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The Top 4 Pumps Found in the Chemical Industry

Common pumps found within the chemical industry and how an Eddy Pump can be a better solution for many applications

Pumps are the workhorses of industry and are used in many different applications in a wide range of industries. These include the oil and gas, petrochemical, food, beverage, and chemical processing industries.

Operators in these industries have a wide range of pumps to choose from. Many of the popular types of pumps are adequate for most applications in the chemical industry. However, sometimes pumps need to work under extremely harsh conditions, especially when liquids contain solids and fibrous material that make them difficult to pump.

Considerations for Pump Selection

Many different types of pumps are used in the chemical processing industry. Pump selection depends on the characteristics of the liquid to be handled, which include viscosity, corrosiveness, and abrasiveness. Liquid-gas mixtures need pumps that will handle them efficiently without causing production stoppages or pump breakdowns. Liquids containing large amounts of solid material require robust pumps designed to withstand harsh conditions and to transport these mixtures effectively.

Liquid characteristics also play a critical role in selecting materials of construction for pumps. Corrosion is a major consideration in the chemical industry, and the material used in pump construction must be compatible with the medium to be pumped. For instance, highly corrosive liquids like acids require the use of stainless steel in pump construction.

Types of Pumps Used in the Chemical Industry

The main types of pump used in the chemical industry are:

Centrifugal pumps: These are the most common type of pump used in the chemical industry. They are highly efficient pumps, simple in design and operation, and generally less expensive than other types of pumps.

All centrifugal pumps draw liquid into the impeller by suction, causing a vacuum. This feature of the centrifugal pump also makes it prone to cavitation, especially with low intake pressures. A major disadvantage of the centrifugal pump is that it has poor suction power and needs to be primed to start pumping.

Positive displacement pumps: These are all types of rotary pumps and include gear, screw, rotary vane and piston pumps. They are more efficient than centrifugal pumps at moving high viscosity fluids and can deliver high pump pressures. Positive displacement pumps can also move low vapor pressure fluids, which flow at lower speeds and create more resistance.

Diaphragm pumps: These pumps are also a type of positive displacement pump and move liquids or liquid-gas mixtures via a reciprocating diaphragm. They have a number of advantages over other types of positive displacement pumps. Firstly, they do not have any internal wear components, which reduces maintenance considerably. They also require no sealing or lubrication, which eliminates the risk of oil vapor leakage and contamination of the process fluid.

Turbine pumps: These pumps have turbine-like impellers with radially oriented teeth to move the liquid. Turbine pumps combine the versatility of a centrifugal pump with the high discharge pressures of positive displacement pumps. However, they are not suitable for the transport of liquids with solid content.

There are literally thousands of pumps on the market that fall within these categories and perform admirably under most circumstances. However, many of them also have serious limitations when it comes to handling highly corrosive or abrasive fluids, or liquids with high solids content, like slurries. The chemical industry is in dire need of an alternative chemical pump, such as the EDDY Pump, that can handle the duties of most of these types of pumps, in addition to operating under demanding conditions.


EDDY Pump Applications in the Chemical Industry

The chemical industry is undoubtedly the one that is most reliant on pumps. Reliable pump performance is critical to ensure uninterrupted production. In addition, compliance with health and safety regulations must be assured to protect workers and to minimize damage to expensive equipment and the risk of catastrophic plant failure. These dangers are not present in other industries and this makes pump applications in the chemical industry unique.

The range of products manufactured in the chemical industry is vast, and pumps are used extensively in the oil and gas, petrochemical, chemical manufacturing, pharmaceutical, food, and beverage industries. They are employed to transfer and circulate liquids, as well as for dosing applications. The demands placed on pumps can be onerous, especially when pumping mixtures with high solid content or liquids that are abrasive or highly corrosive. High temperatures and pressures compound the issues facing process engineers when selecting the right pump for any particular application.

Pumping Corrosive and Abrasive Chemicals

Highly corrosive chemicals are used in many manufacturing processes, either as feedstock for the manufacture of end products or to adjust the pH of mixtures to facilitate vital chemical or biochemical reactions. Sulphuric acid is highly corrosive and the most commonly used in industry. It is used in the manufacture of fertilizers and can cause severe skin and deep tissue damage.

Hydrochloric acid is another dangerous acid that is often used for process pH balancing. This acid can cause respiratory failure, extensive damage to eyes and presents a substantial danger to worker health if it is allowed to escape. Concentrated alkalis, such as the hydroxides of sodium, calcium and potassium are also extremely corrosive and must be handled with care.

Handling these highly corrosive chemicals demands careful selection of pumps that will ensure fluid containment and the control of any emissions. Pump seals are the component most vulnerable to attack by corrosive chemicals. Process engineers must select pumps that are robust enough to handle these hazardous materials and prevent leakage.

Abrasive mixtures also present significant problems for pumps. The solid particulates in these mixtures can erode internal pump components and substantially reduce pump performance. Apart from erosion, abrasive solids can cause pitting in the pump material, which can lead to problems with corrosion. With a recessed impeller, EDDY Pumps are built to be abrasive resistant.

Care must be taken to select the right material of construction for pumps handling either corrosive or abrasive liquid. The material must be able to withstand the corrosive or abrasive action of these liquids to minimize downtime and maintenance costs.

Introducing the EDDY Pump

The EDDY Pump is a patented pump that is neither a centrifugal, positive displacement nor vortex pump. It innovative design harnesses the power of a tornado into fluid dynamics to create a synchronized eddy current.

This pump has no impeller, but is equipped with a geometrically designed spinning rotor that creates an eddy current. This in turn creates higher suction without requiring the critical tolerances of other pumps, like the centrifugal pump. The EDDY pump can easily handle material once deemed impossible or cost-prohibitive to pump.

It far exceeds the performance of other pumps in moving viscous fluids with high percentages of solids. It moves large objects that can cause clogging, while handling highly abrasive solid-liquid mixtures and corrosive liquids. Its design also substantially reduces the cost of maintenance, a significant factor affecting plant downtime that has a major impact on a company’s bottom line.

The EDDY Pump vs. Conventional Pumps

The EDDY pump outperforms conventional pumps, like the centrifugal pump, in many aspects:

Clogging The EDDY pump has an open rotor design with high tolerances that enables the passage of large rocks, debris and fibrous material without clogging. Conventional pumps with fine tolerances cannot handle these materials. The EDDY pump can pump objects of up to 9 inches in diameter.

High viscosity The pump’s turbid flow agitates material as it is fed into the suction, enabling pumping of highly viscous liquids. The efficiency of a centrifugal pump is reduced as liquid viscosity increases.

High solid content: The hydrodynamic design of the EDDY pump enables the transportation of liquids with higher concentrations of solids. It is capable of moving material with less than 5% free liquid and up to 80% solid content by volume. The fine tolerances of a centrifugal pump do not enable it to pump liquids with high solid content.

High specific gravity material: An EDDY pump creates strong eddy currents that draw heavy objects and materials up and through the pump. The non-agitated, laminar flow of a centrifugal pump does not allow this.

Highly corrosive and abrasive materials: Due to the critical tolerances of a centrifugal pump, its performance is affected by the erosive activity of highly corrosive and abrasive liquids. The wearing of impellers due to erosion demands more regular maintenance to restore pump performance. With its high tolerances, the EDDY pump does not have this problem.

Rotor variation: The design of the EDDY pump enables it to be easily configured for desired head and flow requirements by simply changing the rotor. Conventional pumps do not have this flexibility.


The EDDY pump clearly has many benefits over other conventional pumps used in the chemical industry:

o Higher performance
o Lower total life-cycle cost
o Higher resistance to clogging
o Ability to pump highly viscous, high specific gravity and highly corrosive/abrasive slurries
o Flexible rotor options to suit flow requirements

It is a state-of-the-art pump incorporating patented pump technology to outperform all centrifugal, vortex and displacement pumps for dredging, the movement of slurries and other difficult applications.

For many of the everyday tasks that a pump is asked to perform in the chemical industry, there is a vast range of pumps to choose from. However, the EDDY pump eclipses the performance of every other pump in the market for moving thick slurries, highly viscous liquids, highly abrasive and corrosive fluids, and liquids containing large solid material and fibrous matter. Contact EDDY pump today for a consultation on the solution to your specific pumping application.

Why EDDY Pumps Are Better – Highlights

This video shows how EDDY Pump transports high slurry and abrasive materials. Featured dredge pump equipment includes the Remote Operated Subdredge, Diver Operated Pump and a Excavator Attachment Dredge Pump.

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