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Posted on Dec 17, 2020
Centrifugal pumps are mostly used for water, sewage, agriculture, petroleum, and petrochemical pumping. Centrifugal pumps are often preferred because of their high flow rate capability, abrasive solution capability, mixing potential, as well as simple engineering compared to other types of water pumps.
Centrifugal water pumps are used to pump water by converting rotational kinetic energy into hydrodynamic energy for fluid flow. The rotational energy normally comes from an electric motor or an engine. They are a subclass of dynamic axisymmetric work-absorbing turbomachinery. The fluids enter the pump impeller along or near the rotating axis. It is accelerated by the impeller, flowing rapidly outward into a diffuser or volute chamber from which it exists.
Centrifugal pumps are mostly used for water, sewage, agriculture, petroleum, and petrochemical pumping. Centrifugal pumps are often preferred because of their high flow rate capability, abrasive solution capability, mixing potential, as well as simple engineering compared to other types of water pumps. A centrifugal fan is commonly used to implement a vacuum cleaner. The reverse function of the centrifugal pumps is water turbines converting potential energy of water pressure into mechanical rotational energy. In other words, rather than the motor moving the pump to move water, the water moves the pump to move the motor, a unique mechanism different from others.
For most household or industrial (only to some extent) uses, centrifugal pumps would do the job just fine. As long as the liquids are not too viscous (like mud or waste) and can be submerged completely, a centrifugal pump will provide consistent, effective, and reliable operation.
A handful of different types of centrifugal pumps are available for distinct applications. The most common ones include:
Vertical centrifugal pumps are also commonly called cantilever pumps. They make use of a unique shaft and bearing support configuration that allows the volute to hang in the sump while the bearings remain outside the sump. This type of water pump does not use a stuffing box to seal the shaft but uses a throttle bushing instead. A common application for this type of pump is in a parts washer.
Horizontal centrifugal pumps have shafts that are positioned horizontally, as the name implies. They are either placed between the bearings or overhung. These multistage centrifugal pumps are easier to install and maintain. The reason is this pump type provides easy access to the internal parts.
This type of pump is generally used in the mineral industry in which froth is generated to separate rich minerals or bitumen from the sand and clays. Froth pump contains air that tends to block conventional pumps and cause loss of prime. But this has been gradually resolved with time in the related industries. Air flows to the back of the impeller, and the expeller discharges the air back into the suction tank. The impeller sometimes features special small vanes between the primary vanes called split vanes or secondary vanes. Other types of froth centrifugal pumps may feature a large eye, an inducer, or recirculation of pressurized froth from the pump, which discharges back to the suction to break the bubbles.
A centrifugal pump with two or more impellers is referred to as the multistage centrifugal pump. The impellers can be mounted on the same shaft or on distinct shafts. For each stage, the fluid is led to the center before making its way to the discharge on the outer diameter. Multistage centrifugal pump is mostly used as the boiler feedwater pump.
These are pumps without seals which are typically used for hydrocarbons and chemicals where any leakage is not permitted.
These are water pumps with an impeller fitted with grinding teeth to chop solids. They are mostly used for industrial wastewater, chemical, and food processing.
This type of centrifugal pump has a compact design that is mostly used for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
These centrifugal pumps are designed to tolerate low temperatures. They are mostly used for liquid natural gas and coolants.
Due to the direct conversion of the motor to rotational energy, centrifugal pumps are very simple. Just like any other pump, there are upsides and downsides to a centrifugal pump.
The key advantage of a centrifugal pump is its well-known simplicity. They do not require many moving parts or valves to operate. This makes centrifugal pumps extremely versatile in terms of the material used to construct them. Centrifugal pumps are also able to move at high speeds with minimal maintenance while maintaining a very steady and consistent output. Most importantly, centrifugal pumps are exceptionally small in size compared to other types of water pumps, while retaining the same output capability. Centrifugal pumps also provide immense flexibility, do not take up a lot of space, and are very easy to move.
The core disadvantage, on the other hand, is that centrifugal pumps use rotation instead of suction to move water, meaning they have almost no suction power. In this case, the centrifugal pump would have to be put underwater or primed, before it is able to move water.
Centrifugal pumps can also contribute to a phenomenon called “cavitation”. This typically occurs when the speed of the water causes water to vaporize, which then causes bubbles in the liquid. A combination of the speed of the vapor bubbles and the implosion of vapor bubbles can become corrosive to the impeller surface and the casing of the pump. Moreover, centrifugal pumps are very susceptible to overheating due to low water flow.
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