What is best? Centrifugal Pumps or Reciprocating Pumps

A pump is present wherever liquid must be moved or where the pressure of the liquid must be increased. Pumps are employed in practically every industry nowadays, making them integrated into our lives. They are commonly utilized in industrial sectors for a variety of tasks as well as in the production of goods. 

The two most common types of pumps are centrifugal and reciprocating. Both have many applications, but depending on the circumstance, you may frequently have to decide between a multi-stage centrifugal pump and a reciprocating pump. It will be easier for you to avoid problems and performance issues if you are aware of how these pumps vary from one another.

Explore reciprocating pumps 

While centrifugal pumps employ the kinetic energy of the impeller to transport liquid from one location to another, reciprocating pumps are Positive Displacement pumps that operate on the principle of piston movement in both forward and backward directions.

Pros of reciprocating pumps

  • In contrast to centrifugal pumps, reciprocating pumps don’t require priming.
  • It may pump liquid from the sump to the required height under high pressure.
  • It displays an ongoing discharge rate.
  • It can function because of the piston’s linear movement, whereas the centrifugal pump relies on the impeller’s rotating motion to function.

Cons of reciprocating pumps

  • Because there are so many parts, maintenance costs are very high.
  • This pump has a high upfront cost.
  • Lower flow rate
  • Pumping a viscous fluid is challenging.

Applications of reciprocating pumps 

  • Gas industries
  • Petrochemical industries
  • Oil refineries
  • Vehicle water servicing centers

Explore centrifugal pumps 

A centrifugal pump is a positive displacement pump that moves fluid by rotating force. Centrifugal pumps employ an impeller that rotates inside a chamber to create pressure. As the impeller rotates, fluid is drawn into the center of the vortex. The pump’s casing then transforms the liquid’s kinetic energy into pressure energy. So, using centrifugal pumps, we can obtain pressured liquid in this way.

Pros of centrifugal pumps

  • Simple designed/constructed
  • High rates of discharge
  • Simple to maintain
  • Remains shockproof while in use.

Cons of centrifugal pumps

  • There won’t be a high-pressure head developed by the single-stage centrifugal pump.
  • A centrifugal pump cannot have its speed changed without using extra machinery. However, changing the speed of a centrifugal pump is not simple.
  • A system’s high efficiency can only be sustained across a small range. Efficiency is greatly decreased when the pump is used outside of its ideal operating range.
  • Centrifugal pumps typically need priming before they can operate because of their low suction power. Priming requires additional hardware. 
  • A centrifugal pump is not completely free of cavitation; this phenomenon severely corrodes the surfaces of the impeller and casing.

Applications of centrifugal pumps 

  • Water supply for residential and industrial areas
  • Fire protection systems
  • Sewage/slurry disposal
  • Food and beverage manufacturing
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Oil and gas industrial operations

 Centrifugal Pumps Vs Reciprocating Pumps

1. Cost and maintenance

Centrifugal pumps have a straightforward design and very few moving parts that can wear out. Additionally, they are simple to install and relatively quick to fix. When compared to reciprocating pumps, they are also less expensive. A reciprocating pump, on the other hand, has more moving parts than centrifugal pumps, which means there is more wear and tear and thus needs more maintenance.

2. Space 

In comparison to reciprocating pumps, centrifugal pumps are more space-efficient and more portable. They are lighter than reciprocating pumps, smaller in size, and have a straightforward construction. 

3. Capacity 

While reciprocating pumps may only handle low-viscosity liquids, centrifugal pumps can manage high-viscosity liquids like oil or dirty water. Additionally, centrifugal pumps are safe to use at high speeds and have uniform torque and output compared to reciprocating pumps. Additionally, the capacity of centrifugal pumps is higher and may be raised by enlarging their intake and output diameters.

4. Efficiency 

The total efficiency of a centrifugal pump typically ranges from 30 to 60%, depending on the system’s operating characteristics and the pump’s design as opposed to the pump’s performance parameters. In comparison, the overall efficiency of a reciprocating pump unit is frequently higher than 85% for its whole operational range.

5. Energy Consumption 

In general, a centrifugal pump uses 1.40–1.90 times more energy than a reciprocating pump. Energy consumption may be up to 2-3 times higher if the centrifugal pump operates at less than 30% efficiency when the performance of the system does not match the performance of the pump.

6. Usage

In applications with high volumes and low pressure, multistage centrifugal pumps are frequently preferred. While applications demanding high pressure and low volume are typically better served by reciprocating pumps. Centrifugal pumps can also handle vast volumes of liquid, whereas a reciprocating pump can only manage a smaller volume of liquid due to its valves and reciprocating movement.

Wrapping Up!

This blog helps readers to understand and select the best between centrifugal and reciprocating pumps. 

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