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Part Four

MECHANICAL
OPERATIONS

One o f the characteristics o f the petroleum industry is that it handles large


amounts o fproducts which are usually in liquid or gas form. As a result, the equip-
ment required to transport or circulate these fluids is essential and specific
equipment such as pumps and compressors is found at each elementary step in
all refining processes.
A variety o f basic physical principles are involved in causing a fluid to move,
with the most frequently used being:
mechanical displacement (positive-displacement pumps, piston compres-
sors),
centrifugal force (centrifugal compressors and pumps),
transfer o f momentum (ejectors).
Mixing operations also involve producing fluid flow with specific equipment
called mixers.
The different types o f equipment that accomplish all these operations will be
covered in this part, i.e. pumps, compressors, ejectors and mixers.
Pumps
@mpressors Jean-Claude Bouricet
Andrt? Charbonnier
mrbines Patrick Friez
wd'jectore Murtial Nuudin
Pierre Trambouze

8.1 Pumps
Pumps allow liquids to be circulated and are found in different forms in refin-
ing units. They can be classified into two main categories:
centrifugal pumps and
positive displacement pumps.

Category Type Structure

Centrifugal Single-stage Volute


Diffuser
Multi-stage Regenerative
Vertical
Helico-centrifugal
Axial flow

I Positive
~

Rotary Gear
Screw
Vane

Reciprocating Piston
Diaphragm
Plunger
492 Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS
LIVE GRAPH
Click here to view

There are a great many subgroups as indicated in Table 8.1. Choosing


among the different types depends on numerous parameters, some of the
most important being the capacity (flow rate in m3/h), the pressure head that
is generated by the pump, the type of liquid pumped (in particular its viscos-
ity and vapor pressure under inlet conditions). An initial selection is generally
made on the basis of the first two criteria mentioned, i.e. the capacity and the
pressure generated. The centrifugal pump is often the only possible choice for
high capacities, whereas positive displacement pumps are better suited to
generating high pressure differences (Fig. 8.1).
Other criteria such a s the viscosity of the pumped liquid can modify this
initial choice. A positive displacement pump is generally recommended to
pump liquids with a viscosity higher than 2000 cP. In actual practice there are
often situations where the choice requires taking other parameters, in partic-
ular economic ones, into account. Figure 8.1 shows the approximate range
of operation generally covered by the main types of pump mentioned in
Table 8.1.

0.1 1 10 100 1 000 10 000


Flow rate (m3/h)

Figure
Approximate range of operation for the three main types of pump (Adapted
from Karassik, I.J., 1986).
Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 493

In any case, they must be selected, installed and maintained with the great-
est care so that they can give continuous service for several months under the
best conditions. To assure continuous service in total security, pumps are gen-
erally provided with an installed spare, or often a pump driven by an electric
motor can be associated with one driven by a steam turbine. The backup
pump must always be ready to take over, either by manual or automatic con-
trol.

8.1.1 Centrifugal Pumps


In its simplest form, a centrifugal pump consists of an impeller equipped with
radial vanes rotating inside a shell called the pump casing. The working prin-
ciple is to use the centrifugal force generated by the rotating impeller to trans-
fer kinetic energy to the pumped liquid. This energy is then converted into
pressure when the fluid velocity decreases.

8.1.1.1 Concept of Q/HCurve for a Centrifugal Pump


In an initial approach, an ideal centrifugal pump would be characterized by the
flow rate/head couple, Q/H, with a virtually constant product (Fig. 8.2). In
actual practice this is not the case. Friction causes losses and the impeller as
well as the volute are perfectly adapted to the flow only around the nominal
point Q,. On either side of this operating point, the characteristics become
rapidly degraded by hydraulic losses. Additionally, energy is consumed by
mechanical losses due to friction of all types along the shaft (bearings, sealing
systems, etc.) (Fig. 8.3), Flow losses, called “leakage flow”, also lower perfor-
mance. They are caused by leaks in the clearance between fixed and rotating
parts subjected to pressure differences.

Characteristic curve o f a
pump: head H(m) versus
flow rate Q(m3/h).
A. Euler line (theoretical
curve). 1. Hydraulic friction
losses increasing as the
square o f the flow rate. I I
I -
C

Q
2. Losses by shocks in the (m3/h)
poorly adapted flow.
C. Effective curve.
494 Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS

Location of the various


friction losses.

a. Effective Characteristic Curves


A centrifugal pump is characterized by 4 basic curves, all of which are
expressed versus the flow rate (Fig. 8.4):
A. The head generated.
B. The mechanical/hydraulic conversion efficiency.
C. The mechanical power input consumed at the shaft.
D. The pump suction capacity or NPSH.
The head versus flow rate curve (QIH) is the most characteristic for the
pump and is the one that first and foremost guides the user’s choice. It
depends largely on the selected design.
Chapter 8. PUMPS. COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 495

250 100
-
-80 $
0
c
- 60 .g
- 40 E
- 20

-___
Figure
8.4 Basic curves characterizing a centrifugal pump

The parameters are a s follows:


the rotation speed,
the number of impellers,
the impeller diameter,
the impeller design.

b. Operating Point and Resisting Network


The pressure head HA required by the installation is represented by the sys-
tem curve versus the flow rate Q. It is the sum of the static and dynamic heads
of the installation (Fig. 8.5). The static heads are independent of the flow rate
and include differences in height and pressure between the unit inlet and out-
let. The dynamic heads correspond to pressure drops and are proportional to
the square of the flow rate.
A centrifugal pump adjusts itself on an operating point B, corresponding
to the intersection between the Q/H curve of the pump and the HA curve of the
system (Fig. 8.6). A variation in the operating point (and therefore in the flow
rate and the head) can be obtained by a physical modification in the pump,
but also by modifying its speed or the system curve, usually by means of a
valve.
496 Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS

i?
3a,
c
s!
3
m
Dynamic component = H,=
v2-v;
-
2
0.
- 2g
m
e
c -

Flow rate Q
~

Figure
8.5 Curve characteristic of the system.

/ \

Valve opening J

B : Operating point

Figure
8.6 Variation in operating point by means of a value.
Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 497

c. Q/H Curve versus Technical Choices


(1) Basic choice: concept of specific speed
The number N,, called “specific speed”, allows all centrifugal pumps to be
compared with one another. It is calculated from the following expression:
N f l
Nq = -
60H3I4
with:
N rotation speed in rpm
Q flow rate at the best efficiency in m3/h (through one eye if double-suc-
tion impeller)
H head in m generated at the best efficiency (for one stage)
For the same N,, the hydraulic designs will be similar on varying scales.
The choice of N, is a major parameter in impeller hydraulic design (Fig. 8.7).
The specific speed also considerably influences the best efficiency achievable
by a pump. If high pressure is required, a compromise will have to be found
between a reasonable number of stages and an acceptable efficiency.

a,
0. N,
0
5 z
W
N m m b
7
I
-
I
7
I
7
I
0
c\l
I
m
N
I
0
m
0
d
I
0
m
I
0
w
1
0
a3
I
z :Z E
O
I
O
I
O 0
I ,
O
Ei
I

26 & iiii
I I
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Lo CDr-Coao m o 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
7 7 c u c9 d m w b c o a g

I Radial centrifugal Francis type Helico-centrifugal Propeller


D
9 > 2 2=1.5A2
Dl Di

-
Figure
8.7 Variation in specific speed versus the type o f impeller used.

(2) Choice of design: concept of Q / H curve slope


For a given hydraulic choice the different design parameters, in particular
the number of vanes, can modify the curve shape downward, flat or bell-
shaped (Fig. 8.8). These curves should be considered according t o the require-
498 Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS

~ Bell-shaped curve
Characteristic curves
-

.- ..
.
K Downward

AQ
downward
c - AQflat _i

Flow rate Q

I Figure
8.8 Different types of characteristic curves.

ments of the resisting network, in particular bell-shaped curves should be


avoided for pumps that have to work in parallel (risk of instability).
(3) Choice of rotation speed
The rotation speed is a dominant parameter for the characteristic curve of
a centrifugal pump (Fig. 8.9). The flow rate varies linearly with the speed:

The head generated varies with the square of the speed:

H2 -- H -
l(?)Z

As a result, the absorbed power varies with the cube of the speed:

P2 -- P l(;)B-
Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 499

HA system curve
t 1

\/ Q'H
curves

t
Flow rate Q

Figure
8.9 Variation in the operating point versus the rotation speed.

In actual practice, the choice of the speed is in most cases dictated by tech-
nical limitations and by the constraints of the drivers used, most frequently
electric motors.
(4) Influence of impeller diameter
The characteristic curve of a given impeller can be modified by trimming
down the outside diameter. As long as ratios are limited to those that upset
flow calculations only slightly, the flow rate and the head are proportional to
the square of the diameter:

with the power absorbed varying roughly as follows:

P2 -- P 1 ( E-
:)I

In actual practice, losses by shocks and recirculation are greater when the
diameter decreases. This is shown by the iso-efficiency curves given in sup-
plier catalogs (Fig. 8.10).

d. Suction Conditions. Concept of NPSH


Vapor pressure: each liquid has a specific boiling pressure, called the vapor
pressure T,, for a given temperature: e.g. 1 bar for pure water at 100°C
(Fig. 8.11). If the pressure at one point in the liquid becomes less than T,, the
liquid vaporizes instantly.
500 Chapler 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS
LIVE GRAPH
Click here to view

U
g
240
210
c
I

180

150

120

90

60

30
01
0
t I
200
I
400
I
600
I
800
I I I
1000 1200 1400 1600 1800
I I J

Flow rate (m3/h)

Figure
8.10 Influence of impeller diameter on the characteristic curve.

Cavitation: the lowest static pressure inside a centrifugal pump is located


at the impeller inlet because of the increase in velocity and the different pres-
sure losses generated in the pump. If vaporization begins at this point, the liq-
uid will be repressurized nearby downstream. The bubbles formed condense
by collapsing suddenly, most often near a wall. This very noisy phenomenon
is called cavitation. The head generated by the pump and the absorbed power
then drop, the vibrations and noise increase and erosion can be observed,
mainly in the impeller, in the form of characteristic pits. If the pump is kept
working under these conditions, permanent damage may occur.
Required NPSH (net positive suction head) or NPSHr: to prevent cavita-
tion, the total liquid pressure at the pump inlet must be such that no vapor-
ization can occur. This minimum value depends on the pump design and is
called NPSHr.
Available NPSH: this is the NPSH at installation, or NPSHa. When the
NPSHa is determined for horizontal pumps, the axis of the suction flange is
usually the reference point (Fig. 8.12):
For a pump operating by suction, located above the level of the pumped
liquid (Fig. 8.12A), the following is obtained by simplifying:
LIVE GRAPH
Click here to view

Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES,


AND EJECTORS 501

mce : meter of water column

I
6L
5

4t
4 -

3-
/

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Temperature (“C)

Figure
Water vapor pressure (expressed in meters of water column) versus the tem-
perature.

P + T,
NPSHa= -- Aj - Hgeo
P&?
with:
P pressure above the liquid
Pa atmospheric pressure if the tank is open
T, vapor pressure
p density of the pumped fluid
g 9.81 m/s2
Aj pressure drop between the pump and the tank
Hgeo difference in geometric height

For a pump operating under load, located below the level of pumped liq-
uid (Fig. 8.12B), the following is obtained by simplifying:
P + T,
NPSHa= -- Aj + Hgeo
P&?
Operation without cavitation requires NPSHa > NPSHr. In actual practice, a
safety margin must be kept, usually of 0.5 to 1 m.
502 Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS

t
A Reference level

Open Closed I
tank 1 tank Hgeo

-
-
Figure
8.12 Diagram indicating the parameters to be taken into account to calculate
NPSHd. A. Operating by suction. B. Operating under load.

(I) Variation in NPSHr versus the rotation speed


The influence of the rotation speed is calculated by the following expres-
sion:

NPSHr, = NPSHr, (ZT (8.9)

The exponent K varies from 1.6 to 2 and a conservative value should be


taken according to the extrapolation character of the NPSHr measured during
testing.
Chapter 8. PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 503

35

v
30
D
ma,
I
25

20

15

10

0 I I I I I I I I I I I
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240

Figure
8. I 3 Determination of NPSH versus impeller diameter reduction.

e. Influence of the Viscosity


When the viscosity of the pumped liquid increases and the rotation speed
remains constant, friction losses increase and the characteristic curves for the
pump therefore change (Fig. 8.14):
the flow rate, the head and the efficiency decrease;
the absorbed power increases.
504 Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS

Influence o f the viscosity on the


operating point. The operating
point for water B, ( Q , H,, qu
P,) shifts to B, CQ,, H,, T,I P,)
For the viscous liquid.

Flow rate Q

In usual practice, 4 points are calculated for the nominal flow rate Q, and
at 0.6 x Q,, 0.8 x Q, and 1.2 x Qn, that allow new curves to be plotted. The cor-
rection factors are empirical. The Hydraulic Institute chart (Fig. 8.15) is widely
used. It allows the correction coefficients Ca, C, and C,, to be applied respec-
tively to the flow rate, head and efficiency variables, to be deduced. The power
must be recalculated taking the liquid density into account if it is different.
Example for a liquid with the following properties:
= 440 cSt and p = 900 kg/m3.
Table 8.2 gives the computed values and Figure 8.16 shows the results in
the form of a curve.

Viscosity 440 cSt 0.6 Qn 0.8 Q,, Qn 1.2 Qn

Characteristics Flow rate 126 168 210 252


with water Head 57.3 54.7 50 44
Efficiency 67.5 77 80 75.5
Correction Flow rate 0.90 0.9 0.90 0.90
coefficients Head 0.95 0.92 0.89 0.86
Efficiency 0.56 0.56 0.56 0.56
New Flow rate 113.5 151 189 227
characteristics Head 54.5 50.3 44.5 37.8
Efficiency 37.8 43.1 44.8 42.2
Power 54.5 58.7 62.5 67.8

L"fi Variations in performance with viscosi&.


Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 505

0’ 80
0.8 x 0,
I 1.o x 0,
I
v)
I- 60
z

2 40
i 301

n)
DO
50
DO
so
60
10
30
25
20
15
10
6
4

20

00

20 30 40 50 60 80 100 150 200 300 400 600 800 1 000 1 500 2 000
Flow rate Q (m3/h)

Figure
8.15 Correction chart of characteristics for viscous liquids (Hydraulic Institute stan-
dards).
506 Chapter 8. PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS

Flow rate (rn3/h)

1 8.16 1 Influence of viscosity on characteristic curves (see Table 8.1).

8.1.1.2 Applications of Centrifugal Pumps in Refining


a. API Standards
The standards laid down by API (American Petroleum Institute) are widely
used in the petroleum, gas and chemical industries, particularly for pumps
employed under heavy duty conditions. Centrifugal pumps are covered by API
Standard 610 which is periodically updated. The present edition is number 8,
in force since August 1995. IS0 is preparing an internationalized version of
these standards. The standards describe precisely the minimum requirements
demanded of manufacturers for design, manufacture and testing. Readers are
advised to refer to this very complete document of over 200 pages.

6. “Process” Pumps, Low Pressure


This is the typical refinery pump (Fig. 8.17) and has numerous uses. For exam-
ple as a recirculation or transfer pump at various locations in distillation tow-
Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 507

-
Figure
8.17 Example of a “Process”pump (API 8th edition, IDP documentation).

ers it can be utilized in a wide temperature range (up to over 400°C). Due to its
overhung design construction, the suction pressure generates uncompensated
axial loads, so the suction pressure is limited to about 30 bar.

c. LLProcess”
Pumps between Bearings
These are used when the preceding type is no longer suitable for a variety of
reasons:
The NPSHa is too low and requires a double suction impeller (Fig. 8.18).
The suction pressure is too high.
Two stages are necessary to produce the required head (Fig. 8.19).
The high power requires better shaft mechanical strength.

d. High Pressure Multistage Pumps


Used as booster pumps or feed pumps in distillation, they are also employed
offshore, on pipelines or in power plants a s boiler feed pumps. They are avail-
able in a very wide pressure and power range (Figs. 8.20 and 8.21): up to
400 bar and 20000 kW for boiler feed service.
508 Chapter 8. PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS

I Figure
8.19 Two-stage pump (KSB documentation).
Chapter 8. PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 509

-
Figure
8.20 Pump with an axially split casing (KSB documentation).

Figure
8.21 1 Pump with radially split casing, integral pressurized casing, or “barrel”pump
(IDP documentation).

e. Vertical Pumps
Vertical barrel pumps are generally buried and by means of their length pro-
vide the suction head required for operation (Fig. 8.22A). The NPSHa can be
close to zero at the suction flange (complete draining of a tank for example).
The pumps are often high pressure and are widely used in gas treatment pro-
cesses. Vertical pumps without a barrel are mainly employed for lifting, most
frequently on water (Fig. 8.22B). They are common in offshore operations, for
injection water feed or fire figting pumps where they are over 20 m long.
510 Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS

B
1
A

Vertical pumps. A. with barrel (KSB documentation); B. without barrel


(IDP documentation).

f. Construction Materials
API standards are once again very explicit on the subject and define no less
than 13 possible construction categories. Each one describes the materials
chosen for the different pump components. The most widespread categories
are listed in Table 8.3.
Simpler construction with no specific standards is used in particular for
pumping fresh water. Here the pump is generally made of cast iron and the
shaft of carbon steel. Other types of construction employing copper alloys,
nickel-alloy cast iron or very highly alloyed stainless steels (with a composite
austenite / ferrite structure, termed duplex) are possible. Duplex stainless
steels are especially used in offshore applications to carry seawater, making it
one of the most expensive common products to pump.
The price is naturally highly dependent on construction standards and on
the chosen material.
Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 511

Classe API C-6

Pump Carbon Carbon 12%Cr Austenistic


casings steel steel steel stainless steel
Impellers Cast iron 12%Cr 12% Cr Austenistic
steel steel stainless steel
Wearing Cast iron Treated Treated 12%Cr Treated
rings 12%Cr steel steel austenistic
stainless steel
Shafts Carbon 42 Cr Mo 04 12%Cr Austenistic
steel steel alloy steel stainless steel
Bearing Carbon steel if the pumped liquid is inflammable
housings or toxic, otherwise cast iron.
- I
Table
8.3 Materials generally used for cenhifugal pumps.

To pump a flow rate of 100 m3/h to a head of 100 m, for a pump alone with-
out baseplate or driver, the approximate cost is:
10000 FF for cast iron, non-API construction (fresh water),
50000 FF for construction in compliance with API S-6 (petroleum prod-
ucts),
80000 FF for duplex stainless steel API construction (seawater).

8.1.1.3 Tightness
The conventional stuffing boxes have today disappeared from the realm of
petroleum industry. Only some water pumps, generally low speed, still use this
solution. Mechanical seals have become an essential part of pump design and
maintenance as well. Here too standardization has become involved. The first
APl standards, series number 682, exclusively devoted to mechanical seals
were published in October, 1994 (Fig. 8.23). Readers are advised to refer to the
document for further information. For pump manufacturers, it should be noted
that this standard has considerably increased and specified the space
required to incorporate seals, thereby allowing for all types of possible assem-
bly configurations.
The “zero emission” concept is today gaining ground. The solution is to
over-pressurize the intermediate volume of double seals featuring closed cir-
cuit circulation of an external fluid (usually by means of a screw pump) and
heat extraction by an exchanger in the pressurized tank (Fig. 8.24). The fluid is
pressurized with respect to the pump liquid so as to prevent any product from
leaking out toward the environment. Cooling is accomplished by this same
intermediate fluid (circulated by a number of different systems) through an
exchanger. Appropriate instrumentation monitors temperatures, flow rates,
pressures and levels.
512 Chapter 8. PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES,
AND EJECTORS

Other even more reliable but also more expensive solutions are sometimes
specified for total tightness without any dynamic joint:
Magnetic couplings: the driving power is transmitted by means of very
powerful permanent magnets through a thin wall composed of a material
that limits the destructive effects of eddy currents.
Submerged rotor pumping groups, where the driver is protected by a thin
welded sleeve and is submerged inside the pumped liquid.

Figure
8.23 Standard seal with "cartridge"mounting (API 682).
A. Single seal. B. Double seal.
Chapter 8. PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 513

These two solutions raise the price of the pump, but have the same draw-
back of requiring the shaft to be supported by radial and axial bearings in the
pumped liquid. In addition to the problems due to the product having low
lubricating power, it also frequently contains abrasive particles. The solutions
employed by manufacturers entail choosing very hard materials, generally
ceramics: chromium oxides, tungsten or silicon carbides, silicon nitrides, etc.

Outside pressure
source

Figure
8.24 Pressurization diagram for a mechanical seal: Set up termed “Plan53”API682.
514 Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS

8.1.2 Positive Displacement Pumps


One of the main characteristics of these pumps is that they allow a direct rela-
tionship between the pump part in motion and the amount of fluid pumped.
Contrary to centrifugal pumps, the flow rate is influenced only slightly or not
at all by the pressure difference between the pump inlet and outlet. Because of
their ability t o raise discharge pressure easily, they must be equipped with a
bypass relief valve. In actual practice a variety of positive displacement pumps
can be found. The main ones can be classified into two major types:
rotary pumps,
reciprocating pumps.

8.1.2.1 Rotary Pumps


These pumps consist of a stator where a rotor sweeps a volume containing liq-
uid and pushes it toward the discharge end. Their flow rate is roughly propor-
tional t o their rotation speed. Their capacity is limited and they are well suited
to handling viscous liquids. They find an application in pumping crude oil,
black products, tars and asphalts after heating, as well as in supplying fuel oil
t o burners. The main advantages of rotary pumps are a relatively low purchase
price, self-priming features, the absence of internal valves, a low amplitude of
flow rate pulsations and excellent efficiency.

(1) Gear pumps


They are very widely used and can accommodate pressures up t o 200 bar
and flow rates of approximately 25 m3/h. Efficiency generally ranges from 80 to
95%.Two conventional types of gear pumps are presented in Figures 8.25A and
B. Some degree of clearance is required between moving parts and this can
lead to a little back leakage, or slip, when operating with a wide difference in
pressure. The lobe-type pump (Fig. 8.26) is similar to gear pumps.
{2) Screw pumps
This model is also very widespread in the petroleum industry and may
have single, double or triple screws. Figure 8.27 shows a pump with a double
screw. Their rotation speed can reach 3500 rpm, with a pressure of up to
240 bar generated and a flow rate of 25 m3/h. They deliver a continuous flow
without excessive pulsation.
(3) Vane pump
Figure 8.28 shows an example of this type of pump: the sliding vane pump.
The flow rate can be adjusted by changing the rotation speed, but for some it
can also be adjusted by modifying rotor eccentricity. The second means of
adjustment is often better suited to automatic control than the variation in
rotation speed. The volumetric efficiency is approximately 90% and they are
often used for high pressure applications up t o 170 bar, They are chosen to
actuate hydraulic systems for example.
Chapter 8. PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 515

B
pinion

Figure
Gear pumps.
A. External gears. B. Offset internal gears.

Lobe-type pump.

-___
Figure
8.27 Screw pump.
516 Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS

4
;@re
Sliding vane
pump.

Discharge
nozzles

Figure
Simplified schematic of a piston pump.
F 2 9

8.1.2.2 Reciprocating Piston Pumps


There are various types of pumps under this heading that differ in the number
of cylinders and in the flow rate control and drive modes. The basic compo-
nent is a piston moving back and forth in a cylinder (Fig. 8.29). The fluid is first
sucked into the cylinder and then discharged by the piston. The inlet and out-
let nozzles are provided with check valves that prevent any fluid back flow.
Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 517

The piston is moved by a crank and connecting rod system or by coupling with
another piston that is pushed in a cylinder by pressurized oil or steam. In the
second drive system the pistons are often double acting. The flow rate can be
varied by varying the speed but also by adjusting the piston stroke.
The main drawback of reciprocating pumps is that they supply a pulsating
flow with large pressure variations. This can be minimized by using double act-
ing systems or by having several pistons in parallel working out of phase.
For all these pumps, check valve quality is of prime importance in pre-
venting deteriorated performance with time. Likewise, special attention must
be paid to the installation and maintenance of piston and driving rod sealing
systems (stuffing box). From this standpoint, diaphragm or bellows pumps
can afford a solution in some cases.
The action of the piston on the pumped fluid is sometimes obtained by a
hydraulic fluid acting on a plane diaphragm that isolates the pumped fluid
from the environment and the hydraulic fluid (Fig. 8.30). A relief valve protects
from over-pressures. The metallic or PTFE diaphragm is most often double
with an alarm system to indicate diaphragm rupture. These pumps work at a
relatively low flow rate and are essentially used a s metering pumps or in pilot
plants. The flow rate of some pumps can, however, go up to 50 m3/h per head.
The flow rate is manually or automatically controlled with very great precision

Figure
Metering diaphragm pump (Lewa). Piston. @ Compression chamber con-
taining oil. @ Double diaphragm. @ Purge valve. @ Relief valve. @ Valve to
0
offsetinternal leakage after slide valve opens.
518 Chapter 8. PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES,
AND EJECTORS

by a micrometric screw that causes variations in the crankshaft that actuates


the piston. The pumps can carry all liquids, even the most corrosive, thanks
to a set of special steel diaphragms, up to 2000 bar and 500°C. In addition, they
can handle liquids with a viscosity of up to 250 Pas.

8.2 Compressors
A compressor is a machine designed to raise the pressure of a compressible
fluid that passes through it. The name indicates that the fluid becomes com-
pressed (its volume decreases) as the pressure increases. Sir,ce gases are com-
pressible fluids they require compressors, while liquids require pumps as they
are practically incompressible. Gases can be considered incompressible for
very low compression ratios and blowers or fans are used.
The pressure of a gas is raised by a compressor in order to:
reach a level of pressure required by processes such as:
- chemical reactions requiring pressure, temperature, catalyst (make up
function),
- storage in underground cavities,
- liquefaction or separation,
- refrigeration cycles,
- supplying a compressed air network (energy transmission);
offset pressure drops related to the circulation of a gas flow in a network,
such as for:
- incomplete chemical reactions requiring unconverted gases to be recy-
cled (recycle function),
- gas transportation in a pipeline.

Types of Compressors. Classification


Compressors can be classified according to several characteristics (see Table
8.4).

Operating principle
Positive displacement compressors (for example a reciprocating com-
pressor): a mechanical transfer of energy allows physical reduction of a
volume containing the gas.
Dynamic compressors (for example centrifugal or axial compressors):
aerodynamic forces provide the gas with energy that will be converted
into pressure.

Movement of moving parts


Linear movement (for example reciprocating compressor).
Rotary movement (for example centrifugal compressor).
Linear Rotary
Flow rate Pressure Efficiency
movement movement

Positive displacement compressors:


Piston compressors X Low to medium Low to very high Very good
Diaphragm compressors X Low to very low
Screw compressors X Low to medium Low to medium Low
ROOTS type compressors X Low Low Low
Vane compressors X Low Low Low

Dynamic compressors:
Centrifugal compressors X Medium to high Low to high Good to very good
Axial compressors X Very high Low Good to very good
Peripheral compressors X Low Low Mediocre

Table
Different types of compressors with their main characteristics.
520 Chapter 8. PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES,
AND EJECTORS

Compressors can also be classified by considering the type of gas to be


compressed.
Air compressors
Air is a mixture of gases that can be taken from the atmosphere at no cost.
It is used in three main services:
Service air, pressure 7 to 10 bar, deoiled and partially dried, to operate:
- pneumatic tools,
- servomotors and actuators of large control valves.
Instrument air supplying control and regulation assemblies, small valves.
Process air in processes using large air flow rates: stirring liquids, pneu-
matic transport, air separation, blower, ammonia synthesis, etc.

Gas compressors
Compressed gases are quite often inflammable (natural gas, hydrocarbon
mixtures, hydrogen) or toxic (H2S, CO). They should be handled with care,
safety and tightness are crucial.
General applications are as follows:
producing, treating and transporting natural gas,
processes associated with oil production, gas lift, reinjection,
refining,
petrochemistry,
chemistry,
cooling.
The compressors most commonly used in a refinery are reciprocating pis-
ton compressors in the positive displacement category and centrifugal com-
pressors in the dynamic category.

8.2.1 Reciprocating Piston Compressors


8.2.1.1 General Introduction
This type of compressor uses a proven technology that has been known for
some time and is the most widely employed of the positive displacement com-
pressors for a power rating of 100 to 5000 kW. High flow rate, low compression
ratio and very high power applications have gradually been achieved with cen-
trifugal and axial technologies as they have developed. However, numerous
applications in the areas of natural gas and refining rely on reciprocating pis-
ton compressors. They are rugged, efficient, simple, flexible and are particu-
larly suited to light gases, high compression ratios and medium power ranges.
They are generally driven by electric motors, but also by piston engines (gas-
or diesel-fuelled), by steam or even gas turbines. Their rotation speed of 250
to 1800 rpm may require the use of reducing gears.
Chapter 8. PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 521
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522 Chapter 8. PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS
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Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 523

In the gas and oil industry, these machines are built in compliance with the
recommendations in the latest edition of API 618 standards.

8.2.1.2 Description and Operating Principle


A compressor of medium power rating is made up of various sections
(Figs. 8.31, 8.32 and 8.33):
An actuating section whose function is to transform the drive torque
mechanically into an available thrust on one or more piston rod(s) mov-
ing in a straight line along a specified stroke (crankshaft and connecting
rod system).
Cylinders accomplishing the compression as such.
Distance-pieces or spacers fulfilling connecting and safety functions
(fluid separation, seals).

1 1
Figure
8.33 Photograph o f a fourcylinder reciprocating compressor

1. The actuating section consists of a crankcase supporting a crankshaft


with a rotational motion regulated by a flywheel. The crankcase may include
one or more compression lines. For each line, a connecting rod between the
524 Chapter 8 PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS

crankshaft and the crosshead transmits thrust and movement to the


crosshead which has a translational motion. The crosshead is guided by the
slides of the crosshead support which may be a separate part independent of
the crankcase in large machines.
2. A compression cylinder consists of:
The cylinder barrel, a complex part divided up into three or four vol-
umes. A cylindrical bore closed at both ends with heads and provided with a
sleeve where a piston moves with a reciprocating straight line motion identi-
cal to that of the crosshead to which it is connected rigidly by a piston rod.
The gas is compressed inside this bore. The gas enters through the suction
flange in a second volume, the suction chamber, which allows the gas to enter
the two ends of the bore by suction valves. After compression, the gas exits
the bore by discharge valves into a third volume, the discharge chamber,
which conveys it to the discharge flange. A fourth volume, the water jacket,
allows efficient cooling of the cylinder by water circulation if needed.
The piston, equipped with rings to provide a seal all along the bore, and
generally with support wearing bands.
Packing to provide a seal between the inside and the outside of the cylin-
der, along the piston rod passageway through the bottom of the cylinder.
3. A distance-piece connecting the cylinder barrel and the crosshead sup-
port, and accommodating the piston rod passageway.
The selection of materials for the various components depends on the
function of the parts. There is virtually only one selection in the actuating sec-
tion, but it is very specific in the cylinders depending on the type of gas being
compressed and the pressure levels. This is particularly true for wearing parts
such as piston rings and packing seals. For these parts PTFE has become the
most commonly used material and allows average piston speeds of approxi-
mately 6 m/s. The choice of additives (carbon, glass, ceramics, etc.) that
enhance PTFE characteristics depends on the application and on the accept-
able wear rate.
A reciprocating compressor has one or generally more cylinders. For
medium and large size machines, the configuration with horizontal cylinders
on either side of the crankcase (Fig. 8.31) is the most common architecture,
chosen for reasons of force balance and maintenance.
Figure 8.34 describes the operating principle of a single-acting cylinder,
where only one side of the piston serves to compress the gas. The complete
cycle corresponds to a revolution of the crankshaft and therefore to a two-way
trip by the piston. The swept volume is the cylinder volume limited by the two
extreme piston face positions, whereas the dead volume is the remaining vol-
ume in the cylinder. The dead volume is required for installing valves, for func-
tional clearance and for flow rate control volumes.
Since compression is very rapid (< 0.1 s), the compression and expansion
phases are practically adiabatic and follow the law below:
PVY = Cte (8.10)
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Chapter 8. PUMPS, COMPRESSORS, TURBINES, AND EJECTORS 525

ot I b
0
I IDischaraed t;olume
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Total volume in cylinder
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phase
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Figure
8.34 1 Diagram showing the differentphases o f a compression cycle