Major Factors Affecting the Pump Performance: An article

Pump or Pumping system is the major equipment in any process or power plant. So the equipment should operate properly to give the best output in terms of performance. However, there are many factors that influence the pump performance. Out of those, the main (major) factors which affect the performance of the pump are:

  • Impeller design
  • Improper priming
  • Insufficient NPSH
  • Reduced capacity
  • Wrong direction of rotation
  • Clogging of suction pipeline and impeller
  • Improper shaft alignment
  • Packing troubles
  • Noisy operation

This article will explain these points in short.

Impeller Design

  • Backward curved blades, β2<90°
  • Forward curved blades, β2>90°
  • Radial blades , β2=90°

The following table provides a guideline for pump performance with various blades.

 Backward curved blades, β2<90°Forward curved blades, β2>90°
No of blades12-1660
Blade angle, β240°145°
Hydraulic efficiency80%70%
Power consumptionlowhigh
applicationChanging operating conditionFixed duty operation

Improper Priming

All the air in the pipeline should be expelled completely

Precautions to eliminate trouble :

  • The pump should be primed completely before starting
  • Suction pipe should be 1m below the lowest water level
  • It should be completely airtight
  • Eccentric reducers should be used if necessary to avoid air pockets in pipeline
Centrifugal Pump Performance
A typical Centrifugal Pump

Insufficient NPSH

  • NPSH= (Patm-Pv)/ ρg – hs – hfs
  • NPSH depends on the temperature of the operating liquid
  • Variation in water level is considerable – Lowest level should be taken in to account for NPSH determination
  • Frictional losses should be kept minimum by selecting a suitable diameter.
  • It is commonly accepted the static head in the pump will be maintained as 6.7m for water with a temperature of 10-20°c
  • NPSH available > NPSH required

Reduced Capacity

  • One of the main reason for the reduced capacity is increased head
  • Total head > designed head
  • Pump or the impeller should be changed to obtain the rated capacity

Wrong Direction of Rotation

  • This cause the rated capacity and head will not be obtained
  • Pump fails often to operate
  • Remedy :
    • arrow cast is indicated in pump casing
    • care should be taken while mounting the impeller

Clogging of Suction Pipeline

  • Suction pipe is clogged by some bricks, woods often
  • Strainer is clogged by paper, leaves
  • To rectify this pipeline should be inspected periodically

Improper Shaft Alignment

  • It is due to misalignment of motor and pump shaft
  • It results in the vibration and noisy operation
  • To avoid this two shafts should be aligned properly

Noisy Operation

  • Air leakage in the pump
  • Shaft misalignment resulting in the vibration
  • Cavitations
  • They can be reduced by a proper dynamic balance of the shaft and impeller
  • The cavitations are reduced by properly designing the pump with suitable NPSH

Few more resources for you..

Pumps & Pumping Systems: A basic presentation
Cause and Effect of Pump Cavitation
NPSH for Pumps: Explanation and Effect
Water Hammer Basics in Pumps for beginners

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Anup Kumar Dey

I am a Mechanical Engineer turned into a Piping Engineer. Currently, I work in a reputed MNC as a Senior Piping Stress Engineer. I am very much passionate about blogging and always tried to do unique things. This website is my first venture into the world of blogging with the aim of connecting with other piping engineers around the world.

4 thoughts on “Major Factors Affecting the Pump Performance: An article

  1. Can you give me your mobile number. Because if I will have any quary then I will asy to you . I’m Satish Aswar I Chemical Engineer.

  2. Main problem is pump is not matching with piping. Calculate correct head required and select right pipe diameter.
    System design is more important. Most of the time pump is recommended by manufacturer and he may select a borderline size to reduce price to get order.
    NPSH sometimes overlooked and permanent problems will be created.
    It has happened in a petrochemical plant and only way to solve was buy new pump,suction piping etc. ( 1000 M3/hr pump)

  3. Good information, I want to know some time pump loose it’s pressure & not devloped. What’s the reason???

  4. I have certain additions :
    1)wrong direction of rotation can damage the pump and its mechanical seal. The impeller or the seal sleeve can come out loose depending on their design. Also there would be extreme vibration.
    2) Shaft alignment : improper management of housing temperatures of the pump can result in misalignment. Proper cooling or heating of the pump to be ensured.

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