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School of Mechanical Engineering

University of Western Australia

Thermofluids TF306

Pump Application, Operation and Specification

Melinda Hodkiewicz
Extension: 7911, Room G55

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 1 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
1.1. Outcomes of the course
• Review basic fluid dynamics equations as they relate to pumps
• Understand how pumps work
• Develop competence to select and size a centrifugal pump for a particular application
• Appreciate the effect of assembly, installation and operating practices on the life cycle of a centrifugal

• Centrifugal pumps 2nd ed., Karassik and McGuire
• Fundamentals of Fluid Dynamics, Gerhart and Gross
• Centrifugal Pumps - Design and Application 2nd ed, Lobanoff & Ross
• FM200 lecture course notes,
• Introduction to Fluid Mechanics - Fox and McDonald MPSL 620.106 1998 INT/1992 INT
• Fundamentals of Thermal-Fluid Sciences – Cengal and Turner MPSL 621.402 2001 FUN

Useful web references

• Pumps&Systems
• API 610:
• Links
• Software
• Warman Slurry pumps-
• Gould pumps
• GE
• Pump types:

Vendor references
• Crane Technical Paper 410(metric)
• Flow of Fluids through valves, fittings and pipes
• Goulds Pump manual GPM6
• Basic Principles for the Design of Centrifugal pump installations (SIHI)
• Sulzer Centrifugal pump handbook
• Warman Slurry Pumping Handbook
• Cameron Hydraulic data

1.2. Review theoretical fluids concepts

This section was adapted from an Honours Project by Alicia Webb in 2003.

Four main theoretical concepts introduced in the pump course are

• The conservation of mass
• The conservation of linear momentum
• The conservation of angular momentum
• The conservation of energy (including Bernoulli’s equation)

An understanding of these concepts is important for an understanding of pump systems, which are a major
component of industrial plants.

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 2 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
1.2.1. The conservation of mass

Rate at which the mass = Rate at which mass enters - Rate at which mass leaves
accumulates in the control the control volume the control volume

Mathematically this is written as ….

dt in out

where m & = mass flow rate (kg/s)

For an incompressible fluid passing through a fixed control volume
Rate at which mass enters region = rate at which mass leaves control volume Q=v1A1 = v2A2

where v is the velocity of the fluid

A is the cross sectional area of the control volume through which the fluid flows.
1 is the entry to the control volume
2 is the exit of the control volume

1.2.2. Conversion between head and pressure

From first principles (Conservation of mass) p = p0 + ρ gz

Where z = height of the fluid and p = pressure measured at the base of the fluid. For example, a column of cold
water (15 deg C) 10.2m high produces 1 bar pressure at its base.

1.2.3. Velocity profiles

According to laminar flow theory, the velocity of fluid in a pipe has a parabolic profile as shown below:

Figure: Laminar flow profile

In piping systems the flow is usually turbulent. Turbulent flow also has a rounded velocity profile, but rather
than a parabolic shape, the curve is flatter as shown below:

Figure: Turbulent flow profile

1.2.4. Laminar and Turbulent Flow

• Laminar Flow occurs at very low velocity or with high viscosity fluids. This is often visualised as
streaks of colored fluid flow in straight lines.

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 3 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
• Turbulent Flow flow occurs above critical velocity and involves the irregular, random motion of the
fluid particles
• Reynolds Number (Re) determines laminar or turbulent flow and depends on pipe diameter, flow
velocity, density and viscosity of the fluid.

Re = Vdρ/µ d=pipe ID (mm), v=flow velocity (m/s), ρ=density kg/m3, µ=viscosity (cP).

Flow is considered if laminar if Re < 2000, turbulent if Re > 4000, critical zone 2000<Re<4000. Reynolds
number is used in the calculation of friction factor for friction loss of fluids flowing in pipes

1.2.5. Conservation of linear momentum

Mathematically this is written as

dPsys  
= ∑ Fext , j +  ∑ mV
& i i − ∑ m& eVe 
dt j  in out 

External forces are those applied without mass flow across the control boundary. Surface forces due to pressure
and body forces f ( ρ , g , V ) . For steady state conditions

Fbody + Fsurface = ∑ m& eVe − ∑ m& iVi

exit in

This has applications in piping systems for calculations such as the force exerted on the pipe flange by fluid
moving through an elbow. It can also be used to derive Bernoulli’s equation from 1st. principles (see any Fluids

1.2.6. The conservation of energy

In pipe flow, as with any situation, energy is conserved from one point in fluid flow to another. The energy can
be in the form of kinetic energy (KE), potential energy (PE) or internal energy (IE).
[Rate of heat transfer in]+[Rate of work done on sys]=[Rate of increase of IE +KE + PE]

Mathematically this is written as for steady, uniform, incompressible flow as (where u is specific internal

Q& − W& = ∑ m& (u + + z)
net 2g

This is the steady state general energy equation as presented earlier in Thermo section of this course and AT200.

W& is the rate of work done by (+) or on (-) the control volume W& = W& shaft + W& normal .stress + W& shear .stress

Shaft work rate is transmitted by the rotating shaft W& shaft = Tω (shaft torque x rotational speed)
Shear work rate is the product of shear stress, area and fluid velocity component parallel to the control surface.
With pumps the control surfaces lie adjacent to solid boundaries where the fluid velocity is zero. In this case
there is no shear work although there may be shear stress.

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 4 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
Normal stress work can be written in most situations as a function of the pressure acting on the control surface
W& pressure = ∑ p
net ρ
In pump/piping problems it is conventional to assume to that hL = −Q& m
& g where hL is the heat dissipated as
friction by fluid contacting the pipe wall in units of metres.

Making these substitutions

p V2
W& S = ∑ m& (u + + + zg ) + m& ghL
net ρ 2

This is commonly written as in terms of Power required at the shaft to drive a centrifugal pump. For pumps it is
assumed that u e −u i = 0
 ( p − pi ) (Ve2 − Vi 2 ) 
W& S = m& g  e + + ( z 2 − z1 ) + hL  PUMP SYSTEM SIZING EQUATION
 ρg 2g 
This is the foundation equation for sizing pumps used in unit and we will spend time discussing how to
determine the values in this equation.

If one is dealing with a compressor substitute for the internal energy with u e −u i = cv (Te − Ti ) and use the ideal
gas law p ρ = RT
For systems with no friction we have the MECHANICAL ENERGY EQUATION

 ( p − pi ) (Ve2 − Vi 2 ) 
W& S = m& g  e + + ( z 2 − z1 ) where Mechanical Energy is that which can be converted to
 ρg 2g 
mechanical work completely by a mechanical device such as a turbine or pump.

1.2.7. Bernoulli’s equation

Bernoulli’s equation is a special case of the conservation of energy equation.

Special conditions for use: inviscid and incompressible fluids, steady flow, constant density, no mechanical
work and no friction

It is derived from the previous equation for the special case when W& S = 0 and hL = 0.
p1 V12 p V2
+ + z1 = 2 + 2 + z 2
ρg 2 g ρg 2 g

The terms in this equation are referred to as, pressure head, velocity head and static head respectively.
Dimensional analysis will show that all three terms are in meters.

1.2.8. How to measure the velocity in a pipe?

Due to layers of fluid shearing across each other, the velocity of a liquid is maximum in the centre of the flow,
and zero at the pipe wall. This means that the pressure due to velocity at the pipe wall is zero. Thus, head due to
velocity can be measured as the difference between the head at the centre of the pipe and the edge (See Figure).
Physically this can be done using a pitot tube for the centre reading and a piezometer for the pipe wall reading.
This can be seen in the test facility in the CWR Fluids laboratory.

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 5 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
The term ‘head’ relates fluid pressure in a pipe to the meters of water that would push up an open topped tube.
Head depends on the density of the fluid and the density of air and is the sum of the static head, velocity head
and pressure head.

The velocity can be estimated from the pressure difference between the fluid at the side wall and the stagnation
pressure at the centre of the pipe. From Bernoulli’s equation

p1 V12 p
+ = 2 ; where p2 is pressure at the stagnation point and p1 and V1 are the pressure upsteam.
ρg 2 g ρg 2

V12  p 2 − p1 
= =h
2 g  ρg 
Thus the velocity at a point in the pipe is equal to the square root of the height difference between the tubes
multiplied by 2g. v = 2 gh

Height (h) due to

piezometer velocity

Fluid flow Pitot tube

Figure: Measuring the head due to velocity

1.2.9. Conservation of Angular Momentum

The conservation of angular momentum principle when applied to the shaft of a pump can be used to show that
torque is transformed to a change in velocity of fluid through the impeller. This is done from first principles
using the equation below:

dL0 sys  
= ∑ M 0, j +  ∑ m& i ( ri × Vi ) − ∑ m& e ( r ×e Ve ) 
dt j  in out 
This equation can be written in scalar form to illustrate its application to pumps. The fixed coordinate system is
chosen with the z axis aligned with the axis of rotation of the machine. The fluid enters the rotor at a radial
location ri with uniform velocity Vθi and exits at re with absolute velocity Vθe. Thus the equation above becomes:
W&M = ωTSHAFT = m& ω reVθe − rV
i θi )
where Tshaft is the shaft torque
m is the mass flow rate
r is the radius
Vθ is the tangential component of the absolute fluid velocity
e is the exit of the impeller

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 6 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
i is the inlet of the impeller

This is Euler’s turbomachinery equation, which is used to calculate the hydraulic power a pump is supplying,
which in turn can allow the calculation of pump efficiency

Also presented in terms of theoretical head

H Theo = (U 2Vθ 2 − U 1Vθ1 )

This figure shows the inlet and exit radii, and the
tangential components of the fluid velocity Vθ at
the inlet and exit. It should be noted that the fluid
velocity V is not the same as U = ωr the velocity
of the impeller.
It is conventional is pump design to describe flow
passing through the impeller in velocity terms
relative to the rotating coordinate system of the
rotating impeller. This is best done using
“velocity triangles”.

1.2.10. Velocity triangles

Leading edge of impeller blade
Using vectors W + U = V Figure: Impeller velocity components
W is (relative) coordinate system fixed to the impeller
U is absolute coordinate system

At the impeller entry (1) Vθ 1 = U 1 − W1 cos β 1

Angular velocity ω

And Vr1 = W1 sin β 1

V1 W1
Radius (r1)
There are similar equations at the exit.

For an impeller of exit width b2 with Volume α1 β1

flow rate Q then Q=2π.r2.b2.Vr2 Vθ1
U1 Vr1


Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 7 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
1.1. Centrifugal Pump Generic design

There are many different styles of centrifugal pumps, but they can essentially be divided into three broad groups
a. horizontal or vertical
b. single impeller (end suction/split case, single volute, double volute, double suction) or multi-stage
impeller designs
c. Impeller design: Radial, mixed flow, axial. Open and closed, semi open designs.

The governing principles of all centrifugal pumps are the same but the design details vary.

Examples of the different designs are given below … detail.asp?ModelID=102

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 8 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
1.2. Main Centrifugal Pump components

• Volute/Housing
• Impeller
• Shaft and sleeve
• Mechanical seal or packing
• Bearing housing, bearings and seals
• Coupling
• Motor
• Foundation and baseplate

Ref: C.Dean UWA Honours thesis 2001 – from Goulds Pumps

Ref: Goulds Pumps – this is the pump on the PUMP TEST RIG (Engine lab)

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 9 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
1.3. Typical Pump Installation

Figure : Typical pump layout (Extracted from Karrasik “Centrifugal Pumps”)

Look at this in the context of the Pump System sizing equation given earlier
W& S  ( p e − p i ) (Ve2 − Vi 2 ) 
HP = = + + ( z 2 − z1 ) + h L 
m& g  ρg 2g 

Identify from the layout given above how each of the contributions to the equation.

One very important point obvious from this equation is that the power draw on a centrifugal pump is dependent
on the SYSTEM in which the pump is installed.

1.4. Sizing a Centrifugal Pump

In order to correctly size a pump for a particular application it is necessary to understand the system in which it
is installed. One selects a pump based on its ability to supply the required flowrate for the system. The operating
point of a pump is set by the intersection of the PUMP curve (specific to the pump) with the SYSTEM curve
(defined by the piping system, tank elevation, over-pressures etc)

1.5. Steps involved in selecting and sizing a pump

1. Determine flowrate
2. Obtain fluid property information
3. Design piping system
4. Determine the System Head Curve
5. Decide on duty point
6. Calculate Power required and Specific speed values
7. Calculate Net Positive Suction Head available
8. Develop pump specification sheet
9. Select a pump
10. Evaluate pump selection

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 10 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
1.5.1. Step 1: Determine flowrate/pump

• Determined by process engineers/designers

• Determine number of pumps required (function of criticality)
• Define realistic maximum and minimum flowrates

1.5.2. Step 2: Determine Fluid property information

• Density, specific gravity, Dynamic or Absolute viscosity, Kinematic viscosity, Density (ρ (Rho) = mass/unit
volume, SI units kg/m3).
• Water density at 20 deg C = 1000 kg/m3
• Specific weight γ = ρg , Weight of fluid per unit volume.
• Specific gravity S= ρ/ ρH20.
• Dynamic (Absolute) Viscosity µ . Shear stress = µ x strain rate. Newtonian fluids obey this rule. Units 1
cp(centipoise) = 10-3 Pa s. 1 Pa s = 1 N s/m2 = 1 kg/(ms). Viscosity varies greatly with temperature. Use
engineering tables and Formula sheet.
• Absolute viscosity examples. Water at 15 deg C = 1.0 cp, 60 deg C = 0.47 cp, 100 deg C = 0.3 cp, Gasoline
at 15 deg C = 0.6 cp, SAE 10 Lube at 60 deg C = 12cp, SAE 70 Lube at 60 deg C = 120cp
• Kinematic Viscosity is the Ratio of viscosity to density ψ = µ/ρ, Units 1 m2/s = 106 cSt (cSt = centristokes)

Why is viscosity important?

• Increase viscosity - increase losses - less head generated - lower efficiency
• Effect is greater on smaller pumps due to smaller internal passage dimensions
• Used to calculate the Reynolds Number which determines the set of pump equations to use

1.5.3. Step 3: Design piping system

Select pipe sizes

• This is a compromise between installation costs and running costs.
• Small diameter pipes lead to high line velocities and friction losses.
• Elbows and fittings also result in friction losses
• Suction piping design is critical to avoid creating swirl/uneven flow at the pump suction

Reminder: Calculation of line velocity v = Q/A = 4Q/(πD2),

v = line velocity m/s, Q = flow rate cu.m/s, A = inside pipe area sq.m, D = inside diameter m

Guidelines for line velocity

Suction piping (water) = 1.2-2.1 m/s, Discharge piping (water) =1.2-3.0 m/s,
Slurry piping (mining) = 1.5-2.5 m/s but there are special considerations due to limiting settling velocity
(Durand’s Formula).
Discharge piping (hydrocarbons)= 1-7 m/s

Friction losses in pipes

Resistance to flow as liquid moves through pipe results in loss of head. This friction loss hL is measured in m.
Resistance is due to viscous shear stresses within the liquid and friction losses at contact of moving fluid and
pipe wall

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 11 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
 L  V 
hL = f ( L, d , V ,υ ) = f (Re)    
 d   2g 

Darcy’s Formula for friction loss in pipes

For turbulent flow
hL = f (v2/2g) (L/D)
hL = pressure drop or friction loss in m, f=friction factor, L=length of pipe (m), v=line velocity (m/s), D= pipe ID
From the Mechanical Energy Equation when z1=z2, V1=V2, and Hp = 0, then

L V2 
( p1 − p2 ) = hL = f    
ρg  D   2g 

• Friction loss depends on fluid velocity, pipe ID and roughness.

For a fixed flow and friction factor ∆P proportional to Q2/ D5

5% reduction in diameter = 29% pressure increase. Care with lines prone to scale, slurry build up etc

Darcy’s formula is valid for turbulent and laminar flow only if line pressure >> vapour pressure of the liquid ie
NO cavitation

For laminar flow

 64   L   V 
hL =    
 Re   D   2 g 

Friction Factor f
The friction factor is determined experimentally. For laminar flow f=64/Re.
For turbulent flow f depends on Re also the relative roughness ε/d. ε = roughness of pipe wall, d = pipe diameter
Need to see appropriate table
Examples for the Friction factor values for clean commercial pipe with turbulent flow, see Pump Formula sheet.

Darcy’s Formula for friction loss valves and fittings

hL = f (v2/2g) (L/D)=K(v2/2g)
• Calculated using resistance coefficients K multiplied by V2/2g. K is determined experimentally by pressure
loss tests, see appropriate charts for values. K= f (L/D)
• Examples of K values
• Can be expressed as a total value for a particular size of a function of f.
• Accurate K values are supplied by the manufacturer but generic values are available in tables
• For example: 4" Gate valve K=0.14 or 8f where f is dependant on line size and material, 4" Butterfly valve
K=0.77 or 45f
• Contraction and enlargement losses
• Sudden enlargement. K = (1 - d12/d22)2
• Subscript 1 and 2 represent small and large ID respectively

Sudden contraction. K = 0.5(1 - d12/d22)2
• See references for gradual enlargement/ contraction

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 12 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
Summary for Friction Loss calculation

  L   V 2    L   V 2 
hL = ∑  f     + ∑  f    
  d   2 g   pipe   d   2 g   fittings

This can also include the entrance and exit losses if they are significant

Note on Hazen Williams

The Darcy-Weisbach method is the technically correct method however many engineers use Hazen Williams
which is convenient and produces reliable results for water with turbulent flow
See reference book for equation and C factors. Widely used for simple flowsheet calculations

Pipe Friction loss Tables

Pipe friction losses = x m/100 m pipe for a specific pipe ID, material and line velocity and temperature. Depends
on material, condition and age
For example the friction loss of 700 l/s water through 4” Sched 40 steel pipe is 0.194 bar per 100 m or 1.98
m/100 m pipe

1.5.4. Step 4: Determine System Head Curve

For a new pump installation you will need

• P&ID (Piping and Instrumentation Drawing, Symbols AS 1101.6),
• GA (General arrangement) plan and elevation,
• Flowsheet,
• Isometric drawings

W& P ( pout − pin ) (V out − V in )

2 2

HP = − = + + ( zout − zin ) + hL
& ρg 2g

Total Suction Head

h(s)= p(s) +V2s/2g+ z(s) - hL(s) - h(i)

z(s) = static suction head, hL(s) = total friction loss in suction line, h(i) = entrance loss, p(s) = pressure other than
atmospheric in suction tank in m, h(s) = total suction head

Total Discharge Head

h(d)= p(d) + V2d/2g+ z(d) + hL(d) + h(e)

z(d) = static discharge head, hL(d) = friction loss in discharge line, h(e) = exit loss, hP(d) = overpressure in
discharge tank in m, h(d) = total discharge head

Note: the friction loss is SUBTRACTED on the suction side but ADDED on the discharge side … WHY?

Total Head (Hp)

H = h(d) - h(s)

For an existing pump installation you will need a set of pressure gauges

The pressure P on a gauge located close to the flange of the suction of the pump will measure

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 13 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
P = p atm + p ( s ) + ρg ⋅ z ( s ) − hL ( s )
The conversion to ‘head’ and addition of the suction velocity head will give a value for the total suction head

The total discharge head can be calculated in the same way.

The difference between these values in the Total Head on the pump

Total Head = [Disch gauge + Vel Hd (at DG)] - [Suction gauge + Vel Hd (at SG)]
All gauge readings converted to m and corrected to pump centreline

Draw System Curve

System curve determined by Total Head (m) at different flow rates (below, design and above design)

Flow (m3/hr) Total Head (m)

0 (Static head) 18
60 25
100 48
110 56

Superimpose System Curve on Pump Curve on earlier pages

1.5.5. Step 5: Decide on a Duty Point

Duty Point is expressed as the calculated Head for the desired Flowrate
For example 120 l/s at 58m head
Determine high and low operating flow points

1.5.6. Step 6: Calculate Power required, Efficiency and Specific Speed

Power : Hydraulic power is work done by a pump in moving the liquid.

W& P = ρ gQH P

Efficiency: η = Hydraulic Power/Power input to the pump from the motor

ηP = W&P W&M

Efficiency depends on energy loss due to

• leakage (recirculation around the impeller outlet to inlet, internal to the pump)
• hydraulic losses (viscosity and non-uniform flow)
• mechanical losses (friction losses in the bearings and seals)

Specific speed: Ns = ϖ(Q)½/(h)¾; (h=gH units of L2/T2, ϖ in rad/sec)

Specific speed values

Many design charts are a function of Ns. As Ns increases
• Impeller shape changes from radial to axial
• Lower head per stage
• Blade loading increases
• Maximum velocity increases

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 14 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
• Tendancy to cavitate increases
Low Ns values: radial impellers, large diameter, narrow profile, high head per stage
Medium Ns: Francis vane impellers, low diameter to profile ratio, low head-high volume
High Ns mixed flow impellers
Very high Ns axial flow impeller

Suction specific speed: Nss = n (Q*)1/2/(NPSHR*)3/4

n=rpm; Q*=Flow gpm;H*=Head ft; NPSHR* (ft) [The gpm is per impeller eye]
Nss is a function of NPSH required. Modifying the diameter of the impeller eye, increase the flow, reduces the
NPSH required but increases the value of Nss. This causes a reduction in the low flow capability of the pump.

1.5.7. Step 7: Calculate NPSH available

An acceptable margin of NPSHA - NPSHR must be maintained over the entire operating range to prevent
CAVITATION. Cavitation is caused by the local vaporisation of a fluid when the static pressure drops below the
vapour pressure. The small bubbles filled with vapour that form in the low pressure region (suction eye of the
pump) will collapse on moving into high pressure regions (inside the impeller). This "implosion" causes pitting
on the metal surface, vibration and a drop in efficiency.

For NPSH calculation must understand difference between absolute and gauge pressure
• Absolute pressure = Gauge pressure + Atmospheric pressure at elevation
• Standard barometric pressure is 1.01325 bar or 760 mm Hg and changes with elevation above sea level.
• Gauge pressure is pressure above barometric pressure
• Convert gauge pressure readings to m by (x 0.102/SG)
• Absolute pressure always refers to perfect vacuum as base

NPSH available
• Net positive suction head is the absolute suction head at suction nozzle corrected to datum less the vapour
pressure of the liquid at operating temperature. Determines at what point liquid will vaporize at the lowest
pressure point of the pump (cavitation) and is characteristic of the system. NPSHA varies with capacity and
is always positive
• For flooded suction,
 p + patm 
• NPSH A =  zsuction + suction − hL ( suction )  − hVP ( abs )
 ρg 
• hvp(abs) = head in m corresponding to the ABSOLUTE vapour pressure of the liquid at the temperature being
pumped. This is determined from Tables of vapour pressure (usually given in bar)
• Vapour pressure water at 15 C = 0.17m abs at sea level, 100 C = 10.3 m abs

NPSH required
• Characteristic of pump design and represents the minimum margin required between suction head and
vapour pressure. NPSHR varies with capacity. It is determined by manufacturer and verified by NPSH pump
test. NPSHR depends on impeller design, flow rate, rpm, liquid and other factors
• There should be a margin (at least 1m though depends on application between NPSHA and NPSHR)

1.5.8. Step 8: Develop Pump Specification Sheet

1.5.9. Step 9. Select a short-list of suitable Pumps from different manufacturers

1.5.10. Step 10: Evaluate Pump Selection

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 15 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
• Match Pump and System curve
• Determine Efficiency and NPSH margin
• Compare efficiency, NPSH margin, and off design performance of different pumps
• Determine materials to be used based on fluid properties
• Consider vendor technical support and spare parts issues
• Consider preferred vendor supply contracts

Affinity Laws
Use of the affinity laws to select the optimum impeller diameter and/or pump rotating speed (if a variable
frequency drive or sheave drive system is appropriate)

Allows for performance at one speed to be predicted from known performance at known speed (or impeller
Q = Q1 (n/n1) = Q1 (D/D1)
H = H1 (n/n1)2 = H1 (D/D1)2
P = P1 (n/n1)3 = P1 (D/D1)3
n/D = new desired speed rpm/diameter. n1D1=speed rpm/diameter for known characteristics Q1, H1 and P1

Parallel and Series Operation

In order to supply sufficient head or volumetric flow it may be necessary to place pumps in series or in parallel
Pumps in parallel: the combined pump curve is obtained by adding the capacities of the individual pumps at the
same head
Pumps in series (the first pump discharge into the suction of the second pump): the combined pump curve is
obtained by adding the head of the individual pumps at the same capacity.

Selection of Mechanical Seal type or Gland packing arrangement

Aim of both is to prevent leaking of pumpage out
of the volute
Mech seals consist of a stationary and a rotating
face pressed together under mechanical and
hydraulic pressure to prevent leakage. Mech seals
are standard in API and ANSI applications
Packing still widely used in slurry applications

Mechanical Seal (courtesy of J.Sikorska)

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 16 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
1.6. Potential source of pump problems
Design (Critical speed - lateral/torsional)
Application/ Sizing (Low NPSHA, Off-BEP)
Assembly (Bearings, Looseness, Vane pass, Unbalance)
Installation (Alignment, Looseness, Soft foot)
Operation (Pulsations, Turbulence, Cavitation, Recirculation, Piping resonance)
Each of these will result in vibration and other problems if not engineered correctly

Operational problems
Theoretically as long as NPSH(A) >> NPSH(R) then a centrifugal pump can operate over a wide range of
capacities however the exact capacity is determined by intersection of pump head-capacity curve with the system
head curve. Can vary pump curve by changes in speed or system curve by throttling valves however operation is
only optimum at one point called BEP

Off design conditions

Is any condition when a pump delivers flow in excess or below the capacity at best efficiency BEP

Operation at high flow

Results from oversizing the pump. Oversized pumps usually require throttling to move the operating point back
up the curve, this results in higher power consumption. If not throttled, higher flows can result in NPSH
problems. High flow situation also happen when two pumps are in parallel and one is taken out of service

Occurs when NPSHr>NPSHa
Causes impeller damage on visible side of vanes due to implosions (collapsing of the bubble). Identified by loud
continuous noise “pumping rocks" and high vibration
Avoid cavitation by increase NPSHA or decreasing NPSHR
Increase NPSHA by raising suction level, lower pump, reduce friction losses in suction, Subcool liquid
Decrease NPSHr by using slower speed (or variable freq drive), installing a double suction impeller, increasing
impeller eye area, using an oversize pump or installing an inducer ahead of impeller

Operation at low flow

A Reduction in demand results in throttling at pump discharge and the operating point moves up the curve
towards shut off. This causes recirculation resulting in hydraulic unbalance, vane passing forces, effects from
recirculation through wear rings, suction and discharge recirculation within the impeller, rotating stall,
cavitation, surge and system instabilities. These combine to cause pressure fluctuations, surging and vibration.

1.7. Typical pump fault conditions

Mechanical Looseness
Bearing damage/failure
Pump operating problems
Vane passing

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 17 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004
1.8. Positive Displacement pumps

• Used when flows are low and required pressure high

• Often used for viscous liquids and for those requiring a shear free action
• Inherently leak resistant design
• Provide a fixed displacement per revolution. Pump will develop as much pressure as required to overcome
discharge pressure up to the point where motor trips or relief valve opens.
• Often require discharge pulsation dampeners and suction stabilisers, generally pressurized vessels with a
gas-liquid interface.
• Acceleration Head H(ac) represents energy required accelerate the column of fluid (m)
• API standards 674, 675 and 676.
 p + patm 
• NPSH A =  zsuction + suction − hL ( suction )  − hVP ( abs ) minus H(ac)
 ρg 
• H(ac) = LsvsC/Kg, where Ls and vs are the length of and velocity in the suction line.
• C=constant dependant on type of pump, 0.4 for simplex single acting, 0.2 for simplex double acting, 0.2 for
duplex single acting. See appropriate reference for full list
• K=factor for the relative compressibility of liquid (eg.K=1.4 for hot water, 2.5 for hot oil)

Examples: Main types: Rotary, Reciprocating, Gear

Pump Application, Operation and Specification Melinda Hodkiewicz

Page 18 of 18 UWA Mechanical 3rd yr Thermofluids course Version 1 2004