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Centrifugal pumps, are a sub-class of dynamic axisymmetric work-absorbing turbomachinery. Centrifugal pumps are used to transport liquids/fluids by the conversion of the rotational kinetic energy to the hydro dynamics energy of the liquid flow. The rotational energy typically comes from an engine or electric motor or turbine. In the typical simple case, the fluid enters the pump impeller along or near to the rotating axis and is accelerated by the impeller, flowing radially outward into a diffuser or volute chamber (casing), from where it exits.
Common uses include water, sewage, petroleum and petrochemical pumping. The reverse function of the centrifugal pump is a water turbine converting potential energy of water pressure into mechanical rotational energy.
How it works
Like most pumps, a centrifugal pump converts mechanical energy from a motor to energy of a moving fluid. A portion of the energy goes into kinetic energy of the fluid motion, and some into potential energy, represented by fluid pressure (Hydraulic head) or by lifting the fluid, against gravity, to a higher altitude.
The transfer of energy from the mechanical rotation of the impeller to the motion and pressure of the fluid is usually described in terms of centrifugal force, especially in older sources written before the modern concept of centrifugal force as a fictitious force in a rotating reference frame was well articulated. The concept of centrifugal force is not actually required to describe the action of the centrifugal pump.
The outlet pressure is a reflection of the pressure that applies the centripetal force that curves the path of the water to move circularly inside the pump. On the other hand, the statement that the "outward force generated within the wheel is to be understood as being produced entirely by the medium of centrifugal force" is best understood in terms of centrifugal force as a fictional force in the frame of reference of the rotating impeller; the actual forces on the water are inward, or centripetal, since that's the direction of force need to make the water move in circles. This force is supplied by a pressure gradient that is set up by the rotation, where the pressure at the outside, at the wall of the volute, can be taken as a reactive centrifugal force. This was typical of nineteenth and early twentieth century writings, mixing the concepts of centrifugal force in informal descriptions of effects, such as those in the centrifugal pump.
Differing concepts and explanations of how centrifugal pumps work have long engendered controversy and criticism. For example, the American Expert Commission sent to the Vienna Exposition in 1873 issued a report that included observations that "they are misnamed centrifugal, because they do not operate by centrifugal force at all; they operate by pressure the same as a turbine water wheel; when people understand their method of operating we may expect much improvement." John Richards, editor of the San Francisco-based journal Industry, also downplayed the significance of centrifugal force in his in-depth essay.
"This extraordinary report stands printed in a Government publication, signed by men who were, or are, eminent in mechanics, and we can only deplore the stupidity, as well as presumption of the commission who thus disposed of a subject that had twenty years before been carefully investigated by such men as Sir John Rennie, Professor Cowper, Mr. Whitelaw, Dr. James Black, Professor Rankine, and many others. The most astonishing part is, however, that this report was passed and signed by men who we can hardly suppose would fail to perceive its absurdity."
The energy usage in a pumping installation is determined by the flow required, the height lifted and the length and friction characteristics of the pipeline. The power required to drive a pump (), is defined simply using SI units by:
- is the input power required (W)
- is the fluid density (kg/m3)
- is the standard acceleration of gravity (9.80665 m/s2)
- is the energy Head added to the flow (m)
- is the flow rate (m3/s)
- is the efficiency of the pump plant as a decimal
The head added by the pump () is a sum of the static lift, the head loss due to friction and any losses due to valves or pipe bends all expressed in metres of fluid. Power is more commonly expressed as kilowatts (103 W, kW) or horsepower (kW = hp*0.746). The value for the pump efficiency, , may be stated for the pump itself or as a combined efficiency of the pump and motor system.
The energy usage is determined by multiplying the power requirement by the length of time the pump is operating.
Problems of centrifugal pumps
These are some difficulties faced in centrifugal pumps-
Open Type Centrifugal Pump Impeller
Cavitation—the net positive suction head (NPSH) of the system is too low for the selected pump
Wear of the Impeller—can be worsened by suspended solids
Corrosion inside the pump caused by the fluid properties
Overheating due to low flow
Leakage along rotating shaft
Lack of prime—centrifugal pumps must be filled (with the fluid to be pumped) in order to operate
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