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No.

87 November 21,1997

Pumping Fluids With Entrained Gas

copyright Goulds Pumps, Incorporated, a subsidiary of ITT Corporation , Inc.

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Introduction
Pump applications in many industrial processes involve handling liquid and gas mixtures. The entrained gas may be an essential part of an industrial process, or it may be unwanted. The Pulp and Paper Industry, for example, injects 410% air into a dilute recycled pulp slurry as part of the ink removal process in a flotation cell. Many chemical and petrochemical processes also involve pumping a two phase flow. Unwanted entrained gas can result from excess agitation or vortexing due to inadequate submergence on the suction of a pump. The proper selection of a centrifugal pump for liquid and gas (two phase) mixtures is highly dependent on the amount of gas and the characteristics of the liquid. The presence of entrained gases will reduce the output of centrifugal pumps and can potentially cause loss of prime. Depending on the severity of the conditions, there are several possible solutions to this pumping challenge. This article will discuss these possible solutions, their limitations, and applications.

Ranges Of Air Entrainment


The first is 04% entrained air. In this case, the size of the impeller must be increased to account for the effects of the air. This case would apply when designing a new system and the air content is known to be 04% or when trouble shooting an existing system. The second range is for 510% entrained air. To account for the decrease in performance of the pump due to the air, the size of the impeller must be increased and may also require a larger size pump all together. This range also requires increased clearances between the impeller and suction sideplate. Again, this is used in new systems or when solving existing field problems. The third range is for 1020% air. The best way to handle this case is to use a specially designed pump intended to handle the entrained gas. This would typically be a recessed impeller (or vortex) pump. An inducer may also be used on a modified conventional pump to boost its air handling capability above the normal 10% limit. The final case is the use of an inducer. Typically, the inducer is thought of more as a problem solver for existing systems as opposed to part of a designed system. However, as inducers become more popular, it is becoming more common to see them used as part of an original system design.

1. Range 04% Air


Most centrifugal pumps have the ability to pump a small amount of entrained gas without major changes. However, impeller diameter corrections must be made to account for the loss of performance caused by the gas bubbles. The gas bubbles occupy space that would otherwise be occupied by the fluid. Consequently, the head output of the pump at a given flow is reduced. Increasing the impeller diameter will account for this loss of performance. When air moves into the pump, the gas bubbles expand as they enter the eye of the impeller. This is because the fluid picks up a great deal of speed from the impeller. As the fluid speed increases, the pressure in that area of the pump decreases. With the decreasing pressure, the air bubbles are given a chance to expand. When the air concentration exceeds 4%, the air bubbles will accumulate in the low pressure, suction area of the pump; eventually the air will choke off the pump, and the pump will lose its prime.

copyright Goulds Pumps, Incorporated, a subsidiary of ITT Corporation , Inc.

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As an example, take water with a rating of 1500 GPM @ 80 ft with 4% air. First, select the pump size and impeller diameter. The size selected is a Model 3175 8x812 with a 5 vane impeller. Refer to Figure 1 and Figure 2. Based on the normal rating point (1), we are at 75% BEP (2000 GPM). From Figure 2, HF=0.88 and PF=0.95. To properly size the impeller, plot the corrected rating point (2). The correct rating is 1500 GPM @ 80ft/0.88 = 1500 GPM @ 91 ft. Therefore, the impeller diameter is 10.375 in.

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Next, examine the motor sizing. From Figure 2, we see PF=0.95. Therefore, HPraded HPraded = = (GPMraded)x(Headraded)x(S.G.) (efficiency)x(3960) (1500)x(80)x(1.0) (0.71)x(3960) x PF

x.95=40.5HP

copyright Goulds Pumps, Incorporated, a subsidiary of ITT Corporation , Inc.

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However, the motor should be sized for the worst case scenario and should cover the entire range of the curve. In this case, the worst case would be water without any air content at runout. Therefore, HPrunout = (2900)x(48)x(1.0) (0.71)x(3960) = 49.5HP

From the above calculations, the appropriate pump is a 3175 8x812 5 vane with a 10.375 inch impeller and a 50 HP motor.

2. Range: 510% Air


As the gas concentration increases over 4%, the bubbles start to gather at the suction eye. Increased sideplate/impeller clearances will help break up the bubbles, moving them through the pump. The increased clearances create recirculation from the discharge side of the impeller to the suction eye, which retards the formation of large gas pockets. However, as a result of the increased clearances, the pumps efficiency is dramatically reduced. This compounds the effect of decreased performance from the entrained gas. Consequently, the pump selection will most likely increase in size with a considerable impeller diameter correction. The pump selection must be made such that the rated impeller diameter after correction is greater than or equal to 85% of the maximum diameter. For example, say the rating is 2000 GPM @ 100 ft, this time with 10% air. Again, select the Model 3175 8x812 5 vane, see Figure 3, rating point 1. We are at 80% of BEP for this example.

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Checking Figure 4, we get correction factors of HF=0.65 and PF=0.87. Based on this assumption, the corrected rating point 2 is 2000 GPM @ 100 ft/0.65 = 2000 GPM @ 154 ft. The corrected rating point falls outside the capabilities of this size. Therefore, a larger size pump must be selected.

copyright Goulds Pumps, Incorporated, a subsidiary of ITT Corporation , Inc.

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The next larger pump is an 8x1014 6 vane. Checking Figure 5, we find this to be a suitable fit.Now, recalculate the correction factors for this pump size. From this curve, the selection is still at 80% of BEP. Consequently, the correction factors from above (HF=0.65 & PF=0.87) are still valid. That gives a corrected rating point of 2000 GPM @ 154 ft. Therefore, the impeller diameter is 12.875 in.

copyright Goulds Pumps, Incorporated, a subsidiary of ITT Corporation , Inc.

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Again, look at the motor sizing. HPraded= (2000)x(154)x(1.0) (0.71)x(3960) x(0.87) = 95.3HP

As before, the motor should be sized for the worst case scenario and should cover the entire range of the curve. Again, the worst case is water without any entrained air at runout. Therefore, HPrunout = (3800)x(104)x(1.0) (0.74)x(3960) = 134.8HP

From the above calculations, the appropriate pump is a Model 3175 8x1014 6 vane with a 12.875 inch impeller and a 150 HP motor.

3. Range: 1015% Air


When gas concentrations exceed 10%, many times a recessed impeller pump can be used effectively. However, at these concentrations, the volume of air being pumped is rather large. Therefore, there is a very large head correction that needs to be applied for satisfactory operation. Working through an example, use a rating of 600 GPM @ 40 ft with 15% air. First, a pump size must be selected. This is difficult and takes practice before the correct selection can be made on the first try. Checking Figure 6, the head correction factor, HF for 15% air, ranges from 0.2 to 0.42. This correction increases the rated head from 2.5 to 4 times. For preliminary selection purposes, use a factor of 3, which gives 600 GPM @ 120 ft. From this rating, select a Model HS 4x412 at 1800 RPM.

copyright Goulds Pumps, Incorporated, a subsidiary of ITT Corporation , Inc.

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When plotted on the pump performance curve, (Figure 7), this point represents 67% of BEP. Using this and referring to Figure 6, the correction factors are, HF=0.32 and PF=0.73. Therefore, the corrected rating point is 600 GPM @ 40 ft/0.32 = 125 ft. This equates to an impeller diameter of 11.5 inches. HPraded = (600)x(125)x(1.0) 90.46)x(3960) (1240)x(100)x(1.0) (0.47)x(3960) x(0.73) = 30.1HP

HPrunout =

=66.6HP

The proper selection for this example, then, is an HS 4x412 with a 11.5 inch impeller and a 75 HP motor.

copyright Goulds Pumps, Incorporated, a subsidiary of ITT Corporation , Inc.

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Inducers
Inducers have several different uses and can be applied across all the ranges listed above. The primary function in an entrained air application is to agitate the air, keeping it in suspension and to increase the suction pressure into the pump. By agitating the air, it reentrains the air, increasing its pumpability and preventing the loss of prime due to the air. A by product of this action, is the slight generation of head by the inducer. This head generation effectively increases the suction pressure into the pump. It has been shown in testing that increased suction pressure greatly increases the pumpability of an air entrained fluid. Because the inducer is generating head, albeit a small amount, it is doing work and, consequently, requires power input. All inducers will require some amount of horsepower input similar to a dynamic seal. In all cases (04% air, 510% air and greater than 10% air), an inducer will reduce the correction factors used in sizing the pumps. With the decreased correction factors, at times smaller pumps can be used. The trade off for the benefit of the reduced corrections is increased power requirements and a somewhat reduced operating range. Instead of having the ability to run the pump from minimum flow to runout, it is now limited to a range of minimum flow to best efficiency point. There are two different designs that pump manufacturers commonly use. The first is the traditional style, Figure 8. The traditional inducer resembles a cork screw. This design is used on clear liquids.

copyright Goulds Pumps, Incorporated, a subsidiary of ITT Corporation , Inc.

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The second type is a feeder vane style, Figure 9. It has three blades or vanes that may appear as a mixer. The feeder vane inducer is used on pulp and nonhomogeneous liquids. The feeder vane inducer keeps the solids mixed and moving. It helps to retard plugging. Both styles require special design work for satisfactory performance.

References:
Charles Cappellino, Daniel R. Roll, George Wilson, "Design Considerations and Application Guidelines for Pumping Liquids with Entrained Gas Using Open Impeller Centrifugal Pumps," Proceedings of the Ninth International Pump Users Symposium, Turbomachinery Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, pp.5160 (1992).

copyright Goulds Pumps, Incorporated, a subsidiary of ITT Corporation , Inc.

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