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Abstract

Centrifugal pumps are one of the most common types of hydraulic pumps. Centrifugal pumps
produce flow in a system by transferring rotational energy generated by a motor to the fluid as
pressure and kinetic energy. The motor is attached to a shaft, and an impeller is attached to the
end of the shaft. As the impeller rotates, the water around the impeller also rotates with the
impeller. As the rotational speed increase, centrifugal force pushes the water radially outwards
and at the same time creates a negative pressure at the center of the impeller drawing in more
water. Once the pump reaches the desired rotational speed, the flowrate and pump head will
remain constant. There are three affinity laws that describe how flowrate, change in pressure and
break power relate to rotational velocity.
In this experiment, pump characteristic curves and pump efficiency curves are generated for a
centrifugal pump. The characteristic curves illustrates the relationship between pump head and
flow rate while holding the RPM constant. At a constant RPM, one would expect for the pump
head to be inversely related to the flow rate. The pump efficiency is calculated as fluid power
over break power. The efficiency curve plots efficiency over flow rate at constant RPM settings.
In order to obtain data points to create these pump curves, an experimental pump system
consisting of a single centrifugal pump, a water reservoir, and a piping loop was utilized. Sensors
throughout the setup quantified values needed to create the curves. First, a specific RPM was
reached; nominal RPM speeds of 900, 1200, 1500, 1800, 2100 and 2400 were used. While
keeping the RPM constant ( 20 the nominal value), the max flow rate was decreased by 10% of
its maximum value by adjusting a flow control valve above the pump. Using a computer
program, PumpLab 2.3, the electrical power supplied to the motor, the shaft speed, shaft torque,
break power, flow rate, pump head, and fluid power were recorded at each flow rate.
Using the data gathered the pump characteristic curve and efficiency curve were generated.
These curves provide the user with operating ranges and parameters for which the pump could be
applied. As expected, the pump head decreased as the flow rate decreased. The max pump head
always occurred at the dead head condition. The affinity laws were verified to accurately model
the correlation of flowrate, change in pressure and break power relate to rotational velocity. The
maximum efficiency of the pump was found to be 18.11% at the 2400 RPM setting.
Procedure
In this experiment, a simple centrifugal pump system was utilized in order to determine the . The
system included a controllable motor, a shaft system, a centrifugal pump, a reservoir tank, a
control valve and a computer connected to several sensors to obtain pertinent readings. The
readings were observed on a program called PumpLab 2.3.
First, all safety precautions were taken: safety glasses, long pants, closed toed shoes, control
valve fully open, motor set to forward position, motor set to lowest possible RPM setting and
sufficient water in reservoir.
PumpLab 2.3 was initialized and the pump system readings were being taken. The RPM setting
for the motor was increased until it reached 90020 RPM. Once the readings on the PumpLab,

stabilized the stop button was clicked to allow the data to be recorded. PumpLab 2.3 was started
again and the volumetric flow rate was decreased by 10% of its maximum value at the fully open
valve condition. The control valve was adjusted until the new desired flow rate was reached and
the data at that flow rate was recorded. This process was repeat until the flow rate reading on
PumpLab 2.3 was no longer stable. At that point, the valve was fully closed to take the dead head
data. To prevent damaging the system through cavitation, we were careful to not let the valve
remain fully closed for more than 10 seconds.
This process was repeated for 1200, 1500, 1800, 2100 and 2400 RPM. All the RPM settings were
kept with 20 RPM of the nominal values throughout the experiment.