You are on page 1of 3


In modern process industries, the transportation of fluids, more specifically

liquids, is achieved via the use of pumps. Feed solutions, solvents and even liquid
utilities like cooling water are moved across different equipment and points in the
plant using pumps. Among its different types, centrifugal pumps are the most
commonly used. It is therefore of great importance that students learn the basic
operating characteristics of centrifugal pumps. This includes the relationship
existing among pump speed developed head, capacity and efficiency. One can also
explore the effects of operating identical pumps in series and in parallel and
eventually combine this knowledge its operating characteristics in order to
determine the best operating conditions possible.

There are two possible set-ups by which this experiment could be performed.
The ARMFIELD Series-Parallel pump Test Rig or the GILKES Parallel-Series Pump Test
Set. However, use only one set-up to perform this experiment, although both
procedures are given here.


1. To determine the operating characteristics of centrifugal pumps when

operated as a single pump; two identical pumps in parallel and two identical
pumps in series.
2. To determine the relationship among pump speed, developed head, capacity
and efficiency when operated as single pump.
3. To determine the relationship between developed head and capacity when
two identical pumps are operated in series and in parallel.
4. To determine different criteria in choosing and defining the most efficient
operating conditions of centrifugal pumps based on prepared characteristics


For certain requirements a pump or system of pumps must be carefully

selected so that under normal operating conditions the speed and capacity will be
compatible with the system. This will insure that efficiency is maximized. The
selection is complicated due to the availability of different designs that may be
applicable for a specific need, see Fig. 2 and 3. However, selecting from different
types of pumps will provide a variation in characteristics. It is necessary therefore,
that these characteristics be thoroughly known before one invests on a particular
pump. Also, under certain conditions it may be advantageous to install pumps in
series or in parallel. When pumps are installed in series or parallel it is very
important that they have reasonable similar head capacity characteristics
throughout their range of operation; otherwise, one pump will carry most of the load
with the other pump acting as a hindrance rather than a help. In fact, in parallel
arrangement, if the operating characteristics of the pump are quite different, a
condition of backflow can occur in one of the pumps. Finally, one must be sure that
the selected pumps will not encounter cavitation problems over the full range of
operating conditions.

Consider certain pump in a piping system in the Figure 4. The pump imparts
mechanical energy to the fluid. The liquid transported at a constant volumetric flow
rate and desired pressure to the discharge end.

If we apply a mechanical energy balance around the pump defined by

stations (S), suction side and (d), the discharge end, we get

W =W pF p= Z +

V2 P
+ F


Since F is very small, equation (1) may be written as


W = d +Z d + d s + Z s + s




The terms in parentheses are called total heads and are, denoted H, that is,

H = Pressure head + Static head + Velocity head

Here, the discharge head,

V 2
+ Zd+ d


+Z s+ s





and the suction head.


Developed Head

To determine the developed head or manometric head generated by pump

using the measured values given by the gauges which are distant from the pressure
taps, certain corrections will have to be made. Also, the size of the pipes in the
suction and discharge sides is different.

If the reference point in Figure 4 is taken at the suction point, (s), then Z s = 0.