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A centrifugal pump is a hydraulic machine that converts mechanical energy into hydraulic energy by using centrifugal force to act on the liquid. Centrifugal pumps are the most common type of pumps for transferring fluids from low to high levels. They are used in sectors including agriculture, municipal (water and wastewater plants), industrial, power generation plants, petroleum, mining, chemical, pharmaceutical, and others. When a mass of liquid is rotated by an external source, it is thrown away from the centrifugal axis of rotation and a head is impressed, allowing it to rise to a higher level. Centrifugal pumps are highly efficient and can be used for both viscous and non-viscous liquids.
The main parts of a centrifugal pump are the impeller, casing, delivery pipe, and the suction pipe with a foot valve and strainer. Let’s take a look at each part. The impeller is a wheel or rotor with a series of backward-curved blades or vanes. The impeller is mounted on the shaft which is coupled to an external energy source. This energy source imparts the liquid energy onto the impeller, causing it to rotate. A centrifugal pump can have one of three types of impellers: open, semi-enclosed, or enclosed. The next part, the casing, is a pipe connected to the center of the impeller at the upper end of the inlet. There are three types of casings used in centrifugal pumps: volute casings, vortex casings, and casings with guide blades.
The third main part of the pump is the delivery pipe. The delivery pipe is connected at its lower end to the outlet of the pump and delivers liquid to the required height. Near the outlet of the delivery pump is a valve that controls the flow from the pump into the delivery pipe. The final part is the suction pipe and its associated foot valve and strainer. The suction pipe is connected to the inlet of the impeller and the other end sits in the sump of water. At the water end is the foot valve and strainer. The foot valve is a one-way valve that opens upward, and the strainer is used to filter unwanted particles in the water and prevent the centrifugal pump from blockage.
The first step in the operation of a centrifugal pump is priming. During this, all air is removed from the suction pipe casing. This is important because the pressure generated by a centrifugal pump is directly related to the density of the fluid it is in contact with. After priming, the delivery valve remains closed and the motor starts the impeller. The valve is then opened, causing the liquid to flow in an outward radial direction through the vanes of the impeller, creating a vacuum. This causes liquid from the sump to rush through the suction pipe to the eye of the impeller, thereby lifting liquid to the required height through the delivery pipe.
Centrifugal pumps are classified into many types based on varying factors. These include:
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