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200 Centrifugal Pumps

Abstract
This section describes how centrifugal pumps work, lists their limitations, and
explains how to select the right centrifugal pump for a given application. For information on troubleshooting centrifugal pump problems, see Section 1100. For information on mechanical seals, or installation or startup of centrifugal pumps, see those
sections.

April 2009

Contents

Page

210

Engineering Principles

200-3

211

Fundamentals

212

Head

213

Pump Curves

214

Series and Parallel Operation of Multiple Centrifugal Pumps

215

Effects of Changing Pump Speed (Affinity Law)

216

Effects of Changing Impeller Diameter (Affinity Law)

217

Cut-off Point

218

Specific Speed

219

Effect of Viscosity on Centrifugal Pump Performance

220

Suction Considerations

221

Pumping Liquids Near Their Boiling Points

222

Cavitation

223

Net Positive Suction Head Available (NPSHA)

224

Required NPSH (NPSHR)

225

Suction-Stealing

226

Horsepower

230

Application and Selection Criteria

231

Factors in Pump Selection

232

Energy Efficiency for Centrifugal Pumps

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200-25

200-36

200-1

200 Centrifugal Pumps

200-2

Pump Manual

233

Special Service Pumps

234

Application Guidelines

240

Centrifugal Pump Descriptions

200-48

250

Mechanical Components

200-77

251

Cases

252

Impellers

253

Wearing Rings

254

Shafts and Shaft Sleeves

255

Throat Bushings and Lantern Rings

256

Glands

257

Balance Drums and Bearings

258

Base Plates

259

Couplings and Coupling Guards

260

Centrifugal Pump Subsystems

261

Special Requirements for Hot Service

262

Vertical Turbine Pumps

270

Maintaining Centrifugal Pump Flow Rates Close to the Best


Efficiency Point (BEP) or Best Efficiency Flow Rate

271

General

272

Power Measurement

273

Flow Control Methods

274

Proportional Flow Control

275

Self-Contained Flow Control Valves

276

Economics of Flow Control

277

Variable Speed Devices (VSDs)

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200-90

200-92

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200 Centrifugal Pumps

210 Engineering Principles


211 Fundamentals
Centrifugal pumps comprise a wide category of pumps which move liquid by the
rotational motion of one or more impellers. Their flow is uniform and normally
devoid of pulsations.
A centrifugal pump produces pressure by accelerating a fluid to a high kinetic
energy (velocity), then converting that energy to pressure.
Fluid flows into the eye of the impeller and is thrown outward by the vanes of the
spinning impeller, slowing as the velocity is converted to pressure in the diffuser
or volute. (See Figure 200-1). This momentum exchange provides an increase in
pressure or head.
Fig. 200-1

End View of a Centrifugal Pump From Centrifugal Pumps Design and Application
by Lobanoff and Ross, Copyright 1985 by Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, TX.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.

The incoming fluid is pushed into the low pressure area of the impeller eye by
higher pressure in the upstream system. Having enough upstream or suction pressure to push adequate flow into the pump is a critical design consideration.
(Covered in Section 220.)

212 Head
The term head is used almost exclusively in the centrifugal pumping industry to
express pressure. All pump curves are calibrated to read feet of head as a
measure of pressure rise. Similarly, suction pressures and, often, friction losses are
also expressed as feet of head, not psi.
The concept of head is derived from the fact that a column of liquid will exert a
local pressure proportional to the depth of that liquid. For example, the pressure of a
column of water increases 0.433 psi for every foot of depth. In other words, at a
depth of ten feet, the pressure is 4.33 psi higher than at the surface; at 100 feet,
43.3 psi higher; at 1000 feet, 433 psi higher, etc.
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The depth, or distance in feet, can therefore be used as a measure of pressure. For
water, the equivalent pressures are:
1 foot of head = 0.433 psi (for water at 60F and 1.0 specific gravity) or
1 psi = 2.31 feet of head (for water at 60F and 1.0 specific gravity)
Another example of measuring pressure by liquid depth is the barometric pressure,
reported as millimeters or inches of mercury.
14.7 psi = 760 mm Hg = 29.92 inches Hg
This relationship illustrates that normal atmospheric pressure (14.7 psi at sea level)
is the same pressure that would be exerted at the bottom of a column of liquid
mercury 29.92 inches high (assuming zero pressurei.e., a vacuumat the surface
of the mercury).
Similarly, visualize a centrifugal pump connected to a vertical pipe on its discharge.
The discharge pressure from the pump would push the liquid up the column to a
level where the pressure from the height would equal discharge pressure. This
height would be the feet of head noted by the pump manufacturer as total head
across the pump.
One reason the centrifugal pump industry has settled on head, or feet, as a measure
of pressure rise is that a pump will develop the same head regardless of the fluids
specific gravity. A pump that develops a column of water (S.G.=1) 1000 feet high
will also develop a column of hydrocarbon (S.G.= 0.7) 1000 feet high.
Of course, the actual pressure, in psi, would be quite different between water and
hydrocarbon. The pressure developed in a pump and the pressure at the bottom of a
column of liquid are both proportional to specific gravity. To convert from feet to
psi (and vice versa) use the following equation:
Pressure (psi) = feet S.G. 0.433
(Eq. 200-1)

213 Pump Curves


Total Developed Head (TDH) is a measure of the energy a pump delivers to a fluid.
It is equal to the total discharge head minus the total suction head in feet of liquid.
The word total is used because each of these heads is composed of the pressure
head, velocity head, static head, and head loss. The Total Developed Head is
approximated by measuring the discharge pressure and suction pressure at the pump
nozzles, subtracting to determine the differential pressure, and converting to units of
head in feet. This approximation neglects the velocity head component, which
usually results in an error of 1% or less. A centrifugal pumps Total Developed
Head depends on the impeller diameter, pump speed, fluid viscosity, impeller and
case design, and pump mechanical condition. It also varies with flow rate, largely
due to frictional losses in the impeller and casing. This relationship is plotted in a
pump curve. These characteristic curves are important to understanding the
performance of centrifugal pumps.

200-4

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200 Centrifugal Pumps

Typical Characteristic Curves for a Centrifugal Pump


Most characteristic curves show the relationship between Total Developed Head
(TDH), pump capacity (flow rate), brake horsepower, efficiency, and Net Positive
Suction Head Required (NPSHR) for a particular pump. Characteristic curves are
also known as head-capacity curves or, simply, pump curves. Two methods are
commonly used for plotting the characteristic curves of a centrifugal pump.
Figure 200-2 shows the method used to depict pump performance for a single speed
and impeller size. These curves result from a pump test at constant speed. Manufacturers commonly use these characteristic curves to predict and guarantee pump
performance.
Figure 200-3 shows the method used to express more fully the entire range of
performance of a pump, with various impeller diameters at constant speed. These
curves are commonly used in the selection of a pump for a specific service. The
curves in Figure 200-3 are generally made up from the average results of tests for
various diameter impellers plotted as shown in Figure 200-2.
Figure 200-4 shows a third method of plotting characteristic curves for a centrifugal
pump driven at variable speeds, with a fixed impeller diameter.
Note that practically all performance curves furnished by manufacturers are based
on water as the pumped liquid. If the pump is handling some other liquid, adjustments must be made for viscosity and specific gravity before flow rate and
discharge pressure (psi) can be predicted.
Every centrifugal pump will operate on its characteristic curve if there is
enough Net Positive Suction Head Available (NPSHA) for a given S.G. and
viscosity. For any given capacity, there will be one total head rise, one efficiency,
one horsepower, and one NPSHR.
The slope and shape of the head-capacity curve is affected by individual pump
design. Head-capacity curves can take one of four typical shapes, as shown in
Figure 200-5.

Steep-rise curve
Steady-rise curve
Flat curve
Drooping curve (will have multiple flow points for a given head)

As a rule of thumb, curves that show a 140% increase in head between the capacities of peak efficiency and shutoff are called steep-rising curves; those showing a
1025% increase are called steady-rising curves; and those with no more than a
5% increase are called flat curves. Rise to shutoff is a function of the following
parameters:

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Specific speed (Ns) design for the impeller


Impeller-outlet-vane angle and volute diffuser area ratio
Friction losses

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200-5

Typical Performance Curve for a 6-inch, Single-stage, Double-suction Centrifugal PumpSpeed and Impeller Diameter Fixed.

200 Centrifugal Pumps

200-6

Fig. 200-2

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Typical Performance Curve for a 6-inch, Single-stage, Double-suction Centrifugal PumpSpeed Fixed, Impeller Diameter Variable

Pump Manual

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Fig. 200-3

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200 Centrifugal Pumps

200-7

Typical Performance Curve for a 6-inch, Single-stage, Double-suction Centrifugal PumpSpeed Variable, Impeller Fixed

200 Centrifugal Pumps

200-8

Fig. 200-4

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200 Centrifugal Pumps

Fig. 200-5

Four Typical Shapes of Head Capacity Curves

Pumps with drooping characteristic curves should be avoided because they may
exhibit unstable operating characteristics. In some cases, however, such as systems
with mostly dynamic loss and no requirements for parallel operation, drooping characteristics could be acceptable.
Centrifugal pumps with steady-rise curves are most commonly used. Since the head
varies distinctly with a change in capacity, precise flow control can be maintained
with this type of curve. The rising curve is a stable curve; for every head, only one
corresponding capacity occurs.

System-Head Curves
Plotting the head vs. flow rate in a pumping system can be an aid in system design
and pump selection. Such a plot is called the system-head curve.
A system curve represents a complete piping system, i.e., the friction losses of all
the piping, elbows, valves, etc., and the total static head vs. flow rate. Each point on
the curve shows the head required to deliver that amount of flow through the piping
system.
A system-head curve (Figure 200-6) is obtained by combining the system friction
curve (Figure 200-7) with a plot of the total developed head. A system friction
curve is a plot of friction losses versus flow rate in a piping system.
Superimposing the pump characteristic curve on the system-head curve gives the
point at which a particular pump will operate (Figure 200-6, Point A). Changing
the resistance of the piping system by partially closing a valve changes the systemhead curve. Partially closing a valve in the discharge line produces a second systemhead curve, shown in Figure 200-6, shifting the operating point to higher head but
lower flow rate. The intersection of the pump characteristic curve and the new
system-head curve is the new operating point.
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Fig. 200-6

Pump Manual

Pump Characteristic Curve Superimposed


on System-Head Curve

Fig. 200-7

System Friction Curve

Operating Point
It is important to understand that a centrifugal pump will operate at one point
(assuming the pump curve rises steadily to shutoff). This point is the intersection
of the system curve and the pump curve. This is an important concept both for
sizing pumps and troubleshooting problems.
This concept also illustrates the most common basis for centrifugal-pump control:
discharge throttling. As a control valve in the discharge line varies the total pressure drop in the system, the system curve varies. This variance in the system curve
causes the operating point to shift right or left on the pump curve, with a resulting
increase or decrease in flow rate.

Unstable Head-Capacity (Drooping-Curve) Characteristics


Under certain conditions, a portion of the head-capacity curve of a low-specificspeed pump is unstable, causing fluctuations in the pump head, capacity, and power
input. Figure 200-8 shows the type of head-capacity curve (a drooping curve) that
can cause unstable operation.
In Figure 200-8 the system curves OB, OC, OD, OE and OF correspond to different
settings of a pump discharge throttle valve. Point F represents the normal operating
condition of the pump. As system resistance is increased (by throttling the discharge
valve, for example) the pump is able to supply the additional head until point C is
reached on the pump head-capacity curve. Additional system resistance causes the
operating point to move into the part of the pump curve where the head decreases as
the flow decreases. Operation in this region of the head-capacity curve may result is
an unstable surging discharge pressure.
It is not good practice to install drooping-curve centrifugal pumps in parallel. One
pump may operate at a lower flow rate than the other and could fail if operating
below the manufacturers recommended minimum flow rate.

200-10

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200 Centrifugal Pumps

Fig. 200-8

Typical Head-Capacity Curve that May Indicate Unstable Operation


(Drooping Curve)

214 Series and Parallel Operation of Multiple Centrifugal Pumps


Centrifugal pumps may be operated in series or in parallel. The combined headcapacity curves for series or parallel operation of two or more centrifugal pumps are
obtained as follows:

Series: Add heads for each pump at any given capacity.


Parallel: Add capacities for each pump at any given head.

Figure 200-9 illustrates both series and parallel operation for two pumps under
various discharge conditions. Two pumps, P-1 and P-2, have head-capacity curves
as shown and are to pump through pipe systems with characteristics shown by
system curves I, II, III, IV, and V. The intersections of the pipe system characteristics with the pump head-capacity characteristics show the quantities and heads at
which the pumps will operate either singly, in series, or in parallel. Adequate
suction pressure is assumed.

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200-11

Typical Series and Parallel Operation of Two Centrifugal Pumps Pumping Through a Pipe System Throttled at the Discharge End

200 Centrifugal Pumps

200-12

Fig. 200-9

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200 Centrifugal Pumps

Figure 200-10 is an example of the difficulty with series pump operation. Two identical pumps, P-5 and P-20, operate in series. The suction and discharge pressures
are noted on the diagram. Both pumps should develop the same differential head.
Actually, P-5 develops a differential of 20.5 psi and P-20 develops a differential of
72.0 psi. Average capacity is 543 GPM, which is well below the anticipated flow
rate. The performance curve for the two pumps, Figure 200-11, shows that P-20 is
developing its rated head but P-5 is not. The difficulty is that Pump P-5 is losing
suction and cutting off at about 543 GPM as shown on Figure 200-11.
In Figure 200-10, the actual differential developed by P-5 is shown by AC. The
differential head developed by P-20 is shown by DG. The sum of these two
produced the head required at H for a flow of 543 GPM. If P-5 had been provided
with adequate suction pressure, it would have developed a differential head equal to
AE. The total pressure which both pumps would have developed is shown by BI.

215 Effects of Changing Pump Speed (Affinity Law)


Knowing the effects of varying a centrifugal pumps speed is helpful in many situations, such as adjusting to new service requirements, sizing a new driver, turning
down to avoid excessive flow or pressure, etc.
The following affinity law holds for any corresponding points on the head-capacity
characteristic curve when the speed is changed:
1.

Flow rate (quantity) varies directly with the ratio of change in speed.

2.

Head varies with the square of the ratio of change in speed.

3.

Horsepower varies with the cube of the ratio of change in speed.

In all three cases, the efficiency remains relatively constant. Efficiency tends to rise
very slightly as speed increases, because neither hydraulic nor mechanical losses
increase as fast as the square of the speed.
The characteristic curve of Figure 200-4 is marked to show a set of corresponding
points for the same impeller at different speeds.
The affinity law for speed change holds with considerable accuracy when speed
changes do not exceed a two-to-one ratio and flow is not limited by suction
conditions.

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Fig. 200-10 Analysis of Performance of Two Identical Centrifugal Pumps in Series When Suction Pressure at First
Pump is Too Low

200-14

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Fig. 200-11 The Effect of Abnormal Suction Conditions on Centrifugal Pump Performance

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200 Centrifugal Pumps

200-15

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216 Effects of Changing Impeller Diameter (Affinity Law)


The curves in Figure 200-3, except the underfiled curve, may be approximated from
a single curve by the following rules, which apply to reducing impeller diameter to
the stated design minimum without other changes in design. They are applicable to
minor changes (5-15%) in impeller diameter.
The following rules may be applied for any corresponding points on the characteristic curves when the impeller diameter is changed:
1.

Flow rate (quantity) varies directly with the ratio of change in impeller diameter.

2.

Head varies with the square of the ratio of change in impeller diameter.

3.

Horsepower varies with the cube of the ratio of change in impeller diameter.

These rules are essentially the same as the affinity law for speed change, but do not
apply with the same accuracy over as wide a range.
For (1), (2), and (3) all to be true, the efficiency must remain constant for the corresponding point. Since this is not exactly what happens, the head calculated by the
above rules will be too low. The efficiency will usually drop. The table in
Figure 200-12 will aid in estimating how much deviation from the simple rule
should be expected. Both columns give impeller diameter, in percent, of original
diameter.
Fig. 200-12 Impeller Diameters (% of Original)
% to Reduce Impeller, as
Calculated by the Affinity Law

Actual % Impeller Reduction

65

71

70

75

75

79

80

83

85

87

90

91.5

95

91.5

When the cut becomes so great that the overlap of the vanes is destroyed, proper
guidance or control of the liquid is lost and the performance becomes unpredictable. When possible, the correct diameter for new conditions should be obtained
from the manufacturer.
Conservative practice limits the diameter after cutting to not less than 75% of the
full diameter. The pump manufacturer can readily determine the allowable
minimum diameter from the impeller drawings.
The affinity law for impeller diameter applies not only to the point of best efficiency, but to any corresponding points on the original and calculated new headcapacity characteristics, provided they are not affected by suction conditions.

200-16

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The combined effects described above are summarized in the affinity law equations shown in Figure 200-13.
Fig. 200-13 Affinity Law Equations From Centrifugal Pumps Design and Application by Lobanoff and Ross, Copyright
1985 from Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, TX. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Diameter Change Only

Speed Change Only

Diameter and Speed Change

Q2 = Q1 (D2/D1)

Q2 = Q1 (N2/N1)

Q2 = Q1 (D2/D1 N2/N1)

H2 = H1 (D2/D1)2

H2 = H1 (N2/N1)2

H2 = H1 (D2/D1 N2/N1)2

BHP2 = BHP1 (D2/D1)3

BHP2 = BHP1 (N2/N1)3

BHP2 = BHP1 (D2/D1 N2/N1)3

where:
Q1 =

Initial flow rate

Q2

New flow rate

H1

= Initial differential
head

H2

New differential head

N2

New rpm

N1

= Initial rpm

D2

New diameter

D1

= Initial diameter

BHP2

New brake horsepower

BHP1

= Initial brake
horsepower

Effects of Changing Liquid Specific Gravity


Specific gravity (S.G.) has the following effects on pump performance, assuming
constant rpm and impeller diameter:
1.

Flow rate (quantity) is unchanged by S.G. (although the flow reading on a


differential-pressure flow meter varies.)

2.

Pressure varies directly with S.G. (Although pressure varies, head is constant.)

3.

Horsepower varies directly with S.G.

These relationships are important when converting a pump to another service or if


significant changes to fluid gravity are anticipated. For example, converting from a
light hydrocarbon service to water service may significantly overload an existing
driver.

Increasing the Capacity of a Given Pump


Increasing the capacity and head of a pump within its design limits is usually
accomplished by increasing impeller diameter or driver speed.
Small increases can be obtained by underfiling the impeller vanes without changing
impeller diameter. This means that the exit end of the vanes are filed back, without
cutting the shroud, as shown in Figure 200-14. (Figure 200-3 shows the effect on
the pump curve of underfiling the impeller.)

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200-17

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Fig. 200-14 Underfiled Vanes on a Centrifugal Pump Impeller

In Figure 200-3 the head-capacity curve for the underfiled condition is for the full
diameter vanes. Similar effects are obtained by underfiling any other usable diameter. Underfiling is adopted only in cases where the standard impeller does not attain
the required rating and changing the impeller or using a larger pump is not
warranted.
Figure 200-3 shows a set of typical characteristic curves for a 6-inch, single-stage,
double-suction pump running at 1770 rpm. Total pumping head, efficiency, and
horsepower are plotted against capacity for impeller diameters from 15 to
18 inches using the standard vane, and also for full diameter with underfiled
vanes. Note that the underfiled curve is unstable. Underfiling pumps with flat curves
can lead to unstable (drooping) curves; this would not happen on pumps with steep
curves. This is a good example of why underfiling should be carefully considered.

217 Cut-off Point


Figure 200-11 shows that the greatest possible capacity obtainable with this pump is
about 1100 GPM, which may be obtained at a head of 150 feet. This point is known
as the cut-off point and is the maximum quantity of liquid that the available suction
head can force into the impeller. The cut-off point depends on the relationship
between required and available NPSH. See Section 220 for a complete discussion of
NPSH and Figure 200-21 for an example of NPSH limiting capacity.
Pumps should not be selected with a cut-off close to the required rating. Pumps
operating above cutoff will vibrate excessively and fail prematurely.

218 Specific Speed


Specific speed is a dimensionless term used to compare the performance and shape
of impellers, regardless of their size. Specific speed (usually designated Ns) is the
speed, taken in revolutions per minute, at which a geometrically similar
impeller would run if it were of such size as to discharge one gallon per minute
against one foot of head.

200-18

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200 Centrifugal Pumps

In practice, specific speed is used to relate the three main parameters (GPM, head,
and rpm) to the performance of the pump:
0.5

Q
N s = n ------------0.75
H
(Eq. 200-2)

where:
Q = U.S. gallons per minute
H = Feet per stage
n = Revolutions per minute
Low-specific-speed impellers have high heads and low flow capacities. Impellers
for low heads and high flow rates have high specific speeds.
Figure 200-15 gives the general relationships between impeller shape, efficiency,
and capacity. It also shows that each impeller design has a specific speed range for
which it is best adapted. These ranges are approximate, without clear-cut demarcations between them. Most petrochemical pumps are designed with impellers that
have specific speeds between 8001500 (as calculated using Equation 200-2).
Fig. 200-15 Relationship of Impeller Shape, Efficiency, and Capacity From Pump Handbook,
(1976) Edited by Karassik, Krutzch, Fraser, & Messina. Used with permission from
McGraw Hill.

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200-19

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Specific speed is a pump design tool, but it may be used in the pump selection
process to compare the curve shape and stability. It can also be used in evaluating
new pump bids. (See Section 231.)
In general, low specific speeds indicate flat head-capacity curves, with peak efficiency over a wide range of capacity, and brake-horsepower decreasing as the pump
is throttled. High specific speeds result in steep head-capacity curves, sharply
peaked efficiency curves, with brake-horsepower increasing as the pump is throttled.

219 Effect of Viscosity on Centrifugal Pump Performance


Since requirements often call for pumping liquids with a viscosity greater than
water (while most manufacturers curves are for pumping water), it is important to
have a method for estimating the effect of viscosity upon water performance curves.
In general, because of the increased internal fluid friction, the head, efficiency, and
flow of centrifugal pumps are reduced when pumping a fluid with a higher viscosity
than water.
Figure 200-16 shows the effect of viscosity on pump performance. Figure 200-17
(1 and 2) provides viscosity corrections to pump performance. These data are also
available from the Hydraulic Institute Standards, 14th Edition. The curves convert
the pumps water performance to that of the viscous fluid.
These correction curves do not apply to mixed-flow or axial-flow pumps, nor to
pumps handling non-Newtonian liquids. Slurries and similar non-Newtonian liquids
may produce widely different results depending on their characteristics. Also, the
correction curves cover only single-stage performance using the best efficiency flow
rate for the impeller. If viscous performance for a multi-stage centrifugal pump is
required, the head per stage should be used to obtain the proper correction factors,
which should then be verified with the original equipment manufacturer.
It is worth noting that, at 100 GPM, Figure 200-17 (1 and 2) gives somewhat
different results, indicating they are compiled from separate tests and that either
chart is only an approximation of the actual results for a viscous liquid.
The correction curves provide factors to be applied at the best-efficiency-point to
arrive at the viscous performance curve. Efficiency is the parameter affected most
severely by viscosity, followed by capacity, then head. In practice, since efficiency
has the greatest effect, power cost should be evaluated as it may impact the pump
selection.
Positive-displacement reciprocating screw or gear pumps are very efficient in
viscous fluids. They should be considered when fluid viscosity exceeds 200 to
500 SSU and when there are very few suspended solids present.

200-20

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200 Centrifugal Pumps

200-21

Fig. 200-16 Effect of Viscosity on Centrifugal Pump Performance. Note: In Figure 200-17 (both parts 1 and 2, overleaf), enter the chart at GPM, read vertically to
Head, then Horizontally to Viscosity, then vertically to Head/Capacity/Efficiency, then left to the Correction Factor.

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Fig. 200-17 Viscosity Corrections for Centrifugal Pumps Handling Viscous Fluids 100 GPM and Over (1 of 2) From
Standards 14th edition, Hydraulic Institute. Used with permission.

200-22

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Fig. 200-18 Viscosity Corrections for Centrifugal Pumps Handling Viscous Fluids Under 100 GPM (2 of 2) From Standards 14th edition, Hydraulic Institute. Used with permission

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Sample Problem: Viscosity Effects. Given the pump performance obtained by test
on water, plot the performance of this pump when handling oil with a specific
gravity of 0.9 and a viscosity of 1,000 SSU, both at pumping temperature.
On the performance curve, Figure 200-16, the best-efficiency-point when pumping
water is 750 GPM at 100 ft of head (Point A) with an efficiency of 82% (Point B).
Using 750 GPM, 100-ft head, and 1,000 SSU, read Figure 200-17 (1 of 2) and determine the correction factors:
Capacity correction factor:

CQ = 0.95

Head correction factor:

CH = 0.92

Efficiency correction factor: CE = 0.635


Multiplying the water capacity, head, and efficiency by the correction factors gives
the best-efficiency-point as follows:
Viscous capacity:
750 GPM 0.95 = 712 GPM
Viscous head:
100 ft 0.92 = 92 ft
Viscous efficiency:
82% 0.635 = 52%
The point for viscous capacity and head can now be located below the water curve
(Point C, Figure 200-16). The viscous head-capacity performance curve is drawn
from the water head at zero capacity (Point D) through the viscous head-capacity
point (Point C) with approximately the same shape as the water curve. The efficiency at the best-efficiency-point for viscous performance can be plotted as Point E
and the viscous efficiency curve plotted from zero (Point F) through Point E; the
shape of the curve is similar to that obtained for water efficiency.
The horsepower (BHP) for any capacity can now be calculated from the head and
efficiency at the capacity desired. The best-efficiency-point for viscous performance is:
712GPM 92 ft. 0.9 S.G.
BHP = -------------------------------------------------------------------- = 28.6
3960 0.52 eff
(Eq. 200-3)

This horsepower can now be plotted as Point G and the horsepower curve for
viscous performance drawn through Point G approximately parallel to the brake
horsepower curve for water.

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220 Suction Considerations


One of the most important aspects of successful pump operation is to have enough
suction pressure to push liquid into the pump without flashing or boiling. This
requirement is particularly critical where liquids are already near their boiling points
(reflux, boiler feedwater, flash separators, furnace circulation, etc.). Failure to
assure adequate suction pressure will lead to numerous operational and
mechanical problems, up to and including destruction of the pump.

221 Pumping Liquids Near Their Boiling Points


Pumps should be selected with inlet velocities sufficiently low to prevent vapor
formation in the entering liquid. This may call for (1) oversized inlet piping,
(2) pumps operating at low speed, (3) pumps designed for such conditions, or
(4) use of vertical pumps installed in a suction can.
The design requirement is that the pressure at the pump inlet be adequate to accelerate the liquid to the required velocity at the impeller entrance without the pressure
in the pump falling below the fluids vapor pressure. Boiling or flashing of the fluid
in the pump suction eye is called cavitation and can significantly affect pump
performance.

222 Cavitation
The formation of vapor bubbles in the impeller suction eye due to fluid flashing or
boiling, with subsequent collapse of the bubbles as the pressure rises, is called cavitation. Cavitation may cause vibration, pitting damage, and impaired performance.
Cavitation may or may not be serious depending on the pump, HP/stage, impeller
design, and the fluid being pumped. In small pumps with low differential head per
stage, the energy of collapsing bubbles is much less than in larger, high-head-perstage pumps. Cavitation is more severe in a single-boiling point fluid (like water)
than with a mixture (like petroleum stocks) that have a broad boiling range.

Recirculation
Recirculation is a flow reversal at the inlet eye or discharge tip of an impeller.
Recirculation at the inlet eye is called suction recirculation. Discharge recirculation
occurs at the impeller tip. Recirculation usually occurs when operating centrifugal
pumps at flows below their best efficiency flow.
Refer to standard drawing GA-G1097-2, Minimum Continuous Flow for Centrifugal Pumps, to help predict the flow at which a pump will begin to demonstrate
problems related to suction recirculation. Section 270 describes several ways to
prevent pump operation below the recommended minimum flow.
All impellers will begin to recirculate at a certain flow rate. The point recirculation
begins may not be the same for suction and discharge. Suction recirculation usually
will begin at a higher flow than discharge recirculation.

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The capacity at which recirculation occurs is determined primarily by the impeller


design. Most of the problems associated with recirculation can be avoided by
selecting pumps with impellers of low suction specific speed (Nss) designs. Recommended limits for Nss are:
Horsepower Per Stage
Nss limit

< 250 to 300

> 300

11,000

9,000

The effects of recirculation can be impeller and casing damage, bearing failures, and
seal or shaft failures. Symptoms associated with recirculation are listed below.

Suction Recirculation:

Cavitation damage to the pressure side of the impeller vanes at the inlet of
the vane.

Cavitation damage to the stationary or splitter vanes in the suction side of the
pump casing.

Random crackling or gravel pumping noise. (Inadequate NPSH will sound the
same except the noise will be constant not random.)

Surging pressure in the suction pipe.

Discharge Recirculation:

Cavitation damage to the pressure side of the impeller vane and exit shroud at
the discharge of the impeller. This may be seen as impeller failures at the
impeller exit vanes or shroud.

Higher-than-normal axial vibration or shaft movement. This may be accompanied by thrust bearing damage.

Cavitation damage to the cut water (casing tongue) or diffuser vanes in


the case.

223 Net Positive Suction Head Available (NPSHA)


NPSHA is a critical factor in pump performance. It is a result of the suction system
design. In practical terms, NPSHA is the differential pressure between (1) the actual
pressure at the lowest pressure point in the pump, and (2) the pressure at which the
liquid begins to vaporize (flash or boil). NPSHA is the available pressure above
the liquids vapor pressure that prevents vaporization (or cavitation). Remember that
as the liquid accelerates into the spinning impeller eye, its pressure drops. If the
pressure falls below the vapor pressure, cavitation occurs.
NPSHA is technically defined as the total suction pressure (in psia) at the
suction nozzle less the true vapor pressure of the liquid (in psia) at the pumping
temperature. For centrifugal pumps, NPSHA is always expressed in feet of the
liquid pumped.

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Net Positive Suction Head Required (NPSHR)


NPSHA must exceed the NPSH required by the pump. NPSHR depends on the
impeller design, operating speed and flow rate, and, to a lesser extent, on the characteristics of the liquid handled. NPSHR represents the frictional losses and initial
pressure-to-velocity energy conversions occurring between the suction flange and
the point where the impeller begins to do work on the fluid.
During NPSH testing and NPSH curve development, the pump manufacturer operates the pump at a constant flow rate while closely monitoring the pump head as
suction pressure is reduced. During the process of lowering suction pressure, cavitation begins. When the volume of the vapor bubbles impairs pump performance by a
reduction in head of 3%, the pump manufacturer defines that NPSH value as the
required NPSH for that particular flow. This is repeated at several flow points to
develop an NPSHR curve.
NPSH testing is done using cold water as the pumped fluid. The values of NPSHR
determined from cold water tests are conservative and are practical to use for virtually all services.

NPSHR, Suction Specific Speed, and Minimum Flow


The NPSHR by a pump is largely dependent on the impeller eye area and inlet
vane angle design. These relatively complicated and proprietary design features
can easily be evaluated by comparing each pumps Suction Specific Speed (Nss).
Nss is a design number which relates the best-efficiency flow and NPSHR for the
maximum diameter and pump rpm. This value provides a great deal of information
about pump performance. To calculate Nss, use the following formula:
0.5

Q N
Nss = ---------------------------------0.75
NPSHR
(Eq. 200-4)

where:
Q = pump best efficiency flow in GPM for the maximum diameter
impeller. Q divided by 2 is used for double suction impellers.
N = pump rotating speed in rpm
NPSHR = net positive suction head required in feet at flow point Q
Typical values for Nss range between 7,000 and 14,000 as determined by pump
design. However, conservative impeller designs will have a Nss value less than
11,000. Multistage, high-energy pumps which operate above 3600 rpm should have
a first-stage impeller Nss value of less than 9000.

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The following is an example of the relationship between Nss, NPSHR, and pump
minimum flow.
PUMP #1

PUMP #2

Manufacturer

ABC Co.

XYZ Co.

Model

328

328

3,600

3,600

10

8,750

11,500

30

60

Speed (rpm)
NPSHR (feet)
Nss
Minimum flow (GPM)

Pump #1 with the lower Nss requires a higher NPSHR and has a lower minimum
flow. Therefore: (1) Pump #2 probably has a larger impeller inlet eye area and less
conservative inlet vane angle design; and (2) due to the less conservative design of
Pump #2, the stability of flow in the impeller is reduced at lower flow rates resulting
in a higher minimum flow.
In summary, as Nss increases, the pump NPSHR decreases, and the pump minimum
flow increases.
Company experience has shown that pump reliability is directly related to the pump
Nss. Pumps with Nss values above 11,000 are less reliable. The lower reliability
usually manifests itself as high vibration and shaft deflection due to flow instability
in the impeller eye. The shaft deflection and vibration results in reduced mechanical seal and bearing life.
Refer to Figure 200-19 for a nomograph to help determine NPSHR or Nss values
for pumps without the need for calculation. The nomograph along with basic knowledge of pump performance requirements can (1) assist in the selection of a conservatively designed pump by establishing design parameters for new or retrofit of
existing pump suction systems; and (2) help diagnose problems with existing pump
suction systems.
Refer to GA-G1097-2 to help determine the stable operating range for the selected
pump based on its Nss. This figure can also be used to compare minimum flow
quotes from various vendors, as they often will not consider the Nss of the pump
when quoting the stable minimum flow.

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Fig. 200-19 Specific Speed and Suction Specific Speed

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NPSHR for Liquids Other than Cold Water


Manufacturers test data for NPSHR are published based on cold water and
are normally included on pump performance curves. When liquids other than
cold water are handled, the actual NPSHR becomes uncertain. Tests, however, indicate that cavitation starts at nearly the same NPSH for all liquids, but that some
liquids (primarily high-vapor-pressure liquids such as propane and butane) do not
require as much NPSH as does cold water.
Three factors cause the NPSHR for some liquids to be less than for cold water:
1.

Vaporization removes heat from surrounding liquid, reducing its vapor pressure, and suppressing further vaporization. The magnitude of this effect
depends on the thermodynamic properties of the liquid at the suction conditions.

2.

The volume of vapor bubbles in the impeller eye determines the extent to which
performance is impaired. The volume of vapor formed depends on the pressure
and temperature at which vaporization takes place and on the molecular weight
of the stock. To make the same volume of vapor, more weight of a high-vaporpressure stock must be vaporized than of a low-vapor-pressure stock. The
higher molecular weights of hydrocarbons compared to water require
more hydrocarbon than water to be vaporized for the same volume of
vapor formed.

3.

Multi-component liquids have light ends that vaporize first. These may be
small enough in proportion to the total fluid so that some vaporization can
reduce the vapor pressure before pump performance is seriously impaired. This
effect will vary with changes in the composition of the hydrocarbon. Some
hydrocarbons require almost as much NPSH as cold water if the fractions of the
stock first evaporating are significant in relation to the whole NPSH for a given
service condition. The use of any NPSH correction factor which supposedly
allows less NPSHR than cold water is not recommended.

Vapor Pressure and NPSH


A primary factor in calculating the NPSHA for a pump is the vapor pressure of the
liquid handled. One commonly used method, Reid vapor pressure, requires a certain
amount of liquid to be evaporated in the measuring apparatus before the vapor pressure is indicated. Such vapor pressures are too low for determining when gas evolution will start (the point that will affect pump performance). This error is variable,
being small for fractioned stocks and greater for wild crudes. The true vapor pressure (TVP) at the pumping temperature should be used for NPSHA calculations rather than vapor pressure by the Reid method.
In determining true vapor pressure, do not overlook the possibility of dissolved
gases in the liquid. A frequent cause of NPSH trouble is dissolved or entrained air
or gas in the liquid pumped. When tested by the bubble-point method, water which
has been aerated has a higher vapor pressure than water which has not been
aerated. The same is true for hydrocarbons or other liquids. When the pressure of a
liquid containing dissolved gases is reduced, the gas dissolved in the liquid may
evolve and cause an effect similar to cavitation.

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You must consider the effect of temperature changes on vapor pressure in


determining the NPSH available for a pump. Vapor pressure is a function of
temperature alone for any given composition of liquid. For some fluids, a small
increase in temperature causes a relatively large increase in vapor pressure. When
selecting a pump for such a fluid (water, for example), see that the NPSHA is calculated at the highest probable fluid temperature.
The same precaution applies to pressure changes. The NPSHA must take into
account any reduction in suction pressure that might result from pressure variations
in the system. This is of particular importance in applications such as boiler feed
pumps, where you should always make reasonable allowance for variation in deaerator pressure and its effect on pump suction.

NPSHR Quotations
Since most pumps are tested by the manufacturer on cold water only, quotations by
the supplier will usually provide the cold water NPSHR.

Calculation of NPSHA
NPSHA can be calculated as follows:
NPSHA = H + S - F - Vp
(Eq. 200-5)

where:
NPSHA = feet of head of the pumped liquid, at the pump impeller-eye elevation and suction flange face.
H = minimum absolute pressure on the surface of liquid pumped, in
feet of the liquid.
S = static head, or vertical distance between the surface of the liquid
and the center of the impeller, in feet. S is negative (-) when the
pump is above liquid surface, and positive (+) when the pump is
below.
F = friction losses, in the suction pipe and fittings, in feet of the
liquid.
Vp = True vapor pressure of the liquid, in feet of liquid, at pumping
temperature. For water this may be determined from the steam
tables. For hydrocarbons refer to ETC technical data books,
process designs, or other sources. (Also see the Appendix.)
H and Vp are calculated from pressures in absolute, not gage units. (Absolute
pressure = gage pressure plus atmospheric pressure).

Sample Calculation: Static Head (S)


Gasoline is to be pumped at a rate of 300 GPM from a tank having atmospheric
pressure on the surface of the gasoline. What is the minimum required static head,
S, to satisfy the pump NPSH requirements?

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Since we want to obtain Static head (S), Equation 200-5 can be rearranged to:
S = Vp + F + NPSHA - H
A check on the gasoline shows that the true vapor pressure is 10 psi absolute, and
the specific gravity is 0.75. Therefore:
Vp psia (2.31 feet/0.75) = 30.8 ft.
From the size and length of the line, fittings, and quantity to be pumped, the friction
head loss of the suction line is found to be:
F = 10 ft.
To calculate NPSHA for the specified pump flow of 300 GPM, Figure 200-19
shows the pump requires a NPSH of 10 feet, assuming 3600 rpm operation and a
Nss of 11,000.
Since the objective is to find the necessary static head (S) to satisfy the pump NPSH
requirements, we can substitute the 10 feet required from Figure 200-19 and add an
operating margin of 4 feet, for the minimum necessary NPSHA.
In other words, we must provide:
NPSHR from Figure 200-19

10 feet
4 feet

Operational margin
System NPSHA by design

14 feet

(The minimum recommended operational margin is 2 feet, a margin of 4 feet is


preferred.)
H is the atmospheric pressure, or 14.7 psia:
14.7 (2.31/.75) = 45.4 feet of gasoline
Substituting in the equation,
S = Vp + F + NPSHA - H
S = 30.8 + 10 + 14 - 45.4
and
S = 9.4 ft.
The positive value of S indicates that the center of the impeller must be below the
surface of the gasoline; the example shows that the center of the impeller should be
at least 9.4 feet below the lowest level of the gasoline in the tank.
Figure 200-20 shows variations of the equation for calculating NPSHA, depending
on whether the liquid surface is above or below the pump centerline, and open or
closed to atmospheric pressure.

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Fig. 200-20 Calculations of System Net Positive Suction Head Available (NPSHA) for Typical Suction Conditions Courtesy of Goulds Pumps, Inc.

Legend:
S = Static head, feet absolute
Vp = Vapor pressure of the liquid at maximum pumping temperature, in feet absolute
H = Pressure on surface of liquid in feet absolute
F = Friction losses, feet absolute

224 Required NPSH (NPSHR)


NPSHR is a function of pump design, varying with the capacity and speed of any
given pump. While NPSHA is easily calculated for a given set of conditions, the
NPSHR for a particular pump must be obtained from the manufacturer (determined
by the actual testing of a similar pump) or estimated from Figure 200-19.

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If NPSHR is particularly critical for the pump application being considered, an


NPSH test can be specified for the actual pump being furnished. This test is recommended if the difference between NPSHR and NPSHA is less that 4 feet for a
centrifugal pump.
For a properly designed pumping system:
NPSHA NPSHR + OM
(Eq. 200-6)

where OM (operating margin) is the extra margin to suppress cavitation.


Values of OM may be selected from experience or in consultation with a specialist.
For most centrifugal pump applications, a 2-foot margin should be considered as a
minimum, with values from 3 to 5 being recommended. Any margins less than
4 feet should be demonstrated by an NPSH test in the manufacturers shop. New
pump or impeller designs should also be NPSH and performance tested.

Limit of Capacity Due to NPSH


Figure 200-21 shows a method for computing the capacity limitation imposed by
the NPSH on a given pump.

225 Suction-Stealing
When two or more pumps are connected to the same suction header and operated in
parallel, the total volume pumped is often much less than proportional to the number of pumps used. One pump seems to take all the liquid from the other pump or
pumps. This effect, called suction-stealing, arises from unequal suction pressures
at the impeller inlets of the various pumps. It is most pronounced where the pressure in the suction header is low, so that the inequalities in friction between the inlet
to the header and inlets to the various pump impellers greatly influence the volume
of flow into the pump. The remedy is to provide equal head losses between the inlet
to the header and the inlets to the pump suction nozzles and adequate NPSHA to
both pumps at the total flow rate. Independently matched pump curves give the
same effect, especially if they are flat, permitting minor inlet piping variances to
produce major effects. Actual cases of suction-stealing can usually be traced to flat
or unstable curves.
It is equally important that pumps in series have adequate suction pressure. Occasionally, pumps in series operation have not developed the anticipated total differential head. This is usually the result of one pump operating under cavitating
conditions because of insufficient NPSHA. Figure 200-21 shows how capacity is
limited when adequate NPSHA is not provided.

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Fig. 200-21 Limit of Capacity Due to Net Positive Suction Head (NPSH)

226 Horsepower
The hydraulic horsepower (HHP) for a centrifugal pump is a theoretical value calculated from the rated capacity and differential head, assuming a 100% efficient pump.
It can be calculated as:
HHP = ( Q H S.G. ) / 3960
where:
HHP = hydraulic horsepower
Q = rated capacity in gpm
H = differential head at rated capacity in feet
S.G. = fluid specific gravity
(Eq. 200-7)

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Once the pump efficiency is known, the rated power (BHP) can be determined. The
rated power is the power which the pump driver must transmit to the pump shaft at
the rated pump capacity. It can be calculated as:
BHP = HHP / eff
where:
BHP = rated power in horsepower
HHP = hydraulic horsepower
eff = pump efficiency at rated capacity as a fraction
(Eq. 200-8)

Pump efficiency is determined empirically from the pumps factory performance


test, and appears on the pumps characteristic curve.

230 Application and Selection Criteria


This section discusses the criteria for selecting a centrifugal pump for a specific
service. It is assumed that a centrifugal pump has been selected rather than a positive displacement pump. This material provides background information on
selecting a pump configuration for most applications in the petrochemical industry.
While this section provides general information for pump selection, engineering
judgement and user preferences must always be considered in the final decision.
Keep in mind that you are trying to minimize the sum of first cost, operating cost,
and maintenance cost for every selection. Also note the potential flexibility required
in operations and changes in environmental laws (which might require multiple
seals where a pump cannot accommodate it).

231 Factors in Pump Selection


General Pump Quality
Recommended practice is to specify that any pump in heavy-duty or critical service
be manufactured to API Standard 610. This includes all continuous-duty, processplant, hydrocarbon pumps and all other pumps in critical services (i.e., boiler feedwater, off-plot charge pumps, high-pressure waterflood, etc.). Light duty pumps
(smaller than 150 HP and in noncritical services) are often purchased to meet ANSI
Standards or as general purpose pumps to supplier standards.
In practice, most pumping needs are met with single-suction, single-stage,
3600/1800 rpm centrifugal pumps. These are the work horses of the industry and are
generally the best choice for a given service. Historically, these have been horizontal pumps. In recent years, however, single-stage, vertical, in-line pumps have
often proven to be as reliable and usually less expensive to purchase and install.
In all cases, the user should be consulted on proposed selections. There may be local
preferences based on past performance. Availability of maintenance and stocking of
interchangeable parts can also be significant factors.

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ANSI versus API


There are significant construction and design differences between ANSI and API
pumps. These differences will impact the pump selection. A tabulation of major
differences is shown in Figure 200-22.
There are two major differences: pressure rating and materials of construction.
ANSI pumps are limited to 150# ratings. Also, ANSI pumps are not readily available with carbon steel casings or impellers. Cast iron or ductile iron are ANSI standard materials.
There are two limitations with use of cast or ductile iron.

Cast or ductile iron castings (case and impeller) cannot be repaired by welding.

Cast iron materials are susceptible to cracking due to thermal shock. When a
hot cast iron pump is exposed to cold extinguishing fluids it may crack. If the
pump was pumping a flammable or hazardous fluid, it could feed a fire or cause
other environmental hazards.

If ANSI pumps meet the required service conditions but cast or ductile iron materials are not acceptable, consider using 316 SS.
Fig. 200-22 Comparison of ANSI and API Pump Designs (1 of 2)
ANSI

API

Type Pump and


Specification

ANSI B73.1 for horizontal end suction top


discharge pumps.
ANSI B73.2 for vertical in-line pumps. All are
single stage.

API 610 for horizontal single and multistage pumps,


vertical in-line, vertical single and multistage centrifugal pumps.

Maximum Allowable
Working Pressure
(MAWP)

275 PSIG

Minimum 700 PSIG


Some API pumps are designed for
pressures above 5000 PSIG.

Hydrostatic Test
Pressure

415 PSIG

Minimum 1050 PSIG


API pump hydrostatic test pressure will be 1.5 times
the MAWP.

Flange Rating

150# flat faced is standard. 150# raised face is


available.

300# raised face is standard. 600, 900, 1500, and


higher ratings are available if required by the service.

Maximum Temperature

800F
250F
Pump casing is foot mounted which limits allow- Pump casing is centerline mounted. No casing thermal
growth limitations.
able thermal growth.

Ductile Iron
Materials of
Construction (Casing and 316 SS
Alloy 20
impeller)
A carbon steel casing or impeller is not
commonly available.

Carbon steel casing is standard;


stainless steel is also available.
Impeller materials are cast iron, carbon steel, and
stainless steel.

Maximum Head
Differential

550 to 600 feet


ANSI pumps are only single stage. Maximum
impeller diameter is about 13 inches.

Practical limit is 10,000 feet.


Horizontal API pumps can have as many as 14
stages.

Impelller Design and


Attachment

Open impellers are common. Some enclosed


impellers are available.
No standard for attachment to the shaft. Most
are threaded on the end of the shaft.

All are enclosed design. Some open designs are available for special coke crushing services. Impellers must
be key driven with a lock nut attachment.

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Fig. 200-22 Comparison of ANSI and API Pump Designs (2 of 2)


Standard Dimensions

ANSI pumps are built for interchangeability


between manufacturers.

No standard dimensions apply.

Shaft Sleeves

Are required to prevent shaft damage in the seal or


Not required but are available. Fit to the shaft
and extension past the gland are not ANSI spec- packing area. Sleeve and stuffing box design is part of
the API 610 specification.
ification requirements.

Lubrication

Can be grease or oil lubricated.

Oil lubrication is required. Usually ring oil system is


provided.

Thrust Bearing and Life

Antifriction bearings only.


B-10 bearing life of 17,500 hours at design load
is required.

Antifriction ball bearings must be duplex, single-row,


40-degree angular-contact type, installed back to
back.
L-10 bearing life must exceed 25,000 hours at rated
conditions, or 16,000 hours at maximum axial and
radial loads at rated speed.

Wear Rings

Not required and not available in most designs


due to the use of open impellers.

Case and impeller, front and back wear rings are


required. Wear ring clearances, attachment, and hardness differential are specified.

Head/Capacity Considerations
The head-capacity requirement is a significant factor in selecting pumps. Proper
definition of these parameters requires considerable thought to be sure all possible
operating conditions have been considered. This is discussed in detail in
Section 130, System Hydraulic Design.
The performance of centrifugal pumps over a range of Heads and Capacities is a
function of the pump impeller and case design. There are three general impeller
designs: radial-flow, mixed-flow, and axial-flow (or propeller). These designs and
their relative performance are noted in Section 210, Engineering Principles.
Figure 200-15 indicates the general shape of the characteristic curves for radial,
mixed flow, and axial (propeller) pumps. It shows the head, brake horsepower, and
efficiency plotted as a percent of their values at the design, or best efficiency, point
of the pump.
The head curve for a radial flow pump is relatively flat, and the head decreases
gradually as the flow increases. Note that the brake horsepower increases gradually
over the flow range with the maximum normally at the point of maximum flow.
Mixed flow centrifugal pumps and axial flow or propeller pumps have considerably
different characteristics. The head curve for a mixed flow pump is steeper than for a
radial flow pump. The shut-off head is usually 150% to 200% of the design head.
The brake horsepower remains fairly constant over the flow range. For a typical
axial flow pump the head and brake horsepower both increase drastically near
shut-off.
The distinction between the above three classes is not absolute, and there are many
pumps with characteristics falling somewhere between the three.
Head-capacity ranges, and other pump features are shown in the Application
Guidelines (Figures 200-23 and 200-24) and on the Pump Description sheets in
Section 240.

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Fig. 200-23 Horizontal Centrifugal Pump Application Guidelines

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Fig. 200-24 Vertical Centrifugal Pump Application Guidelines

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200 Centrifugal Pumps

Although 3600/1800 rpm, single-stage pumps are the most popular selections in the
centrifugal pump family, the following factors may preclude their use.

High Head
When an installation calls for a high head combined with a low-flow rate (outside
the typical range of single-stage pumps), a high-speed, single-stage, vertical-in-line
pump should be investigated. If requirements exceed the limits provided by this
pump, a multi-stage centrifugal or positive displacement pump may be suitable.
Axially-split, horizontal, multi-stage pumps should be limited to approximately
2000 psig discharge pressure. Higher heads require double case or barrel pumps,
which are inherently more expensive. In special cases such as high-pressure pipelines with limited NPSH available, pumps in series may be considered, but shaft
sealing becomes increasingly difficult as pump inlet pressures increase.
Some situations require vendors to develop a design for a particular service. For
example, the feed pumps in the Richmond Refinery ISOMAX TKN units were
designed to pump 1425 GPM of light hydrocarbons against an 8900 ft head at
300F. These pumps are radially-split, horizontal, 14-stage, 6600 rpm, and stretch
the vendors experience in design and operation for proven machinery. However,
prototype pumps are definitely not recommended. Consult a specialist in such
situations and always check the users list carefully when in doubt.

Low Head/High Flow


If a requirement calls for low head (50-200 ft) combined with a high pumping rate
(greater than 5000 GPM) that does not fall within the parameter range provided by
horizontal or in-line pumps, high-capacity pumps should be investigated.
There are also many double-suction pumps available that provide higher heads than
mixed-flow or axial-flow pumps. These are designed to move large quantities of
liquid without the usual high NPSH required by high-capacity suction pumps.
Typical services include transfer and loading pumps, ballast pumps, and cooling
water pumps.
Another pump type for very low heads in water service is the Archimedes Screw
Pump. The Company has almost no experience with these.

Physical Installation
In some cases, the physical arrangement of the installation is a significant factor in
pump selection. This is especially true when adding to existing facilities or retrofitting a plant. For example, there may be limited space available, resulting in the
installation of a vertical, multi-stage, barrel pump where a horizontal pump with
fewer stages would be the first choice. This is also true for offshore platforms where
deck space is at a premium.

NPSH
Suction considerations often dictate pump selection. Cavitation can be of prime
concern if there is limited NPSH available or if suction lift is required. Pumps which
operate at low speed, have high Nss (suction specific speed), or have double suction

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impellers require less NPSH. In certain cases, vertical-turbine barrel or self-priming


pumps may be the most reasonable solution. Vertical sump pumps can be used when
suction lift is required, if the head requirement is not too high.

Operating Temperature
Most pump installations operate at 250F or less, and pump design temperature is
normally not a problem. In high temperature situations (greater than 450F), attention must be given to pump materials and mechanical design, as they relate to the
stock and severity of service. Auxiliary cooling of bearings and seals is recommended in most pumps starting at 300F, plus pedestal cooling at temperatures
above 500F. Some process pumps operate above 800F. Suggested bearing, seal,
and pedestal cooling arrangements are shown in API-610.
Three special design features needed for hot service:
1.

An arrangement that permits piping and pump thermal expansion without


moving bearings out of line or imposing undue loads on them.

2.

Corrosion-resistant materials suitable for the pumping temperature.

3.

A design that minimizes leakage and confines it to avoid ignition and hazard to
personnel. Mechanical seals are used in almost all centrifugal pump services.
See Section 800, Mechanical Seals.

Hazardous Stocks
Special care must be given to installations handling toxic or hazardous stocks (H2S,
LPG, Ammonia, chlorine, HF, other acids, etc.) or hydrocarbons above their flash
point. In such cases, pumps that can take dual mechanical seals, or seals with
external flush should be considered. Pump materials must be carefully selected for
compatibility with toxic, hazardous, or corrosive stocks. Suggested seal flush
arrangements are also shown in API 610 and Section 800. Canned seal-less, and
hydraulic-seal pumps are available for low head/low HP applications. See
Section 150 for H2S considerations.

Dirty Fluids
Depending on the pumped fluid and its contaminants, some pumps will require
more frequent maintenance than others. This can be due to entrained solids (as in
crude oils, FCC cycle oils, sandy water, sludges, etc.) or the corrosivity of the fluid
itself.
Pumps with replaceable liners in the pump case are also available. Centrifugal
pumps in abrasive service should operate near the best-efficiency point to avoid
imbalanced hydraulic forces that accelerate wear.
When selecting pumps for such service, consider access to bearings and seals and
the pump itself. In such cases, consider pumps that can be disassembled without
disturbing connected piping (back pull-out feature), or that allow seal replacement
in place (cartridge seals).

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Intermittent Operation
Centrifugal pumps are normally designed for continuous operation. If frequent shutdowns are possible, the pump should remain flooded. If this is not possible, or
suction lift is needed, the seals must be flushed at startup. Canned pumps with
stock-lubricated bearings and pumps with close internal clearances must never be
run dry. Intermittent operation is generally harder on a pump than continuous
operation.

232 Energy Efficiency for Centrifugal Pumps


Operating costs account for a major portion of the total cost of ownership of pumps.
Small increases in efficiency (12%) can result in company-wide energy savings
amounting to several million dollars per year. Selection of the proper impeller size
and the proper number of stages can significantly affect pump efficiency. For all
centrifugal pumps, wear ring design, materials, and running clearances may improve
efficiency.

Impeller Considerations
Impeller disc friction is a major factor affecting overall efficiency. The outer
surfaces of a rotating impeller are subject to friction with the surrounding fluid.
Some of this friction is recovered as contribution to pump head if the rotating flow
induced by disk friction freely enters the pump casing. Wear ring leakage, on the
other hand, causes a radial flow which tends to reduce disk friction.
Disc friction effects are more evident in low specific speed (Ns) pumps. (Refer to
Section 218 for discussion of specific speed.) These pumps tend to have large diameter, narrow shaped impellers as shown in Figure 200-15. Figure 200-25 shows the
typical variation of pump losses with Ns. For low Ns impellers (Ns < 1000), disc
friction accounts for 15% or more loss in efficiency.
Disc friction horsepower losses can be estimated as follows:
HP = 1.83(U/100)3 (D/10)2 (S.G.)(N)

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Fig. 200-25 Factors Affecting Overall Pump Efficiency

where:
U = Peripheral velocity of impeller, Ft/sec
D = Outside diameter of impeller, inches
S.G. = Specific gravity of fluid at pumping temperature
N = Number of impellers
(Eq. 200-9)

Other calculation methods are available for determining disc friction losses but none
are precise because of the effect of other pump design details. For example, disc
friction losses increase as impeller-to-casing side clearances increase and as
impeller sidewall roughness increases. Losses are also affected by fluid viscosity.
For most pumps, this is generally an insignificant effect since fluid viscosity is typically low. (Refer to Section 219 for services where fluid viscosity is greater than
water.)
When pump suppliers offer a different number of stages for a specific pump application, disc friction can clearly account for differences in quoted efficiency. Pump
suppliers quoted number of stages will vary most often when the rated capacity is
less than 200 gpm or the head is more than 500 feet. Adding a stage or stages and
reducing impeller diameters may reduce losses and increase overall efficiency. The
addition of stages is not desirable from first cost and maintenance standpoints but
the operating cost incentive may more than offset maintenance aspects.

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Wearing Ring Considerations


Similarly, wearing ring (also commonly called wear ring) clearances can significantly affect efficiency. Figure 200-26 shows the effect of increasing wear ring
clearance on pump horsepower (efficiency). Most petrochemical pumps are
designed with impeller specific speeds in the range of 8001500. As shown in
Figure 200-25, wear ring losses for a new pump in this Ns range typically average
only 34%. For low Ns impellers (Ns < 800), wear ring losses can account for much
larger losses (up to 15%) in efficiency. Generally there is little incentive to reduce
new wear ring clearances to a minimum. The likely efficiency savings is only 12%
with an increased risk of reduced reliability. (See Section 253.)
Fig. 200-26 Effect of Wearing Ring Clearance on Pump Horsepower

In service, wear ring clearances gradually increase due to corrosion, erosion, abrasion, etc. Consequently, efficiency decreases. Clearance increases of 100% or more
over as-built (new) clearances typically occur in a 2 to 3 year operating period. This
100% increase results in about a 5% decrease in pump efficiency. Sustaining as-new
clearances over long operating periods is much more beneficial from an efficiency
standpoint than reducing clearances to minimize losses when the pump is new.
Selection of proper wear ring materials is critical to minimizing efficiency losses
and maintaining long-term pump reliability. Section 253 discusses metallic and nonmetallic materials available for use in todays pumps.

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Trimming Impellers for Efficient Operation


Section 216 discusses the affinity law for changes in impeller diameter. This law
provides a reasonable estimate as long as impeller diameter changes are within 15%
of the original impeller diameter.
When the head developed by a single stage pump with constant speed driver is
higher than that actually required, the impeller diameter can be reduced. For multistage pumps with constant speed drivers, one or more impellers can be removed.
This assumes that the lower head requirement is not a short-term operational condition. The required BHP is reduced directly with a reduction in head.
If the pump is driven by a steam turbine or variable speed motor, the speed can be
reduced to obtain the lower head. However, caution should be used since driver efficiency may decrease and offset the benefit of the lower pump head.
There are two ways to trim impellers to achieve best efficiency. One way is to trim
only the vanes, leaving the shrouds (disc and cover) untrimmed. The second way is
to trim both the vanes and the shrouds to the same diameter. In addition to efficiency considerations, machining costs, stress levels in unsupported shrouds, stress
levels at the vane-to-shroud joint, the effect on the shape of the performance curve,
thrust loads and seal cavity operating pressure need to be considered.
Industry practice for both enclosed and semi-open impeller designs is to trim both
vanes and shrouds to the same diameter. Exceptions to this practice include high
capacity pumps, mixed flow pumps, multistage diffuser pumps and certain pump
designs with pumping vane construction on the back shroud (disc).
For multistage diffuser pumps (typically double case types), suppliers often trim
only the impeller vanes. Leaving shrouds untrimmed helps guide the flow exiting
the impeller as it enters the narrow diffuser passage. There are stress limits which
set the amount of unsupported shroud which can be left untrimmed. A typical limit
for steel impellers running at 3600 rpm is -inch.
For volute pump designs (typically single stage and multistage, axially split case
types), industry practice is to trim both vanes and shrouds to the same diameter. In
general, there is no clear cut efficiency advantage to leaving the shrouds untrimmed
or to trimming them. Efficiency improvements afforded by added flow guidance
provided by the shrouds is approximately offset by the efficiency decrease due to
added disc friction. From a manufacturing standpoint, it is easier and less costly to
trim vanes and shrouds to the same diameter. Much more care needs to be taken if
only the vanes are trimmed. For example, profiling the vane-to-shroud intersection
to reduce stress concentrations is important when only the vanes are trimmed. (See
Figure 200-14.)
In high capacity, low speed volute design pumps, suppliers sometimes taper the
impeller trim from the front to the back shroud. This is done to reduce pressure
pulsations due to vanes passing the volutes. Vanes of double suction impellers
sometimes are profiled in a V shape for the same reason.
In a few specific cases, it may be advantageous to leave shrouds untrimmed for
other reasons. One reason may be the stability of the pumps head-capacity curve.

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(See Figure 200-8.) Also, having the shroud permits vanes to be restored to their
original diameter should future head requirements require it.

233 Special Service Pumps


Magnetic Drive or Canned Pumps for Hazardous Stocks
Stuffing boxes have been eliminated in designs called magnetic drive or canned
pumps.
Canned pumps have a special electric motor operating under pressure in a liquidfilled chamber adjacent to the pump case. The motor chamber is filled with the
liquid pumped. The bearings are usually carbon, lubricated by liquid pumped. These
pumps are available in sizes up to 150 HP, 1500 GPM and 600 feet of head;
however, they cost considerably more than pumps with stuffing boxes or seals.
Magnetic drive pumps utilize standard horizontal electric motors which are coupled
to the pump bearing housing which supports a rotating magnet. The rotating magnet
rotates or pulls the impeller rotor supported by product-lubricated, carbon bushings inside a sealed case. Like canned motor pumps, these are available in sizes up
to 200 HP, 2000 GPM, and 600 feet of head and cost considerably more than
conventional centrifugal pumps with seals.
The advantages of completely eliminating stuffing box or seal leakage have led to
many installations of these pumps in the Company, primarily in acid and hydrogen
sulfide services. However, performance has often been unsatisfactory, primarily
because of bearing wear from grit or lack of lubrication. Use these pumps only
where the liquid pumped is clean and lubricating, and the pumps are never run dry.

Propeller (Axial-Flow) Pumps


These pumps are used in high volume/low head services. Although available with
2 or 3 stages, most are low-speed, single-stage, vertical pumps. Typical applications
are sewage, waste-water lifting, and sump pump out. Lifting 30,000 GPM against
20 ft of head is typical.

Slurry Pumps
These units are in common use and handle abrasive slurries, sand, chemical sludges,
plant wastes, and similar products. They are generally low-speed and often are
rubber-lined, or cast from very hard materials.

Non-Metallic and Lined Pumps


Non-metallic and lined centrifugal pumps are available as a lower cost alternative to
pumps constructed of more expensive metallic alloys. Both types are horizontal
end-suction pumps designed to ANSI standards (ANSI/ASME B73.1M). They are
primarily used in acid, deionized water, and other highly corrosive chemical
services.
The wetted components of non-metallic pumps are generally manufactured of glass
filament reinforced plastic (FRP). The wetted components of lined pumps are gener-

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ally manufactured of ductile iron and steel lined with Teflon (PTFE). Both types of
pumps are available in capacities to about 800 gpm and head to about 450 feet.
Non-metallic and lined pumps can be considered when the material class goes
beyond Alloy 20 (when metals such as nickel, hastalloy, or titanium are required).
They should only be considered when there are significant savings over the cost of
metallic pumps, or when there is no other practical pumping solution.

234 Application Guidelines


Figures 200-23 and 200-24 show several factors to consider in selection and application of horizontal and vertical centrifugal pumps. As in selecting the pump category, there is no straightforward, general procedure to follow in all cases. The
design factors are too numerous and often conflict. Consider the design factors most
important to your location and refer to the Application Guidelines for information
on those factors.

240 Centrifugal Pump Descriptions


This section illustrates and describes the most commonly used types of centrifugal
pumps.

Horizontal Centrifugal Pumps


1.

Single Stage, API, top/end suction and discharge.

2.

Single Stage, ANSI, end suction, top discharge.

3.

Single Stage, ANSI, end suction, top discharge, self priming.

4.

Single Stage, Double suction, axially split.

5.

Multi-stage, API, axially-split case.

6.

Multi-stage, API, radially-split case.

Vertical Centrifugal Pumps

200-48

1.

Single Stage, In-line, ANSI, rigid coupling.

2.

Single Stage, In-line, ANSI, integral-shaft.

3.

Single-Stage, In-line, ANSI, flexible coupling.

4.

Single Stage, In-line, high-speed

5.

Single Stage, Sump, bearing supported.

6.

Single Stage, Sump, overhung impeller.

7.

Multi-Stage, Vertical-Turbine, barrel.

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8.

Multi-Stage, Vertical-Turbine, deep well.

Pump Description

Centrifugal Horizontal single-stage (top/end suction and top


discharge) typical API 610 class pump (See Figure 200-27.)

Typical Service

Continuous-duty refinery process and critical water service.

Typical Head/Capacity Range

50-800 ft/100-10,000 GPM

Max Allowable Temperature

350F without cooling


500F with Bearing Cooling
800F with Bearing Cooling and Pedestal Cooling

Typical Speed Range

Up to 3600 rpm

Construction Features

Cast steel and alloy available. Available single or double suction.


Normally closed impellers. Oil lubrication. Packed, single or multiseals. Radially split. Centerline mounted. Back pullout for maintenance
with single suction. Ductile iron or cast iron casings are not available.

Typical Control Method

Throttled discharge on flow, level, or pressure control.

Advantages

More rugged and reliable than ANSI or Industry Standard pumps.


Available in a wide range of pressures and capacities. Lower operating
costs since efficiency is usually higher. Available in overhung design up
to 900 HP.

Disadvantages and Limitations Most expensive standard centrifugal pump.


Specification

PMP-MS-983/API 610.

Data Sheet

API 610, Appendix B.

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Fig. 200-27 Horizontal, Single-stage, Top/end-suction, Top-discharge, API 610 Class Centrifugal Pump Courtesy of
Peerless Pump Co.

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Pump Description

Centrifugal Horizontal - single-stage. ANSI B73.1 (end suction,


top discharge) (See Figure 200-28.)

Typical Service

Chemical. Water. Noncritical hydrocarbon. General purpose.

Typical Head-Capacity Range

50-600 ft/50-3500 GPM

Max Allowable Temperature

250F recommended

Typical Speed Range

Up to 3600 rpm

Construction Features

Standard material options for the pump casing and impeller are cast
iron or ductile iron, 316 series stainless, and Alloy 20. Carbon steel is
not standard or readily available. Always end suction/top centerline
discharge with overhung impeller. Open or closed impellers available.
Ball bearing grease or oil lubricated single, tandem, or double seals
available. Foot-mounted casing. Back pullout for maintenance.

Typical Control Method

Throttled discharge on flow, level, or pressure control.

Advantages

For each size, ANSI pumps are dimensionally interchangeable from


any manufacturer. Less expensive than API pumps. Wide variety of
alloy construction materials available.

Disadvantages and Limitations 150 HP maximum recommended. Carbon steel case is generally not
available. Pressures limited to 275 psig @ 60F.
Specification

ANSI B73.1. See also PMP-PC-1241 in this manual.

Data Sheet

PMP-DS-1241-H.

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Fig. 200-28 Horizontal, Single-stage, End-suction, Top-discharge ANSI Class Centrifugal Pump Copyright 1995
Ingersoll Dresser Pumps. Worthington is a trademark of Ingersoll Dresser Pump Company.

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Pump Description

Centrifugal Horizontal single-stage. ANSI B73.1 (end


suction, top discharge) self-priming (See Figure 200-29.)

Typical Service

For vertical lift when non-pulsating flow desired. Sump pumpout.


Tank car unloading.

Typical Head/capacity Range

150-250 ft/0-1000 GPM

Max Allowable Temperature

250F Recommended

Typical Speed Range

Up to 3600 rpm

Construction Features

Same as ANSI Horizontal

Typical Control Method

Throttled discharge, on/off level control.

Advantages

Up to 20 ft effective static lift. Eliminates need for foot valve.


Dimensionally interchangeable with all ANSI pumps. More reliable than submerged vertical sump pumps.

Disadvantages and Limitations

Less efficient than standard nonself-priming pumps. May take too


long to prime on large suction lines. A mechanical seal may run dry
without an external flush.

Company Specification

ANSI B73.1. See also PMP-PC-1241 in this manual.

Company Data Sheet(s)

PMP-DS-1241-H.

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Fig. 200-29 Horizontal, Single-stage, Self-priming, ANSI Class Centrifugal Pump Courtesy of Goulds Pumps, Inc.

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Pump Description

Centrifugal Horizontal single-stage. (double suction, axially


split) (See Figure 200-30.)

Typical Service

Cooling water circulation. Fire pump. Cargo loading. Crude transfer.

Typical Head/Capacity Range

20-1000 ft/1000-50,000 GPM

Max Allowable Temperature

250F Recommended

Typical Speed Range

Up to 3600 rpm

Construction Features

Typically cast iron or bronze case (steel case for HCs) and bronze
trim. External sleeve or anti-friction bearings. Horizontal inlet and
outlet. Closed impellers. Also available with stainless steel impellers
for higher cavitation resistance

Typical Control Method

Throttled discharge, system back pressure (cooling water).

Advantages

Balanced thrust on shaft. Can maintain pump in place. Low NPSH


requirement. Wide range of sizes and capacities.

Disadvantages And Limitations More expensive than single suction, overhung pump design. Suction
lines must be carefully designed to avoid nonsymmetrical flow that
would channel to one side, resulting in unbalanced thrust and possibly
cavitation.
Specification

PMP-MS-983/API 610 (hazardous, flammable, and special purpose


services).
See also PMP-PC-1241 in this manual (general purpose services).

Data Sheet

API 610, Appendix B (hazardous and flammable services).

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Fig. 200-30 Horizontal, Single-stage, Double-suction, Axially (Horizontally)-split Case, Centrifugal Pump
Courtesy of Goulds Pumps, Inc.

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Pump Description

Centrifugal Horizontal multi-stage. API 610 axially split


(See Figure 200-31.)

Typical Service

Crude feed. Waterflood. Boiler feedwater. Process. Pipeline.

Typical Head/Capacity Range

200-7000 ft/100-5000 GPM

Max Allowable Temperature

250F without cooling


400F with Cooling

Typical Speed Range

Up to 7000 rpm

Construction Features

Carbon steel case. CI, steel, stainless steel, or bronze impellers.


Between bearings. Horizontal nozzles, both suction and discharge
nozzles located in bottom half casing.

Typical Control Method

Throttled discharge on flow, level, or pressure control.

Advantages

Ease of in-line assembly and inspection. Can be designed with


balanced axial thrust. Eliminates multiple in-line series pumps.

Disadvantages and Limitations API 610 limits the axially-split case design to applications below
400F and pumped fluids with specific gravity above 0.70. More
complex than single-stage pumps. However, note that pressures to
2000 psig are common in producing water flood applications.
Specification

PMP-MS-983/API 610.

Data Sheet

API 610, Appendix B.

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Fig. 200-31 Horizontal, Multi-stage, Axially (Horizontally)-split Case Centrifugal Pump


Courtesy of Flowserve Corporation

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Pump Description

Centrifugal Horizontal multi-stage. API 610 radially split


double case (high pressure, high temperature)
(See Figure 200-32.)

Typical Service

High pressure process feed pumps. Boiler feedwater. Crude pipeline.

Typical Head/Capacity Range

0-10,000 ft/100-5000 GPM

Max Allowable Temperature

850F w/pedestal, bearing and seal cooling

Typical Speed Range

1800 - 7000 rpm

Construction Features

Usually top suction/discharge; however, nozzle location may vary


with installation requirements. Radially split. Double casing. Carbon
steel cases. Water-cooled pedestals, bearings and seals available.

Typical Control Method

Spillback on external-flow control.

Advantages

Pressures possible without series pump operation. Double casing


allows in-line assembly/disassembly.

Disadvantages and Limitations

Clearances extremely sensitive to differential temperatures in pump.


Slow pump startup mandatory with hot pumps. Proper assembly
difficult with many stages. Very important not to run with blocked
discharge.

Specification

PMP-MS-983/API 610.

Data Sheet

API 610, Appendix B.

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Fig. 200-32 Horizontal, Multi-stage, Radially (Vertically)-split, Double Case, Centrifugal Pump Copyright 1995
Ingersoll Dresser Pumps. Pacific is a trademark of Ingersoll Dresser Pump Company

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Pump Description

Centrifugal Vertical single-stage - in-line. ANSI B73.2 Rigid


Coupling (See Figure 200-33.)

Typical Service

Chemical. Water. Noncritical hydrocarbon. General purpose.

Typical Head/Capacity Range

600 ft/3000 GPM

Max Allowable Temperature

250F Recommended

Typical Speed Range

Up to 3600 rpm

Construction Features

DI/CI, stainless steel or alloy available; steel not available. Motor


supported by pump. Suction/discharge flanges with common centerline which intersects shaft axis. Open or closed impellers. Motor
bearings carry pump loads.

Typical Control Method

Throttled discharge on flow, level, or pressure control.

Advantages

Can remove seal and impeller without disturbing motor. Unit is interchangeable with all other vertical ANSI designs. Simpler and cheaper
to install than horizontal. Occupies less floor space. No field alignment of pump and motor needed (as long as fits remain within tolerance).

Disadvantages and Limitations

150 HP maximum recommended. Typically cannot install dual


mechanical seals. Vapor or gas in liquid tends to collect at mechanical
seal faces, promoting failure unless properly vented during startup
(needing a vent), and flushed during operation. Always single-stage.
Rigid couplings are troublesome to keep in alignment (causes short
bearing and seal life typically).

Specification

ANSI B73.2. See also PMP-PC-1241 in this manual.

Company Data Sheet(s)

PMP-DS-1241-H.

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Fig. 200-33 Vertical, In-line, Single-stage, Rigid-coupled, ANSI Class Centrifugal Pump
Courtesy of Flowserve Corporation

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Pump Description

Centrifugal Vertical single-stage - in-line. ANSI B73.2 Integral Shaft (no Coupling) (See Figure 200-34.)

Typical Service

Chemical. Water. Non-critical Hydrocarbon.

Typical Head/capacity Range

600 ft/3000 GPM

Max Allowable Temperature

250F Recommended

Typical Speed Range

Up to 3600 rpm

Construction Features

Motor shaft is integral with pump shaft. All bearings are in the
motornone in the pump. DI/CI, 316 stainless steel, and alloy 20 are
standard materials; carbon steel is not available.

Typical Control Method

Throttled discharge on flow, level, or pressure control

Advantages

Unit is interchangeable with all other vertical ANSI designs. Simpler


and cheaper to install than horizontal pump. Occupies less floor
space. No field alignment of pump and motor needed. Provides better
seal and bearing life than rigidly coupled in-line.

Disadvantages and Limitations

Must remove motor for access to seal or impeller. Cannot accommodate dual mechanical seals.

Specification

ANSI B73.2. See also PMP-PC-1241 in this manual.

Data Sheet

PMP-DS-1241-H.

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Fig. 200-34 Vertical, Single-stage, In-line, Integral Shaft, ANSI Class Centrifugal Pump
Courtesy of Flowserve Corporation

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Pump Description

Centrifugal Vertical single-stage - in-line. ANSI B73.2


flexible coupling (See Figure 200-35.)

Typical Service

Chemical. Water. Noncritical Hydrocarbon. General purpose.

Typical Head/Capacity Range

600 ft/3500 GPM

Max Allowable Temperature

250F Recommended

Typical Speed Range

Up to 3600 rpm

Construction Features

Pump has own bearings. Otherwise, same as rigid coupling pump.

Typical Control Method

Throttled discharge on flow, level, or pressure control.

Advantages

Field alignment of pump and motor shafts is maintained by register


fits. Hydraulic loads not carried by motor bearings. Can remove seal
and impeller without disturbing motor. Interchangeable with all other
vertical ANSI designs. Simpler and cheaper to install than horizontal. Occupies less floor space. No field alignment of pump and
motor needed.

Disadvantages and Limitations

Complete bearing bracket/pump rotor must be sent to shop for seal


repairs. More expensive than rigid coupling or integral shaft pumps;
otherwise, same as rigid coupling pump. Taller and heavier installed
height than other vertical in-line options.

Specification

ANSI B73.2. See also PMP-PC-1241 in this manual.

Data Sheet

PMP-DS-1241V.

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Fig. 200-35 Vertical, In-line, Single-stage, Flexible-coupling, Centrifugal Pump Copyright 1995 Ingersoll Dresser
Pumps. Worthington is a trademark of Ingersoll Dresser Pump Company

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Pump Description

Centrifugal Vertical single-stage in-line. High-speed


(See Figure 200-36.)

Typical Service

High head/low flow service for water and HC.

Typical Head/Capacity Range

0-4500 ft/0-800 GPM

Max Allowable Temperature

400F with cooling

Typical Speed Range

Up to 15,000 rpm

Construction Features

Integral gear box with self-contained lube system. Available in


carbon steel, stainless steel or alloy. Built-in seal flush, dual seals
available. Usually open impellers. Suction/discharge flanges with
common counterline intersecting shaft axis.

Typical Control Method

Minimum flow bypass with flow control.

Advantages

Less expensive to purchase and install than comparable moderate


high-pressure horizontal, centrifugal, and plunger pumps. Field alignment of pump/motor not required. Occupies less floor space than
equivalent horizontal or P.D. pumps.

Disadvantages and Limitations

Special prelube system for higher suction-pressure applications.


Separate minimum flow bypass with controller for each pump. High
speed creates seal face problems. Vapor collecting at top of case can
cause seal failure if not flushed. Accidental reverse rotation can
loosen impeller and cause failure. Must dismantle to replace seals.
May have unstable performance curve at low flows. 400 HP upper
limit. More NPSH(R) and much less efficient than equivalent horizontal pumps. Better metallurgy required for impeller/diffuser due to
sensitivity of performance vs. internal clearances. There are
numerous ports (seal flush, vents, etc.) which are complex, and must
be carefully piped up.

Specification

PMP-MS-983/API 610.

Data Sheet

API 610, Appendix B.

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Fig. 200-36 Vertical, In-line, Single-stage, High-speed Centrifugal Pump


Courtesy of Sundstrand Fluid Handling Company.

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Pump Description

Centrifugal Vertical single-stage. Sump - bearing supported


(See Figure 200-37.)

Typical Service

Sump pumpout. Sewage. Nonabrasive solids. Sludge.

Typical Head/Capacity Range

20-250 ft/50-2000 GPM (@ 30 ft)

Max Allowable Temperature

250F

Typical Speed Range

Up to 1800 rpm

Construction Features

Typical C.I. Plastic and 316 stainless steel available. Optional line
shaft bearing flush. Open or closed impellers.

Typical Control Method

On/Off level control and throttled discharged.

Advantages

Simple mounting; no foundation. No stuffing box or seal leakage.


Submerged impeller.

Disadvantages and Limitations

20 ft shaft is practical limit. Less reliable than self-priming horizontal or vertical cantilever pump. Line shaft bearings require lubrication from one of the following: (1) grease, (2) Continuous
Water/pumped Fluid Injection, (3) Pumped Fluid.

Data Sheet

PMP-DS-1241-V

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Fig. 200-37 Vertical, Sump, Single-stage, Bearing-supported Centrifugal Pump Courtesy of Goulds Pumps, Inc.

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Pump Description

Centrifugal Vertical single-stage. Sump - Pump Cantilever


Impeller and Shaft (See Figure 200-38.)

Typical Service

Sump pumpout. Sewage. Abrasive solids, sludge, slurry

Typical Head/Capacity Range

0-200 ft/0-5000 GPM (@ 100 ft)

Max Allowable Temperature

200F

Speed Range

Up to 1800 rpm

Construction Features

Typical C.I. Plastic and 316 stainless steel available. Open or closed
impellers. No bearings in pumped liquid. Large-diameter shaft to
support cantilevered impeller.

Typical Control Method

On/off level; throttled discharged

Advantages

No bearing/pumped liquid contact. More reliable than bearing


supported vertical sump pumps in abrasive or sludge service. Simple
mounting; no foundation. No stuffing box or seal. Submerged impeller.
Pump can run dry for short periods.

Disadvantages and Limitations 10 ft is practical shaft limit. Requires rigid, large diameter shaft. More
expensive than bearing supported vertical sump pump.
Data Sheet

April 2009

PMP-DS-1241-V

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Fig. 200-38 Vertical, Sump, Single-stage, Cantilever Impeller and Shaft Centrifugal Pump Copyright 1995 Ingersoll
Dresser Pumps. Worthington is a trademark of Ingersoll Dresser Pump Company

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Pump Description

Centrifugal Vertical-turbine multi-stage. Barrel


(See Figure 200-39.)

Typical Service

Low NPSHA applications. Boiler feed water. Flashing liquid.


Condenser hotwells.

Typical Head/Capacity Range

0-3500 ft/0-80,000 GPM

Max Allowable Temperature

650F

Speed Range

Up to 3600 rpm; however, 1800 rpm is the preferred maximum speed


for improved reliability.

Construction Features

Open or closed impellers. Steel barrel and steel or C.I. head with
typically C.I. bowls and C.I. steel or bronze impellers. Barrel
designed for discharge pressure. Can be installed in a sump without
the barrel. Weight of pump and pump thrust taken by motor thrust
bearing.

Typical Control Method

Throttled discharge, flow, pressure or level control.

Advantages

Little floor space required. Low NPSH required. Typically high efficiency.

Disadvantages and Limitations

Shaft sleeve bearings exposed to pumped liquid. Must remove pump


for all maintenance except mechanical seal changes.

Specification

PMP-MS-983/API 610 (hazardous, flammable and special purpose


services).
See also PMP-PC-1241 in this manual (general purpose services).

Data Sheet

April 2009

API 610, Appendix B (special purpose); PMP-DS-V (general


purpose).

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Fig. 200-39 Vertical, Multi-stage, Barrel, Centrifugal Pump Courtesy of Flowserve Corporation

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Pump Description

Centrifugal Vertical-turbine multi-stage. Deep well line-shaft


type (See Figure 200-40.)

Typical Service

Potable and irrigation water wells. Platform. Seawater. Firewater.

Typical Head/Capacity Range

0-3500 ft/60,000 GPM

Max Allowable Temperature

250F

Typical Speed Range

Up to 1800 rpm

Construction Features

Column pipe and shaft in 10 ft lengths can be provided with open or


enclosed oil lubricated shaft. Open lineshaft arrangement is preferred;
less expensive and easier to assemble/disassemble. Semi-open or closed
impellers. Weight of shaft and hydraulic thrust supported by vertical
motor bearings. Can be provided with engine driver with right angle
drive. Same materials as vertical turbine (barrel).

Typical Control Method

Throttled discharge. Level control for sumps.

Advantages

Typically high efficiency. Can be installed in wells or wet-pit sumps.

Disadvantages and Limitations Size limited to diameter of well casing. Practical maximum setting
depth 1000 ft. 1800 maximum rpm. Bowl bearings are process-fluid
lubricated. Abrasives will shorten pump life.
Available With Submersible Motors To Eliminate Long Drive Shafts;
However, Submersible Motor Installations Are Less Reliable And Are
Not Recommended Above 50 Hp.
Data Sheet

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PMP-DS-1241-V

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Fig. 200-40 Vertical, Multi-stage, Deep-well (Vertical Turbine) Centrifugal Pump Courtesy of Flowserve Corporation

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250 Mechanical Components


This section considers the mechanical design of the principal parts of centrifugal
pumps. See Section 260 for related subsystems.
The principal parts of centrifugal pumps include:
1.

Cases

2.

Impellers

3.

Wearing Rings

4.

Shafts and Shaft Sleeves

5.

Throat Bushings

6.

Lantern Rings

7.

Glands

8.

Balance Drums

9.

Bearings

10. Base Plates


11. Couplings
12. Coupling Guards
Figure 200-41 is a cross-section showing most of the principal parts of a typical
centrifugal pump.
Fig. 200-41 Cross-section of a Typical Centrifugal Pump Courtesy of Peerless Pump, Inc.

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251 Cases
The case is that part of the pump in which energy imparted by the impeller is
converted into pressure. Pump cases are either axially (horizontally) split or radially
(vertically) split. Although axially-split cases were common on all types of pumps
for many years, they are now used principally in high-flow and multi-stage designs.
Pumps with the most common head and capacity ranges are radially split.

Diffuser vs. Volute Construction


Single-stage centrifugal pumps are usually volute type. Multi-stage pumps are
either diffusion-vane or volute. The diffusion-vane or diffuser type incorporates in a
cylindrical case a stationary ring of vanes around the periphery of each impeller.
Diffusion-vane pumps are widely applied in boiler feed and in high-head, hot oil
services. In general, however, volute construction is preferred.
The vane angle for either volute or diffuser, if properly designed, is correct for only
the capacity at the best efficiency point. If the pump is operated at some other
capacity, the diffuser may act as a hindrance rather than as an aid to efficient
operation.
In recent designs, the efficiency of the volute type is equal to or better than the
diffusion-vane type. Further, the diffusion-vane type is more difficult to reassemble
after dismantling for maintenance. In some services, however, diffusion-vane pumps
are preferred because of space considerations. One such use is for pumping deep
wells of small diameter. All centrifugal deep-well pumps are turbine type pumps
with diffusion vanes as an integral part of the case.
The volute-type pump presents one problem not found in a diffusion-vane pump:
radial force against the shaft caused by unbalanced pressure conditions in the volute.
The radial force is greatest at shutoff and least at maximum efficiency. This radial
force must be compensated for by using a stiff shaft or placing a second volute
throat on the opposite side of the shaft. This double-volute construction is
provided on many heavy-duty process-type pumps, 3- to 4-inch discharge size or
larger.

Centerline vs. Bracket vs. Foot Mounting


In horizontal single-stage, centrifugal pumps (commonly used for process services),
two case arrangements have been available the bracket-mounted type shown in
Figure 200-42 and the centerline-mounted type shown in Figure 200-43. Points in
favor of centerline-mounted pumps are:

200-78

1.

Piping stresses are transmitted more directly to the foundations and are less
likely to cause misalignment and distortion of the pump.

2.

Piping and driver can be left in place while the complete rotating element,
including the bearing housing and stuffing box, is removed for repairs. This is
called the back pullout feature.

3.

Some pumps are designed with larger impeller eye areas which need less
NPSHR than bracket-mounted pumps for the same operating conditions.

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4.

Centerline-mounted pumps in accordance with API 610 generally have heavier


construction with greater case thickness, heavier shafts, heavier bolting, and
high design pressures.

Fig. 200-42 Bracket-mounted Centrifugal Pump

Fig. 200-43 Centerline-mounted Centrifugal Pump Courtesy of Flowserve Corporation

While centerline mounted pumps provide superior support for heavy-duty service
and high temperatures (greater than 250F), foot-mounted pumps are less expensive
and suitable for low temperature, lighter-duty service.
Typical foot-mounted pump casings are shown in Figures 200-28 and 200-29. These
pumps are not suitable for temperatures above 250F because all the casing thermal
expansion is from the casing base or feet toward the discharge nozzle. The thermal
growth will cause misalignment between the rotor/impeller and the case.

Vertical In-line
Single-stage, single-suction centrifugal pumps are also made in a vertical in-line
design as shown in Figure 200-44. The in-line pump is increasingly used in a
variety of services including process plant services. The pump case is flanged
directly in the line and a vertical motor is supported by the pump. The in-line pump
offers the following advantages over a comparable horizontal pump:
1.

Lower initial cost because there are fewer parts, no fabricated base plate, no
pump bearing housing on some designs (bearings are in the motor) and no flexible couplings or coupling guards.

2.

Lower installation costs because the foundation is smaller or not needed at all
and the piping is simplified.

3.

Lower maintenance cost because the pump has fewer parts and is permanently
aligned with its driver.

4.

Occupies less plot or deck space.

In-line pumps are generally applicable for temperatures to 250F, flows to


3000 GPM, and heads to 600 feet. They usually have mechanical seals to seal the
shaft but can also be obtained with packing. A special high speed in-line, the
Sundyne pump (discussed below), is rated for temperatures to 400F and can
produce 4500 feet of head at lower flow rates.

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Fig. 200-44 Vertical In-Line Pumps Courtesy of Flowserve Corporation

There are three basic types of shaft coupling designs for in-line pumps:
1.

Flexible spacer-coupling

2.

Integral or close-coupled

3.

Axially-split rigid coupling

Flexible coupling allows changing the mechanical seal without removing the motor.
Alignment of motor and pump shafts are maintained by register fits. In addition, the
pump has its own bearings which minimizes shaft deflection at the seal for
improved seal life.
The close-coupled type has the significant advantage of built-in alignment and a
short stiff shaft. The close-coupled pump has one disadvantage: the motor and
impeller assembly must be lifted and removed to change the seal. Unless being able
to change the seal without removing the driver is of primary importance (as in some
remote locations with larger drivers) and operation is always near peak efficiency,
the close-coupled or integral shaft design is recommended.
The bearings for rigidly coupled and integral shaft-type in-line pumps are in the
motor. These motor bearings should be checked to see that their design life meets
Company specifications. This is particularly important on high suction pressure
services where up thrust may be quite high.
Axially-split rigid-coupled in-line pumps are the least reliable due to the inability of
getting and maintaining proper alignment between the pump and motor shaft,
resulting in vibration. Company experience with these pumps is very poor.
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In addition, in-line pumps with rigid couplings have greater shaft deflection at the
seal than integral or flexibly-coupled pumps, leading to reduced seal life. The
advantage of rigid-coupled in-line pumps is the motor does not need to be removed
for seal maintenance. In-line pumps are made by almost all major centrifugal pump
manufacturers. The Company has had good experience with most of these pumps,
except rigid-coupled pumps with mechanical seals.
The Sunstrand Corporation manufactures the Sundyne in-line pump designed to
give high heads at relatively low flows. This pump uses a single impeller rotating at
speeds up to 15,000 rpm by using a gear box between the motor and the pump.
Currently, maximum brake horsepower is limited to 400 BHP. This pump will
deliver 1500 feet of head at 400 GPM and about 4000 feet of head at 100 GPM.
By using speed changes and various diffuser and impeller configurations to satisfy a
wide variety of operating conditions, Sunstrand has been able to achieve a high
degree of standardization. This allows rapid delivery of new pumps and replacement parts. The head-capacity curve is usually very flat and drooping with a rapid
falloff at the cutoff point. In some sizes an internal hydraulic instability may cause
vibration at low flows. The manufacturers limit for minimum allowable flow
should be considered as it may be higher than for conventional centrifugal pumps.
Many problems have been experienced with these pumps because they have operated at low flows without having minimum flow protection. The cost of minimum
flow bypass facilities should be taken into account during bid evaluation.

252 Impellers
The shape and size of the fluid channels in the impeller and casing give the liquid
the required velocity, speed and direction. Impellers require more attention to
hydraulic design than mechanical design. This discussion will be limited to mechanical considerations.
Petroleum industry pumps have impellers usually cast of iron, steel, or bronze. The
impellers come from the foundry rough, out of balance, and not strictly alike,
although made from the same patterns. To reduce friction losses, all impeller
surfaces should be as smooth as possible, particularly those of the fluid channels
bounded by the shrouds and vanes. Since the fluid channels are of irregular shape,
the impeller may require more hand work than the remainder of the pump. The
strength of the material used and speed of rotation will limit the maximum safe
diameter of the impeller. This limit is determined by the pump manufacturer.
Impellers can be open or closed type, or an intermediate type, usually referred to as
open, which is really a semi-open impeller. An open impeller consists of a hub
and several straight or curved vanes. A closed impeller has plates or shrouds on
each side of the vanes in the planes of rotation. The semi-open impeller, as well as
the one usually called an open impeller, has a shroud on one side only. This type
of impeller is recommended when the liquid pumped may plug a closed impeller.
These impellers ordinarily are not as efficient as closed impellers.
Impellers are fastened to the shafts in various ways. Some are threaded to the shaft
so that the rotation of the shaft tends to keep them tight. Most are keyed to the shaft
with either a cylindrical or a taper fit and are secured with a nut. Keyed construction is preferred over screwed, because screwed impellers are more susceptible to
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coming loose and causing damage if the pump is run backwards. This is common
during startup, following repairs where the electrical leads were disconnected.
Balancing is the final step in manufacturing an impeller. Until recently, manufacturers were content to balance impellers by the static method. To be completely
balanced, however, an impeller should usually be dynamically balanced. While
dynamic balancing is preferred, the extra cost may not be justified for small pumps
and pumps operating at lower speeds. Dynamic balancing should be considered in
the following cases:

All multi-stage pumps.

Critical pumps operating at 1700 rpm and above, with impellers 8 inches or
more in diameter.

Some pump specifications call for dynamic balancing of the complete rotating
element after individual balancing of each impeller and balance drum. Except for
large multi-stage pumps, this requirement is expensive and usually unnecessary.
Since elements of the rotating assembly, except the impeller are concentric shapes,
if the impellers are dynamically balanced there is little to cause dynamic unbalance.
Dynamic balancing should be done with a half key for key driven impellers.

253 Wearing Rings


Wearing rings are usually in pairs, one stationary, one rotating. The rotating ring is
attached to the impeller; the stationary ring is concentric with the impeller wearing
ring but seated in the casing. The primary purpose of these rings is to minimize
internal leakage from the discharge back to suction. In well-designed pumps of
moderate size, this leakage is about 5% of the total liquid passed through the
impeller. (See Figure 200-41.) The less the wearing ring clearance, of course, the
less the internal leakage and the higher the pump efficiency. (See Section 231.)
However, wearing ring and pump seizure can result from too close clearances.
Wearing ring trouble may be due to any of the causes listed below. Extra wear ring
clearance may prevent these problems:
1.

Distortion of pump case from pipe stresses or from improper warmup procedure, causing contact between the wearing rings.

2.

Lodging of hard foreign bodies between wearing rings.

3.

Deflection of the shaft, causing contact between the wearing rings.

4.

Unbalance in the rotating element.

5.

Eccentric fit due to improper machining and/or assembly.

6.

Thermal transients which cause loosening of the fit and eventual wear ring
movement.

7.

Galling due to improper wear ring material combination.

Be cautious of manufacturers who claim unusually high efficiencies. They achieve


these (claimed) efficiencies by very tight wear-ring clearances. Unfortunately, experience shows many rubs and seizures occur during run-in of new pumps.
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Shaft deflection is due in most cases to unbalance of the rotating element caused by
hydraulic side thrust in the volute, unbalanced impellers, or both.
Important wearing ring material properties include machinability, wear resistance,
gall resistance, corrosion resistance, and thermal expansion. Ring stretch due to
centrifugal forces is also a consideration. Wearing rings are designed with running
clearances and normally do not touch. In many pumps, however, on occasion
wearing rings do come in contact. Continuous heavy contact will likely lead to overheating, galling, and seizure. Light occasional contact will not cause serious trouble
if the rings are of non-galling materials that can operate to a limited extent as bearings when lubricated by the stock pumped.
Metallic wearing rings have been used in pumps almost exclusively. Very recently,
non-metallic materials have been installed, usually in combination with a mating
metallic ring. When the mating rings are both metallic, they should be of different
hardnesses and preferably of different materials. A minimum of 50 Brinell hardness
difference is recommended for wearing rings of the same material. Otherwise, the
similar metallic materials may gall and seize. Exceptions to this hardness difference
requirement are mating cast iron rings and mating bronze rings. These materials are
gall resistant.
Figure 200-45 gives wearing ring clearances recommended by API Standard 610.
These clearances are for process pumps operating at temperatures below 350F with
metallic wearing rings of materials that are non-galling, such as cast iron, bronze,
and 1113% Chromium steel with adequate hardness difference.
Note For pumps operating above 350F with metallic rings, an additional
0.002 inch clearance for each 100F above 350F should be added to the values
shown in Figure 200-45. Also, add 0.005 inch clearance for pumps with wearing
ring materials with galling tendencies.
Fig. 200-45 API-610 Minimum Wearing Ring Clearance for Metallic Rings
Courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute.
Wearing Ring Diameter, in.

Diametral Clearance, in.

<2

0.010

2.000 2.499

0.011

2.500 2.999

0.012

3.000 3.499

0.014

3.500 3.999

0.016

4.000 4.999

0.016

5.000 5.999

0.017

6.000 6.999

0.018

7.000 7.999

0.019

8.000 8.999

0.020

9.000 9.999

0.021

10.000 10.999

0.022

11.000 11.999

0.023

Note: For non-galling materials and pumps operating below 350F.

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Use of some of the newer non-metallic wear ring materials offers opportunities for
improved reliability, especially in services where frequent startup occurs, dry
running occasionally occurs, or rotor radial deflection is high.
Some of the newer non-metallics in use in pump applications include thermoplastics (PEEK, Torlon, and composites) and metallized graphite. Advantages of these
materials include good wear resistance combined with excellent anti-galling characteristics. Several are self-lubricating. These characteristics often allow new radial
clearances to be set tighter than conventional metallic wear rings. However, careful
consideration needs to given to thermal expansion characteristics of these materials.
In most cases, thermal expansion is anisotropic. This means that the thermal expansion coefficient is different in each direction (along its width, length, and thickness.) Published materials data frequently lists properties in one direction only.
Anisotropic characteristics must be carefully considered when setting wear ring
clearances to avoid heavy contact between mating rings and subsequent ring failure.
Also, the effect of centrifugal stress on wear ring strain (expansion) must be considered where non-metallic materials are used for impeller wear rings.
Disadvantages of non-metallics include higher material costs (typically 1 to 3
times that of conventional metallic wear rings), special handling to avoid breakage
during installation, difficulty keeping rings secured in place, and limited temperature capability. For improved reliability and reduced first cost, the usual choice is to
use non-metallic case wear rings running against a conventional metal impeller wear
ring. Use of proper methods to secure wear rings to pump casings and to pump
impellers is also important to success when using non-metallic wear ring materials.
Thermal properties and temperature limitations of non-metallic materials require
careful consideration as well. Many thermal plastics are limited to temperatures
below 350F. Materials such as PEEK are suitable up to 500F. Metallized graphite
is the only material suitable for temperatures above 500F. Non-metallics may also
have limited dry running capability due to poor thermal conductivity. Finally,
thermal diffusivity differences between non-metallics and metals make non-metallics a poor choice for services where significant process thermal transients are likely
to occur.

254 Shafts and Shaft Sleeves


A shaft must be large enough to transmit the necessary energy to the liquid being
pumped. It must also have strength to resist deflection from hydraulic thrust of the
liquid in the pump case. Horizontal shafts must also be able to carry the weight of
rotating parts. These factors all call for a large shaft diameter consistent with the
strength of material, the distance between the bearings, and the distance from the
bearings to the impeller. However, increasing the diameter may increase the
entrance velocity at the impeller eye and result in more NPSHR. Further, the larger
the shaft diameter, the larger the bearings, stuffing box area and other parts,
resulting in higher pump costs. The desirable design is one which has adequate shaft
stiffness, but not an uneconomically large shaft.

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Packing and Shaft Sleeves


The only part of the shaft subject to wear lies in contact with the packing in the
stuffing box. Since the packing must be kept in close contact with the shaft and
sides of the stuffing box, there is rubbing pressure on the shaft which in time will
cause wear. On all but the smallest pumps, the shaft is an expensive part of the
pump, so it is common practice to fit removable sleeves over the shaft in the
packing area. These sleeves may be readily replaced when worn.
A shaft sleeve must be hard, smooth and, often, corrosion-resistant. The sleeve
should prevent leakage between the shaft and the sleeve. The sleeve should extend
beyond the gland so that if leakage does occur, the operator can distinguish leakage
under the sleeve from leakage through the packing. Manufacturers are usually
willing to meet this requirement, and it should rarely be necessary to accept a pump
with a short shaft sleeve.
A gasket is usually provided in the design to prevent leakage between the shaft
sleeve and the shaft. Sometimes a lap joint used in place of a gasket is satisfactory if
given proper care during installation.
Many sleeves in severe services have their wearing surfaces covered with Stellite #1
or Colmonoy, with a hardness of 450 to 500 Brinnell, or covered with tungsten
carbide (Wallex 55).

255 Throat Bushings and Lantern Rings


Throat bushings as shown in Figure 200-46 are mechanical restrictions between the
stuffing box and impeller, installed to raise the pressure in the stuffing box and to
prevent packing from extruding into the pump case.
Throat bushings are desirable because, when wear occurs, they can be replaced
quite easily to renew the clearance between the shaft (or shaft sleeve) and the
stuffing box. From the standpoint of safety and fire prevention, throat bushings must
be so designed that they will not blow out of the stuffing box if the gland fails.
Lantern rings are generally used in packed stuffing boxes to distribute the sealing
and lubricating liquid around the shaft. They are also used for leak-off in conjunction with a throat bushing to reduce the pressure on the packing itself. Both types of
lantern rings are shown in Figure 200-46.
Take special care in packing pumps with lantern rings to make sure that the rings are
properly located opposite their connecting passages. If the lantern ring is displaced,
no sealing or lubricating medium can enter; if the lantern ring is for leak-off
purposes, no liquid can leave the pump.
A lantern ring used for leak-off in the center of the packing is usually not satisfactory. Bleeding the lantern ring to allow pressure point under these conditions does
not relieve the mechanical compression of the packing, and it may reduce leakage
through the remaining packing to less than that required for proper lubrication.

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Fig. 200-46 A Conventional Stuffing Box with Leak-off-type Lantern Ring at the Bottom of the
Box

256 Glands
A pump gland (identified in Figure 200-46) compresses the packing rings in the
stuffing box. Sometimes the term gland is used incorrectly to refer to the packing
rings or to the stuffing box in general.
Packing glands can be made in two pieces so they can be removed entirely from the
shaft to provide adequate clearance for working on the packing. In a quench-type
or cowl-type gland, the outer portion of the gland is made in the form of a hood or
cowl. The gland has a pipe connection on top for a smothering fluid when required
and an open drain on the lower side. The cowl prevents spraying packing drips or
quench liquid out the side of the pump. One-piece glands are also used to retain
mechanical seals (see Section 800).

257 Balance Drums and Bearings


In some multi-stage pumps where the impellers all face in one direction, the axial
thrust is cumulative and may reach very high values. Such pumps could require
excessively large thrust bearings. However, to balance the thrust, these designs
provide a balancing drum which has discharge pressure on one side and a lower
pressure (usually suction pressure) on the other side. The drum area (the crosssectional face area) is determined to approximately counter-balance the hydraulic
thrust from the impellers.
Insofar as possible, it is better to face half of the impellers in one direction and half
in the other to provide axial balance without a balancing drum. Balance drums also
reduce the pressure in the stuffing box on the discharge end.

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Bearings
Two types of bearings are used on pumps: anti-friction bearings and sleeve (hydrodynamic) bearings. The first type includes ball, roller, and needle bearings; the
second type includes radial-sleeve bearings and thrust bearings of the disc and
tilting-pad types.

Ball Bearings
Except for large pumps, ball bearings are used in most pumps. When properly
selected and installed, they are usually satisfactory and can take both radial and
thrust loads. However, in plants with predictive maintenance, anti-friction bearings
give more warning of impending failure than do sleeve bearings. Ball bearings do
permit shorter shafts and less expensive pumps, and they have been so standardized
in uniformity and interchangeability that practically all pump manufacturers have
adopted them for most pumps.
Single and double-row ball bearings are made in various classes of internal clearance. Loose internal fit (AFBMA internal fit class 3) bearings are highly recommended for all single- and double-row ball bearings. This is standard for Company
specifications and in API 610. Pumps in hot services require such bearings because
the inner bearing race may be expanded by heat conducted through the shaft. The
outer race is usually cooler. Expansion of the inner race without equal expansion of
the outer race can squeeze the balls, causing early failure if internal clearance is not
adequate. Cold service pumps can operate equally well on loose clearance bearings;
for standardization and to reduce the chance of putting standard internal clearance
bearings in hot pumps by error, the use of only loose clearance ball bearings is
recommended.
Some single- and double-row ball bearings are made with filling slots cut in the
races so that a maximum number of balls can be inserted. These are called max-type
bearings. Single- and double-row bearings without filling slots in the races have a
lesser number of balls. They are called Conrad or deep-groove-type bearings. Maxtype bearings, because they have more balls, are rated to handle more load (or give
longer life for the same load) as compared to the Conrad-type.
It is doubtful, however, that this theoretically better life is actually realized in practice. Single-row max-type bearings, especially with loose internal clearance, cannot
handle any appreciable thrust load without the balls hitting the filling slot. For this
reason, single-row bearings with filling slots should not be used.
For double-row max-type bearings, manufacturers claim that the balls will not hit
the filling slots within the allowable thrust rating. Some of the Companys refineries, on the other hand, believe that filling-slot interference has been the cause of
failures. The manufacturers claim is probably true provided the bearings have been
made to the correct tolerances. It is likely, however, that the Conrad-type bearings
can stand higher overloads. More important, bearings usually fail because of
contaminated or inadequate lubricant or are changed out before failure because the
pump is dismantled for other reasons. As a result, there is little or no reason to
specify double-row max-type bearings just because they are rated for a slightly
longer life than the Conrad-type.

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For high thrust loads, manufacturers often supply angular-contact-type bearings.


They have the advantage of the maximum number of balls without the disadvantage
of a filling slot. An angular-contact bearing is designed to handle high thrust load in
one direction only. For this reason, angular-contact bearings are usually supplied in
matched pairs to handle thrust in either direction.

Sleeve Bearings and Thrust Bearings


Sleeve bearings are of simple construction, permitting fairly easy reconditioning.
They are easy to lubricate and sudden failures are rare. Consequently, a ball thrust
bearing is sometimes used with sleeve radial bearings. For heavy thrust loads, the
tilting-pad type bearing is required. The tilting-pad type bearing consists of a
rotating disc (keyed to the shaft) with tilting pad/self-adjusting bearing shoes on one
or both sides to take the thrust loads. It is more expensive than a ball thrust bearing
and has the disadvantage of requiring very careful adjustment. It usually requires
external cooling from circulating oil. However, when properly installed and operated, the tilting-pad type bearing is quite reliable and able to handle larger variations in thrust load in both directions.

Closures for Bearing Housings


Except for pumps located in clean indoor areas, the bearing housings should be
equipped with special closures where the shafts emerge. Careful sealing of bearing
housings is required to prevent entrance of abrasive material or water, which might
cause rapid bearing failure.
Two common types of closures for bearing housings are lip seals and labyrinth
seals. Lip-type bearing housing seals are standard equipment for general service and
ANSI pumps. Labyrinth seals are standard equipment for API pumps.
Pumps equipped with oil mist lubrication of the bearings should always be provided
with Labyrinth-type bearing housing seals.

258 Base Plates


Base plates are used to supply a support and reference plane from which to accurately line up the pump and driver. The space under the base plate requires filling
with grout to give it rigid support and more mass. Provide holes of adequate size
(4 inches where practical) to facilitate grouting.
Base plates should have a drain lip or a sloping top to catch the drips of both pump
and driver. The lip or top should be well sloped to a liberal drain hole (1-inch
minimum) and tapped for a drain pipe. Base plates are made of either cast iron or
fabricated steel; either is acceptable depending on the specification. Fabricated steel
base plates have tended to replace cast iron base plates because they frequently cost
less to manufacture.

259 Couplings and Coupling Guards


See the General Machinery Manual for additional information on couplings.
Couplings connecting the pump shaft and driver shaft are usually of the flexible

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type. A few are rigid, but they are primarily used in vertical pumps. Flexible
couplings are required to permit operation with slight misalignment of the pump and
driver shafts and to isolate axial forces to each respective machine.
Most couplings for horizontal pumps are flexible disc-type, or gear-type. (Of these,
the flexible disc-type is generally preferred for pump drives because it does not
require lubrication.) A Company-wide study of couplings indicated that a primary
cause of coupling failures was lack of lubrication. However, this remains an area of
considerable controversy. For small pumps (less than 50 HP), rubber couplings are
used in several OPCO locations.
Couplings are highly stressed moving parts. Proper alignment is essential as
misalignment adds to the cyclical stresses. Excessive misalignment will cause
fatigue or wear-related failures dependent upon the degree of misalignment.
Flexible disc couplings should have stainless steel discs to resist corrosion. Spacers
are recommended to allow less stringent alignment tolerances and to facilitate
maintenance.
One disadvantage of flexible disc-type couplings is the danger posed from flying
debris when a failure occurs on some older designs. Newer types, such as the Metastream and Thomas 71, prevent the danger of flying debris in the event of a failure.
Spring-grid-type couplings are much more limited in their allowable misalignment
than are the couplings listed above and so usually are not preferred. They do have a
certain amount of resiliency in the spring-grid, which may justify their use when
calculations indicate a need to lower the torsional critical in a reciprocating system.
Limited-end-float couplings are required with motor drivers having sleeve bearings. These are large motors (ordinarily over 250 HP at 3600 rpm) in which the
sleeve bearings are designed to permit the rotor to move axially to inch. The
limited-end-float coupling keeps the motor sleeve bearings within their axial limits
and lets any electrical thrust from the motor transmit to the pump thrust bearing.
The motor thrust is usually small in comparison with the design load for the pump
thrust bearing. Thomas disc-type couplings are inherently limited-end-float. Geartype couplings must have limit stops added.
The allowable end-play of limited-end-float couplings is given in NEMA Specification MGI-6.11, as specified in Figure 200-47.
Fig. 200-47 Recommended End-play of Limited-end-float Couplings Per NEMA Specification
MG 1-6.11(1) Courtesy of NEMA
Motor HP

Syn. Speed, rpm

Minimum Motor Rotor


End-Play, In.

Max. Coupling
End-Float, In.

125 - 200

3600

1/4

3/32

250 - 450

1800 and less

1/4

3/32

250 - 450

3600

1/2

3/16

500 and larger

All Speeds

1/2

3/16

(1) Per NEMA Specification MGI-6.11

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Spacer-type couplings have a center section which can be removed without shifting
either the pump or driver. Spacer-type couplings should be specified whenever their
use will permit the removal of a mechanical seal or the disassembly of a pump
without disturbing the alignment of the pump and driver.
A spacer coupling has one other major advantage: it will accept greater actual
misalignment between pump and driver shafts.
Couplings are rated for a maximum amount of misalignment, measured in degrees.
The greater the distance between the hubs, the greater the measured misalignment
can be without exceeding the maximum limit.
This feature will make alignment easier and reduce the chance of vibration or other
alignment related pump problems. Spacer couplings are recommended for all flexible coupling applications.
All couplings should be protected by substantial guards. These are best made of
steel angles and either expanded sheet metal or coarse wire mesh. Guards should
ordinarily be in accordance with the OSHA Safety Orders, which require that the
guard cover the rotating parts to within -inch of the pump and driver housings.
Guards should, of course, also comply with any local requirements.

260 Centrifugal Pump Subsystems


261 Special Requirements for Hot Service
Three special design features are needed for hot service: (1) an arrangement that
permits expansion to take place without moving bearings out of line or imposing
undue loads on them; (2) materials suitable for the temperature and resistant to
corrosion and erosion; (3) a design that minimizes leakage or confines it in order to
avoid ignition and hazard to personnel.
The case should be vertically split to allow confined gaskets. It should be supported
as near the center as possible in order to prevent expansion from causing casing and
shaft misalignment. Sometimes the supports are water-cooled. In any case, the
alignment should be adjusted to be correct at the operating temperature. If necessary to support the casing at two points fairly far apart, provision must be made for
one support to move axially either by sliding or by elastic yielding of the support.
(The latter method of taking up case expansion is common in steam turbine
application).
The flexible coupling should be able to absorb adequate axial expansion without
developing excessive end thrust, and it should not deteriorate because of heat.
Lubricating oil to the bearings should be properly cooled, ordinarily with water to
jackets or cooling coils. Tests have been run at Richmond Refinery to determine if
we could safely omit water cooling on pumps handling hot stocks, but we have
found that some cooling is required to prevent excessive lube oil temperature. Some
pumps will require cooling because of high thrust loads regardless of stock temperature. Since water will usually be required at the mechanical seal area, it takes no

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more water and only costs a small amount of piping to run the water through the
bearing jacket first. Some hot-oil pumps may develop extra end thrust from coke
formation, so it is especially necessary to provide a thrust bearing of adequate loadcarrying capacity and to cool it properly.

262 Vertical Turbine Pumps


A vertical turbine pump is a vertical shaft centrifugal pump with a multi-vane
diffuser bowl in which each impeller operates. It may be single-stage, although most
are multi-stage. Usually the pumping element and line-shaft column are suspended
from the discharge head on which the driver is mounted. These pumps are sometimes known as deepwell or turbine-well pumps.
These pumps most commonly are installed in water wells or sumps. Sometimes they
are installed in a barrel with inlet and outlet pipe connections to make a vertical
barrel pump. The latter type is usually used when NPSHA is too low for a horizontal pump. The vertical barrel allows the first stage impeller to be located as low
as necessary to match the NPSHA.
With openline shaft designs, the bowl and line-shaft bearings are lubricated by the
liquid pumped. Bearing wear may be excessive because of grit in the liquid.
Selection of bowl and line-shaft bearing material is important. The most generally
suitable bearing material is high-lead bronze, although it cannot be run dry. Where
bronze may be subject to corrosion, rubber bearings may be satisfactory. Rubber
bearings are often used in water pumps and should be satisfactory provided the
water does not contain hydrocarbons or other chemicals to make the rubber swell,
and provided the rubber is never run dry.
These pumps require special attention to thrust loads. Thrust bearings are normally
in the driver. Factors affecting thrust include:
1.

Weight of the rotating assembly.

2.

Axial hydraulic thrust of the impeller. Thrust is usually downward; however, at


high flow rates (well beyond peak efficiency) the thrust force may reverse
direction.

3.

Suction pressure acting on the area of the shaft.

The design and operation of the pump should be to keep the thrust down so the shaft
will always be in tension. This will minimize shaft whip which would cause excessive bearing and seal wear. If even momentary up-thrust is possible under any
startup, operating, or shutdown condition, the thrust bearing should be designed and
locked to take the up-thrust.
Company experience has been poor with deepwell vertical turbine pumps operating
in excess of 1800 rpm. Line-shaft failures and bearing failures have been excessive.
Impellers for vertical turbine pumps may be semi-open (no shroud on the suction
side) or closed (shroud on the suction side). Open impellers have caused problems
at some deepwell installations because of the difficulty of obtaining the close clear-

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ance required between the impeller and the bowl. In one case when the clearance
was set close enough to meet the rating conditions, the shaft stretch allowed the
impellers to rub. Closed impellers, on the other hand, are not usually sensitive to
end clearance. Company specifications recommend closed- type impellers in deepwell pumps.

270 Maintaining Centrifugal Pump Flow Rates Close to the


Best Efficiency Point (BEP) or Best Efficiency Flow Rate
271 General
All centrifugal pumps operate best when flow is maintained in the preferred operating regionthe region surrounding the pumps best efficiency flow rate. The best
efficiency point (BEP) or best efficiency flow rate is defined as the flow rate where
the pump has it highest efficiency. If the pumps flow rate is too far on either side of
the best efficiency flow rate, vibration will increase and probably exceed the limits
of API Standard 610. As a general rule, most pumps can typically operate as low as
40-50% of their BEP or best efficiency flow rate.
API Standard 610 defines the term minimum continuous stable flow as the flow
rate above which a pump can operate and not exceed the vibration limits specified
in API Standard 610. At minimum continuous stable flow, circulation of liquid
occurs in and out of the impellers eye. This causes the liquids pressure to fall
below its vapor pressure, creating gas bubbles, similar to cavitation. The bubbles
implode, causing impeller pitting that is usually more severe with heavier stocks
like water than with lighter stocks like hydrocarbon.
API Standard 610 defines the term minimum continuous thermal flow as the flow
rate at which the pump can operate without the pumps operation being impaired by
the temperature rise or vaporization of the pumped fluid. At minimum continuous
thermal flow, the pump becomes very inefficient and most of the power transmitted
from the driver to the pump heats the liquid. The liquid can vaporize, especially if it
has a high vapor pressure like propane.
A pumping system needs to be designed so that the pump always operates above
both the minimum continuous stable flow and the minimum continuous thermal
flow. Suppliers will supply both flow rates when completing the API 610 data sheet.
Centrifugal pumps also have an upper limit flow rate, called runout or stonewalling. For most pumps, this is approximately 120% of the BEP, but depending
upon the pumps design, it can be closer to the BEP.
Figure 200-48 shows this operating range (minimum flow rate and maximum flow
rate). Operation at or below minimum flow rate is especially critical to high speed
pumps (such as those manufactured by Sundyne) because vibration is likely to
quickly cause gearbox damage.

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Fig. 200-48 Effect of Wear on Pump Performance

Refer to Standard Drawing GA-G1097-2 in the Standard Drawing section of this


manual to determine the recommended minimum flow rates for specific pump selections. This drawing covers the minimum continuous stable flow only and is usually
conservative.
Several methods of pump control are used to prevent pump operation outside a
preferred range: pressure control, flow control, and less commonly, electronic
control based on electric power consumption. See Figure 200-49 and Figure 200-50
for schematics.
The use of variable speed devices (VSDs) to control pump speed is another method
to keep the pump operating in the desired range. The VS approach is discussed in
Section 277.
Pump controls circulate fluid from pump discharge back to a suction vessel or tank
to maintain a minimum flow rate, or they impose backpressure on a pump to prevent
runout. Runout is defined as operating beyond a pumps maximum recommended
flow rate. Runout is most likely to be a problem when discharge lines are short (no
friction loss) or when pumping into a system with low backpressure (e.g., an empty
tank).

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Fig. 200-49 Pressure Control Methods

Operation of a centrifugal pump against a closed block valve can cause overheating, vibration, and eventual pump failure, and should be avoided for any significant length of time. It is normal operating procedure, however, to start centrifugal
pumps with the discharge block valve cracked open (i.e. nearly closed) and the
suction valve wide open. The discharge valve should then be gradually opened as
discharge pressure increases. This promotes quick build-up of pressure and prevents
cavitation, which can cause pump failures.

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Fig. 200-50 Effect of Variable Suction Head on Pressure Control

When using a recirculation bypass, never return fluid directly back to pump
suctionthis will cause swirling and heating problems which may raise vapor pressure and affect NPSHA. Instead, route the bypass line back to a tank, vessel, or heat
exchanger.

Pressure Control
Common methods of pressure control include using a bypass controlled by one of
the following: a globe valve (or orifice), a mechanical relief valve, a proportional
pressure controller with control valve, or a pressure switch alarm. Self-contained
back-pressure regulators are used to prevent runout. These devices are discussed in
detail:
1.

Fixed recirculation through a globe valve (or orifice) (See (a), Figure 200-49.)
A globe valve or orifice is mounted with a pressure indicator in a bypass line
(from pump discharge back to the storage vessel or tank). Proper recirculation
is established by keeping the discharge pressure below that corresponding to
the manufacturers minimum continuous flow rate. This is usually an inexpensive approach but operating costs may be high due to energy losses across the
valve or orifice. Also, continuous recirculation should be specified at the time
the pump is purchased to insure sufficient capacity for both process and bypass
flow rates. This is the preferred approach for low energy pumps (less than
10 HP).

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2.

Variable recirculation through a mechanical safety/relief valve (See (b),


Figure 200-49.)
A relief valve is installed to bypass discharge back to a storage tank or vessel.
The set pressure is the pressure corresponding to the manufacturers minimum
continuous flow rate. As the discharge pressure rises (and flow decreases), the
relief valve opens, circulating flow back to suction, maintaining the required
minimum flow rate.
Relief valves reseat below their set point and this may not be acceptable. After
it pops, a relief valve may stay open or simmer, even as the pump returns to
operation above minimum flow. A relief valve is therefore not recommended
except for positive displacement pumps, and then not for minimum flow
protection, only pump casing relief protection.

3.

Proportional pressure control (See (c), Figure 200-49.)


A pneumatic or electronic pressure controller is used to sense pump discharge
pressure and control a bypass control valve. As discharge pressure rises, pump
flow decreases towards the manufacturers recommended minimum. The
controller senses the pressure rise and opens the bypass control valve, maintaining the flow rate above minimum.

4.

Pressure alarm (See (d), Figure 200-49.)


Pressure switches installed in the discharge piping identify high discharge pressures (an indication of low flow), and also low discharge pressure (loss of
prime or surging). Pressure switches are usually inexpensive and can be
connected to an alarm or automatic shutdown of the pump.

5.

Back-pressure regulator (See (g), Figure 200-49.)


Runout can be prevented with a backpressure regulator (BPR). BPRs are generally self-contained and easily field adjustable. Set point changes are made
through spring replacements or by changing spring preload.

When Not to Use Pressure Control


Pressure control is usually cheaper than flow control. However, pressure control
does not work well under the following situations:
1.

Pumps with Variable Suction Conditions


If suction pressure changes, the discharge pressure will also change. Thus, if
the suction tank level is high, the discharge pressure will be higher than if the
tank is nearly empty. Figure 200-50 shows this by plotting pump discharge
head vs. flow for high- and low-suction tank conditions. The control valve,
however, tries to maintain a steady pressure. Consequently, the flow rate varies
as the suction pressure varies. In some cases, the flow rate may drop to below
the recommended minimum at very low head conditions. For this reason, pressure controls may be used only when the pump suction pressure is stable, or
when suction pressure variations cannot move the flow rate below the manufacturers recommended minimum.

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2.

Pumps With Flat Pump Curves


Pressure control works best when a large change in pressure affects flow. The
opposite occurs with flat pump curves, common for multi-stage pumps. In this
case, using pressure to control flow is inaccurate, because a small pressure
change results in a large change in flow (see Figure 200-51).

Fig. 200-51 Problems with Pressure Control on Flat Pump Curves

3.

Pumps in Parallel, Each With a Dissimilar Curve


Dissimilar curves can occur from different pumps or from identical pumps,
when one is worn internally (Figure 200-48). The differences in the performance curves can allow one pump to move more liquid than the other, with the
result that one pump may operate below the manufacturers recommended
minimum flow rate.

4.

Pumps With Drooping Head Curves


A drooping pump curve has a dome at the top of the curve where one differential head value corresponds to two flow rates (Figure 200-52). The pump may
oscillate between the two flow rates while maintaining the same differential
head. When two or more drooping curve pumps are connected in parallel, one
pump could operate below minimum flow rate while the other operates well out
on its curve.

In the above conditions, flow control is usually the best choice, even though it is
more expensive.

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Fig. 200-52 Drooping Pump Curves

272 Power Measurement


Since the majority of our pump/motor power requirements constantly increase from
shutoff to runout conditions, motor KW draw can be used to control pump operation. The motor will shut down if the pump encounters low flow (KW draw too low)
or high flow (KW draw too high).
There are several reasons why monitoring motor KW is preferred over motor
current for pump low-flow protection.

KW = (voltage) (amperage) (power factor) (3.5). Except for small changes in


motor efficiency, KW varies directly with load. The equation applies to three
phase power and voltage measured line-to-line.

Voltage in most electrical distribution systems fluctuates due to changes in


system loading and the reliability of purchased power. Because of this, motor
amperage draw will also vary even with a constant load.

Power factor rapidly decreases as motor load decreases below 50 or 60 percent


of nameplate rating. As motor load and power factor decrease, amperage draw
will not vary directly with motor load. Current draw at motor loads below
50 percent may not be accurate enough to protect pumps against low-flow
related problems.

At the same time, sensors monitor phase reversal amperage power factor and
voltage fluctuations. Inductive flow controls cost approximately $1000 (1990) for a
460 volt AC, 200 HP, 3-phase device.
These devices suffer some of the same drawbacks as pressure control. Like pressure control, sensing electrical power to control flow is indirect and can be inaccurate.

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273 Flow Control Methods


Direct flow measurement and control is typically used to maintain minimum flow
rates and to prevent pump runout. Advantages are:
1.

Better accuracy than pressure control because pump flow is measured directly.

2.

Flow control is unaffected by fluctuating suction pressure. It is effective on


pumps with flat or drooping curves or parallel pumps with dissimilar performance curves.

Flow control usually costs more than pressure control, unless flow is to be measured
for other process reasons.
Methods of flow control include using a bypass with one of the following: a globe
valve (or orifice), an automatic recirculation (ARC) valve, proportional control
using a flowmeter, proportional controller/control valve, or a snap-acting solenoid
valve. Runout can be prevented by either a self-contained (pilot operated)
diaphragm valve or proportional controller/valve arrangement, mounted in the pump
discharge piping.
1.

Fixed recirculation through a globe valve (or orifice). See (a), Figure 200-53.
A globe valve or orifice is mounted with or without a meter in a bypass line
from pump discharge back to the storage vessel or tank.
This is an expensive approach. Energy losses occur across the orifice or valve.
Continuous recirculation should be specified when pumps are purchased to
ensure sufficient capacity for both the process flow rate and the bypass flow
rate. If continuous recirculation is added as a retrofit, the pump may tend to
operate too far near the right end of its curve.
Due to the energy costs, this is only recommended for low-energy services (less
than 10 HP). Note that the globe valve could be completely closed, leaving the
pump unprotected.

2.

Automatic Recirculation (ARC) valves. See (b), Figure 200-53.


ARC valves are often used for flow control, primarily with Sundyne highspeed, integral-gear pumps. These valves discharge a side stream back to
suction when flow falls below the recommended minimum. Because ARC
valves recirculate only when they have to, they minimize energy loss. However,
ARC valves are only available in ANSI classes 150 and 300 and are costly.
ARC valves are most economical with high bypass flow rates and larger differential pressures. Under these conditions, recirculation with either a fixed
restriction or globe valve bypass becomes too expensive due to energy losses.
ARC valves can also be used when a pump curve will not allow the additional
flow required to satisfy the process and a fixed-recirculation bypass.

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Fig. 200-53 Flow Control Methods

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274 Proportional Flow Control


A flow controller receives a signal from a flow sensor/transmitter and positions a
control valve located in the bypass piping. The control valve stays closed as long as
the pump operates above minimum flow. It begins to open at minimum flow and
bypasses just enough to keep the pump running at exactly minimum flow.
This type of proportional control is more expensive than using an ARC valve
because of the instrumentation involved, but may be feasible when a meter run is
already installed for other reasons.
Proportional controls can also be used to prevent runout (see (f), Figure 200-53).
The control valve is mounted in the pump discharge line rather than the recirculation line. The flowmeter/controller senses excess flow and positions the control
valve to reduce flow to an acceptable rate.
On-off control with a flow switch and solenoid valve. See (d), Figure 200-53.
A flow switch in the discharge piping detects low flow and opens a bypass-mounted
solenoid valve. Flow is routed back to suction as long as the process flow rate is low
enough to keep the flow switch tripped. If the bypass line allows too much flow to
be recirculated, a fixed restriction orifice should be installed.
The flow switch opens only when minimum flow occurs, avoiding the potential
problem of operating near the end of the curve and energy losses associated with a
continuous recirculation.
Flow switches can also be used for high and low flow alarms and shutdowns.

275 Self-Contained Flow Control Valves


A self-contained diaphragm valve can be used to prevent runout. This type of valve
works by sensing differential pressure and using this pressure to modulate the position of the trim and diaphragm. A disadvantage is that the valve has small diameter
passages that may become plugged with sand and scale. When this happens, the
valve will operate erratically, and can worsen the pumping problems. For this
reason, do not use diaphragm valves in sandy or dirty service (such as on water
wells), or in services that could lead to corrosion or scaling of the internal trim.
Avoid hot services that could lead to failure of the elastomer diaphragms.
Self-contained flow control valves can be used to prevent runout as shown in (e),
Figure 200-53 or can be used in a bypass line back to suction to keep flow above
minimum.

276 Economics of Flow Control


The economics of minimum flow systems depend on the bypass flow rate, differential head, and the equipment already in place:
1.

April 2009

Fixed-orifice recirculation is inexpensive and probably the best method at low


flow rates and low differential pressures. It uses only a valve or orifice with or
without an indicator, pressure gage or rotameter. However, it constantly wastes

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energy across the valve or orifice and can be expensive to operate with high
head pumps or with pumps that require a large minimum flow rate.
2.

Flow control through power measurement has the same problems inherent in
pressure control. Except for applications involving very low flow rates and
pressures, this method may be the least expensive. This method is suited for
retrofitting existing equipment because no piping changes are required and
pump operating conditions do not change.

3.

On-off bypass control using flow switches and a solenoid valve is simple and
relatively inexpensive. It does not waste energy and does not allow the pump to
operate at the end of its curve.

4.

ARC valves and proportional controls are costly. Restrict their use to critical,
unattended, unspared, high-head pumps or pumps with large minimum required
flow rates.

277 Variable Speed Devices (VSDs)


Another approach to keep a pump operating inside the desired flow range, is to use
a variable speed device (VSD) where the VSD is controlled by a downstream flow
transmitter. The transmitter senses the flow, sends a signal to the VSD that changes
the speed accordingly to keep the pump operating at that flow. Flow does not
change so a bypass controller is not necessary; however, a low flow alarm, set above
the minimum continuous stable or thermal flow, is recommended.

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