Pumps that deal with corrosive or low pH fluids need to be designed with materials that are better at withstanding the constant abuse put forth by their corrosive nature. Some metals will corrode much faster than others in the presence of low pH fluids, so it is recommended to research the type of chemicals that will be pumped to help match the correct pump for your material. For most chemical applications, stainless steel, nickel, or even titanium pumps are used effectively. Sometimes pumps are even internally lined with rubber or other polyurethane type of material to help slow down the wear on the pump components.
The chemical industry is undoubtedly one of the industries 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.
Some of the most common chemical pump applications:
- Manufacturing Processes
- Corrosive/Low pH fluid transfer
- Tank and truck unloading
With chemical processing, highly corrosive chemicals are often employed to aid in the manufacturing process, however, this material quickly wears down standard pump components. Consequently, the pumps used for chemical applications need to withstand materials that are highly corrosive, abrasive, and viscous. This usually means that the top chemical pumps are made out of alloy metals such as nickel, steel or titanium. In addition, chemical pumps often need to be leak-free, preventing the potential to spread of toxic or caustic chemicals into the environment. Chemical pumps have vast applications in many different industries ranging from oil and gas, paper/pulp production, semiconductors, and manufacturing.
The damage caused by corrosion can often be confused with damage caused by abrasion but can be identified if known what to look for. With corrosion, the wear and pitting patterns are evenly distributed across the pump. Abrasion, however, causes uneven wear that follows the mechanics of the pump, or where the material flows. If pumping both a corrosive and abrasive slurry, both types of wear can be seen on the pump and extra care should be taken to ensure the longevity of the pump.
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