The Challenges With Pumping Abrasive SlurryThe abrasiveness of slurry can quickly erode pump parts. Learn about proper pump selection and what to look out for when pumping abrasive slurry.
What is a Slurry?
A slurry is defined as a mixture of a liquid and particles of solids. Slurries are often used in various industrial applications as an easier way to move large amounts of pulverized solids. By introducing water, these solids can then be pumped away from the site using a slurry pump which is a much more cost-effective means as opposed to mechanically moving the material onto trucks and slowly hauling it away. Slurries are most commonly found in mining operations, oil and gas drilling, power generation companies, manufacturing, and more.
Depending on the type of solids present, slurries are generally split into two categories. One category is called a non-settling slurry. A non-settling slurry contains particles that are very small, and stay suspended in the liquid, giving the liquid a viscous quality. The other category is known as a settling slurry. Settling slurries contain solids that will move and settle to the bottom of the pipeline but will remain suspended if the mixture is constantly agitated. A good example of a settling slurry would be a sand and water mixture. This is why it is important to reach critical line velocity so that the sediment will not settle into the bottom of pipelines, which could lead to clogging.
Since slurries, by definition, contain small particles, they are often abrasive and can quickly wear down pump and pipeline components, especially if the pump is not used most effectively. The most common parts to wear down by abrasive slurries are the pump impeller, wear rings, shaft sleeves, mechanical seal faces, lip seals, and the volute. When pumping slurries, there are some things you can do to extend the life of your pump and pipelines. Run the pump as slow as possible without allowing the slurry to settle at the bottom of the pipelines. Slowing down the flow of the slurry will lessen the erosion of pump parts, just be sure the slurry turbulent enough to not settle and potentially clog your lines. Additionally, it is best practice to lower the pump’s discharge pressure to as low as possible.
Ideally, you want the pump to run at the lowest RPM while at the same time keeping the flow at a high enough rate to not allow the material to settle at the bottom of the pipeline. If you know some information about your project, you can use that information to build a pump curve which will tell you what pump to use and at what power to operate at for optimal pumping. This method helps to remove some of the guesswork, and can quickly put you on a path for selecting the correct pump for your job.
Selecting a Pump For Slurry
Selecting the right pump for your slurry can be daunting, but obtaining some basic information about the project can go a long way in helping you select a winner. Some key things to know would be characteristics of the slurry (density, pH level, viscosity, temperature), length of the pipeline, vertical head, and flow rate. You can then take this information and use it to guide your pump selection process. The key design aspects to keep in mind when selecting a slurry pump are the type of installation, critical flow rate, total discharge head, and the pump design material.
The most common materials used for the construction of slurry pumps are cast iron, stainless steel, and high chrome steel. Some slurry pumps come with an internal lining to better deal with problems of slurry abrasion. The typical elastomers found in the lining material include rubber, polyurethane or neoprene. The selection of lining material depends on the operating temperature, pH of slurry and the presence of specific abrasive fluids used in the pumping process.
Benefits of Using EDDY Pump
Using an EDDY Pump will allow you to pump heavy and abrasive slurries while minimizing erosion to pump components. This is achieved through the EDDY Pump’s highly recessed rotor, which comes into minimal contact with the abrasive particles found in the slurry. Additionally, the EDDY Pump lacks any critical tolerances which could lead to clogs in centrifugal pumps if larger solids were to get stuck between the pump casing and the impeller. This is a common problem when using centrifugal pumps for slurries, and one of the reasons the EDDY Pump excels at slurry pumping. Our patented technology at EDDY pump has a high tolerance for material size, with a capacity to handle sizes as large as 9 inches.
The open rotor design lets anything which can go through the inlet pass through the discharge without any setbacks. At EDDY Pump we are committed to providing best-in-class dredge pumps to our customers; hence, each component is thoroughly tested to deliver supreme quality, reliability, and versatility. Our unique technology provides us with an extraordinary capability to easily handle materials with enormous volumes and high specific gravity in tough conditions.
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