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Slurry pumps are used in numerous applications like mining or mineral processing, as well as wastewater services, however, they are usually not considered. Some slurry pumps have been wrongly selected or badly operated, and as a result, their performance, reliability, and availability have been poor in many plants and facilities.
Reduced performance in the pump as well as the wear and tear of the wetted components are two of the most important and common issues for pumps used in the slurries (solid-liquid mix) services. This article examines the use of slurry pumps in mining water and mineral services and focuses on performance, operation durability, reliability, erosion, and wear.
Pump Performance in Slurries
Slurries are used in a variety of units, plants, and processes like mining processes such as mineral processing, wastewater, and many more. Pumps that are centrifugal have been employed in slurry service. The characteristics of a central pump used in a slurry process differ from those of a centrifugal pump operating in clean water or transparent liquid.
When a centrifugal pump is operating in a slurry system the head and efficiency of the pump will decrease as the power input to the pump is increased. To give an approximate indication of this, slurry pumps made of water can be expected to produce an average head of 10% to 25% less than a pump operating with clear water.
But, this is only an estimation. In reality, the performance of centrifugal pumps in a slurry system is related to a variety of parameters and aspects of the slurry and the service like particle dimensions, particle density, the concentration of solids, and so on. It is important to know the way in which pump performance changes according to the various parameters of the slurry so that you can connect the pump with the system and control the operation of the system.
Pumps have been severely infected by particles of solid and by the nature of fluids. The influence of solid particles on the friction head loss of piping and fitting might not be significant. For instance, in turbulent flow in a vertical pipe, the friction head loss is just slightly affected by the presence of solid particles.