Pump Parts and How Do They Work?

December 11, 2015

When someone talks about pump technology, you probably think of motorized drive systems, but the truth of the matter is a little more complicated. Pumps are more than the drive stage and this drive stage doesn't have to assume an electrical form. You'll find diesel-powered pumps and wind-driven pumps dotting fields and remote rural districts, with long shafts rotating a series of internal vanes to push a fluid through a sealed housing. Here's a closer look at these pump parts.

Suction and Discharge Wizardry

A dizzying array of terms is associated with pump parts, but they can all be distilled into a handful of components. The shaft, powered by an electrical motor or other drive system, rotates at speed and conjures a sizable amount of torque. Bearings and a sealing mechanism bridge the gap between the drive stage and the housing of the pump, and it's this housing that acts as an intersection point, a rounded case (volute) that channels the fluid. An input pipe attaches to the volute and passes the fluid onward. An assemblage of angled vanes fastens to the drive shaft and rotates, setting up a blur of rotating parts, a structure that forces the fluid to circulate and exit at speed through a discharge pipe. Indeed, this shaft-powered "impeller" stage represents the dynamic heart of this set-up.

Engineering a Fluid Dynamic Mechanism

At this juncture, we've illustrated a series of basic components, but details are begging to be added to this simplified outline. For example, the volute is specially shaped to take advantage of the partial vacuum, the kinetic energy and centrifugal force generated within the housing. The internal contours of the part are shaped to funnel the fluid around and out of the component, and this dynamic centrifugal action will work in concert with the impeller to amplify and reinforce the forced migration of the liquid. Next, the shaft is the most important connecting part of this radial manipulator, a component that couples with the impeller to efficiently channel and convert one energy form into another. As expertly manufactured as both the drive system and the impeller may be, the efficient interplay of the components will fail if this shaft and coupling mechanism isn't configured properly. Torsional flex alters the manner in which the shaft and the drive components interact, as does angular misalignment and vibrational flexing, so mechanical couplers must align properly.

In imagining a virtual X-Ray of a smoothly functioning pump, picture the chain of activity. The electrically induced shaft rotates. The pump housing begins to vibrate as the impeller fastened at the opposite end of the shaft turns. Supplementary couplers work in concert with essential mechanical seals and lubricated bearings, sending the fluid rushing into the inlet pipe and out of the discharge line.

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