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Slurry Pumps and Pumps:Why Do I Need a Slurry Pump?

Jun. 03, 2021

When it comes to slurry transport, familiarity with the pump and its components is par for the course. However, it is also important to understand every element of slurry transport. This understanding starts with a few basic questions." What is the difference between a Slurry Pump and a water pump?" "What makes a slurry pump different?" and "What types of slurry pump installations are there?"

Slurry Pump

Slurry Pump

The difference between slurry pumps and water pumps

Slurry is distinguished from other fluid types by the presence of solids - gravel, copper or sand - in the fluid. Although in many cases the fluid is water, slurry may contain solvents, such as acids, alcohols or petroleum. These non-aqueous components, whether solids or solvents, make Mud Pumps necessary.

In contrast to the narrow and often inexpensive components of pumps, large replaceable slurry pump components are made of strong, often specialized materials. These parts allow the pump to efficiently and safely move almost any type of solids in the slurry. Pumps, on the other hand, lack the hydraulic capacity to move solids and cannot withstand the particle wear and chemical corrosion that slurry can cause.

What makes a slurry pump different?

A slurry pump can withstand a lot of wear and tear due to the following features: large impeller diameter, shaft, bearings and internal passages, and heavy-duty construction. On an industrial level, the characteristics of slurry pumps generate higher upfront and operating costs compared to water pumps. However, only slurry pumps are effective in hydraulically transporting solid materials, and their long-term benefits outweigh the initial costs.

The key to the success of slurry pumps is the generation of centrifugal forces that push the material outward from the center of the pump. This is in contrast to centripetal force, which pushes the material toward the center. Slurry pumps must operate according to the centrifugal principle because the forces that give the slurry its velocity accelerate the transport process. On the other hand, a centripetal pump is impractical because solids in the slurry will accumulate rather than flow freely.

Installation of slurry pumps

Knowing these basics, it is also important for anyone who wants to install a slurry pump to understand the specific environment required for each type of pump. Three types of slurry installations exist.

Wet - In this type of installation, the slurry pump and drive unit are completely submerged in water. This is necessary for certain slurry pump applications, such as underwater operations.

Dry - In this installation, the pump drive and bearings are not in the slurry. The wet end - which includes the housing, impeller, hub or suction liner, and sleeve or stuffing box - is independent of any surrounding liquid. Slurry pump technicians install most horizontal pumps in this manner.

Semi-dry - This special arrangement is used for horizontal pumps in dredging applications. The operator submerges the wet end and bearings, but keeps the drive unit dry. In this case, the bearings require special sealing arrangements.

Although this guide provides an overview of slurry pumps and their installation, there is much more to learn. For those who want to better understand slurry pumps and their applications or need help deciding which pump and installation type is best for their application, Slurry Pump Manufacturers are here to help.