Horizontal Centrifugal Pump Selection for Chemical Applications

Selecting the Right Pump for Chemical Applications

Review pump types and pick proper construction materials.

Excerpt from the February 2020 Pumps & Systems article by Pete Scantlebury

There are many considerations when selecting the right pump for chemical applications. When working with materials such as corrosive or flammable chemicals, extra care should be taken to ensure that the product selected is suitable.

Define the Fluid Characteristics

The safety data sheet (SDS) and chemical manufacturer or chemical distributor can provide required information such as fluid name, concentration, fluid temperature, specific gravity and viscosity at pumping temperature. If solids are present, determine at what concentration, particle size and hardness, and if the material is corrosive, flammable or combustible.

Describe the Application

The more detailed the description, the better. Make sure to verify:

  • What type of container is the chemical stored in? Is it a drum or tote, bulk storage tank, rail car or tanker truck?
  • Where will the fluid be moved? From a drum to a bucket, from a rail car to bulk storage, or simply recirculating in the same container, for example.
  • Is the liquid below the pump? In this case, a pump that is either self-priming or one that can be submerged in the liquid is needed.
  • What is the flow rate required? Flow rate is required to calculate friction loss in the piping system.
  • What is the total head or pressure required? Total head is based on the piping system and is used (along with flow rate) to help choose a pump.
  • What is the net positive suction head available (NPSHa)? It is the suction head made available to the pump and provided by the piping system. To avoid cavitation (causes erosion damage to pump components) the NPSHa must exceed the NPSH required (NPSHr).
  • How long will the pump be operating per day or week? This is important in evaluating energy costs. For example, if a pump is going to be operating many hours per day, a pump driven with an electric motor could have considerably lower operating costs compared to an air-driven pump.
  • Is it indoors or outdoors? What are the maximum and minimum ambient temperatures? This is important for the correct selection of the construction materials for the pump and motor.
  • What is the altitude? Higher altitudes reduce available lift if it is a self-priming application, reduces NPSHa and reduces cooling by an electric motors fan.

Pump Selection

There are many variables to the selection of the best pump type with the correct materials of construction.

  • Gather information on the fluid to be pumped.
  • Gather information on the hydraulic and application requirements.
  • Consult the experts. Consult with the chemical manufacturer, chemical distributor, pump manufacturers, local pump distributors, and even industrial supply catalogs that are experienced in the selection of chemical pumps.
Horizontal Centrifugal Pump Selection for Chemical Applications
Horizontal Centrifugal Pump Selection for Chemical Applications

Review Possible Pump Types

Here are some of the most common pump types for transferring chemicals.

Drum/barrel pumps: Ideal for transferring a wide variety of chemicals from pails, drums, totes [(such as intermediate bulk containers (IBCs)] and other containers used by chemical manufacturers to transport products to the user. These can be powered by electric, lithium ion battery or air motors.

Centrifugal pumpsProvide smooth flow and have a wide range of flows and head capabilities. These pumps are available in a wide range of materials and either mechanically sealed or sealless magnetically coupled. They are typically operated with electric motors.

Air-operated double diaphragm pumps: Versatile, simple to operate, and can pump solids and viscous fluids. They typically operate with compressed air.

Positive displacement pumps: Includes gear, rotary vane or piston pumps. These pumps are good with high viscosity fluids and can generate high pressures.

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A Complete Line of Pumps for Industry

Vertiflo Pump Company’s Vertical Sump Centrifugal Pumps, Horizontal End Suction Centrifugal Pumps and self-priming pumps are delivered fast, usually in half the typical lead time. Vertiflo’s vertical sump pump line offers up to 3000 GPM, 250′ Heads and 26′ depth. The horizontal end suction pump line offers up to 3000 GPM and 300’ Heads.

Vertiflo pumps are designed for nonresidential applications and currently over 20,000 are operating successfully worldwide. Vertiflo is recognized as a quality manufacturer of dependable pumps, and continues to grow and encompass new applications in the pump industry.