A potential problem with our centrifugal pumping systems is cavitation. Very often pumps handle liquids with suction conditions very close to a liquid’s vapor pressure.

Dear Colleagues,

A potential problem with our centrifugal pumping systems is cavitation. Very often pumps handle liquids with suction conditions very close to a liquid’s vapor pressure. When a liquid is drawn into the pump inlet there is a pressure drop resulting from the fluid friction along the pipeline, valves, fittings, and flow pattern.

When the reduced pressure approaches the vapor pressure of the liquid it causes the liquid to vaporize. As these vapor bubbles travel further into the impeller, the pressure rises again causing the bubbles to collapse or implode. These implosions cause severe damage to the pump internals and are referred to as cavitation.

Some methods to minimize cavitation include:

  • Increasing suction vessel pressure 
  • Raising the level of the suction vessel
  • Lowering the pump in a pit
  • Increasing suction line size
  • Lowering inlet temperature

Please click here to access my full presentation on the subject.


Yours in engineering learning,

Steve

Mackay’s Musings – 12th May’15 #564
125, 273 readers – www.idc-online.com/blogs/stevemackay