Pump priming | Centrifugal Pump priming | Self Priming Pump

pump priming chemicaltweak
pump priming chemicaltweak
pump priming

This article will cover what is pumppriming, what are self prime pump and how to do pump priming.

Pump are essential equipment when it comes to chemical process and product manufacturing. Pumps convert rotational kinetic energy into hydrodynamic energy and help to transfer fluid from one point to another. Pump runs by motors, the impeller is connected to shaft and shaft are connected to the motor. As the motor rotates, the impeller rotates which gives a moment to the fluid and if got pressure and discharged from the pump. Apart from selecting the proper pump for the process, operating the pump also plays an important role. do check Types of pump.

The improper operating pump can result in damaging of pump and malfunction which will increase pump maintenance cost. Improper operating of the pump will also not allow you to have proper pump performance. Pump priming is a factor that has a direct effect on the pump impeller.

Let us understand what is pump priming and why it is necessary for pump. in mean time, if you are interested in learing pumps then you must read Centrifugal Pump Curve In Detail.

what is pump priming?

Priming is the process in which the impeller of a centrifugal pump is submerged fully submerged in the fluid which is to be transfer with no any air trap inside. This process is essential prior to the pump’s startup. It is recommended to prime the centrifugal pump and then only start the pump. This can be considered as the initial step to prepare the pump for operation and avoid the dry running of the pump.

Now as we had learn what does priming a pump mean now let us understang why it is required.

Why pump priming is required | Is priming the pump is necessary?

When we start the pump, impeller will rotate. Centrifugal pump impeller with develop pressure is proportional to the density of the fluid in the impeller. If the pump casing is not filled with water/fluid and air is present, the impeller will run in air, produce negligible pressure which will not be sufficient to suck fluid from the source, and because of this, we won’t be able to transfer fluid. This is why pump-priming in the centrifugal pump is required.

Now you might be thinking is there any solution to this or we have to do priming of every pump prior to start. The solution to this is self priming pump. There are self priming pump avalable in the market which are not required to prime. Lets move forward and study them in detail.

How To Prime A Centrifugal Pump

There are two case the centrifugal pump is installed,

  1. Suction above pump
  2. Suction below pump

In both the case, priming centrifugal pump steps are a bit different. We will discuss both the case. Now as you had learned why priming is necessary, let us jump to the steps to prime a centrifugal pump.

Case 1 – Suction above the pump

priming the pump

As you can see in the above figure, suction is above pump. Steps for priming the pump are describe below

  1. Firstly open the vent line is present in the pump or discharge valve on the pump.
  2. Now slowly open the suction valve of the pump. This will allows liquid from the tank to enter the pump. Keep it open until liquid comes out of vent line.
  3. As the liquid comes out of the vent line, it indicates that the air present in the pump is replaced with the liquid. Close the vent valve.
  4. Now the priming procedure is completed, you can start the pump.

Note – Big pumps that are used in industries comes with vent line as it is not possible to check if liquid comes out from discharge valve or not but the pump installed at home i.e. pump to transfer water from underground tank to tank at top (water pump) as pump discharge is easily visible, doesn’t have vent valve.

Don’t forget to check Types Of Chemical Reactors used in chemical industries.

Case 2 – Suction below the pump

centrifugal pump priming

If the liquid from pit or the tank is installed at ground and pump is installed above tank surface, this falls under suction below the pump as pump had to draw liquid below its level. In these types of pump, foot valve is installed in the bottom which will help in priming (Discussed in primin by installing foot valve section) and external line is provided at the pump discharge by which we can prime it. Detailed steps of pump priming is described below.

  1. Firstly close the discharge valve. (It is obvious that if the pump is not running, the discharge valve will be closed)
  2. Now open the vent valve of the pump
  3. Now open the valve of the external supply line, this will fill liquid in the pump, and as the liquid comes out of the vent line close it.
  4. Liquid coming out of the vent valve ensures that air inside the pump is replaced with liquid.
  5. Now the pump is primed and one can start the pump.

Priming by installing Foot Valve

In this method, when the suction of the pump is below the pump and pump had to suck liquid from below its level foot valve is installed. The foot valve is nothing but a non-return valve [NRV Valve] which will open in only one direction i.e. down to up. As the pump was in running condition, the foot valve will be open and it will allow the liquid to pass from the sump to pump. As the pump is stopped, the pump will stop suction of liquid, and liquid from the pump will flow down to the sump. Here foot valve as it is a NRV valve and will be close and won’t allow pump liquid to get drained in the sump, and because of this liquid will remain in the pump and it is not required to prime the pump.

These were the methods which we can use to properly prime industrial pump. In order to avoid priming operation, self priming pumps also available. let us know what are self priming pump and the working of self priming centrifugal pump in detail.

What is self priming pump | Self Priming Centrifugal Pump

Not every pumps are needed to be prime, there is self-priming pump as well which don’t require manual priming. Priming mode and pumping mode are the two phases of operation in self-priming centrifugal pumps. In priming mode, the pump acts as a liquid-ring pump. The rotation of the impeller generates a vacuum at the impeller’s ‘eye’ which pulls air from the suction into the pump and at that instance it also creates a cylindrical ring of liquid on the inside of the pump casing. This gas-tight seal stops air from the discharge line to the suction line. Air pockets trapped in the liquid gets expelled from the pump discharge by the rotation of the impeller. Now as all the trapped air get expells, liquid will gradually started to get enter into the pump. Now the pump is in pumping mode and started to pump liquid/discharge liquid.

Why is priming necessary for centrifugal pump and not in reciprocating pump?

The suction of liquid is important for the pump and to get low pressure needs to be created. In the Reciprocating pump, the piston is used as a part of pump operation. While the pump is in running condition, the piston moves backward and creates low-pressure in the pump chamber. This creates suction because of the pressure difference between the pump chamber & tank and it will draw the liquid from tank to pump irrespective to air is present. So we don’t need to perform priming the pump steps. While

In Centrifugal Pump, working principle is the centrifugal force and there no seal present in it which makes them incapable to replace air present into the pump with the impeller. This makes the Centrifugal pump incapable to suck the liquid and only can push the liquid. In centrifugal pump, atmoshpheric pressuse of suction tank make fluid to enter in the suction of the centrifugal pump hence centrifugal pump requires priming.

Wrapping up

This was the detailed article on pump priming and why priming in self priming chemical pump if you haven’t checked the types of pump article then do read that where we had discussed different types of pumps in brief. if you have any doubt or question related to the article, do ask in the comment section, we will try to answer that ASAP. In meantime do check articles posted on chemical tweak like Types of Reactors. We also post-industrial safety-related articles like Safety Hierarchy Of Controls. Do check them as well. Comment down the topic on which you want us to post on the blog.

By Ronak Prajapati

Me - Founder of Chemical Tweak - A Chemical Engineer by profession and a part time self trained technology blogger.

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