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Symbol A b c d E F g h H M p Q Q r u w W z Denotation Surface area Width Absolute velocity Diameter Internal energy Force Gravitational constant Enthalpy Head Mass flow rate Moment Pressure Heat energy Flow rate Radius Tangential velocity Relative velocity Mechanical energy Height coordinate Density Rotational speed Efficiency Unit m2 m m/s m J N m/s2 J/kg m Kg/s Nm Pa J m3/s M m/s m/s J m kg/m3 rad/s -

& m


0 1 2 3 c f n p r s v tot w x

Total Inlet impeller Outlet impeller Outlet stator Total in absolute frame of reference friction Normal Pressure Radial component Static Velocity Total Total in relative frame of reference Axial component Tangential component

Pumps are used to increase the total energy in a fluid. Whereas compressors are working with gaseous fluids pumps are working with liquid fluids. The increase in energy in a pump is commonly referred to as total dynamic head H tot measured in meters. The total dynamic head, or short head, can be used to increase pressure (pressure head), overcome a height difference (static head), accelerate the flow (velocity head) or overcome a friction head in a system (i.e. friction losses), which can be expressed by the following expressions Pressure head Static head Velocity head Friction head
Hp = p 2 p1 g
2 2

Eq. 1 Eq. 2 Eq. 3 Eq. 4

H s = h2 h1 v v1 Hv = 2 2g

H f = hf

The friction head reflects the losses in a system and is commonly expressed in meters. To choose an appropriate pump for a given installation all the above heads need to be accounted for as follows

H tot = H p + H s + H v + H f
Figure 1 depicts an example of a typical system characteristic, i.e. head versus flow rate.

Eq. 5

A pump supplying water to a reservoir at high altitude will consequently have a dominant contribution from the static head. In the same consideration a pump in a fire fighter application will have its main contribution from the velocity head. Pumps in district heating and cooling systems on the other hand would have roughly equally large contributions from all aforementioned heads.

H [m] system

Hs Q [m3/s] Figure 1. Typical system characteristic

Pump Classification
Depending on the method at which energy is transferred to the fluid pumps can be classified into rotodynamic, positive displacement (or short displacement only) and special effects pumps. An overview of this classification is included in figure 2.



Special effects Ejector Electromagnetic


Axial flow

Reciprocating Piston Diaphragm

Mixed flow Rotary Centrifugal Vane Screw Gear

Figure 2. Pump classification

In the current document rotodynamic pumps only are treated.

Pump Elements
A rotodynamic pump may consist of one or several stages. A stage includes a rotor and a stator as depicted schamtically in figure 3. The figure shows a axial.radial cross section of a machine. Note that these machines are axisymmetric.



3 3

2 1

Axial pump

Centrifugal pump

Figure 3. Pump stage denotations The rotor is often referred to as impeller as it gives the flow impetus (i.e. momentum). The stator is also called diffuser as it diffuses (i.e. decelerates) the flow. Commonly three control sections are identified in a stage as follows 1 2 3 rotor inlet rotor outlet, stator inlet (also called interface) stator outlet

Review of Basic Laws

Conservation of Mass Sum of mass flow rates over all system boundaries equals to change in mass in control volume

&= m t

Eq. 6

For steady process mass in control volume constant over time

& =0 m

m = 0 thus t
Eq. 7

Mass flow rate through boundary

& = cn A m

Eq. 8

Conservation of mass for control volume featuring one in- and one outflow and assuming incompressibility 1 = 2
c n,1 A1 = c n, 2 A2

Eq. 9

Note: The indexes 1 and 2 refer to inlet and outlet of the control volume respectively as depicted below

Conservation of Energy First law of thermodynamics applied to closed process, i.e. system taken through a complete cycle

(dQ dW ) = 0
Change in internal energy during change in state from one point to another in the cycle
dE = dQ dW

Eq. 10

Eq. 11

For a steady flow process the conservation of energy per unit time is regarded, i.e. conservation of power

& W & =m & & (dh0 + gdz) = Q dE

Eq. 12

Where dh0 denotes the change in total enthalpy and the term gdz change in specific potential energy. As we now deal with liquid flows the latter term cannot be neglected. Furthermore a change in static enthalpy in liquids is rather pressure than temperature dependent as is the case for gases leading to

dh =


Eq. 13

The change in internal energy can therefore be rewritten as

de =


dv 2 + gdz 2

Eq. 14

, which contains the same contributions as the total head introduced further above apart from the fact that the friction head is not addressed specifically. This can be expressed by
de = H tot g

Eq. 15

H tot = p 3 p1 v 3 2 v1 2 + + z 3 z1 g 2g

Eq. 16

The energy balance in a hydraulic turbomachine therefore writes as

& = m & H tot g W

Eq. 17

Note: For H tot > 0 , which for example is the case if the pump gives an increase in pressure, velocity or head, the work is negative work absorbing machine (pump) In contrary, if the pressure, velocity or head over the machine decreases then H tot < 0 indicating the the work is positive work producing machine (turbine)

Conservation of Momentum Note that in a steady flow process the momentum is entirely due to a change in flow velocity as the mass flow rate is constant, which is expressed in a general form by
& (c1 c 2 ) F =m

Eq. 18

The conservation of moment of momentum is of interest for a rotodynamic turbomachine, thus we set up the conservation of momentum over the rotating part of the machine as follows
& (r1c 1 r2 c 2 ) M z = r F = m

Eq. 19

Note: From the perspective of the fluid the forces are acting as pressure forces ( F = p A ). A change in velocity indicates a change in pressure remember Bernoullis equation for 1 incompressible fluids: p0 = p + c 2 = const. 2 From the perspective of the turbomachine the pressure forces on the fluid are yielding a resultant reaction force (actio=reactio).

Eulers Turbine Equation

At this point the conservation of energy and the conservation of moment of momentum shall be combined. The mechanical work per unit time ( power) equals the product of moment and rotational speed

& = M W z

Eq. 20

Thus the conservation of energy can be related to the conservation of momentum as follows
& H tot g = m & (r1c 1 r2 c 2 ) m

Eq. 21


& yields r by the tangential speed u and eliminating m

H= 1 (u 2 c 2 u1c 1 ) g

Eq. 22

The above equation is referred to as Eulers turbomachine equation. Note: A change in total head is equivalent to a change in tangential flow speed and/or tangential engine speed For engines with little change in mean radius u1 u 2 (e.g. axial pumps, axial turbines) the change in total head is entirely due to change in tangential flow speed H tot u c g blades are bowed For engines with large change in mean radius (e.g. radial engines) the change in total head is to a large degree due to the change in radius H tot u c g centrifugal effect, possibility for larger change in enthalpy

Leonhard Euler Leonhard Euler (1707-1783) was arguably the greatest mathematician of the eighteenth century and one of the most prolific of all time; his publication list of 886 papers and books fill about 90 volumes. Remarkably, much of this output dates from the the last two decades of his life, when he was totally blind. Though born and educated in Basel, Switzerland, Euler spent most of his career in St. Petersburg and Berlin. He joined the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1727. In 1741 he went to Berlin at the invitation of Frederick the Great, but he and Frederick never got on well and in 1766 he returned to St. Petersburg, where he remained until his death. Euler's prolific output caused a tremendous problem of backlog: the St. Petersburg Academy continued publishing his work posthumously for more than 30 years. Euler married twice and had 13 children, though all but five of them died young.

Pump Types
Different types of pumps can be classified by their specific speed, which is defined as follows

s =

Q 0.5

(gH )0.75

Eq. 23

In American units the specific head is defined the same way however with different units. The specific speed is thereby referred to as Ns. A comparison of the units used is included below in table 1. Parameter Q H Europe rad/s m3/s m US rpm gpm ft

Table 1. Comparison of units in specific speeds for European and American definition

The figure below depicts an organization of pumps depending on their specific speed. Note that high flow rates lead to high specific speeds whereas high heads tend to decrease the specific speed. Centrifugal pumps are therefore located at low values whereas axial pumps feature high specific speeds.

Figure 4. Pump types and their specific speeds

Pump Velocity Triangles

Velocity triangles are used to describe the kinematics of the flow in a turbomachine. As it has been shown previously a change in head is due to a change in tangential velocity components times the tangential speed at the respective location. For that purpose it is essential to know the velocities in the absolute and relative frame of reference. Note Absolute frame of reference: non-rotating, fixed with respect to ground Relative frame of reference: rotating with rotor, i.e. the frame of reference if you as an observer sit on the rotor

In a rotating machine it is the circumferential velocity components that relate absolute and relative velocities. Absolute velocities are commonly denoted by c whereas relative velocities are denoted by w. The general concept is illustrated in figure 5.


u c w

Figure 5. General concept of absolute and relative velocity

Absolute and relative flow velocities are related as follows

c x = wx c = w + u

Eq. 24 Eq. 25

Depending on the flow direction the axial index might be needed to be expressed as radial component. Note the following: Absolute and relative axial components are identical Circumferential components that point in the same direction as the tangential speed are positive Circumferential component that point against the tangential speed must be treated as negative Flow angles behave in the same way; in the above figure would consequently be positive whereas would be negative

The velocity triangles of the impeller in a centrifugal compressor stage are depicted in figure 6.

Radial direction

3 u2 2 1 c2 w2

Centrifugal pump



Axial direction

Figure 6. Impeller velocity triangles

Note that the directions at impeller inlet and outlet feature different orientation; whereas at the inlet the components are axial-circumferential, at impeller outlet the directions are radialcircumferential. Furthermore it is important to stress that the inflow to the impeller will be axial unless there are inlet guide vanes. This means that the circumferential component at impeller inlet equals zero leading to the following simplified Euler equation
u c H = 2 2 g

Eq. 26

At impeller exit the relative flow leaves the blade approximately at the blade metal angle. In reality a phenomenon called slip leads to the relative outflow being deflected against the direction of rotation. The underlying physical phenomenon is the superposition of a relative eddy onto the relative main flow direction. This relative eddy establishes in a blade passage due to the rotation of the impeller as sketched in figure 7. For a given rotation a counter-rotating eddy will establish in a blade passage (figure 7a). This eddy affects the outflow from the blade passage such that the relative outflow is deflected against the direction of rotation (figure 7b).

Figure 7. Concept of relative eddy (adapted from Dixon)

A practical consequence of the slip is that the relative circumferential component at impeller exit is reduced against the direction of rotation. This in turn implies that the absolute circumferential component is reduced as well, which leads to a reduction in pump head. The effect of slip on the velocity triangle is graphically expressed in figure 8.

c' (ideal) c (real)

w2 w2

c2 c2

Figure 8. Effect of slip on velocity triangle at impeller exit

The slip is expressed by a slip factor as follows

c = 2

c 2 '

Eq. 27

Ideal outflow is thus represented by =1 whereas real outflow features slip factors of <1. Several researchers have presented theoretical expressions for determining the slip factor. The common idea behind this theoretical consideration is that an infinite number of blades would lead to a slip factor of unity while decreasing number of blades tends the slip factor towards zero. Stodola (1927) has presented one of the earliest and simplest expressions for the slip factor as follows

= 1

cos 2 ' n 1 2 tan 2 '

Eq. 28

The expression contains the effect of blade count and blade metal angle at impeller exit. Stanitz (1952) recognized that the influence of the blade angle was not of major importance and thus simplified Stodolas expression to

= 1

0.63 n 1 2 tan 2 '

Eq. 29

For impellers with radial blades 2 gets zero and thus the expression simplifies further to

= 1


Eq. 30

For preliminary estimates of the slip factor it is therefore often accurate enough to apply = 1 2 n . By employing the slip factor the Euler equation simplifies considerably for radial bladed impellers with axial inflow. Note that for such impellers the theoretical relative circumferential speed equals to zero. Consequently the theoretical absolute circumferential speed equals the tangential speed, which would give H = u 2 2 g . Taking into account the slip the Euler equation is then expressed by


Eq. 31

Design Parameters
Design parameters are non-dimensional parameters that are used to characterize a certain pump design. These design parameters are similar for other types of turbomachines even for those working with gaseous fluids. The first design parameter is called the head coefficient and specifies the loading in a pump (note: the comparative parameter for compressor is called loading coefficient). The head coefficient is given by

H g u22

Eq. 32

It relates the achieved head to the head that would be obtained when having axial absolute inflow and purely radial relative outflow. The second design parameter is called the flow coefficient and is identical for pumps and compressors. It is given by

c Q = r2 A2 u 2 u2

Eq. 33

Pump Characteristics
Combining these two design parameters a theoretical pump characteristic can be obtained that relates head and flow coefficient, i.e. = f ( ) . In other words it tells us how the pump head changes as the flow through the pump, which can also be referred to as off-design performance. For the sake of simplicity let us consider a pump with absolute axial inflow. Applying the Euler equation the head coefficient is then given by

H g u2

u 2 c 2 g g u2

c = 2 u2

Eq. 34

The absolute circumferential velocity component shall be expressed by the relative flow angle 2 and the radial outflow velocity as follows
c 2 = w 2 + u 2 w 2 = c r 2 tan 2

Eq. 35

With c r 2 = u 2 the head coefficient can now be expressed by

= ( u 2 tan 2 + u 2 )

1 = 1 + tan 2 u2

Eq. 36

In dependence of the blade metal angle at impeller exit various simplified pump characteristics are included in figure 9.

2> 0 forward sweep


2= 0 radial blades 2< 0 backwards sweep


Figure 9. Dependence of the pump characteristics from blade metal angle

In reality flow separation as well as incidence effects at low and high flow rates lead to the real characteristics being rather curved than straight (see dashed line in figure above).

Pump Operating Point The pump operating characteristics give us a picture of how the pump head changes with changing flow rate but of it own it does not yet tell us at which operating point a pump will run. An operating point is first established when a pump is connected to a system, i.e. a consumer. As outlined further above the system characteristics can be described by pressure head, velocity head, static head and friction head. Following the same consideration as for the pump characteristics a system characteristics can be established such that H sys = f (Q sys ) where

H sys = H p, sys + H v, sys + H s, sys + H f , sys

In this expression H s, sys is independent of the flow rate. The operating point of a pump connected to a certain system then yields from

Eq. 37

H sys = H pump
This is expressed graphically in figure 10.

Eq. 38

H [m]

Operating point

System head

Pump head Hs Q [m3/s] Figure 10. Pump operating point

Pump Power The power needed to achieve a head in a fluid at a given operating point is expressed by

P = QH g

Eq. 39

Note that this expression contains the same elements as when dealing with compressors where & = Q and h0 = H g . & h0 , as m P=m

Pump Efficiency A number of efficiencies can be defined for pumps as follows: Hydraulic efficiency: compare actual head increase to theoretical head increase obtained from Euler equation accounts for friction and hydraulic losses in pump Volumetric efficiency: compare actual volume flow to theoretical volume flow accounts for internal leakage and backflow Mechanical efficiency: compare actual power supplied by motor to power received by impeller accounts for mechanical friction power losses

These efficiencies are combined to a total efficiency as follows

tot = hyd vol mech =

QH g M motor

Eq. 40

Similar to the pump head characteristic the efficiency peaks around a certain flow rate, i.e. the so called best point. To either side the efficiency decreases as illustrated in figure 11.

H [m] [%]

Pump efficiency

Pump head Hs Q [m3/s] Figure 11. Pump head and efficiency

Affinity Laws
In very few cases it is possible to find a pump that will yield a certain operating point. Often either the system or the pump must be regulated. A straightforward way to regulate the system is to include an adjustable valve, which leads to an additional and variable system head. This solution is however not that energy-efficient as the head over the valve must be considered as lost. Better solutions are achieved by regulating the pump, which can be done by either regulating the speed or as a one-time measure by reducing the impeller diameter (also called trimming). The laws that describe how the pump characteristics change upon either type of these regulations are called affinity laws. The question that we start off with is how head, flow rate and power change upon a) change in rotational speed and b) change in impeller diameter. To answer this it is necessary to express these parameters in terms of the regarded variables as follows


d 2 2 2

Eq. 41

, as
d u2 = 2 2

Eq. 42

Q = A2 u 2 =

d 2 2 b2

Eq. 43

, as
A2 = d 2 b2

Eq. 44

Fractional changes of head and flow rate yield from

H A d A2 A2 = H B d B 2 B 2

Eq. 45

Q A d A 2 A = Q B d B 2 B

Eq. 46

From these relations the following conclusions can be drawn

Change in rotational speed (diameter constant): H 2 , Q P 3 Change in diameter (rotational speed constant): H d 2 , Q d 2 P d 4

Practically this means that similar points on pump curves at various rotational speeds lie on parabolic lines emerging from the origin ( H Q 2 ) in case of speed regulation, see figure 12. In case of change in impeller outlet diameter the similar points of different curves will lie on straight lines emerging from the origin ( H Q ) as depicted in figure 13. Similar in this context means that the operation of the pump is comparable, i.e. that the pump runs at the same efficiency.

20 system curve pump curve 2900rpm pump curve 1450rpm





head H, m







flow rate Q, m3/s

Figure 12. Effect of speed regulation

20 system curve pump curve orig pump curve mod





head H, m







flow rate Q, m /s

Figure 13. Effect of impeller trim (diameter change)

Harmful Effects
One of the most harmful effects of machines working with liquid fluids (pumps, hydro turbines and propellers) is cavitation. Cavitation denotes a phenomenon at which the saturation pressure of the fluid is reached. Recall that the saturation pressure is dependent on temperature as listed in table 2. T [C] p [kPa] 0 0.6 30 4.2 50 12.3 100 101.3

Table 2. Dependency of saturation pressure from temperature

A sharp pressure decrease (i.e. under-pressure) as it for example might be the case at the inlet of a pump or in certain regions on the impeller thus can lead the flow to evaporate locally having small vapor bubbles formed locally. The harmful effect itself occurs first upon subsequent pressure increase that forces the vapor bubbles to collapse. As the vapor density is some order of magnitudes lower than the one of the liquid state the collapse induces an implosion yielding micro jets at extremely high pressures. These pressures are so high that implosions that occur in vicinity of surfaces can destroy the material locally. Figure 14 shows a sketch of the cavitation phenomenon.

Figure 14. Cavitation phenomenon

A measure that is used when designing a pump application for cavitation-free operation is the socalled net positive suction head or NPSH. The NPSH is a value in meter and indicates, what minimum head is allowed at the pump inlet to avoid cavitation. Its usage is as follows:

The pump manufacturers specify a required NPSH, or short NPSHr. Similar to the pump operating characteristics it is a curve dependent on the flow rate From the system layout and pump placement an available NPSH, or short NPSHa, can be determined. This is the head present at pump inlet for a given operating point. The criteria applied for avoiding cavitation is finally NPSHa>NPSHr.

To be able to avoid (or remedy) cavitation it is necessary to understand how the NPSHs are affected by different operating parameters and how it can be changed. An overview is included in table 3.

Operating parameter High suction height of pump

Leads to Low NPSHa Low NPSHa High NPSHr High NPSHr

High inflow losses High liquid temperature High pump speed

Avoid by Reducing suction height of pump (e.g. low placement of pump) Increasing inflow pipe diameters Reduce liquid temperature Reduce pump speed

Table 3. Effect of operating parameters on NPSHs

For better assessment the NPSHs are often included in operating diagrams as done in figure 15.

H [m]

Upper flow rate to avoid cavitation

Pump curve NPSHr


Q [m3/s] Figure 15. Pump and system NPSHs

Design Aspects