5 Things You Must Understand About Centrifugal Pumps Before Buying One

5 Things You Must Understand About Centrifugal Pumps Before Buying One

Apr 29th 2020

Centrifugal pumps are mechanical devices, designed to move fluid from location to location. A centrifugal pump may accomplish this by transferring rotational energy into a fluid pressure system. And the end result has applications across dozens of big industries.

As impellers rotate, they use their centrifugal force to push and pressurize fluids in specific directions. They then discharge this liquid via a sump pump or something similar.

Considering buying your own centrifugal pressure system? Not sure what to look out for? There are certain factors to consider. There are functions you'll want to keep in mind, and a whole lot of functionality you should understand before you invest. And, luckily for you, we're here to break down the entire system for your benefit.

Pacer Pumps

What Are Centrifugal Pumps?

Let's start with the basics: a centrifugal pump is one of the most common types of industry pump in use, today. You'll see them in agriculture, municipal waste, and power plants across the nation.

As part of the so-called "kinetic" pump family, these are distinct "positive displacement" pumps, because of how they function. Before you buy centrifugal pump systems, it's important to understand what's happening under the hood, so let's take a closer look.

How These Pumps Work

Centrifugal pumps are built around a shaft-driven impeller, all constructed within its own housing. These units usually spin at either 1750 or 3500 RPMs, with the impeller fully immersed in water. While the impeller is spinning at such high speeds, the resultant centrifugal force forces the water out of the housing itself. It does this via a discharge port, allowing these rotation forces to do their work.

While this is happening, more liquids are piped into the system via an inlet or suction port. The system is designed, specifically, to use the velocity generated by this liquid to create pressure energy.

What makes centrifugal pumps unique is how high their flow rates can actually go, with options providing for either high or very high flow. The effect of this is a much higher pressure than standard positive displacement pumps. This flow varies a lot within the system's total dynamic head (TDH). If needs be, the flow rate can be accelerated to great effect with as little as a simple valve in the discharge line.

And, what's more, it can do all of this without causing any excessive pressure within the line. Neither does it require a pressure relief valve of any sort. This makes centrifugal pumps a great, low impact option for various liquid pumping applications.

Centrifugal Pump Characteristics

Pumps are usually broken up into two main categories: centrifugal pumps and positive displacement pumps. Where centrifugal pumps break away from positive displacement pumps is that they are usually designed for high flows. They also make good use of low viscosity liquids, somewhere in the range of 0.1cP.

As a note: a portable centrifugal pump system offers high-pressure functionality wherever you need it. Roughly 90% of commercial pumps are centrifugal, by design. It's an extremely popular design, with a lot to offer. That said, when applications do require positive displacement, there's no getting away from it. You'll just have to work that functionality in.

Centrifugal Pump Limitations

In order to get the most efficiency from a centrifugal pump, constant high-speed rotary impellers are a central part of the process. Change out these fluids for something with a higher viscosity, and you'll find centrifugal pumps less effective.

These pumps are going to experience higher resistance, with a lot higher pressure required in order to maintain a consistent flow. A centrifugal pump trying to do this work would have a hard time maintaining that pressure because it's just not designed for it. It would, in fact, simply cause the engine to overheat over a very short period of time.

Looking further into these pumps, we see high impeller speeds damaging fluids as well, in cases where they are more sensitive to shearing. Biological liquids are a big example of this issue at work and can be very costly to throw away due to negligence. Consider low-speed positive displacement pumps, in these cases, as well.

Applications of Centrifugal Pumps

Part of what makes centrifugal pumps so popular is their extreme versatility. These pumps are frequently used in dozens of industries, including:

  • Oil and energy industries, where oil, mud, and slurry are all central parts of the operation.
  • Industrial and fire protection, with ventilation, heating, boiler feed, and fire safety sprinklers. Add air conditioning to this list, as well.
  • Wastewater processing plant waste management, agriculture, and manufacturing.
  • Food, chemical, pharmaceutical, paint, and beverage production, as well as sugar and food refining.

With so so many applications (and this is only scratching the surface), centrifugal pumps are clearly here to stay. But what are the advantages of using one?

Centrifugal Pump Advantages and Disadvantages

Your centrifugal pump brings several advantages to the table, including:

  • The pump itself is often used to pump out harmful chemicals and fluids, meaning it is extremely durable.
  • Motors and pumps are kept separate, helping to safeguard against heat transfer from the motor to the pump.
  • Centrifugal pumps generate low friction, for longer shelf lives and fewer repairs.

The disadvantages of centrifugal pumps include some of the following:

  • Loss of energy can sometimes be a factor, owing to couplings that generate magnetic resistance.
  • There are possibilities for couplings to fail, especially in situations where the load has intensified.
  • When these pumps are used to pump out fluids with ferrous particles, they can develop rust which, over time, will stop the pump from working.

Centrifugal Pump Facts

A centrifugal pump can be used to handle a variety of liquids and provide high flow rates for improved performance. These components are also designed to regulate your liquid flow rate over a wide range. This gives you the versatility you need to respond to any flow requirement.

Looking for more insights into advanced precision agriculture tech? Visit Barndoor AG for our centrifugal pump vendor services, or check out some of our other excellent blog content, today, to find out more.