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What is a Vortex Pump?

Learn about the mechanics behind vortex pumps and how they compare to the EDDY Pump.
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While similar in operation, there are some distinct differences between the EDDY Pump and Vortex Pumps that one should be aware of if looking for new pumping equipment.

See the video below to discover how the EDDY Pump is more efficient than vortex pumps when it comes to pumping high solids.

Mechanics of the Vortex Pump

Vortex pumps (also called recessed impeller pumps) are based on the principle of creating a vortex flow with a recessed impeller that is positioned away from the path of the liquid. It creates circular churning motion around an axis that creates suction for the fluid to flow into the volute and out through discharge. Vortex motion may or may not be created by pressure differences of a fluid-solid mixture. Since the rotor is positioned farther back it allows for solids and even gasses to pass without direct contact with the rotor.

To create an efficient flow with the suspended particles, it is essential to generate a sufficiently powerful vortex to induce suction of the solid particles. This requires a very powerful pumping action with high horsepower. Vortex formations are dependent on fluid properties like density and viscosity. The rotors are also recessed for solids clearance, although at some cost to the pump efficiency.

The benefit of vortex pumps is that it is a non-clogging design, but this comes at a cost of low efficiency (around 50%). They also vibrate much less since they do not induce pulsating pressures. They also wear much better, due to loose tolerances and vortex induction as the driving force. The efficiency will remain similar over the life of the pump.

Mechanics of the EDDY Pump

Eddy Pump technology is based on the principle of Tornado Motion of liquid as a synchronized swirling column along the center of intake pipe that induces agitated mixing of solid particles with liquid, creating suction strong enough for solid particles to travel upwards into the volute and generating pressure differential for desired discharge. The eddy current is caused by the pressure differential caused by the rotor and strengthened by turbulent flow patterns in the volute and suction tube.

Eddy currents are reinforced by the presence of solid particles which increase the inertial forces in the fluid. The formation of eddy depends on the suspended solid particles that cause suction. Unlike vortex pumps, the rotor directly drives the fluid through the pump with no slip. The Eddy Pump uses the movement of particles and the wake induced from these solid particles to generate Eddy Current and induce suction.

The Eddy Pump is very similar to a recessed impeller (vortex) pump but with a very distinct difference. It really focuses on inducing a vortex down the inlet to move the fluids, whereas a vortex pump only induces its vortex in the pump casing.

To understand this difference, it is important to look directly at the original Eddy Pump patent where claim 2 states an Eddy Pump MUST:

  • Flow many fluid streams into a central location down the inlet
  • Increase the stream velocities in an inward direction down the inlet
  • Converging the streams together at a central location and forming a rotating column of liquid (aka the vortex)
  • This rotational column (which is going down the inlet) will cause the fluid to flow up through the inlet, into the pump housing and out the discharge

The patent states “an eddy current pump in which a vortex column of liquid is discharged from the center of the pump inlet pipe resulting in a concentrated area of reduced pressure at the pump inlet to cause the ambient surrounding liquid and foreign substances, if any, to be drawn upwardly about the downwardly traveling vortex column in the manner of an eddy current.”

The patent also states that the rotor creates a relatively slender, vertical column of liquid having a high angular velocity and a high downward velocity component. This vortex column goes down into the inlet, and it is the volume surrounding that vortex column that is transported upward into the pump. It is this counter flow of liquids in opposite directions within the inlet conduit that gives rise to the designation of this pump as an eddy pump.

It is easiest to think of the vortex column separate from the fluid motion; e.g. the vortex column goes down the inlet and causes the fluid to go up through the inlet.



Conclusion – EDDY Pump is More Efficient

Hence, efficiency is 7-10% better than traditional vortex pumps, with respect to horsepower. The Eddy Current generated by the pump ensures steady movement of the mixture that leads to excellent non-clumping capabilities and the power to pump a very high concentration of solids, up to 70% by weight, as well as highly viscous fluids. Over long dredging and pumping jobs, the reduced maintenance and clogging combined with an overall higher efficiency means cost savings for your project.

Why Pump Efficiency Matters

Depending on the amount of time per day the pump will be running, pump efficiency could have huge ramifications on the overall cost of operation. Pump efficiency is defined as the ratio power actually gained by the fluid to the shaft power supplied. Choosing a pump that is 10% more efficient will save large amounts of electricity costs over the life cycle of the pump. Combine this higher efficiency with far fewer maintenance costs and the EDDY Pump benefits quickly become apparent.

Advantages of the EDDY Pump

  • EDDY Pump has better efficiency over vortex pumps. 
  • Non-Clog Pump Design – The EDDY Pump’s open rotor design with high tolerances allow anything that will go into the intake to be passed through the discharge without issues. This translates to a significant amount of solids and debris that passes through without clogging the pump.
  • High Solids Handling – Able to pump up to 70% solids
  • High Viscosity and Specific Gravity Handling
  • High Abrasives Handling – Ultra recessed rotor creates eddy current that keeps abrasive material away from critical ware pump components
  • No Critical Tolerances – The tolerance between the rotor and the volute easily allows the passage of a man’s arm, while the tolerance in a centrifugal pump is significantly less. In a 2-inch to 10-inch EDDY Pump the tolerance ranges from 1-9 inches.
  • Low Maintenance
  • Minimal Downtime
  • Low Ownership Costs

Order or Get Selection Help

Let our sales or engineering support help in your slurry pump and dredge equipment selection. Call (619) 258-7020

Why EDDY Pumps Are Better – Highlights

This video shows how the EDDY Pump beats traditional centrifugal pumps.