
(internal circulation) direction, rout- pled pumps. is critical when unscheduled down-
ing the heated process to the suction Regardless of the pump style, time can mean lost revenue.
tank rather than the pump. These several auxiliary items can smooth If pump metallurgies, bearing
design capabilities are important due the path toward safe and effective materials, and hydraulic and pump
to the temperature gained from vis- operation. If low NPSHA is a factor, configurations are approached prop-
cous drag, eddy current losses, and an inducer can lower a pump’s erly, pumping hydrofluoric acid can
motor inefficiencies. Although differ- NPSHR. This can sometimes alleviate become as routine as brushing your
ent, they fundamentally achieve the costly system cha-nges. Over and teeth. ■
same end result, keeping the process under current measuring relays effec-
from flashing in the motor. The basic tively protect against dry running. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
premise of both designs is to increase These simple devices enable the Table 1 and Figure 1 are © 1993
the pressure in the motor so that, pump operator to set a minimum by Nace International. All rights
even though the process temperature amperage draw based on the specific reserved by Nace. Reprinted by per-
is rising, there is still adequate pres- functional curve amperage draw. If mission.
the current drops
below the set point, John V. Heronema has been with
the pump will auto- Sundstrand Fluid Handling for six years.
140 matically shut He has held positions in manufacturing
120 down. and quality engineering, and is currently
100 Thermowells a Product Engineer with Sundyne
LESS HEAT INPUT FROM PUMP and temperature Canned Motor Pumps, Arvada, CO.
60 switches are also
effective in detect-
ing overheating of
0 the process within
-50 0 50 100 150 200 250 the pump. Often
DEGREES F when pumps or
PSI systems are experi-
Series 1
encing distur-
bances, process
Vapor pressure versus temperature curve

78 The Pump Handbook Series


User Perspective: When to

Apply Mag Drive Pumps
Making the move for the right reasons.


agnetic drive centrifugal ment or secondary control is speci- DON’T INSTALL MAG DRIVES TO
pumps offer an advantage fied for your application. OVERCOME SYSTEM PROBLEMS
over normal single mechani- Magnetic drive pumps should
cal seal centrifugal pumps not be installed to solve a mainte-
by preventing fugitive emissions from Magnetic drive pumps are often
the only alternative to meet govern- nance problem, such as a trouble-
leaking to the atmosphere. Given some mechanical seal, without first
proper application and operating pro- ment hazardous materials and safety
regulations, such as OSHA 1910, determining the real reason for the
cedures, these pumps can perform for problem. Once the problem has been
years without failure. Rather than requiring stringent levels of contain-
ment or control. In addition, many identified, insure that installation of
discuss the design of these pumps - a mag drive pumps will not create a
subject that has already been thor- companies now have policies, odor-
free imperatives for example, requir- ripple effect. Typical pump and sys-
oughly addressed in articles, papers tem problems to watch for are:
and presentations - let’s review the ing strict control of emissions.
However, for some zero emissions • cavitation
justification for installing mag drives
and provide installation keys to insure applications tandem seal pumps offer • operating too far from best effi-
reliability of the investment. a viable alternative to mag drives and ciency point (BEP)
life cycle cost must be considered in
KNOW SECONDARY CONTAINMENT OR the selection criteria. Table 1 shows • Net positive suction head avail-
CONTROL REQUIREMENTS calculations of life cycle costs of tan- able (NPSHA) too low
Secondary containment and sec- dem seal versus mag drive pumps for • slurries
ondary control are important terms to two specified applications. In the first
understand when selecting your mag example, the mag drive pump has a • pump operating without liquid
drive pump. Secondary contain- significantly lower initial cost and in the unit
ment insures the fluid will be con- operating costs only slightly higher
tained if the primary can fails. Some than the tandem seal. In this applica- COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR VENDOR
mag drive suppliers accomplish con- tion, because mag drives offer more A user of magnetic drive pumps
tainment by installing a secondary reliable containment most users should also be aware of potential
can around the primary unit. If the would select the mag drive. In the problems and communicate with
primary can develops a leak sec- second example, however, the mag the vendor to insure they are avoid-
ondary control insures the leakage drive proves to be more costly in ed. For example, the drive motor
will be controlled to a defined terms of both investment and operat- should always be sized smaller than
amount, but not contained. In select- ing cost, and use of the mag drive the magnets to prevent decoupling if
ing a mag drive pump be sure to can not be justified in terms of cost the impeller is overpowered.
know whether secondary contain- alone. Decoupling of the magnets will cre-

The Pump Handbook Series 79

ate excessive heat build-up in the
fluid. Decoupling may also result
in a locked rotor due to failure of
the pump bearings and can. In
Based on one year1 operation
addition, because magnetic drive
pumps are often used to pump
low – less than 1.0 – specific grav- Application One: 400 gpm; 120 ft head
ity fluids and are generally sized
for such applications, an operator Pump Type Tandem Seal Magnetic Drive
should be aware that employing
the pump for water or higher spe- Initial Cost $13800 $113502
cific gravity applications may Basic hp Required 17.5 20.4
overpower the motor or magnets. Seal hp Required 1.5 NA
Failure to communicate fluid Total hp Required 19 20.4
properties may lead to additional kW•h 129400 138900
problems. A vendor will need to
Power Cost $6470 $69453
know more than fluid viscosity
Product Loss $300 $04
and specific gravity to size your
magnetic drive pump. Users Maintenance Cost $600 $6005
should also specify vapor pressure Total operating cost
vs. temperature data and specific per year $7370 $75456
heat, as well as size and percent-
age of solids for the fluid being Application Two: 100 gpm; 240 ft head
USE PROTECTIVE Initial Cost $7000 $80002
INSTRUMENTATION TO Basic hp Required 11.4 14
Seal hp Required 1.5 NA
To insure the reliability of Total hp Required 12.9 14
mag drive pumps, protective
kW•h 84426 95320
instrumentation is recommended.
Listed below are some typical Power Cost $4220 $47763
instrumentation available and their Product Loss $300 $04
features. Maintenance Cost $600 $6005
Total Operating Cost
• Power meter – monitors per year $5120 $53766
power to the motor driving
the mag drive pump. The
meter can be used to prevent
1 Table data based on operation 350 days per year, 24 hours per day.
dry and dead headed opera-
2 Material of construction is 316 stainless steel.
3 Electric power calculated at $50 per 1000 kW. Electric motor efficiency of 92%
tion. The power meter is prob-
ably the best choice if you are assumed in calculation of kW usage.
limited to the selection of one 4 Product loss calculated at $50 per pound.

type of monitoring instrumen- 5 Maintenance costs assumed a failure once every three years. The failure modes are

tation. assumed to be seal failure for the tandem seal and bearing failure for the mag drive.
6 Figures do not include initial cost.
• Can thermocouple – mounted
on the can, it senses dry run-
ning and bearing problems. Life cycle cost calculations for Tandem Seal Vs. Magnetic Drive Pumps
• Bearing wear detector – is
used to sense the position of
the shaft or rotor. It can provide CONCLUSION Maurice G. Jackson is a
an indication of the condition of Engineering Associate in the Engineering
Recent developments in magnet-
the pump’s bearings. Construction Division of Tennessee
ic drive pumps, harboring many
• Level detector – is placed in the functional and maintenance advan- Eastman Division of Eastman Chemical
suction or discharge piping to tages for pump users, are testimony Company, Kingsport, Tennessee. He has
insure liquid flow to the pump. to an exciting future for magnetic 25 years of experience in pump opera-
drive centrifugal pumps. ■ tion, maintenance and engineering.

80 The Pump Handbook Series


Interpreting Sealless Pump Failures

The causes of part failures result in shuttling of the rotating ele- dry is possible due to the desired
in sealless centrifugals may ment, making it bang against thrust method of operation, install a
determine system and surfaces, and this can lead to rupture recirculation line around the
operational problems. of the containment shell or liner. pump to insure that fluid will
Repipe the system to reduce suction always be running through it.
ealless pump failures can piping friction losses. Removing
Cause - low fluid vapor pressure

S highlight system or opera- unnecessary valving or changing the

pump elevation will solve the prob- Pumping fluids at tempera-
tional problems once taken tures close to their vapor pressure
for granted or blamed on lem.
can create problems. In a sealless
mechanical seals. Once a pump Cause - water hammer pump, fluids close to vapor pres-
has failed, it should be taken apart With sealless pumps, water sure can flash as the fluid, in pass-
to identify the broken part or hammer can manifest itself by caus- ing, picks up heat from the
problem area. Frequently, a bro- ing failure of the thrust surfaces as containment shell or bearings.
ken part can indicate the cause of the rotating element is slammed This additional temperature rise
failure. By establishing and reme- against them. To solve the problem, brings liquids closer to their vapor
dying the origin of the failure, review valve operating sequences pressure, and only a small amount
pump service life can be extended and piping arrangements. Slow down of additional heat from the bear-
and future failures minimized. valve closing speeds or change valve ings may increase the liquid tem-
The following describes part types to reduce water hammer. perature above the vapor pressure
failures and their causes that indi- limits, causing the liquid to flash
cate system and operational prob- INTERNAL SLEEVE BEARING FAILURE and preventing it from cooling the
lems. Cause - operating the pump dry bearings. Bearing failure in a seal-
DAMAGED THRUST SURFACES Sealless pumps require fluid to less pump requires prompt atten-
(FRONT OR REAR) cool the bearings. Lack of fluid passing tion to minimize the cost of the
through the bearings causes thermal repair and prevent external leak-
Cause - operation below the age of the fluid.
acceptable minimum flow rate expansion of the bearing or journal,
depending on the particular design. If the fluid is close to the
Many pump users think of This expansion constricts passages, vapor pressure before it enters the
minimum flow relative to temper- increasing friction and heat, and there- pump, or if it has characteristics
ature rise and bearing wear prob- by causing the pump rotating element that suggest that a small tempera-
lems. However, extreme low-flow to lock up and cease operating. ture change will produce a large
operation in a centrifugal pump Alternatively, if the dry running opera- change in the vapor pressure, ask
can also create hydraulic imbal- tion is short, the bearings may heat up your sealless pump manufacturer
ance of the impeller, generating enough to fracture due to thermal to predict the expected tempera-
thrusting and vibration. Because shock when fresh fluid is introduced. ture rise in order to verify that
sealless pumps do not have the The first solution is to avoid run- flashing will not occur in the bear-
shaft overhang typical of sealed ning sealless pumps dry. If running ings. To prevent flashing, some
pumps, an imbalance can cause pump designs incorporate sec-
extreme axial shuttling of the
rotating assembly which may
break thrust surfaces.
When a pump’s desired oper-
ating point is at a very low flow
rate, check with the pump manu-
facturer for the minimum rate. If
the desired flow rate is below the
recommended minimum, add a
recirculation loop to increase
throughput and prevent hydraulic
Cause - insufficient net positive
suction head (NPSH) available
A sealless pump may require
more NPSH to insure that the
hydraulic balance is maintained
and the bearing system contains
enough fluid. NPSH problems can
Magnetic Drive Pump

The Pump Handbook Series 81

ondary pumping devices to the containment shell. In this case, wear on balancing surfaces and
increase pressure as fluid moves the containment shell will show signs reduce the effectiveness of the
into the bearings. Other designs of expansion or distortion from the hydraulic thrust control. If only
offer secondary cooling to solve inside out. Repipe the system to the failed part is replaced, the next
the problem. reduce suction piping friction loss. failure may then result from lack
Removing unnecessary valving or of hydraulic thrust control. When
CONTAINMENT SHELL FAILURE changing the pump elevation will in doubt, always replace a
solve the problem. hydraulic thrust surface part that
Cause – drive magnet contact- is worn.
ing the outer surface Cause – pump hydrotest pressure
was above design limits SUMMARY
When the antifriction bear-
ings supporting the drive magnet Caution should be used when The best solution to pump
in a magnetic drive pump fail, the hydrotesting assembled pumps that failures is always prevention.
magnet may contact and rupture have nonmetallic containment shells. Pump products should be proper-
the containment shell. Such con- Shells using a fiber fill for strength ly applied at all times. Don’t hesi-
tact is indicated by grooves and may not rupture the first time they tate to contact the manufacturer
rub marks on the external surface are exposed to pressure, but the or his representative to ask for
of the containment shell. If the fibers inside the material may be bro- help, and be sure to describe the
pump design has safety rub rings ken. If so, the next time pressure hits application, installation and oper-
installed, check clearances to them, the shells may burst due to ating conditions for the pump
insure they are correct. Replace ineffective fiber reinforcement. thoroughly. Also, save all parts.
the rings when repairing the Review instruction manuals and An examination of them may pro-
antifriction bearings. technical data and do not hydrotest vide invaluable clues to the origins
nonmetallic shells above recom- of pump failure, offering keys to
Cause – internal pressure high- mended pressures. overcoming systems or opera-
er than containment shell tional defects. ■
design limits Note - Hydraulic thrust balance
Water hammer can burst the Magnetic drive pumps and ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
containment shell. The sudden canned motor pumps frequently Charles A. Myers, Director of
increase in pressure can drive have specific clearances that Sales and Marketing at IWAKI
rotating elements against thrust hydraulically control the amount of WALCHEM Corporation, Holliston,
surfaces and put increased shock thrust which the rotating elements MA., has been working with sealless
into the containment shell. experience. When thrust surfaces or
pumps for 14 years. He is active on
Alternatively, the increased pres- bearings fail, the subsequent internal
sure alone can distort and burst rubbing that takes place can increase ANSI and API sealless pump’s stan-
dards committees.

Rotor Assembly
Stator Liner

Rear Thrust Process Lubricated

Stator (Motor Windings) Sleeve Bearing

Process Lubricated
Sleeve Bearing Forward Thrust

Canned Motor Pump

82 The Pump Handbook Series


Magnetic Couplings for

Sealless Pumps
Elimination of seals ends leakage concerns.


BACKGROUND along with any potential leakage. way. The maximum attractive force
Electric-motor-driven pumps This can be done by totally enclosing between the poles occurs when the
have been around for about 75 years, the impeller/pump assembly and iso- poles are aligned in opposite polari-
and so has the nagging problem of lating it from the prime mover. ty. Maximum repulsive force occurs
the shaft packing or seal. Because The question is, how do you when the same polarity is aligned.
water was the common fluid drive the pump with no direct con- In both instances, the transverse
pumped, it rarely became a danger- nection to a prime mover (motor)? force (torque) is at a null (zero). The
ous problem. However, as the chemi- latter position is the least stable. The
A SOLUTION maximum transverse force (torque)
cal industry developed, leakage
became a major concern, and better Fortunately, we have a natural occurs between the two positions
seals were needed and developed. force, magnetism, that can be used to where the normal force is zero.
Industries are now under scruti- our benefit. As children, we experi- Stable positions occur only once per
ny for hazardous emissions of all enced the magnetic force of two mag- pole pair, so in the case of a 10-pole
types, and must comply with clean nets operating through a table top or coupling, there would be five stable
air and water regulations dictated by pane of glass. One magnet would fol- positions.
Congress and implemented by the low the other until the gap between The proper application of a per-
EPA, OSHA, and other government them became too large and reduced manent magnet coupling requires
agencies. the force. That basic idea is used in knowledge of the maximum torque
Currently, any leakage of liquid synchronous magnetic couplings. produced by the motor. This is typi-
or gas is a problem and must be min- There are two basic styles of cally twice the amount produced at
imized or eliminated. The state of the magnetic couplings in use. Figure 1 the rated horsepower.
art for mechanical seals is in the shows a face-face coupling and
Figure 2 illustrates a co-axial design. Running torque =
range of 500 ppm leakage, with some (Rated Horsepower x 5,250) /rpm (ft-lbs)
releasing as little as 100 ppm. By Magnetic couplings can be made
using secondary seals with drainage to develop almost unlimited forces, In the case of a 5 Hp motor at
and control instrumentation, levels based on choice of material and scale. 1,800 rpm with no load, the running
closer to zero can be accomplished at Coupling designs for hundreds of foot- speed with about 3% slip is 1,750
increased cost to the user. pounds of torque are available. rpm and running torque is:
One of the most fascinating
THE BASIC PROBLEM aspects of permanent magnet cou- (5 Hp x 5,250) /1,750 = 15 ft-lbs.
If we can accept that contacting plings is that although they exhibit However, the motor will develop
surfaces with relative motion powerful forces of attraction and about 30 ft-lbs peak torque during
between them will eventually wear, repulsion, they require no outside line start, and a magnetic coupling
then we can conclude that in the case sources of power. If properly used, must have a peak torque rating at
of mechanical pump seals, leakage they last indefinitely. least that high to prevent loss of cou-
will ultimately occur. So it is desir- pling. Figure 3 displays the relation-
able to do away with any shaft seal. ship of peak to running torque. The
By not penetrating the pump housing In any synchronous coupling,
torque is developed in the same amount of safety factor for the appli-
with a shaft, the seal is eliminated,

The Pump Handbook Series 83

The uncoupling phenomenon
limits torque and is very useful. In
pumps, it might protect the impeller
from damage or detect unacceptable
thermal conditions. Obviously, a cou-
INPUT SHAFT pling can be made to exceed the
torque of the motor, as in a mechani-
cal coupling, and use motor thermal
STEEL or electrical overload protection to
shut down the system.
Most pumps are designed with a
coupling that will not slip or uncou-
ple within rated performance and
proper motor application.
In the unique case where the
peak coupling torque is exceeded,
slippage or uncoupling results. The
impeller then stops, and no fluid is
pumped. The seriousness of this sit-
uation will depend on the applica-
tion and coupling design. The
system should detect lack of flow
and shut down the pump before any
STEEL major damage occurs. A low-level
audible warning may be heard from
the coupling.
Inertia of the system will not
allow “pick up” of the impeller mag-
net until the motor is stopped. Before
restarting the pump, the cause of the
uncouple should be determined.
A face-face magnetic coupling Running uncoupled for long
periods should be avoided. Because
the impeller is not rotating and no
cation will determine the exact design forces. Inadequate bearings will fluid is being pumped, no fluid is
point on the curve. Slow start condi- allow air gap variations that cause being circulated through the con-
tions can reduce the amount of peak mechanical noise and can be self tainment can and no cooling of the
torque required in the coupling and destructive. For this reason, the coupling occurs.
provide overload protection for face–face coupling is generally When one magnet element is
impellers in case of a mechanical jam. restricted to special applications. rotating past the other, a significant
In a coaxial coupling the radial The torque of face–face cou- amount of energy is converted to
forces are balanced if all of the mag- plings is limited by the allowable heat, and because the inner unit usu-
net segments are of equal strength. maximum diameter of the assembly. ally has a poor thermal escape path,
Concentricity of the inner and outer A coaxial coupling can be made it will get hot. If the temperature
assemblies is also required for equal longer for increased torque once a rises past the design point, demagne-
air gap distance. These factors devel- maximum diameter is reached. The tization can occur. This is either tem-
op “magnetic balance,” which is as torque is essentially linear with axial porary (recovered when the coupling
significant as physical balance in length. This benefit makes the coaxi- cools down) or permanent (recovered
reducing noise and bearing wear. al design the one of choice for most only by remagnetizing).
Face–face couplings develop sig- applications. If a coupling has a nonmetallic
nificant axial forces. When in the barrier such as ceramic or plastic,
aligned, attractive mode, the force is
STIFFNESS there will be no additional uncou-
at a maximum. At peak torque, the If rapidly fluctuating loads cause pling effect.
axial force approaches zero. If slip- mechanical resonance with the Metallic barriers of stainless
page occurs, it goes through a maxi- pump couplings, changing the num- steel, Hastelloy, etc., will heat up
mum in the opposite direction. This ber of poles will modify the stiffness. rapidly due to eddy currents and,
coupling design requires proper bi- Relationships of pole spacing to gap depending on the fluid contained,
directional thrust bearings on each length must be taken into account to could represent a dangerous condi-
member to handle the variable maintain design efficiency. tion. If the additional heat raises the

84 The Pump Handbook Series

metallic to reduce eddy current heat-
FIGURE 2 ing and associated power losses.
There are many barrier designs,
the most common being plastic shells
(Flange seal
for small pumps and stainless steel
to pump)
for large pumps, with pressure
requirements up to thousands of
pounds per square inch. Chemicals
being pumped dictate the choice of
Follower material, and frequently the shell is
made of the same material as the
pump housing.
Ceramic shells, coated metal,
and laminated metal are used for
Pump special cases.
Shaft In the case of solid metallic barri-
ers, eddy current heating is devel-
oped. This is torque transfer loss and
can amount to 5–10% of the input
Driver power. Generally ignored in small
systems, it may be significant with
motors over 100 Hp. Most cooling
A co-axial magnetic coupling can be through the fluid if a generous
flow within the barrier is established.
Additional heat dissipation through
temperature of the magnets, a further allowed in canned motors. This is a the pump housing is possible if the
reduction of force by demagnetiza- major benefit when handling high barrier shell has a metal–metal con-
tion is possible. Either of these cases viscosity fluids or when suspended tact to the housing. Eddy current
could affect restart and necessitate a particles are in the fluid. Magnetic heating can be reduced by lowering
“cool down” before restart. This particles are to be avoided because the speed of the motor, as losses are
might not be a concern, because they may collect between the magnet proportional to speed.
some time should be spent identify- and barrier. Air gap clearance on Because the containment barrier
ing the cause of the high torque either side of the barrier should be as becomes a pressure vessel, fabrication
requirement. small as possible, but their size techniques are important. Designs are
depends on allowable bearing wear. guided by ASME standard and manu-
CONTAINMENT BARRIERS If either rotating magnet assembly is facturing processes dictated by quanti-
The containment barrier is a key allowed to contact the barrier, the ty. Small- to medium-size barriers are
element to sealless pump success. It pressure vessel may be compromised usually machined from solid bar stock
provides the primary fluid contain- and failure can occur. Mechanical in small quantities. Spun, hydro-
ment and the “window” to couple “rub rings” or proximity detectors can formed, or deep-drawn shells may be
torque in the system. Like other ele- be used to indicate bearing failure. more economical in large quantities.
ments in the system, it usually is con- It is usually not practical to make Welded units, which are feasible in all
nected to the pump with a flange and the coupling barrier shell an integral sizes, require close process control to
an O-ring seal. part of the pump housing. This shell avoid stress corrosion problems.
The containment barrier is also a should have the thinnest wall possi- Pressure testing may be part of part
critical part of any permanent magnet ble that satisfies the design pressure certification.
coupling design. Its magnetic and requirements. The material must be
electrical characteristics affect the nonmagnetic and preferably non-
heating and power losses of the sys-
tem. The wall thickness and associat- TABLE 1- BARRIER MATERIAL COMPARISON
ed mechanical gaps determine the
magnetic air gap and the amount of
magnetic material required for a given Material Wall Pressure Chemical Eddy Current Relative
Thickness Capability Resistance Heating Cost
torque, and therefore significantly
Plastic Medium Medium High No Low
impacts the cost of the coupling.
Table 1 displays some of the Ceramic Thick Low/Medium Medium No High
common barrier materials, along with Stainless Steel Thin High High Yes Medium
their benefits and related costs. Hastelloy Thin High High Yes High
Permanent magnet couplings can Titanium Thin High High Yes High
easily handle larger air gaps than

The Pump Handbook Series 85

COUPLING DESIGN techniques are critical to long-term INDUSTRY STANDARDS
In concentric couplings, the dri- life, and leak or pressure testing is Permanent magnet couplings are
ving element connected to the motor advised. an integral part of a pump. Due pri-
is usually the outer magnet assembly. Bathed in the process fluid, the marily to the need for critical align-
This part of the magnetic elements follower assembly may be affected by ment, they are sold as a unit with the
has the highest mass and inertia. It temperature extremes. For tempera- motor. Pumps are manufactured to
can be made of magnetic iron and tures over 100°C, efficiencies meet industry standards such as
painted, plated, or coated as neces- decrease and designs become more those published by ANSI, API, and
sary. It is usually not subjected to material specific. the Hydraulic Institute. These organi-
high corrosion environments and Factors affecting design are: zations have recently included stan-
does not require special sheathing. • magnetic gap length (barrier + dards for magnetic couplings.
Salient magnet poles have gaps clearances) Standards are based on voluntary
between them. These may be filled compliance and in most cases insure
with epoxy or other potting com- • peak torque required interchangeability of parts among
pounds to improve cleaning and min- • space available for coupling manufacturers. To meet customer
imize magnet damage during needs for quality in specific applica-
assembly. • form factor desired for comple- tions, pump manufacturers have their
The inner magnet assembly is ment to pump (diameter x length) own rigorous standards.
the “follower.” Because it is in the • stiffness required Permanent magnet materials are
process fluid, special care must be also produced to industry standards
• fluid and corrosion concern
taken to prevent corrosion or contam- that allow sizeable variation in mag-
ination of the pumpage. This assem- • maximum operating temperature netic properties within material
bly typically has rare earth magnets grades. Critical applications require
• running speed
mounted on an iron ring. If these greater control of properties and/or
selection of parts for uniformity.
Because there is no mechanical
Torque vs. Angle of Rotation wear in a magnetic coupling, there
should be no need for maintenance.
Coupling Max. However, bearings do wear, and
Motor Max. occasionally a pump will require dis-
assembly or a motor will need to be
replaced. The manufacturer will
Running/Operating have recommendations for handling
Torque this operation. Disassembly of the
magnetic coupling should be done

only by trained personnel using the

proper fixtures.
Permanent magnet couplings
contain some of the most powerful
magnet materials ever made, and
they are always energized. In sys-
tems of 5 Hp and over, the forces
are greater than a person can control
by hands alone. Large pump cou-
plings have axial forces in the hun-
Angle of Displacement dreds of pounds. Fixtures or
mechanical means to guide the parts
and prevent damage to the contain-
The relationship of peak to running torque ment barrier are required during dis-
assembly and re-assembly. Training
is also required to avoid personal
parts will be corroded by the fluid, • shaft sizes injury. Magnets can be very unfor-
they are sheathed or coated with giving of mistakes. ■
• barrier material and allowable
appropriate materials. Frequently, a eddy current heating
stainless hub is used with a stainless Ronald P. Smith is Manager of
sheath welded to it, totally encapsu- Engineering for the Magnetic Materials
lating the magnet assembly. Welding Division of Dexter Corporation.

86 The Pump Handbook Series


Suction Side Problems -

Gas Entrainment

ultiple symptoms associated GAS BOUND IMPELLERS A pump in this gas bound state,

M with noncondensable suc-

tion side gas entrainment,
such as loss of pump head,
noisy operation, and erratic perfor-
mance, often mislead the pump opera-
As a process stream containing
entrained gas nears the impeller, the
liquid pre-rotating from the impeller
tends to centrifuge the gas from the
process stream. Gas not passing into
will not re-prime itself, and the gas,
with some portion of the liquid, must
be vented for a restart against a dis-
charge head. The effort to restart a
gas bound impeller depends on
tor. As a result, entrained gas is the impeller accumu-
generally diagnosed by eliminating lates near the impeller
other possible sources of performance eye. As entrained gas FIGURE 1. ENCLOSED IMPELLER-ENTRAINED
problems. To adequately control gas flow continues to in- GAS HANDLING PERFORMANCE
entrainment a user should first be crease, the accumulat-
aware of systems most likely to pro- The LaBour Company, Inc. Effect on head and capacity of
ing groups of bubbles varying quantities of air with water being pumped.
duce gas, and then employ methods
are pulled through the
or designs to eliminate entrainment
impeller into the dis-
into these pumping systems. 160
charge vane area where
The audible pump noise from flow performance. The 140 2%
noncondensable entrained gas will bubble choking effect at
produce a crackling similar to cavita- the impeller eye pro-
120 5%
tion or impeller recirculation. duces a further reduc-
However, cavitation is produced by a tion of Net Positive 8%
Head in Feet

vapor phase of the liquid which is Suction Head Available 100

condensable, while noncondensable (NPSHA). At this stage
entrained gas must enter and exit the long term damage to the 80 10%
pump with the liquid stream. pump from handling
To test for gas entrainment over entrained gases is gener- 12%
mild cavitation, run the pump back ally negligible when 60 15%
upon the curve by slowly closing the compared with the
discharge valve. The noise will dimin- damage due to cavita- 50
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
ish if it originated from cavitation and tion. If the process
the pump is not prone to suction recir- stream gas volume Capacity in U.S. Gallons per Minute
culation. In contrast, with entrained increases, however, fur-
Size: no. 55; Type: SQ. Speed: 1750
gas, continued performance at this ther bubble build-up Impeller Diameter: 11”
portion of the curve will choke off or will occur, blocking off
gas-bind the pump, causing unusually the impeller eye and Air quantities given are in terms of free air at atmospheric
quiet operation or low flow. stopping flow (Ref. 1). pressure referred to % of total volume of fluid being handled.

The Pump Handbook Series 87

discusses open impeller pump modi-
Gould’s Pumps, Inc. Approximate Characteristic Curves of Centrifugal Pump SYSTEMS PRODUCING
The most common conditions or
mechanisms for introducing gas into
300 the suction line are:
1. Vortexing
Head in Feet

2. Previously flashed process

0% liquid conveying flashed gas
2% into the suction piping.
Brake Horse Power (Bhp)

200 80 4% 3. Injection of gas, which does not

Efficiency %

70 0% go into solution, into the
2% pumpage.
150 60 4%
6% 4. Vacuum systems, valves, seals,
250 50 0% flanges, or other equipment in a
Bhp@ sp gr=1.0
200 6% suction lift application allowing
air to leak into the pumpage
5. Gas evolution from an incom-
plete or gas producing chemical
0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 If a particular application pro-
Gallons per Minute duces entrained gas or has the poten-
Size: 6x8-18 Speed: 1780 rpm Impeller Diameter: 17 1/4” tial to do so, the best solution is to
eliminate as much entrainment as
impeller position, type and valving head loss at 5% gas volume, the possible by applying corrective pump
arrangement, among other variables. Gould’s open impeller experiences a system design and/or a gas handling
Degassing is easier to accomplish 12% head loss at this volume. Some pump. If liquid gas mixing is desired,
with a variable speed driver, such as open impeller paper stock designs employ a static mixer on the dis-
a steam turbine, than with a constant can actually handle
speed electric motor drive. In addi- up to 10% entrained
tion, a recycle line to the suction ves- gas because clear- FIGURE 3. DEVELOPMENT OF A VORTEX
sel vapor space is often an effective ance between the
method for degassing an impeller, case and impeller
since with this arrangement the vanes allows more
pump is not required to work against turbulence in the
a discharge head. (Ref. 1 describes process fluid, which (a)
methods for venting gas on modified tends to break up
pumps that are gas bound.) gas accumulation
As a rule, if the probability of more efficiently
entrained gas exists from a chemical than an enclosed
reaction, the inlet piping design impeller with wear
should incorporate a means to vent rings. In addition,
the vapor back to the suction vessel’s other designs, such (d)
vapor space or to some other source. as a recessed im-
peller pump, may (b)
handle up to 18% A. Incoherent surface swirl
entrained gas. In
Figures 1 and 2 illustrate the fact, most standard B. Surface dimple with coherent
effect of entrained gas on a LaBour centrifugal pumps surface swirl
enclosed impeller and a Gould’s handle up to 3%
paper stock open impeller. As illus- C. Vortex pulling air bubbles to
entrained gas vol- intake
trated by the figures, 2% entrained ume at suction con-
gas does not produce a significant ditions without AIR D. Fully developed vortex with air
head curve drop. Note that while the difficulty. (Ref. 2 core to nozzle outlet
LaBour impeller experiences a 22% (c)

88 The Pump Handbook Series


charge of the pump. In addition, an eliminate entrained gas in pump draw-off nozzle of the pump as illus-
anticipated drop in pump head due to suction piping is to prevent vortex trated by Figure 6a.
an entrained gas situation may be off- formation either by avoiding vortex It may be difficult to understand
set by oversizing the impeller. introducing mechanisms or by em- how a pump with 60 ft of vertical
Of the five aforementioned ploying an appropriate vortex break- suction could be affected by en-
mechanisms, vortexing is the most er at the vessel outlet. A ”hat” type trained gas, but in this real case
common source of entrained gas. vortex breaker, illustrated in Figure example Murphy’s law applied twice.
Therefore, a user should be especially 4, covers the vessel outlet nozzle to First, since the pump system in ques-
cautious employing mechanical reduce the effective outlet velocity. tion has a NPSHA greater than 50 ft,
equipment, such as tangential flash This design doesn’t allow a vortex to the piping designer employed a small-
gas separators and column bottoms stabilize because the fluid surface er suction pipe with a liquid velocity
re-boilers, likely to produce a strong senses only the annular velocity at of 10 ft/sec. Second, the column
vortex. the hat outside diameter (OD). In draw-off nozzle was sized according
addition, the vanes supporting the to normal fluid velocity practice. As a
VORTEX BREAKER DESIGN hat introduce a shear in the vicinity result, the tray liquid had an exit
The extent of gas entrainment in of the outlet to further inhibit vortex velocity of 5 ft/sec with a liquid level
the pumped fluid as the result of formation. An annular velocity of 6-in. above the top of the draw-off
vortex formation depends on the 1/2 ft/sec at the hat OD produces a nozzle and a vortex formed, feeding
strength of the vortex, the submer- viable solution. Variations in hat gas into the draw-off nozzle.
gence to pump suction outlet, and diameters from 4d to 5d and hat As in the above example, due to a
the liquid velocity in the pump suc- annular openings of d/2 to d/3 are lack of proper submergence, gas is car-
tion nozzle outlet. Vortices form not acceptable when annular velocity cri- ried into the pump suction piping as a
only through gravity draining vessel teria are met. Annular design veloci- high liquid downward velocity exceeds
applications, but also in steady state ties of more than 1 ft/sec are not the upward velocity of a gas bubble.
draining vessels, and in vessels recommended. Many draw-off vortexing prob-
under pressure or with submerged ”Cross” type breakers, installed lems may be eliminated by proper
pump suction inlets. Vortex forma- above or inserted in vessel nozzle out- pump system design or by one of two
tion follows conservation of angular lets as shown in Figure 5, work for vortex breaker designs illustrated by
momentum. As fluid moves toward some applications by providing addi- Figures 6b and c. The selection of the
the vessel outlet, the tangential tional shear to inhibit a mild vortex breaker design may depend on the
velocity component in the fluid from feeding gas into a nozzle outlet downcomer arrangement and space
increases as the radius from the out- (providing enough submergence is limitations. The most effective vortex
let decreases. Figure 3 shows various available). However, this design will breaker is the slotted pipe design
stages of vortex development. The not stop a strong vortex and will shown in Figure 6c.
first phase is a surface dimple. This decrease NPSHA. A user should be Application of these corrective
dimple must sense a high enough aware of these limitations. pump systems designs or installa-
exit velocity to extend from the sur- COLUMN VORTEXING tion of an appropriate gas handling
face and form a vortex. (For experi- pump can solve suction side gas
mental observations regarding If a column draw-off pump is entrainment problems, resulting in a
vortex formation see Refs. 3, 4.) erratic and/or nearly uncontrollable, a smoother process operation. ■
The most effective method to vortex may be feeding gas into the

The Pump Handbook Series 89

Pumps and Entrained-Air Problem,”
DOWNSPOUT OR Chemical Engineering, pp.103-106
TRAY ABOVE 2. Cappellino, C.A., Roll, R. and
Wilson, George, ”Centrifugal
Pump Design Considerations and
Application Guidelines for
6” Pumping Liquids with Entrained
10” Gas,” 9th Texas A&M Pump
Symposium 1992
3. Patterson, F.M., ”Vortexing can
be Prevented in Process Vessels
and Tanks,” Oil and Gas Journal,
pp. 118-120 (1969)
4. Patterson, F.M., and Springer, E.K.,
”Experimental Investigation of
Critical Submergence for Vortexing
Figure 6a. Tray take off nozzle with vortex from lack of correct in a Vertical Cylinder Tank,”
submergence and too high exit velocity. ASME Paper 69-FE-49 (1969)
5. Kern, Robert, ”How to Design
EXTEND PLATE FROM Piping for Pump Suction Con-
VESSEL WALL. ditions,” Chemical Engineering,
CHECK VELOCITY pp.119-126 (1975)
EDGE ≤ 1/2’/sec.
1/2’/sec. James H. Ingram is an Engineering
Technologist with Sterling Chemicals in
Texas City.

Figure 6b. Plate extension over outlet nozzle lowers high outlet

AREA ≤ 1’/sec.

Figure 6c. Slotted pipe vortex breaker.

90 The Pump Handbook Series


Nozzle Loading –
Who Sets the Standards?
Or, to what extent should the pump be used as a piping anchor?


International Pump Users
Symposium at the George R. Note: Each value shown below indicates a range from minus that value to plus that value;
for example, 160 indicates a range from -160 to +160.
Brown convention center in
Houston, TX included a discussion
group entitled Nozzle Loading and Nominal Size of Nozzle Flange (inches)
Pump Operability co-coordinated by Force/Moment* 2 3 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
John Joseph of Amoco Oil and Willie
Each top nozzle
Eickmann of Houston Lighting and FX 160 240 320 560 850 1200 1500 1600 1900
Power. According to Gary Glidden, FY 200 300 400 700 1100 1500 1800 2000 2300
also a discussion leader for this FZ 130 200 260 460 700 1000 1200 1300 1500
group, the two day discussion was a FR 290 430 570 1010 1560 2200 2600 2900 3300
”standing room only” affair. Clearly,
nozzle loading is a subject of concern Each side nozzle
to pump users. FX 160 240 320 560 850 1200 1500 1600 1900
FY 130 200 260 460 700 1000 1200 1300 1500
FZ 200 300 400 700 1100 1500 1800 2000 2300
FR 290 430 570 1010 1560 2200 2600 2900 3300
Much of the discussion focused
on the difficulty of establishing stan- Each end nozzle
dards for allowable nozzle loads. FX 200 300 400 700 1100 1500 1800 2000 2300
Although the current API 610 7th edi- FY 130 200 260 460 700 1000 1200 1300 1500
tion standard for centrifugal pumps FZ 160 240 320 560 850 1200 1500 1600 1900
in general refinery service provides FR 290 430 570 1010 1560 2200 2600 2900 3300
values for maximum loads (Table 1,
Each nozzle
Figure 1), many pump users believe MX 340 700 980 1700 2600 3700 4500 4700 5400
the API allowable loads are too MY 260 530 740 1300 1900 2800 3400 3500 4000
high—especially for use as specifica- MZ 170 350 500 870 1300 1800 2200 2300 2700
tions for installation designs which MR 460 950 1330 2310 3500 5000 6100 6300 7200
fail to recognize the possibility of
”unplanned” stresses on the piping, *F = force, in pounds; M = moment, in foot-pounds; R = resultant
such as those produced by founda-
tion settling. However, as noted by try accepted standards for allowable
James E. Steiger in his paper, API 610 manufacturers and piping engineers,
piping loads acting on centrifugal these groups tend to set independent,
Baseplate and Nozzle Loading Criteria, pumps.” Moreover, when these pip-
”Before the 6th Edition of API 610 often contrary standards, further
ing load standards are absent or not complicating the design process.
was published, there were no indus- universally accepted by pump users, In an attempt to overcome these

The Pump Handbook Series 91

FIGURE 1. COORDINATE SYSTEM FOR THE API FORCES AND MOMENTS with the thermal growth that occurs
during hot operation. Joseph favors
Shaft Centerline careful calculations in the design
Y phase to insure that ”the spring hang-
Shaft Centerline er forces and the deflection of the
beam they’re supported from match-
es the weight and growth of the pip-
Y ing when it’s full of liquid at
Y X temperature.” For example, a spring
hanger supporting a 20’ straight verti-
Z cal piping section might relax a full
1/4-1/2” due entirely to thermal
Y growth in the vertical direction. Add
X Pedestal Centerline this growth to the pull of the process-
liquid weight and the result is, the
piping stress and strains during hot
running differ drastically from those
prior to start-up. One operator actual-
ly measured a 0.150” horizontal
Vertical In-Line Pumps Horizontal Pumps with Side Suction movement of the pump. ”You’ve got
and Side Discharge Nozzles to think, what is it (the pump) going
to look like with a hot flow of liquid
and then back calculate to the cold,
complications, one user developed a or coupling failure, and shortened empty position you want that pipe
standard operating procedure based seal life; but, according to some, the at,” says Joseph. To obtain minimum
on measured changes in pump align- established standard fails to address loading during the running condition,
ment to be applied universally the correlation between loading lev- the pipe should be supported in a
throughout their plant. Changes in els and these failure modes. And, position requiring it to be pulled
alignment subsequent to connection these users are concerned that rela- down to the pump. During hot opera-
of suction and discharge lines indi- tively slight levels of nozzle loading, tion, the thermal growth of the piping
cate shaft deflection. This user set the even those within API specifications, and the weight of the liquid will then
maximum shaft deflection at 0.002” may have costly ramifications, in depress the piping into the relaxed
regardless of pump size or configura- terms of downtime and pump life, in position.
tion. However, because this proce- the long run. In fact, according to
dure relies on establishing a baseline Joseph, the discussion at the Pump
alignment before the lines are con- Users Symposium quickly pro- Piping engineers counter these
nected, this standard cannot be gressed beyond the question, ”How arguments for low to zero piping
applied to all pumps. For example, much (loading) is too much,” to loads, claiming, as Steiger notes, that
the feedwater pumps Glidden oper- whether the pump should ”even be ”the pump manufacturers and rotat-
ates at Houston Lighting and Power considered an anchor for the piping.” ing equipment engineers are too con-
employ welded nozzles, which don’t Joseph concludes, ”The piping servative and the higher piping loads
allow the pump to be isolated in (should) exert as little force as practi- do not usually lead to significant
order to determine the ”zero-load” cally possible during operation.” operability problems.” The larger
alignment, as opposed to flanged piping loads are desirable because
nozzles. And, since this procedure they result in simpler and signifi-
depends on measuring alignment cantly less expensive piping configu-
rather than forces and moments as But how much is ”practically rations. Yet, the 1985 Pressure
for the API specifications, making a possible”? Joseph recommends Vessel Research Committee (PVRC)
correlation between the two stan- ”shooting for 10% or less of API Pump-Piping Interaction Experience
dards is ”almost apples and oranges,” (allowable nozzle loading specifica- Survey indicates that there is ”a
says Glidden. tions) during running conditions.” He significant pump-piping interaction
Figure 2 illustrates a common also points out, however, that piping problem and that it has an annual
consequence of nozzle loading on a stresses can be reduced to zero, ”My impact on the order of one half-
pump. While the case bows in one personal preference under hot condi- billion dollars” (Ref. 1). ”Economics
direction due to piping loads, the tions is that the piping exert nearly plays a big role in these decisions,”
shaft sags in the opposite direction as zero forces and moments.” In most adds Glidden, ”However, if you do a
a result of thermal deformation. cases to obtain zero stress under hot bad job up front, this will com-
Pump operators witness the end conditions requires exerting some pound, resulting in a terrible-run-
results of overloading a pump nozzle stress on the piping in the cold condi- ning pump.”
in misalignment, vibration, bearing tion. These stresses will then relax

92 The Pump Handbook Series

to by-pass the discharge COMPOUNDED BY HOT OPERATION
Understanding how the base check valve and follow
plate and piping design relate pro- the discharge nozzle,
vides one key to maintaining shaft then cross the top of the
alignment and thereby pump reliabil- pump and exit at the
ity. However, as Steiger maintains, Shaft
suction nozzle. This
”The pump-baseplate assembly rep- method is inadequate
resents a complex structure whose because it heats only
response to piping loads is difficult the top of the pump,
to predict with a high degree of cer- resulting in a 150-300°F
tainty.” Joseph agrees, ”While some differential within the
pump cases and base plate founda- pump. This tempera- Casing
tion designs can take very high ture differential creates
loads, there are others for which a very large humping
simply tightening a nut one flat at a tendency since the pump expands tem deflects, the pump may become
time changes alignment significant- much more at the top than the bot- the anchor for the piping.
ly.” If the pump case and base plate tom. As a result, the bearing brackets Placing a firm anchor on a knee
construction is reasonably rigid, might shift down at both ends of the brace right at the pump base may
higher forces may be applied with pump. The rotor bows in the same provide a good solution. The knee
little deflection at the coupling. direction. In fact, the rotor will actu- brace, which should also be support-
”However,” Joseph warns, ”if users ally roll over by hand about 70° until ed by spring hangers, forces the pip-
depend on the pump case and the the wear rings rub. A few minutes ing up and away from the pump, so
base plate to provide the rigidity, later, the heat in the top of the rotor that when the load changes as the
and the piping is significantly high in will allow it to roll about 70° further. process liquid flows into the piping, it
stress application, then they’re just To assure that hot product is dis- will relax down to the pump, and the
covering one problem with another pensed to the bottom of the pump, spring hangers will bear the full load,
solution. They’re not getting at the the product should be evenly distrib- allowing the pump to operate with
root cause—the piping strain.” uted in all suction and discharge cav- very low stresses.
Joseph recommends proper ities at the drain connections. Even
warm-up procedures and piping sup- CONCLUSION
distribution provides the best oppor-
ports, in addition to good piping tunity for thorough heat delivery to The response to the discussion
design, as the primary remedy for the pump case, rotor, and group at the Pump Users Symposium
piping strain. His recommendations discharge/suction piping, prior to indicates a real need for these kinds
are outlined as follows: pushing the start button. Slow rolling of practical solutions to nozzle load-
• Warm-up procedures the pump will also aid warm-up. Es- ing. The pump operators present at
Large, hot (and, as some users tablish the slow roll at 50-100 rpm the Symposium recognized that an
have pointed out, expensive) pumps and then initiate the warm-up flow to inexpensive piping design can be
are especially affected by nozzle load- the pump with hot product. costly down the road. And, many are
ing, and for these pumps proper • Piping supports hopeful that the 8th edition of the
warm-up is essential. API recom- Bad installation, deteriorating API 610 standard, currently in
mends that the warm-up procedure hangers and foundation settlement progress, will advance one step fur-
be very well thought out. Without are some of the most common causes ther toward an agreeable solution for
proper warm-up the pump may suf- of piping strain. Piping should be more uniform nozzle loading prac-
fer from uneven thermal growth in well supported by spring hangers, tices. ■
the piping, case, shaft, stuffing boxes, anchors, expansion loops or compres-
and bearing housings. As the pump sion spring cans. In addition, all pip-
comes to equilibrium, it will experi- ing supports should have adjustment 1. Steiger, James E. ”API 610
ence transient thermal growth which capability to enable repositioning in Baseplate and Nozzle Loading
may put it under considerable stress. response to deterioration and settle- Criteria,” Proceedings of the Third
The design of the piping is also cru- ment. Glidden envisions a monitoring International Pump Symposium,
cial to adequate warm-up and system, which would examine align- (1985). pp. 113-129.
should allow hot product to flow ment once a year or so, to test for
2. American Petroleum Institute,
from the discharge line to the bot- changes due to deterioration over
”Centrifugal Pumps for General
tom of the pump case. extended periods.
Refinery Services,” API Standard
Many operators bring hot prod- The hangers and other supports,
610, Seventh Edition (1989).
uct to the pump by employing a by- including the beams that support
pass to the discharge check valve. these hangers, should be designed to
This is a small piece of pipe with a support the weight of the piping and Kimberly Fortier is Assistant Editor
block valve which enables the dis- the process-liquid. If the support sys- for Pumps and Systems.

The Pump Handbook Series 93


Low Flow Options

This service range demands an innovative approach.


rocess requirements often
demand capacities below
those achievable with a con-
ventional centrifugal pump.
Figure 1 illustrates the range of ser-
vice conditions considered to be low
flow. The minimum continuous sta-
ble flow of a typical 1”x2”x7” over-
hung pump at 1800 rpm is approx-
imately 7 gpm, while at 3550 rpm
the minimum continuous stable
flow is about 13 gpm. A pump of
this size will produce about 240 ft.
of head. As the head requirement
increases to 5000 ft., the minimum
continuous stable flow will increase
to about 190 gpm.
Conventional centrifugal pumps
will not handle these low capacities
very well for two main reasons:
Suction recirculation
The minimum continuous sta-
ble flow is usually set by the pump
thermal flow. Temperature rise requirements is a single port dif-
manufacturer to avoid suction
through a pump determines the min- fuser pump with a ”Barske” straight
recirculation. Suction recirculation
imum flow rate. The maximum safe vane impeller close coupled to an
results in increased vibration and
temperature rise through a pump electric motor, also known as a par-
imparts continuous axial move-
should be limited to 10°F. The for- tial emission pump (Figure 2).
ment to the shaft, decreasing the
mula for determining thermal rise Theoretically, in this kind of pump,
life of bearings and mechanical
through a pump is: the only liquid discharged as each
seals. The point at which suction
chamber passes the diffuser port is
recirculation begins may be calcu- δT = H x 1
the liquid between the impeller
lated as described by Dr. S. 778Cp (Eff - 1)
vanes. In reality, however, due to
Gopalakrishnan in his presentation
H = total head in feet the clearance between the case and
at the 5th International Pump
impeller, some additional liquid also
Users Symposium in 1988. The Cp = specific heat of the liquid in Btu x °F
gets swept out the diffuser port.
pump manufacturer should per- lb
Unfortunately, this pump has a head
form these calculations and set the
788 ft-lbs = the energy to raise the capacity that droops at shutoff which
pump minimum continuous stable
temperature of one pound of water inhibits the ability to control the
flow at a capacity greater than the
by 1°F pump capacity by increasing pres-
calculated capacity.
sure with decreasing flow (Figure 3).
Temperature rise PARTIAL EMISSION PUMPS As a result, installation of a flowme-
The ultimate limitation on low The type of pump most fre- ter is necessary to effectively control
capacity is minimum continuous quently applied to fulfill low flow this type of pump.

94 The Pump Handbook Series

Because the characteristic curve
FIGURE 2. BARSKE STRAIGHT VANE IMPELLER WITH for the ”Barske” impeller, also
SINGLE PORT DIFFUSER PARTIAL EMISSION PUMP referred to as a high solidity impeller,
is exactly the opposite of a centrifugal
pump (where increasing the number
of impeller vanes will flatten the
curve and eventually cause a droop),
the droop of the head capacity curve
towards shutoff can be minimized in
a single port diffuser pump by
increasing the number of impeller
Another method of eliminating
head capacity droop is to install a dis-
charge orifice. Since the friction
across an orifice increases as the flow
increases, the pressure of a discharge
orifice will increase the pump curve
slope so that the pump can be pres-
sure controlled. Unfortunately, a dis-
Impeller charge orifice decreases the pump
Pump Casing Conical Diffuser The partial emission pump is
also available with an integral gear
(either single or double increaser) to
produce a higher pressure head than
a single stage pump. Since high head
application with the integral gear
may call for speeds up to 20,000 rpm,
an axial flow inducer is often
employed in conjunction with this
Diffuser Throat
gear to lower the net positive suction
head (NPSH).
Another means to achieve low
flow combined with high head
requirements is to drive the pump
FIGURE 3. TYPICAL CURVE SHAPES with a special motor capable of high
speed. Application of a variable fre-
“Barske” Impeller-With quency drive will produce speeds
Single Port Diffuser
nearing 7200 rpm. With this type of
construction a partial emission
120 4 Vane Impeller pump may also be coupled to a
Head-Capacity Curves Volute Case canned motor for sealless pump con-
One manufacturer builds the
partial emission type pump with an
80 4 Vane / Volute 80 in-line configuration, giving the
Efficiency %
Total Head 70 pump its own bearing frame. In
In Feet 60 60 this configuration the pump is flexi-
50 bly coupled to a standard vertical
Efficiency % Curves
40 40 solid shaft motor. This same man-
30 ufacturer also builds this pump in a
20 Barske Impeller 20 horizontal centerline-mounted con-
Single Port Diffuser 10 figuration.
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140
Gallons Per Minute Conventional centrifugal pumps
can handle low flow conditions with
the incorporation of a restriction

The Pump Handbook Series 95

device on the discharge to shift the tions the pump will produce • Controlled volume metering
best efficiency point (BEP) capacity heads up to about 1000 ft. A pri- pumps can be applied for low
back toward shutoff and increase mary advantage of the vertical flow services and are one of the
the pump curve slope. Unlike the pump is the ability to stack few types of pumps that will
partial emission pumps which many stages so that a low operate at flow rates below
employ a construction requiring capacity impeller of fairly good 1 gpm. The disadvantages of
removal of a motor with a special efficiency will produce a high using a metering pump are the
shaft extension for mounting the head. These pumps usually inherent pulsations which may
impeller, or in the case of high incorporate two, sometimes damage downstream piping
speed applications removal of the three or four, impeller designs and instruments. Pulsation
motor and gear, the application of of various capacities. Mixing dampeners help to smooth out
flow restriction devices on conven- impellers will result in a rated pulsations but never entirely
tional API or ANSI pumps provides point capacity very near BEP. eliminate them.
the benefit of an easily maintained There is a limit, of course, to
single stage pump. how many stages a vertical can CASTING LIMITATIONS
Even though a restriction device pump may have. The limiting Development of a truly efficient
reduces the efficiency by a consider- factors are shaft diameter size low capacity centrifugal pump
able amount, low flow pumps are required to transmit the horse- requires prohibitively small liquid
generally low horsepower machines, power and torque and the avail- passages. These small passages are
so consuming a little more horsepow- ability of shafting in long troublesome to produce in the cast-
er to obtain a steep curve rise previ- sections (usually 20 feet). ing process because the sand mold is
ous to shutoff is a small price to pay Another limitation is dependent prone to collapse at such small sizes
for the more desirable performance. on the machining tolerances of and small interior passages are diffi-
Moreover, the required motor horse- the register fittings of the bowl cult to clean to the degree required
power for the restricted pump is less assembly. Since the tolerances for good efficiency in operation.
than that for a non-restricted pump, are additive as the bowl is A semi-open impeller is easier
as the restriction will not allow the assembled, they may cause to cast and clean. This design is,
pump to run to the extended portion shaft binding if they are not however, in violation of API 610,
of the curve. tight enough. which calls for an enclosed impeller
The use of an orifice to restrict cast in one piece. If sufficient
• Regenerative turbine pumps
flow will produce the desired per- advantages of the semi-open config-
will also fulfill low flow require-
formance. However, if the orifice uration are demonstrated, this stan-
ments. These pumps, available
diameter is considerably smaller dard might be changed. Very small
in single and multistage con-
than the pump discharge and dis- impellers might even be machined
struction, have a very steep
charge piping, cavitation and noise from billet stock (similar to some
head characteristic and will
may occur on the downstream side centrifugal compressor impellers),
operate on pressure control. The
of the orifice. thus eliminating all of the casting
regenerative turbine does not
For this reason one pump man- problems.
demonstrate any apparent prob-
ufacturer incorporates a venturi to Similarly, the casing of a low
lems with minimum continuous
modify pump performance. The flow pump is difficult to cast and
stable flow, so the only limiting
advantage of the venturi is that the clean, requiring very small passage-
factor to set minimum flow is
gradual taper down to the required ways which must have a smooth
temperature rise. The formula
hole size then back up to the dis- surface in order to produce good
for temperature rise through
charge pipe size effectively elimi- efficiency. This obstacle to produc-
these pumps is identical to that
nates the cavitation, noise and ing a low flow pump case might be
for centrifugal pumps. The dis-
vibration. Pumps equipped with overcome by eliminating the need
advantage of a regenerative
venturi have been observed to run for a case casting in favor of a
turbine is the close internal
smoother and quieter as they machined and fabricated construc-
clearances required to produce
approach shutoff. tion.
the pumping action. To accom-
OTHER PUMP OPTIONS modate this close clearance, the EVALUATING HYDRAULIC FIT
• Another type of centrifugal pumpage must be very clean.
The fact of the matter is most
pump that will operate effec- • Gear or other rotary positive dis- manufacturers usually make little
tively in the low flow range is a placement pumps also will oper- profit on their small model pumps.
vertical can pump. A 5-6 in. ate in the low flow range without To convince manufacturers that
diameter bowl assembly will difficulty. These pumps do not, quality low flow pumps are actually
experience its BEP capacity in however, operate well in low vis- in demand, users must let them
the 60-120 gpm range at 3600 cosity services. know that their quotations for
rpm. At these operating condi-
pumps in the low flow area are being

96 The Pump Handbook Series

evaluated for hydraulic fit. One
FIGURE 4 method of evaluating hydraulic fit is
shown in Figure 4. This evaluating
tool adds a penalty, as a percentage
multiplier, to the pump price for
rated capacity to the left of BEP
capacity. This tool is based on the
fact that a higher suction specific
speed correlates with a smaller stable
window of operation.
Applying this tool consistently
and sending it along with your
request for quotations will convince
pump manufacturers that low flow
performance is an area of hydraulic
design that needs to be addressed. ■

F. H. Fraser, Recirculation in
Centrifugal Pumps, presented at the
ASME Winter Annual Meeting
S. Gopalakrishnan, A New
Method for Computing Minimum Flow,
presented at 5th International Pump
Users Symposium (1988).
U. M. Barske, Design of Open
Impeller Centrifugal Pumps, Royal
Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough,
Technical Note No. RPD 77 (January,
Trygve Dahl, Centrifugal Pump
Hydraulics for Low Specific Speed
Applications, presented at 6th
International Pump Users Sym-
posium (1989).

Pumps and Systems would like to
thank the members of its User
Advisory Team for their assistance in
preparing this article.

The Pump Handbook Series 97


Pump Design Changes

Improve Lubrication
Quantifying the benefits of modifications.


roper lubrication is a key to seal chamber are signifi- FIGURE 1
long, trouble-free life of cen- cant. The new design
trifugal pump bearings. In has a larger chamber to
recent years the issue of lubri- ensure better heat trans-
cation has received renewed atten- fer and cooler operation
tion from pump users in chemical of the mechanical seals.
plants, pulp and paper mills, refiner- The previous design
ies, and other industries. incorporated a tight
Budgetary pressures have forced stuffing box.
many plants to reduce maintenance The new power end
capital. Many knowledgeable mainte- design in Figure 1 fea-
nance workers have been laid off. tures approximately
Not surprisingly, the ability to main- three times the volume
tain pumping equipment properly is of the oil sump (I), an oil
reduced, resulting in increased out- level sight glass (II) to
ages, lost production, and rising assure the proper oil
maintenance costs. level versus the constant
Users have started to look to level oiler (III), improved
pump manufacturers to pick up the cooling via a finned cool-
slack and help solve pump reliability er insert (IV) versus bot-
problems, extend component life, and tom cooling pockets (V),
increase mean time between between labyrinth oilframe seals
failure (MTBF) and mean time (VI) versus lip seals (VII),
between scheduled maintenance and stiffer footing (VIII)
(MTBSM). for reduced vibrations.
Statistics show (Ref. 1) that most A testing program
pump failures are related to bearings has been conducted to
and seals. In this article we will look compare the two de-
at bearings, analyzing how design signs under extremely
changes affect bearing life in a quan- adverse operating condi-
tifiable way. tions, such as running
The need for improved pump endurance testing at
Cross sectional views of old and new power
reliability and increased MTBF led to overspeed and below
end designs.
a new design, introduced by Goulds minimum flow. This
in 1990/1991. Figure 1 shows cross program was conducted
sections of two single-stage, end-suc- at the R&D lab of the
tion ANSI pumps. Both have identical Technology Center at Goulds, result- Feedback from users comparing two
wet ends (impeller and casing), but ing in quantifiable correlations designs was also obtained , specifical-
the power end and the seal chambers between changes in pump design ly in relation to the operating temper-
are different. Improvements in the and their effect on life extension. ature of the bearing frame surfaces.

98 The Pump Handbook Series

approximately 13% oxidation rate by air is reduced for
longer life. the larger sump. Again, for the type
INCREASED OIL of pump studied in this work, this
results in a 2% extension in bearing
life (Ref. 3).
A deeper sump
to settle farther from The effects of oil contamination
moving parts, result- are further reduced by improved oil
ing in a cleaner layer seals. A proprietary labyrinth seal
of oil near the ball design was tested against the lip seal.
bearings (Figure 2). Both pumps were sprayed with water
Contamination of the from a hose, simulating plant wash-
Larger sump results in reduced concentration bearing races and the down. The spray was directed at vari-
of contaminants, which settle to the bottom. balls is the cause of ous angles to the frame at the oil and
microscopic deteriora- seals area. The oil was then analyzed
tion of load surfaces, for water content. It was found that
ANALYSIS OF THE POWER END leading to failure. Statistics show (Ref. the previous design equipped with lip
With regard to the power end 2, 4) that a cleaner oil operation can seals contained 3% water after 30
(Figure 1), the belief that “the bigger increase bearing life by nearly 2.1 minutes of spraying, while the new
the better” is not uncommon in the times (Ref. 3). Similarly, due to design, with labyrinth seals, showed
pumping community. This idea has decreased air concentration, the oil no water at all. Also, lip seals may
some merit, but manufacturers often
overlook the importance of quantifying
the benefits of a particular design or FIGURE 3
modification. Frequently, little infor-
mation is given as to how much life
extension can be obtained by, say,
having a deeper sump, or how much
added value and savings can be real-
ized from the increased bearing frame
heat transfer surface.
It is clear that a systematic
approach to identify, measure, and
improve pump component design is
impossible without a proper balance
of theory, experimentation, user
feedback, and data from real world
installations. Theory and experimen-
tation should be balanced by clear
communication between manufac-
turers and users.
Heat is transferred from the
pump bearings to the oil and through
the housing frame walls to the outside
air. Some of the heat is also conduct-
ed through the casing to and from the
pumpage, depending on the tempera-
ture of each. Typically, the difference
in temperatures is small for the
pumping conditions of chemical
plants, and the effects are omitted for
Our investigation has shown
(Ref. 3) that the larger surface area
can result in a nearly 40°F reduction
in bearing operating temperature. The Comparison between bearing submergence in oil, operating temper-
cooler bearings, in this case, result in ature, and bearing life for the old and new designs.

The Pump Handbook Series 99

cause wear and leakage after approxi- and new designs. Tests were conduct- through improvements in pump
mately only 2,000 operating hours. ed with oil covering different levels design. To gauge such improvements
OIL LEVEL SIGHT GLASS VERSUS of the lower ball of the bearings. The systematically, it is imperative to
proper design level (marked 50% on quantify the benefits of each pump
Figure 3) corresponds to oil at the enhancement.
A large sight glass allows direct
middle of the lower ball of the bear- It is also important to maintain a
visual observation to ensure proper oil
ing. At design setting, the new frame proper balance between the solid
level. It is standard in the new design,
ran 40°F cooler, with a correspond- theoretical foundations used for the
although a constant level oiler option
ing predicted life extension of analysis and the laboratory work,
is available. A constant level oiler is
approximately 6,000 hours. field testing, and data supporting
preferred by many users. When prop-
ECONOMIC BENEFITS such theory. Users should seek
erly installed and maintained it can
Having measured the life quantitative data demonstrating
result in satisfactory operation.
increases resulting from these improvements from pump manufac-
However, because operation of
improvements, it is not difficult to turers, including improvements in
the oiler is “blind,” depending solely
assess the economic benefits of the MTBF and MTBSM, enabling them
on strict conformance to correct (and
new design. to determine added value and other
nontrivial) oil filling and maintenance
Assuming the average value for economic benefits.
procedures, it may lead to an incorrect
MTBF of two (2) years for the old This approach will improve
oil level inside the frame. This can
design, a 125% improvement results communication between manufac-
lead to hot operation and premature
in a four and a half (4.5) year bearing turers and users, and lay the ground
failure. Another problem is known as
life for the new design. The recipro- work for the next step: further
the oiler “burping” effect, resulting in a
cals of these numbers (1/2 years = improvements in pump reliability.
higher actual oil level than perceived
(Ref. 5). Obviously, the new pump 0.5; 1/4.5 years = 0.22) give an REFERENCES
design can be equipped with both the approximate number of failures or 1. H. Bloch. PRIME I and II, Pump
sight glass and oiler if they are desired scheduled maintenance per year. Seminar Series, 1992/1993.
by the user. The difference, 0.28, when multi- 2. SKF General Catalog 4000 US (bear-
Such improvements in design plied by the average cost of repair of, ings), 1991.
can be combined because they bene- say, $260 in parts and labor and 3. L. Nelik. Value Added and Life
fit pump reliability independently. 3,000 pumps per plant results in a Extension with Regard to Reliability
Based on this research, when all are yearly plant savings of: of X-Series 3196 ANSI Pump. Goulds
added together, an improvement in 0.28 x $260 x 3,000 = $218,400 Pumps, Inc. Internal Report, 1993.
pump life of up to 125% may be In addition, savings resulting 4. CRC Handbook of Lubrication, Vol. 1,
obtained. Even longer life may be from increased uptime and a reduc- CRC Press, R. Booser, 1983.
realized due to other design upgrades, tion of lost production at approxi- 5. L. Nelik. Goulds Technology Video
such as providing the pump with a mately $500 per off-line hour, Seminar. Constant level oilers versus
more rigid foot, reducing vibration, assuming an average four hours per sight glass, Series 0693-01.
improving (finned) cooling, and creat- repair for off-line time, would be: For more information on these refer-
ing larger chambers for mechanical ences please call (315) 568-2811. ■
seals. For brevity, these effects are 0.28 x ($500 x 4) x 3,000 = $1,680,000
not included in this analysis, but they The total, $1.9 million, is annual Lev Nelik is Manager of Pump
can be accounted for in the refer- plant maintenance savings. Technology for Goulds Pumps. His
ences (Ref. 3, 5). Obviously, these numbers are approx- responsibilities include developmental
imate and can best be determined by work in various aspects of centrifugal
TEST PROGRAM individual maintenance departments pump technology, developing new prod-
To support and validate the theo-
using their operating specifics, but the ucts, and improving the reliability of
retical derivations and assumptions as
savings potential due to improved existing products. Dr. Nelik has
outlined below, a testing program was
design is clear. authored publications on centrifugal
conducted, including lab testing and
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS pumps and hydraulic power recovery
field data analysis. Figure 3 shows a
Our study demonstrated that turbines, fluid mechanics, heat transfer,
comparison between operating tem-
substantial savings can be realized and FEA CAD/CAM applications.
peratures and bearing life for the old

100 The Pump Handbook Series


CPI Pumping
Increase reliability and reduce emissions through pump selection.


ucts while reducing emissions to well realities of applying pumps on a mul-

oday chemical manufacturers
and users are faced with global below 500 ppm. With this in mind, titude of services and making them
competition and pending envi- consider the following: last.
ronmental restrictions that 1. Enclosed impellers are prone to These efforts have produced the
threaten to reduce profitability. The plugging and premature wear in features listed below that many
need to reduce overall operating costs the above services due to small major ANSI pump manufacturers
has driven pump users at chemical wear surface area. (Performance have incorporated (Figure 1). At a
plants to focus on improving reliabili- and efficiency cannot be minimum, users should purchase
ty and eliminating or reducing fugi- renewed without replacing wear ANSI pumps with features that best
tive emissions. rings.) meet their application needs.
However, most new designs incorpo-
SEALED PUMPS 2. Open or semi-open impellers are
rate features systematically to
reliable in these services and are
The mechanically sealed chemi- provide reliable products. Com-
standard for ANSI pumps. (Simple
cal process pump, which meets promising designs to save money or
external impeller adjustments
ASME/ANSI B73.1M standards, is the add standard plant features—substi-
allow easy maintenance of perfor-
workhorse of chemical processing tuting a vendor’s standard labyrinth
mance and efficiency, and there
industries. It will continue to be used seal with the plant’s standard oil seal,
are no wear rings to replace,
on a wide range of process applica- for example—may not be advisable.
yielding long-term energy sav-
tions—such as liquids containing sig- New ANSI pump features include
nificant amounts of solids (sodium the following:
chlorate, alum, sodium carbonate, 3. The small internal passageways 1. Labyrinth oil seals are designed
chemical wastewater), light slurries in sealless pumps are subject to to prevent premature bearing
(silver nitrate and acetone slurries), plugging while handling liquids failure from lubricant contami-
viscous liquids (above 150 cP, includ- with only small amounts (5%) of nation or oil loss. These non-con-
ing black liquor and titanium diox- solids. Viscosity handling is also tacting seals have replaced
ide), and stringy materials where limited. Buna-rubber lip seals, whose
sealless pumps may not be economi- useful life was three to six
4. Design solutions separate the
cal to use. In addition to its ability to months under normal condi-
pump end from the drive end to
handle tough services, the flexibility tions. Materials of construction
allow sealless pumps to handle
of the design—along with improved include carbon-filled Teflon,
these services, but these modifi-
low-emission mechanical seals—con- bronze, or stainless steel.
cations can be expensive and
tinues to make ANSI pumps the stan-
may not be cost effective. 2. Increased oil sump capacity pro-
dard in this field.
To elaborate on why sealless Considering all the facts, it’s vides better heat transfer for
pumps are not economical to handle understandable that mechanically more effective oil cooling.
the above materials, we must note sealed ANSI pumps are the more Bearings operating at lower tem-
that they use enclosed impellers to economical choice to handle these peratures contribute to longer
reduce the axial thrust and increase types of liquids. life.
reliability. (Although several manu- 3. A rigid frame foot reduces the
facturers have tried using open or effect of pipe loads on shaft
semi-open impellers in sealless To meet emissions regulations alignment. Misalignment won’t
designs, many of these have not been and improve reliability, process exceed 0.002 in. under load, and
reliable at two-pole speeds.) Also, industries have pushed ANSI pump pump and driver alignment is
standard sealless pumps have small manufacturers to improve perfor- better maintained.
internal passageways to circulate mance. Some manufacturers have
liquid for bearing lubrication and formed alliances with users to share 4. Bull’s eye sight glasses insure
drive-end cooling, and mechanical technology and improve standard proper oil level, which is critical
seal manufacturers are rapidly designs. By working together, the the- to bearing life. Level oilers have
improving the reliability of their prod- oretical has been combined with the often been misused, leading to

The Pump Handbook Series 101

advantage of lower labor and produc-
FIGURE 1 tion costs. As a result, chemical pro-
duction in the United States is being
driven toward manufacturing special-
ty chemicals typically produced in
small runs or batches. Examples
include methylisobutyl- ketone
(MIBK) and paratertiarybutyl- phenol
(PTBP). Pump applications for these
batch-type processes are usually low
flow, in the range of 0 to 100 gpm.
Traditionally, users install stan-
dard process pumps and throttle the
discharge valves to obtain low-flow
performance. However, these pumps
are not designed to operate continu-
ously in this range (Figure 2). Higher
radial loads and increased shaft
deflection lead to premature bearing
and seal failure. Costly downtime
and maintenance expenses result.
For low-flow operation, users
should specify a pump designed to
meet specific service conditions
(Figure 3). ANSI pumps designed for
ANSI pump improvements. low-flow operation are available to
increase pump and plant reliability.
Improvements come from a
casing and impeller designed for
over- or under-filling sumps, 7. Engineered large seal chambers,
low-flow operation. Low-flow
both of which contribute to bear- specifically designed for today’s
designs use concentric volutes and
ing failure. Sight glasses are also mechanical seals, increase seal
radial vane impellers to reduce radi-
convenient for checking the oil life through improved lubrica- al loads, eliminating hydraulic and
condition visually to determine if tion, cooling, air venting, and mechanical problems from throttled
a change is necessary. Constant- solids handling. The chambers low flows (Figure 4). Some designs
level oiler manufacturers are just allow seal manufacturers to reduce radial loads as much as 85%
now introducing oilers that elimi- engineer and apply more reli- compared to end-suction expanding
nate the potential for improper able designs, including cartridge volute pumps in this service (Figure
oil level settings while providing seals. 5). Shaft deflections from high radi-
a sight glass, combining the best al loads are minimized, optimizing
These developments extend
features of both methods. bearing, mechanical seal, and over-
pump and seal life and reduce emis-
5. Mounting flanges accommodate sions at the same time. Experience all pump life. A disadvantage of
an optional adapter that simpli- shows that one cannot be accom- low-flow ANSI pumps is that they
fies pump/motor shaft alignment, plished without the other. For exam- sacrifice some efficiency to reliably
saving the user time and money ple, a mechanical seal with emissions handle viscous and solids-contain-
during installation. in excess of regulations has already ing liquids.
failed in its application. Another approach to low
6. Condition monitoring bosses on flow–high head applications is the
Another benefit of these features
power ends provide consistent regenerative turbine pump. This
is that several manufacturers and seal
measurement points for tem- design directs liquid by a passageway
suppliers are extending unconditional
perature and vibration sensors. so that it circulates in and out of the
warranties to as long as three years,
Many users report increased impeller many times on its way from
helping to further lower operating
pump life from using predictive pump inlet to outlet. Both centrifugal
maintenance to identify and and shearing action work together to
correct problems early. Taking SPECIALTY PUMPS FOR IMPROVED efficiently develop relatively high
measurements at the same RELIABILITY heads at low flows. Regenerative tur-
point aids in proper interpreta- bines also use concentric volutes and
Many diversified chemical pro-
tion of readings and allows per- radial vaned impellers to obtain the
ducers are moving production of com-
sonnel to move through the reliability benefits discussed above.
modity chemicals to the Asia-Pacific
plant more quickly on inspec- One drawback is that this type of
and Latin American regions to take
tions. pump utilizes close running clear-

102 The Pump Handbook Series

FIGURE 2 two items that fail 1. proper lubrication of the journal
most often in bearings
pumps. These fail-
2. removal of heat generated by
System Curve -ActualThrottled Operation ures are often
eddy currents in the recirculation
directly related to
improper applica-

tion and installa- The design must deliver liquid to

Rated Performance tion, poor lubricate the bearings—it should not
operating prac- be flashing or have risen in tempera-
tices or lack of ture, which decreases lubricity, pre-
maintenance, pipe vents proper cooling, and leads to
strain, or misalign- bearing failure. Proper journal bear-
ment. All of these ing lubrication directs cooling liquid
again lead to high to the bearings, then to the magnets.
bearing loads, Dual path designs provide lubrication
shaft deflection, to these areas separately. Both
and bearing and approaches prevent flashing at the
FLOW seal failure. bearings, a leading cause of failure.
Magnetic drive Another typical mag drive pump
TYPICAL END SUCTION PUMP CURVE pumps have nei- failure is liquid flashing at the
ther a mechanical impeller eye after being circulated
Off-design (throttled) operation range (darker gray) seal that can fail through the drive end to remove
and recommended operation range (gray). nor a driven shaft eddy current heat. The result is a
that can be sub- vapor-bound pump. New mag drive
jected to pipe designs have virtually eliminated this
strain or misalignment. The driven problem by creating a constant pres-
ances to keep efficiency high and it is shaft is separated from the drive shaft surized circulation circuit that pre-
therefore normally used on clean liq- by a magnetic coupling, eliminating vents flashing of cooling liquid and
uid applications. the two major causes of pump failure. the associated failures (Figure 6). Not
all new designs use pressurized circu-
lation, and because most regulated
With the implementation of the liquids are volatile, this feature is nec-
Reliable magnetic drive pumps
Clean Air Act, sealless pumps offer a essary to achieve extended life in
must address two critical concerns:
dynamic solution to controlling emis- these services.
sions. Not only should sealless pumps
be strongly considered to control
emissions of the 149 volatile organic FIGURE 3
compounds identified by the En-
vironmental Protection Agency, but
they should be viewed as solutions to System Curve -ActualThrottled Operation
many difficult applications encoun-
tered in CPI plants today. For exam-

ple, if users are experiencing sealing

problems because of the pumped
product’s poor lubricity (typical of
acidic products in the range of 0–3
pH, such as sulfuric or hydrochloric
acids), difficulty with product crystal-
lization at seal faces (usually with
caustic products in the range of 10–14
pH, such as sodium hydroxide and
potassium hydroxide) or are frustrated
with sophisticated auxiliary piping
plans to provide clean, cool flush liq-
uid to mechanical seal faces, sealless
pumps may be the answer.
DRIVES Pump curve for a low-flow ANSI pump.
It is well recognized that
mechanical seals and bearings are the

The Pump Handbook Series 103

Regardless of the design features FIGURE 4 rience and test data. Solids may be
and modifications available from formed by reactions to moisture (tita-
manufacturers, users are responsible nium tetrachloride), temperature
for providing suppliers with as much (butadiene or formaldehyde), or a cat-
data as possible on fluid and operat- alyst (any process that uses a catalyst
ing conditions. To apply sealless that may vary in quantity or is sub-
pumps properly, many factors must ject to upsets).
be considered: When the fluid is understood, it
• Is the flow continuous or inter- may be best to use modifications,
mittent? including: backflushing to keep parti-
cles out of the drive section, heating
• Upon shut-down, what reaction
or cooling jackets, heat exchangers in
(if any) will the process fluid
flush lines, filters or specially
have to residual heat? Chemicals
designed units that utilize isolation
like butadiene and formaldehyde
chambers, built-in seals, and preci-
may polymerize, leaving deposits
sion back-flushing to reduce process
inside the drive section and on
stream dilution, if economical.
the bearings.
Otherwise a mechanically sealed
• Can the process shut down auto- ANSI pump may be the best solution.
matically, resulting in the pump
operating at shut-off condition? MAG DRIVE CONDITION MONITORING
• Conversely, can the system allow Magnetic drive pump reliability
the pump to operate at the is also affected by operating practices.
extreme right of the pump curve, Condition monitoring devices can be
which can adversely affect applied to shut pumps down before a
NPSHR and cause motor over- critical failure. Maintenance can then
load or excessive thrust? be performed, or operator errors cor-
rected, before the pump is put back
• What are the fluid characteris-
into service.
tics, including vapor pressure
Temperature detection and power
curves, specific heat, viscosity
monitoring together provide the best
over the process temperature
basic protection. Temperature detec-
range, and the effects of heating
tion indicates internal pump problems
and cooling on the process fluid?
such as plugged recirculation paths,
Benzene freezes at 42°F (depend-
while power monitoring prevents dry-
ing on the installation location,
run failure. Other devices available
address the possibility of expo-
include low amp relays, leak detection
sure to low temperatures), and
indicators, and package control sys-
toluene diisocyanate freezes at An expanding volute pump
72°F and begins to polymerize at (top) and a circular volute
127°F (again, protect the installa- pump with a radial vane INSTALLATION
tion or use jacketing if neces- impeller (bottom).
The effort involved in selecting
sary). Maleic anhydride freezes
the right pump for a given CPI appli-
at 130°F (use heating jackets or
cation can be nullified by poor instal-
temperature control). ingly easy approach. Consideration
lation. As much effort, if not more,
must be given to:
• What about the customer’s practi- should be put into installation design
• the abrasiveness of the solids
cal knowledge of the corrosive to insure expected performance is
nature of the chemical? • the size of the particles achieved. (To understand how proper
Sometimes the standard corrosion procedures improve equipment relia-
• the quantity of particles
charts don’t give the whole story. bility see “Installation and Start-Up
• whether they can agglomerate Troubleshooting,” Pumps and Systems,
ABRASIVES November 1993.) Important steps
• what creates the particles (reac-
When pumping fluids containing tion, catalyst, temperature)
particles, the traditional solution is to 1. Lay out suction piping to provide
The size of the particle that can
use very hard bearings (silicon car- NPSH available to the pump in
be handled is usually determined by
bide) operating against a hard or coat- excess of NPSH required. A com-
the impeller design and the clear-
ed journal. The application of sealless mon recommendation: NPSHA
ances in the fluid passages. The
pumps should go beyond this seem- > NPSHR + 2–5 ft. See “Pump
effects of the quantity of particles are
usually predicted from previous expe- Suction Conditions,” Pumps and

104 The Pump Handbook Series

FIGURE 5 ers’ reps and rely on their expertise,
but be informed, as well, and together
you can apply pumps properly in your
Expanding Volute facilities. ■
Rich Blong is product manager for
Increasing Radial Load

chemical pump development for Goulds

Pumps Inc. Previously, he was a senior
applications engineer responsible for
85% applying chemical pumps for many dif-
Reduction ferent processes. He also worked as a
pump systems engineer with Union
Carbide’s Linde Division, now PRAX-
AIR. He has a bachelor’s degree in
chemical engineering from the
University of Buffalo.
Bob Manion is product manager
for magnetic drive and non-metallic
Circular Volute
pumps for Goulds Pumps Inc. He has
held marketing and sales management
positions related to developing, selling,
0 50 100 150 200 applying, and servicing centrifugal
Low Flow Operating Range–GPM pumps for 13 years. Mr. Manion holds
a bachelor’s degree in marketing from
Radial load curves. the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Systems, May 1993 and “How 8. Align equipment according to

Much NPSH Is Enough?” manufacturer specifications.
September 1993.
9. Select and install condition moni-
2. Provide a straight run twice the toring devices for sealless pumps.
length of the pipe diameter (2D)
to the pump suction flange to CONCLUSION
prevent added turbulence at the
Selecting a pump to improve relia-
impeller eye, which could lead to
bility will reduce emissions and operat-
premature (incipient) cavitation.
ing costs at the same time. Neither a
3. Install conventional or cartridge mechanically sealed ANSI pump
mechanical seals according to nor a sealless pump can be univers-
manufacturer recommendations. ally applied on every
process application. FIGURE 6
4. Meet seal flush requirements by
Make an informed deci-
providing an external flush at the
sion based on specific
necessary pressure and tempera-
service conditions and
ture, or add auxiliary piping for
total cost (initial +
flushing on the pump.
maintenance + operat-
5. Prepare the foundation before ing costs). To insure a
grouting the baseplate. return on investment, as
much time and effort
6. Select grout that will meet instal-
must be expended on
lation requirements.
the design of equipment
7. Select a baseplate to maximize installation as on pump
pump, seal, and motor reliability. selection. Although
Many vendors offer baseplates selecting equipment for
with enhancements such as .002 increased reliability and
in./ft flatness, leveling screws, reduced emissions may
motor alignment screws, continu- seem expensive in the
ous drip rims, and other features short term, it saves
designed to ease installation and money in the long run.
alignment and increase pump life. Work with manufactur- Recirculation circuit.

The Pump Handbook Series 105

Canned Motor Pumps
When the canned-motor pump • bearing wear monitors
is the choice to solve a specific • rotation indicators
pumping problem and control
• motor diagnostic devices
costs, the following points must be
considered to achieve satisfactory • bearing temperature sensors
results: • leak sensors
Any of the above may be rec-
There is seemingly never
ommended. The pump and motor
enough information available on
can also be fitted with a control
the chemicals to be handled. The device such as:
supplier must depend on the cus- • a water or steam jacket
tomer to provide this information,
but it is also very important that • a water-cooled heat exchanger
the supplier and the customer • a heat exchanger in the circu-
exhaust their resources in an lation line
attempt to anticipate what a chemi- • complete jacketing of the
cal will do inside the sealless pump and motor
pump. Will it cause corrosion, boil,
decompose, freeze, or polymerize? (Consider if the insulation will
Any of these properties can result create motor heat problems.)
in rapid failure unless anticipated. MAINTENANCE
APPLICATION AND METHOD OF The final consideration must be
OPERATION maintenance. Does the user have a
planned maintenance program?
Will the pump be used for
Does the user’s and supplier’s expe-
transfer, condensate return, reboil-
rience indicate more frequent main-
er, or batch operation? Will it be
tenance intervals than normal with
running continuously or intermit-
the chemical product in this particu-
tently? Will the location be remote,
lar mode of operation?
exposed to the elements, or in a haz-
Proper maintenance and
ardous location? How will the
replacement of less expensive bear-
pump be operated and what will ings and gaskets can prevent a
the process demand? Can the flow major failure and yield increased
range over the complete curve? Is it savings.
close to shut-off, which may require
a by-pass orifice? Or, conversely, CONCLUSION
will it occasionally pump at the Using a sealless pump can be
extreme right of the curve? This can easily justified due to the elimina-
result in cavitation and subsequent tion of leakage and emissions
failure if allowed to continue. All of because the value of the chemical
these factors, combined with the lost using a sealed pump can be
knowledge of the fluid pumped, calculated. But there are many
will determine the proper selection other factors that are more difficult
and modifications necessary for suc- to quantify, including housekeep-
cessful pump operation. ing costs, safety, odor, and public
DIAGNOSTICS AND CONTROL and employee relations. The major
elements leading to long-term sav-
Once the above factors have ings using sealless pumps is the up-
been determined, the user and sup- front analysis of the application
plier should agree on the type of and the supplier’s knowledge of his
diagnostic devices and process con- product. ■
trol that will assure a successful
installation. Diagnostics available Joe Cleary is the Vice President
include: (retired) of Sales for Crane Co.,
Chempump Division.

106 The Pump Handbook Series


Pump Buying Strategies


t first glance, pump require- Thus it’s no wonder that severe con-
ments don’t really seem that sequences await those who overlook
To get the right pump, all complicated. After all, a that simple fact!
pump only needs to: Another, perhaps not so obvious,
you have to do is decide • move a specified volume of fact is that the energy available at the
what you want, state those liquid through a given system suction side must provide a certain
• be energy efficient net margin over the liquid’s vapor
requirements clearly and • comply with any applicable laws pressure at the pump suction. This
regarding leakage net margin, called Net Positive
place your order with a • achieve certain mean time be- Suction Head Available (NPSHA), is
tween overhauls and replace- necessary to prevent cavitation — the
capable manufacturer. ment boiling of liquid in the system.
• be delivered on time with Cavitation impairs pump perfor-
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? complete documentation mance and shortens the service life of
• and all at minimal cost the pump. An excessive amount of
boiled-off vapor impairs the
It may sound simple at first, but machine’s hydraulic performance. In
it’s not. For example, some pump addition, the subsequent collapse of
purchasers may not know the vol- the vapor bubbles as they move to
ume of liquid their system handles. regions of higher pressure can cause
Reliability data is hard to come by, cavitation erosion.
too. With so many factors affecting To prevent these problems, you
pump life, mean time between over- must specify total system head accu-
hauls and replacement may not be rately. In most applications, you can
known. And the goals are conflicting. determine the normal pump flow and
Increased service life may also the static components of the total
increase energy consumption and head associated with ideal operation
FIGURE 1 purchase price. How do you sort of the plant or process at its design
through these factors? How do you output. Add estimated piping friction
determine what you need from a losses and control valve pressure
SYSTEM pump, develop a meaningful specifi- drop (if applicable) to find the total
cation for those requirements and system head for that capacity.
finally buy the right pump? The (Remember friction head varies as
3 answer is to take it one step at a time the square of the flow ratio.)
and follow a disciplined approach to Normal pump flow and static
pump specification and purchasing. components aren’t the whole story of
operating conditions. You must also
DETERMINING PUMP REQUIREMENTS factor in the range of operating condi-
ENERGY To write requirements for a tions your pump will be called on to
pump, you should review the basics perform under. Changes in operating
NPSH of pumps. Pumps are designed to conditions can be caused by:
move liquid against a hydraulic gradi- • process unit downturn
ent; in other words, to move liquid • flow swing to cover upset or
from the suction reservoir to the dis- transient
charge reservoir, which differ in ele- • change in static head as vessel
3 - PUMP DISCHARGE vation and/or pressure (Fig. 1). levels or pressures in both
4 - DISCHARGE POINT You can see immediately from change with time
the figure that the pump must supply • change in friction head as system
adequate energy to overcome the dif- fouls or scales or as discharge
ference in elevation and pressure vessel fills
along with the friction losses in the • pump wear
conduits on both sides of the pump. You use these data to compute
It’s obvious that the pump, as the the rated flow — the flow under
sole source of energy in the system, which your pump will need to oper-
must supply all the needed energy. ate. You then match the performance

The Pump Handbook Series 107

data (power, NPSHA, speed) quoted Formats for the specifications along with the total flow to be
by the manufacturer against the rated range from a very simple functional handled, the total head to be
flow. spec to a very elaborate functional developed, or the total power
You can set the rated flow to the design and manufacture. The simple absorbed. It can also incorporate
maximum rate at which your pump functional spec states only what the the physical size of the pump
will be called on to operate. But if the pump will be called on to do. You (often related to type of pump)
flow range is very wide (and you plan give complete freedom to the manu- and the required turndown in
to use a centrifugal pump), you might facturer for designing the pump. An flow when rated flow is high.
set the rated flow to the most fre- advantage to such a specification is • Service lives of the pump and
quent or efficient flow rate. In either that you can get very interesting various components (Items 12
case, once you set the rated flow and designs for unique pumping prob- through 15). These requirements
required operating flow lems. But, such specs are usually expressed as mean
range, you will need to can be difficult to write time between failure. As noted
look at the NPSHA for Stated NPSHA and you’ll need to evalu- earlier, data on the life of various
the pump at these flows. ate the engineering pump components are meager.
In addition to the should reflect a behind the bids careful- Thus, these requirements are
rated flow, you must ly. often not specified. Generally,
consider the range of value normally To avoid the back- antifriction bearings and the first
flow. Pumps cannot available, not end expenses of a simple stage impeller of high energy
operate across the entire functional specification centrifugal pumps are the only
range of flow from max- some possible (and since most pump- components for which minimum
imum flow to zero flow. ing requirements are rel- service lives are commonly
With the exception of minimum value atively straightforward), specified.
direct acting steam most pump buyers write • Materials of construction (Item
pumps, no pump has an with a hefty detailed functional 16). You’ll have to handle this
infinite range. Centri- hidden margin. requirements and manu- item since the pump manufac-
fugal pumps, the most facture specifications. turer does not control the pump-
common pump in use As a start, these ed liquid. If you have little or no
today, can operate under a wide specifications must address: experience pumping the partic-
range of flows if they are designed • operating environment ular liquid, manufacturers will
appropriately. Thus, set the flow mar- • liquid to be pumped suggest possible materials. But
gin to allow for process transients and • pump performance and life the only guarantee a pump
pump wear, but don’t set it larger • materials of construction manufacturer makes for
than necessary. And be sure the stat- • extent of supply materials is that they will
ed NPSHA reflects a value normally Many other items related to conform to their producing
available, not some possible mini- function, design and manufacture can specification.
mum value with a hefty hidden mar- be addressed (Table 1). The number • Extent of supply is an essential
gin. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself of requirements you choose to issue. (Items 7, 8, 22, 23, 25 and
with an unsuitable pump — an over- include will depend on the pumping 26). When faced with increasing
sized pump or one designed for application and your confidence in complexity and extent of specifi-
abnormally low NPSHA. the potential pump manufacturers. cations, many pump purchasers
Items you may want to pay spe- find it beneficial to summarize
DEVELOPING A MEANINGFUL SPECIFI- cial attention to include: extent of supply (also known as
CATION • Degree of redundancy (Item 4). terminal points or battery limits)
Once you determine the specifi- This item refers to the proportion in a list or diagram. That’s a good
cations for your pump, you need to of spare capacity the pumping idea. It helps you state more
communicate those specs to the man- arrangement has to provide in clearly what you need.
ufacturer in concise terms. the event one pump is lost. To simplify the specification, you
For the manufacturer to under- Typical values are 100, 50, 25 or should note all technical elements on
stand what you really want, your 0 percent. Most purchasers have a basic data sheet. And remember
specification must state, in an orderly design standards relating degree that the basic data sheet should be
manner, all the requirements you of redundancy to the type of just that — a sheet. Multi-page data
have for the pump. But that doesn’t service involved. sheets are unwieldy. If your system is
mean you should strive for a thick • Type of pump (Item 7). This complicated, cite and add supplemen-
specification document. The value of issue is complex, determined by tary sheets rather than cluttering the
the specification is not proportional to the hydraulic duty, the degree of basic data sheet.
volume or weight. If anything, the flow regulation required, and the Instead of building custom specs,
inverse is true. Overly long specifica- nature of the pumped liquid. some purchasers in particular indus-
tion documents often fail to state • Number of pumps (Item 7). This tries use general specifications issued
what the purchaser really wants. item incorporates the required by that industry (for example, ANSI
degree of redundancy (Item 4) B73.1M-1991, which addresses hori-
108 The Pump Handbook Series
zontal end suction pumps for chemi- The old catchall, “comply with • cancellation
cal process and API-610, 7th edition, applicable local, state, and federal • bankruptcy
which addresses centrifugal pumps rules and regulations,” doesn’t add Delivery period and terms of
for petroleum refining). Some buyers anything to the specification. payment should be of special interest
use these general specifications ver- Beyond technical requirements, to you. For example, if the delivery
batim, others use them as a base and the specification also must address period is too short, there arises the
add supplement covering changes the proposed terms of purchase or risk that somewhere in the manufac-
they wish to incorporate. commercial terms and conditions. turing of your pump, a shortcut or
A cardinal rule for any meaning- Although these items are generally two will be taken resulting in a pump
ful specification, whether home- the province of the purchasing that will not function adequately in
grown or based on an industry department, you, as a specifying engi- the field.
standard, is to avoid multiple tiered neer, should be aware of what is Also of interest to an engineer is
references to other specifications. involved. The major items covered in method of payment. By tying pay-
With more than one tier of refer- the terms and conditions are: ment to achieved manufacturing
ences, such specifications become too • delivery period or date milestones, you can expedite the
complicated to be meaningful. For • point of delivery manufacturing of your pump, and
example, when addressing govern- • liquidated damages thereby help to ensure on-time deliv-
ment regulations, be sure to identify • terms of payment ery.
and specify the exact rules and regu- • warranty
lations the equipment has to meet. • default BUYING THE PUMP

pump, it’s time to place the order.
Item Function Design Manufacture This process can go smoothly, if you:
• double check that the pump
1. Location and environment X you’re ordering is really the
2. Liquid pumped and properties X pump you want
3. Hydraulic duty X • order the pump in time to allow
4. Redundancy in pump arrangement X for orderly manufacture
5. Future performance margin X • have a post-award meeting, with-
6. Application margins X in one month of ordering, to
7. Type and number of pumps X ensure the order is clear and
8. Driver and arrangement X started
9. Minimum tolerable piping loads X • don’t change the order unless
safety or a major performance
10. Allowable seal leakage X
problem is involved
11. Allowable noise X The final three steps are self-ex-
12. Minimum pump life X planatory, but the first two deserve
13. Mean seal life X some explanation.
14. Bearing life and basis X Double checking your order is
15. Mean period between overhauls X especially important for complex
16. Materials of construction X units with an extensive specification.
17. Rotor design requirements X As a check, hold a pre-award meeting
18. Hydraulic design requirements X with the manufacturer to clarify the
19. Allowable stress X bid. If your unit includes major auxil-
20. Type of shaft seal X iary equipment or systems, review
21. Type of bearings and lubrication X and settle the basic unit plot plan at
this meeting.
22. Type of coupling X
Selecting a manufacturer can be
23. Type of base X done in one of two ways: specify-and-
24. Piping: systems required and construction X evaluate or partnership-purchasing.
25. Auxiliary systems: specification X Under the specify-and-evaluate
26. Instrumentation X method, you prepare a very detailed
27. Material tests X specification and issue inquiries with
28. Welding procedures approval X extensive data requirements, then
29. Inspection during manufacture X thoroughly evaluate the data in the
30. Component and equipment tests X resulting bids and purchase based on
31. Painting and inhibiting X the numerical results of the evalua-
32. Documentation X tion. The evaluation generally takes

The Pump Handbook Series 109

the form of a weighted matrix which To select the best manufacturer Engineers are not surprised by this;
includes: to work with you, you need to assess they know that technical endeavors
• energy consumption the caliber of the various manufactur- proceed best in a cooperative arrange-
• maintenance cost ers that make the class of pump ment.
• risk of lost production you’ve chosen. Your assessment The specify-and-evaluate method
• purchase price should cover each manufacturer’s: might help you find a company that
• delivery • order engineering and manufac- will furnish equipment nominally
Manufacturers are free to bid turing processes capable of the same function for less
whichever pump they feel meets • emphasis on quality as an inher- money (even when factoring in the
your specifications. That leaves you, ent facet of all processes cost of writing the specs and evaluat-
the purchaser, to make the final • product design philosophy ing the bids). But the issue isn’t just
determination of whether a pump • detail designs for and experience cost. The real value of partnership-
meets your requirements. Thus, with the class of pump required purchasing is innovation in design
you’ll need to build a rigorous inspec- After choosing the best manufac- and reliability of products.
tion regime into your selection turer to work with, you can negotiate Partnership-purchasing is actually the
process. Over time, you can build a prices for equipment according to way the pump industry used to oper-
list of acceptable bidders to help nar- some fixed relationship to published ate before competitive bidding
row the field. price lists. While you will incur some became so popular. As an industry,
Partnership-purchasing avoids costs in assessing manufacturers, this we, the suppliers and purchasers,
the cost of preparing an elaborate process is likely to be less expensive would do well to resurrect it. ■
specification, issuing inquiries, and for a major product or a period of two
evaluating bids. Under this method, or three years between assessments
you select one manufacturer to work than open bidding would be. J.T. McGuire is Director of
with and provide just a minimal spec- Which approach is better? For Marketing for the Huntington Park
ification. The manufacturer then innovation in design and reliability, Operations Division of the Ingersoll-
chooses the best pump for your I’ve found that partnership-purchas- Dresser Pump Company.
needs. ing yields distinctly better results
than specify-and-evaluate has.

110 The Pump Handbook Series


A Common Sense Approach to

Combating Corrosion and Abrasion

Photo 1. New and corroded centrifugal pump impellers.

single look at Photo 1, above, cult selections involve services pump- caused by the velocity of a liquid or
should be enough to convince ing corrosives and/or abrasives, and gas is commonly called erosion.
anyone of the destructive these are the major factors governing Corrosion-abrasion is a combina-
nature of corrosion and abra- which pump is chosen. tion of both corrosion and abrasion
sion on pumps, and lead to the ques- You don’t need to be a rocket that results in an accelerated attack
tion of how to prevent this from scientist to select a pump, and you on material. It is generally more
happening. don’t need a PhD in metallurgy to severe than either corrosion or abra-
This article should serve as either make some basic materials selections sion alone, due to the severe wear
a primer or a reminder of factors and understand the reasoning behind caused by the continuous abrasive
involved in properly selecting or trou- them. We all know that water will destruction of the passive protective
bleshooting a pump in corrosive and/or “rust” iron, acids “corrode” certain film built up by corrosion.
abrasive service. Historically, pump materials that come into contact with Table 1 shows the basic types of
selection has consisted of finding a them, and solids “wear” when corrosion. Corrosion and abrasion
pump that will, “pump stuff from here rubbed together; conversely, we take many forms, and numerous com-
to there,” or that will “deliver so many know that “stainless” steel is corro- binations of these forms exist.
gpm at such-and-such a head.” A sion resistant and that either a hard Detailed analysis of these combina-
greater degree of sophistication leads to or soft “rubber” material will resist tions can be quite complex and goes
“and that will hold up in acid,” or “and abrasion or wear. These simple facts beyond the scope of this discussion.
that will pump solids.” Obviously, the lead us to a closer examination of the
more that is known about the solution mechanisms of corrosive and abra-
being pumped, the more appropriate sive attack. There is no material that will
the pump selection will be. An interre- Corrosion is the wearing away withstand attack from all combina-
lationship exists where the chemical or deterioration of a material by tions of liquids and solids found in
and physical properties of the chemical or electrolytic action or pumped solutions. However, a basic
pumpage determines the materials of attack. knowledge of material categories will
construction, which dictates pump Abrasion is the wearing away of give us a general idea of what materi-
design, which affects pump perfor- a material caused by a solid rubbing als will and will not work in certain
mance, which in turn determines the or impinging on another. Abrasion environments, and then we can zero
proper pump selection. The more diffi- in on the right pump for a given job.

The Pump Handbook Series 111

FIGURE 1 It becomes obvious with exami-
nation of Table 2 that the mechanical
properties of a material determine the
design of a pump. Pumps constructed
of hard materials are more difficult to
design (flanges, stack tolerances, and
clearances), cast (sharp angles and
complex shapes), and machine (drill,
tap, and finish surfaces); non-metallics
may need to be reinforced, supported,
or protected with metal armor; and
thin or highly stressed components
must be made of strong materials.
Figure 1 shows a typical configu-
ration of both a chemical (corrosion
resistant) pump and a slurry (abrasion
resistant) pump. One can readily see
that the slurry pump’s hard metal
materials of construction dictate the
use of through-bolt construction
rather than drilled and tapped holes.
Less apparent are the facts that slurry
pumps are generally more massive
than chemical pumps; are designed
with open clearances, blunt edges,
and looser tolerances due to “as cast”
hard metal surfaces and the need to
handle solids; and are commonly
designed with metallic or nonmetallic
liners. As a result of these design con-
straints, slurry pump efficiencies suf-
fer, and in most cases are lower than
chemical process pump efficiencies.
Identification of materials that
can handle the liquid to be pumped
does not necessarily complete the
material selection process; quite often
this step leads to other considera-
tions. Options and compromises
almost always present themselves
with either chemical or slurry pumps
when comparing service life and
wear with cost and availability.
Wear. The chemical process industry
generally considers that any corrosion
rate equal to or less than 20 mils per
year is acceptable wear. This, howev-
er, may be considered excessive
depending on either pump design
(pump impellers with relatively thin
vanes and shrouds effectively see
double this wear rate because they
are totally immersed in the liquid and
therefore exposed to attack from both
Pump design comparison. On the top is a hard iron slurry pump sides) or a need for extended service
with side suction. The bottom is a stainless ANSI B73.1 chemical life for pumps in critical services and
pump with an expeller-type seal. inaccessible or remote locations.

112 The Pump Handbook Series

Cost. Some material costs TABLE 1. TYPES OF CORROSION
may be prohibitively high
and therefore lead to Type Characteristics Remarks
selection of less corrosion General Uniform attack over entire exposed surface Most common type of corrosion
resistant alternatives or a Erosion-Corrosion Corrosion accelerated by erosive action
lined rather than a solid of fluid or slurry vortex
material pump. Crevice Localized attack at crevices or Commonly found at gasketed or flanged
Availability. While mate- stagnant areas surfaces
rials such as 316 stainless Galvanic Occurs when two dissimilar metals are
steel, CD4 MCu, and immersed in a corrosive or conductive
Alloy 20 are commonly solution
stocked and available for Intergranular Grain boundary attack Weld decay is a type of intergranular
chemical pumps, alloys corrosion occurring in areas adjacent
such as monel and to a weld
Hastelloy are more likely Cavitiation Pitting on high pressure areas such as
to be special orders. impeller vane tips and/or low pressure
“Standard” materials of areas such as eye of impeller vanes or
construction vary from trailing edge of impeller vanes
manufacturer to manu- Pitting Localized accelerating attack by chlorides; Common in 304 and 316 SS, and A20
facturer. Depending on associated with stagnant conditions
the pump type and the Selective Leaching Dissolves one component of an alloy Zinc removed from brass or bronze is
manufacturer, material called dezincification; when grey cast iron
availability can vary is attacked, graphite is left undisturbed
anywhere from being in
stock to needing up to several months and recirculation result in increased
sive and abrasive, an acid sludge, for
lead time. liquid and solids contact with wetted
example, presents the greatest chal-
Lined or coated pumps and non- pump surfaces, as well as unpre-
lenge in pump selection. Many materi-
metallics offer possible solutions to the dictable angles of impingement.
als are essentially suitable to either
high cost and long lead times of non- corrosion or abrasion, but not to both; Proper pump selection, therefore, dic-
stock special metallic materials. titanium, for example, is a very strong, tates selection at or near the best effi-
Lining pumps is where nonmetallics corrosion-resistant material, but it is ciency point of the pump. Selection
really shine, and they are less expen- unsuitable for slurries because of its just to the left of best efficiency is
sive and more readily available than softness, and white iron is a very hard, considered good practice, as illustrat-
special metallics. However, just as abrasion-resistant material that is not ed by Figure 2.
there is no single metallic that is good practical for corrosive conditions. Non- Analysis can often trace the cause
for handling every solution pumped, metallic elastomers, on the other of pump problems to operating the
there is also no single nonmetallic for hand, may be used in a service that is pump at or too close to shut off (to the
all services. Each must be carefully both corrosive and abrasive. When far left of best efficiency) because the
selected to fit the service. selecting elastomers, consideration pump is oversized. Intentional over-
SLURRY PUMPS must be given to solids size and config- sizing may occur through the use of
uration, temperature, and a pump system design safety factors, selection
The selection of abrasion-resis- for future increases in performance,
design that must generally preclude
tant materials for slurry pumps, and using an existing pump without
liquid contact with any metallic armor
much the same as corrosion-resistant consideration of size. Unintentional
or reinforcing.
chemical pump material selection, oversizing may occur because of mis-
also involves consideration of service PUMP PERFORMANCE calculations or changes over time in
life (wear), cost, and availability. The efficiency of a pump as well the process or the piping system. The
Abrasion, unlike corrosion, is general- as the location of the operating point end result is the same; the pump is
ly combated by the use of either very on the pump performance curve is operating too far away from the best
hard materials or soft, resilient elas- often overlooked or ignored during efficiency point.
tomeric materials. Hard materials are pump selection. The location of the When analyzing pump perfor-
generally used for slurries with large operating point is overlooked more mance, we must think in terms of a
or sharp solids. Soft, resilient elas- often than the pump’s efficiency. pumping system rather than just the
tomeric materials are used for small This alone will contribute as much as pump. A system consists of the pump
or blunt solids. Once again, here we any other factor to pump failure and all the related piping, valves, and
find that non-metallic elastomers lend when abrasion or corrosion-abrasion process equipment on both the suc-
themselves for use as pump liners. are present. Efficiency is a measure- tion and discharge sides of the pump.
CHEMICAL-SLURRY PUMPS ment of smooth flow—and therefore All of these items directly affect the
reduced turbulence and recircula- pump performance in that the “sys-
It was mentioned earlier that a tion—within the pump. Turbulence tem curve” (which can be analytically
pumped solution that is both corro- derived from the pressure drop/resis-

The Pump Handbook Series 113

OPTIMUM The final selection decision is My thanks to Dr. George
made by the pump user. This decision Calboreanu, Chief Metallurgist,
BEST EFFICIENCY may be more subjective than analyti- Western Foundry, a division of A.R.
cal, but should include such factors as: Wilfley and Sons, for his materials
expertise and assistance in preparing
• Availability (of both pump and this paper. ■

• Maintainability
• Reliability John W. Rinard holds a bachelor’s
degree in industrial engineering from
• Service life
Texas A&M University. His experience
• Standardization
includes positions in Sales Engineering
• Cost
and Management with the Buffalo
Flow There are always trade offs. The Forge Company and the Duriron
Optimum pump selection user ultimately makes a selection
Company. He is presently with A.R.
results in a pump based on the priorities that best meet
the process needs. This paper has Wilfley and Sons.
operating just to the left of its
best efficiency point. presented an overview of corrosion
and abrasion factors that should be a
part of that selection process.
tance to flow across various in-line
hardware) dictates where the pump
will operate on its curve, the pump
point of rating. Less sophisticated
considerations include rules of thumb
such as:
• Keep the suc-
short and
straight as Typical Mechanical Properties
possible. Category Subcategory Material Typical Tensile Elongation
Hardness* Strength (Min % in 2")
• Slope the suc- (Min, psi)
tion piping Metallics Ferrous Steel 150 Brinell 70,000 22
toward the Ductile Cast Iron 160 Brinell 60,000 18
pump suction 27% Chrome 600 Brinell 80,000 Nil
when han- Stainless 304 SS 150 Brinell 70,000 35
dling slurries. 316 SS 150 Brinell 70,000 30
Centrifugal CD4MCu 225 Brinell 100,000 16
pumps tend to A20 125 Brinell 60,000 35
become unstable Hastelloy B/C 225 Brinell 75,000 20-25
the closer they Copper base Brass 60 Brinell 37,000 30
approach either Bronze 65 Brinell 35,000 18
shut off (zero flow) Miscellaneous Aluminum 130 Brinell 65,000 8
or maximum flow. Titanium (pure) 200 Brinell 80,000 18
This instability Zirconium (pure) 210 Brinell 55,000 12
may be manifest- Non-Metallics Elastomers Rubber (gum) 35 Durometer A 3,500 500
ed in cavitation, Neoprene 55 Durometer A 3,000 650-850
recirculation, and Urethane 75-95 Durometer A 4,500-7,500 250-900
turbulence. Recir- Plastics Teflon (PTFE) 50-65 Shore D 3,000-4,000 200-400
culation and tur- Epoxy (cast) M75-110 Rockwell 2,000-12,000 Nil
bulence can result Polypropylene R85-95 Rockwell 5,000 500-700
in a liquid temper- Ceramics Silicon Carbide 2,500 Knoop 44,500 Nil
ature rise in the Aluminum Oxide 1,000-1,500 Knoop 22,000-45,000 Nil
pump that can
cause accelerated There are numerous alloys, formulations, and compounds of metallics and non-metallics; those shown are typical and
corrosion as well are not to be considered all-inclusive.
as erosion-corro- *Conversion relationships of hardness scales/numbers are discussed in ASTM E140 and Metalcas