System Characteristics And Pump Head

A pump is used to deliver a specified rate of flow through a particular system. When a pump is to be purchased, this required capacity must be specified along with the total head necessary to overcome resistance flow and to meet the pressure requirements of the system components. The total head rating of a centrifugal pump is usually measured in feet (meters), and the differential pressure rating of a positive displacement pump is usually measured in pounds per square inch (kilopascals or bar1). Both express, in equivalent terms, the work in foot-pounds (newton-meters) the pump is capable of doing on each unit weight (force) of liquid pumped at the rated flow.2 It is the responsibility of the purchaser to determine the required pump total head so the supplier can make a proper pump selection. Underestimating the total head required will result in a centrifugal pump's delivering less than the desired flow through the system. An underestimate of the differential pressure required will result in a positive displacement pump's using more power than estimated, and the design pressure limit of the pump could be exceeded. Therefore, system pressure and resistance to flow, which are dependent on system characteristics, dictate the required pump head rating.

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