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HOWTOdesignapumpsystem

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Whatisfrictioninapumpsystem(cont.)
Anothercauseoffrictionisallthefittings(elbows,tees,y's,etc)requiredtoget
thefluidfrompointAtoB.Eachonehasaparticulareffectonthefluid
streamlines.Forexampleinthecaseoftheelbow,thefluidparticlesthatare
closesttothetightinnerradiusoftheelbowliftofffromthepipesurfaceforming
smallvorticesthatconsumeenergy.Thisenergylossissmallforoneelbowbutif
youhaveseveralelbowsandotherfittingsthetotalcanbecomesignificant.
Generallyspeakingtheyrarelyrepresentmorethen30%ofthetotalfrictiondueto
theoverallpipelength.

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Figure9
Energyandheadinpumpsystems
Energyandheadaretwotermsthatareoftenusedinpumpsystems.Weuseenergytodescribethemovementofliquidsin
pumpsystemsbecauseitiseasierthananyothermethod.Therearefourformsofenergyinpumpsystems:pressure,
elevation,frictionandvelocity.
Pressureisproducedatthebottomofthereservoirbecausetheliquidfillsupthecontainercompletelyanditsweight
producesaforcethatisdistributedoverasurfacewhichispressure.Thistypeofpressureiscalledstaticpressure.Pressure
energyistheenergythatbuildsupwhenliquidorgasparticlesaremovedslightlyclosertoeachotherandasaresultthey
pushoutwardsintheirenvironment.Agoodexampleisafireextinguisher,workwasdonetogettheliquidintothe
containerandthentopressurizeit.Oncethecontainerisclosedthepressureenergyisavailableforlateruse.

Elevationenergyistheenergythatisavailabletoaliquidwhenitisatacertainheight.Ifyouletitdischargeitcandrive
somethingusefullikeaturbineproducingelectricity.
Frictionenergyistheenergythatislosttotheenvironmentduetothemovementoftheliquidthroughpipesandfittingsin
thesystem.

Velocityenergyistheenergythatmovingobjectshave.Whenabaseballisthrownbyapitcherhegivesitvelocityenergy
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alsocalledkineticenergy.Whenwatercomesoutofagardenhose,ithasvelocityenergy.

Figure9a

Inthefigureaboveweseeatankfullofwater,atubefullofwaterandacyclistatthetopofahill.Thetankproduces
pressureatthebottomandsodoesthetube.Thecyclisthaselevationenergywhichhewillbeusingassoonashemoves.
Asweopenthevalveatthetankbottomthefluidleavesthetankwithacertainvelocity,inthiscasepressureenergyis
convertedtovelocityenergy.Thesamethinghappenswiththetube.Inthecaseofthecyclist,theelevationenergyis
graduallyconvertedtovelocityenergy.

Thethreeformsofenergy:elevation,pressureandvelocityinteractwitheachotherinliquids.Forsolidobjectsthereisno
pressureenergybecausetheydontextendoutwardslikeliquidsfillingupalltheavailablespaceandthereforetheyarenot
subjecttothesamekindofpressurechanges.

Theenergythatthepumpmustsupplyisthefrictionenergyplustheelevationenergy.

PUMPENERGY=FRICTIONENERGY+ELEVATIONENERGY

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Figure9b

Youareprobablythinkingwhereisthevelocityenergyinallthis.Welliftheliquidcomesoutofthesystemathighvelocity
thenwewouldhavetoconsideritbutthisisnotatypicalsituationandwecanneglectthisforthesystemsdiscussedinthis
article.

Thelastwordonthistopic,itisactuallythevelocityenergydifferencethatwewouldneedtoconsider.Infigure9cthe
velocitiesatpoint1andpoint2aretheresultofthepositionofthefluidparticlesatpoints1and2andtheactionofthe
pump.Thedifferencebetweenthesetwovelocityenergiesisanenergydeficiencythatthepumpmustsupplybutasyoucan
seethevelocitiesofthesetwopointswillbequitesmall.

Nowwhatabouthead?Headisactuallyawaytosimplifytheuseofenergy.Touseenergyweneedtoknowtheweightof
theobjectdisplaced.
ElevationenergyE.E.istheweightoftheobjectWtimesthedistanced:
EE=Wxd
FrictionenergyFEistheforceoffrictionFtimesthedistancetheliquidisdisplacedorthepipelengthl:
FE=Fxl
Headisdefinedasenergydividedbyweightortheamountofenergyusedtodisplaceaobjectdividedbyitsweight.For
elevationenergy,theelevationheadEHis:
EH=Wxd/W=d
Forfrictionenergy,thefrictionheadFHisthefrictionenergydividedbytheweightofliquiddisplaced:
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FH=FE/W=Fxl/W(seeFigure9b)
ThefrictionforceFisinpoundsandWtheweightisalsoinpoundssothattheunitoffrictionheadisfeet.Thisrepresents
theamountofenergythatthepumphastoprovidetoovercomefriction.

Iknowyouarethinkingthisdoesntmakesense,howcanfeetrepresentenergy?
IfIattachatubetothedischargesideofapump,theliquidwillriseinthetubetoaheightthatexactlybalancesthepressure
atthepumpdischarge.Partoftheheightofliquidinthetubeisduetotheelevationheightrequired(elevationhead)andthe
otheristhefrictionheadandasyoucanseebothareexpressedinfeetandthisishowyoucanmeasurethem.

Figure9c

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Statichead
Webstersdictionarydefinitionofheadis:abodyofwaterkeptinreserveataheight.

ItisexpressedintermsoffeetintheImperialsystemandmetersinthemetricsystem.Becauseofitsheightandweightthe
fluidproducespressureatthelowpoint.Thehigherthereservoir,thehigherthepressure.

Theamountofpressureatthebottomofareservoirisindependentofitsshape,forthesameliquidlevel,thepressureatthe
bottomwillbethesame.Thisisimportantsinceincomplexpipingsystemsitwillalwaysbepossibletoknowthepressure
atthebottomifweknowtheheight.Tofindouthowtocalculatepressurefromheightgototheendofthisarticle.

Whenapumpisusedtodisplacealiquidtoahigherlevelitisusuallylocatedatthelowpointorclosetoit.Theheadofthe
reservoirwhichiscalledstaticheadwillproducepressureonthepumpthatwillhavetobeovercomeoncethepumpis
started.

Todistinguishbetweenthepressureenergyproducedbythedischargetankandsuctiontank,theheadonthedischargeside
iscalledthedischargestaticheadandonthesuctionsidethesuctionstatichead.

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Usuallytheliquidisdisplacedfromasuctiontanktoadischargetank.Thesuctiontankfluidprovidespressureenergytothe
pumpsuctionwhichhelpsthepump.Wewanttoknowhowmuchpressureenergythepumpitselfmustsupplysotherefore
wesubtractthepressureenergyprovidedbythesuctionhead.Thestaticheadisthenthedifferenceinheightofthedischarge
tankfluidsurfaceminusthesuctiontankfluidsurface.Staticheadissometimescalledtotalstaticheadtoindicatethatthe
pressureenergyavailableonbothsidesofthepumphasbeenconsidered.

Sincethereisadifferenceinheightbetweenthesuctionanddischargeflangesorconnectionsofapumpbyconventionit
wasagreedthatthestaticheadwouldbemeasuredwithrespecttothesuctionflangeelevation.

Ifthedischargepipeendisopentoatmospherethenthestaticheadismeasuredwithrespecttothepipeend.

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Sometimesthedischargepipeendissubmerged,thenthestaticheadwillbethedifferenceinelevationbetweenthe
dischargetankfluidsurfaceandthesuctiontankfluidsurface.Sincethefluidinthesystemisacontinuousmediumandall
fluidparticlesareconnectedviapressure,thefluidparticlesthatarelocatedatthesurfaceofthedischargetankwill
contributetothepressurebuiltupatthepumpdischarge.Thereforethedischargesurfaceelevationistheheightthatmustbe
consideredforstatichead.Avoidthemistakeofusingthedischargepipeendastheelevationforcalculatingstaticheadif
thepipeendissubmerged.

Note:ifthedischargepipeendissubmerged,thenacheckvalveonthepumpdischargeisrequiredtoavoidbackflowwhen
thepumpisstopped.

Thestaticheadcanbechangedbyraisingthesurfaceofthedischargetank(assumingthepipeendissubmerged)orsuction
tankorboth.Allofthesechangeswillinfluencetheflowrate.

Tocorrectlydeterminethestaticheadfollowtheliquidparticlesfromstarttofinish,thestartisalmostalwaysattheliquid
surfaceofthesuctiontank,thisiscalledtheinletelevation.Theendwilloccurwhereyouencounteranenvironmentwitha
fixedpressuresuchastheopenatmosphere,thispointisthedischargeelevationendoroutletelevation.Thedifference
betweenthetwoelevationsisthestatichead.Thestaticheadcanbenegativebecausetheoutletelevationcanbelowerthan
theinletelevation.
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Flowratedependsonelevationdifferenceorstatichead
Foridenticalsystems,theflowratewillvarywiththestatichead.Ifthepipeendelevationishigh,theflowratewillbelow
(seeFigure10).Comparethistoacyclistonahillwithaslightupwardslope,hisvelocitywillbemoderateandcorrespond
totheamountofenergyhecansupplytoovercomethefrictionofthewheelsontheroadandthechangeinelevation.

Figure10
Seethisvideofortheeffectofstaticheadandfriction

Iftheliquidsurfaceofthesuctiontankisatthesameelevationasthedischargeendofthepipethenthestaticheadwillbe
zeroandtheflowratewillbelimitedbythefrictioninthesystem.Thisisequivalenttoacyclistonaflatroad,hisvelocity
dependsontheamountoffrictionbetweenthewheelsandtheroadandtheairresistance(seeFigure11).

Figure11
InFigure12,thedischargepipeendisraisedverticallyuntiltheflowstops,thepumpcannotraisethefluidhigherthanthis
pointandthedischargepressureisatitsmaximum.Similarlythecyclistappliesmaximumforcetothepedalswithout
gettinganywhere.

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Figure12
Ifthedischargepipeendislowerthantheliquidsurfaceofthesuctiontankthenthestaticheadwillbenegativeandtheflow
ratehigh(seeFigure13).Ifthenegativestaticheadislargethenitispossiblethatapumpisnotrequiredsincetheenergy
providedbythisdifferenceinelevationmaybesufficienttomovethefluidthroughthesystemwithouttheuseofapumpas
inthecaseofasiphon(seepumpsystemglossary).Byanalogy,asthecyclistcomesdownthehillhelooseshisstored
elevationenergywhichistransformedprogressivelyintovelocityenergy.Thelowerheisontheslope,thefasterhegoes.

Figure13

Pumpsaremostoftenratedintermsofheadandflow.InFigure12,thedischargepipeendisraisedtoaheightatwhichthe
flowstops,thisistheheadofthepumpatzeroflow.Wemeasurethisdifferenceinheightinfeet(seeFigure13a).Head
variesdependingonflowrate,butinthiscasesincethereisnoflowandhencenofriction,theheadofthepumpisTHE
MAXIMUMHEIGHTTHATTHEFLUIDCANBELIFTEDTOWITHRESPECTTOTHESURFACEOFTHE
SUCTIONTANK.Sincethereisnoflowthehead(alsocalledtotalhead)thatthepumpproducesisequaltothestatichead.

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Figure13a

Inthissituationthepumpwilldeliveritsmaximumpressure.IfthepipeendisloweredasinFigure10,thepumpflowwill
increaseandthehead(alsoknownastotalhead)willdecreasetoavaluethatcorrespondstotheflow.Why?Let'sstartfrom
thepointofzeroflowwiththepipeendatitsmaximumelevation,thepipeendisloweredsothatflowbegins.Ifthereis
flowtheremustbefriction,thefrictionenergyissubtracted(becauseitislost)fromthemaximumtotalheadandthetotal
headisreduced.Atthesametimethestaticheadisreducedwhichfurtherreducesthetotalhead.

Whenyoubuyapumpyoudontspecifythemaximumtotalheadthatthepumpcandeliversincethisoccursatzeroflow.
Youinsteadspecifythetotalheadthatoccursatyourrequiredflowrate.Thisheadwilldependonthemaximumheightyou
needtoreachwithrespecttothesuctiontankfluidsurfaceandthefrictionlossinyoursystem.

Forexample,ifyourpumpissupplyingabathtubonthe2ndfloor,youwillneedenoughheadtoreachthatlevel,thatwill
beyourstatichead,plusanadditionalamounttoovercomethefrictionlossthroughthepipesandfittings.Assumingthat
youwanttofillthebathasquicklyaspossible,thenthetapsonthebathwillbefullyopenandwillofferverylittle
resistanceorfrictionloss.Ifyouwanttosupplyashowerheadforthisbathtubthenyouwillneedapumpwithmorehead
forthesameflowratebecausetheshowerheadishigherandoffersmoreresistancethanthebathtubtaps.

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Luckily,therearemanysizesandmodelsofcentrifugalpumpsandyoucannotexpecttopurchaseapumpthatmatches
exactlytheheadyourequireatthedesiredflow.Youwillprobablyhavetopurchaseapumpthatprovidesslightlymorehead
andflowthanyourequireandyouwilladjusttheflowwiththeuseofappropriatevalves.

Note:youcangetmoreheadfromapumpbyincreasingitsspeedoritsimpellerdiameterorboth.Inpractice,home
ownerscannotmakethesechangesandtoobtainahighertotalhead,anewpumpmustbepurchased.

Flowratedependsonfriction
Foridenticalsystems,theflowratewillvarywiththesizeanddiameterofthedischargepipe.Asystemwithadischarge
pipethatisgenerouslysizedwillhaveahighflowrate.Thisiswhathappenswhenyouputalargepipeonatanktobe
emptied,itdrainsveryfast.

Figure14
Thesmallerthepipe,thelesstheflow.Howdoesthepumpadjustitselftothediameterofthepipe,afterallitdoesnotknow
whatsizepipewillbeinstalled?Thepumpyouinstallisdesignedtoproduceacertainaverageflowforsystemsthathave
theirpipessizedaccordingly.Theimpellersizeanditsspeedpredisposethepumptosupplytheliquidatacertainflowrate.
Ifyouattempttopushthatsameflowthroughasmallpipethedischargepressurewillincreaseandtheflowwilldecrease.
Similarlyifyoutrytoemptyatankwithasmalltube,itwilltakealongtimetodrain(seeFigure15).

Lateroninthetutorial,achartwillbepresentedgivingthesizeofpipesforvariousflowrates.Oryoucanjumptoitright
awayandcomebacklater.

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Figure15
Ifthepipeisshortthefrictionwillbelowandtheflowratehigh(seeFigure16).

Figure16

andwhenthedischargepipeislong,thefrictionwillbehighandtheflowratelow(seeFigure17).

Figure17

Howdoesacentrifugalpumpproducepressure
Fluidparticlesenterthepumpatthesuctionflangeorconnection.Theythenturn90degreesintotheimpellerandfillupthe
volumebetweeneachimpellervane.Thisanimationshowswhathappenstothefluidparticlesfromthatpointforward.

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Figure19

AmoredetaillookatamorerealisticcrosssectionofaclosedimpellerpumpcanbeseeninFigure19a

Figure19a

Acentrifugalpumpisadevicewhoseprimarypurposeistoproducepressurebyacceleratingfluidparticlestoahigh
velocityprovidingthemwithvelocityenergy.Whatisvelocityenergy?It'sawaytoexpresshowthevelocityofobjectscan
affectotherobjects,youforexample.Haveyoueverbeentackledinafootballmatch?Thevelocityatwhichtheotherplayer
comesatyoudetermineshowhardyouarehit.Themassoftheplayerisalsoanimportantfactor.Thecombinationofmass
andvelocityproducesvelocity(kinetic)energy.Anotherexampleiscatchingahardbaseballpitch,ouch,therecanbeallot
ofvelocityinasmallfastmovingbaseball.Fluidparticlesthatmoveathighspeedhavevelocityenergy,justputyourhand
ontheopenendofagardenhose.
Thefluidparticlesinthepumpareexpelledfromthetipsoftheimpellervanesathighvelocity,thentheyslowdownasthey
getclosertothedischargeconnection,loosingsomeoftheirvelocityenergy.Thisdecreaseinvelocityenergyincreases
pressureenergy.Unlikefrictionwhichwastesenergy,thedecreaseinvelocityenergyservestoincreasepressureenergy,this
istheprincipalofenergyconservationinaction.Thesamethinghappenstoacyclistthatstartsatthetopofahill,hisspeed
graduallyincreasesashelooseselevation.Thecyclistselevationenergywastransformedintovelocityenergy,inthe
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pumpscasethevelocityenergyistransformedintopressureenergy.
Trythisexperiment,findaplasticcuporothercontainerthatyoucanpokeasmallpinholeinthebottom.Fillitwithwater
andattachastringtoit,andnowyouguessedit,startspinningit.

Figure20
Thefasteryouspin,themorewatercomesoutthesmallhole,thewaterispressurizedinsidethecupusingcentrifugalforce
inasimilarfashiontoacentrifugalpump.Inthecaseofapump,therotationalmotionoftheimpellerprojectsfluidparticles
athighspeedintothevolumebetweenthecasingwallandtheimpellertips.Priortoleavingthepump,thefluidparticles
slowdowntothevelocityattheinletofthedischargepipe(seeFigures18and19)whichwillbethesamevelocity
throughoutthesystemifthepipediameterdoesnotchange.
Howdoestheflowratechangewhenthedischargepipeendelevationischangedorwhenthereisanincreaseordecreasein
pipefriction?Thesechangescausethepressureatthepumpoutlettoincreasewhentheflowdecreases,soundsbackwards
doesntit.Wellitsnotandyouwillseewhy.Howdoesthepumpadjusttothischangeinpressure?Orinotherwords,ifthe
pressurechangesduetooutsidefactors,howdoesthepumprespondtothischange.

Pressureisproducedbytherotationalspeedoftheimpellervanes.Thespeedisconstant.Thepumpwillproduceacertain
dischargepressurecorrespondingtotheparticularconditionsofthesystem(forexample,fluidviscosity,pipesize,elevation
difference,etc.).Ifchangingsomethinginthesystemcausestheflowtodecrease(forexampleclosingadischargevalve),
therewillbeanincreaseinpressureatthepumpdischargebecausethereisnocorrespondingreductionintheimpeller
speed.Thepumpproducesexcessvelocityenergybecauseitoperatesatconstantspeed,theexcessvelocityenergyis
transformedintopressureenergyandthepressuregoesup.

AllcentrifugalpumpshaveaperformanceorcharacteristiccurvethatlookssimilartotheoneshowninFigure21(assuming
thatthelevelinthesuctiontankremainsconstant),thisshowshowthedischargepressurevarieswiththeflowratethrough
thepump.

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Figure21
Sothatat200gpm,thispumpproduces20psigdischargepressure,andastheflowdropsthepressurewillreacha
maximumof40psig.

Note:hisappliestocentrifugalpumps,manyhomeownershavepositivedisplacementpumps,oftenpistonpumps.Those
pumpsproduceconstantflownomatterwhatchangesaremadetothesystem.
seetheeffectofstaticheadonflowrateinactioninthisvideo

continue

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