The matrix of the pump curve graph is the same as the mathematical 'x-y' graph. On the horizontal line, the flow is shown normally in gallons per minute or cubic meters per second. The vertical line shows the head in feet or meters. See Figure 7-1.

By definition, the pump is a machine designed to add energy to a liquid with the purpose of elevating it or moving it through a pipe. The pump can elevate a liquid in a vertical tube up to a point where the weight of the liquid and gravity will permit no more elevation. The energy contained in the liquid's weight is the same as the energy produced by the pump. This point on the pump curve would be the 'shut-off head'. Shut-off head is the point of maximum elevation at zero flow. It's seen in Figure 7-2.


Figure 7-1

Oncc again, imagine starting a pump and raising the fluid in a vertical tube to the point of maximum elevation. On the curve this would be maximum head at zero flow. Now, rotate the running pump on its ccntcrline 90°, until the vertical tube is now in a horizontal position. The very action of rotating the running pump on its centerline would trace the pump's curve. Any elevation in feet would coincide with a flow in gallons per minute. Consider the graph show in Figure 7-3.

On the graph, if point 'A' represents 10 ft of head at 0-gpm, and if point 'F' represents 10 gpm at 0 ft of head, then point 'C' on the curve represents 8 ft of head at 6-gpm. Here we see that the pump is always on its curve. The pump can operate at any point on this curve from point 'A' to point 'F'. At any specific head, this pump will pump a specific flow, or gpm corresponding to the head.


Shut off head

Figure 7-3

Figure 7-3

Sometimes you hear people say that the pump is operating off its curve. If the velocity, the impeller diameter and design are correct, if the pump has all its parrs installed and functioning correctly, including the mechanical seal and coapling, it is impossible to operate off the curve. The pump will be somewhere on Bs curve between shut-off head and maximum flow a zero elevation.

The pump can be too far to the right, or too far to the left of its best efflcien<j£point (BEP) but it cannot be off the curve. Conceivably, the pump can be operating off the graph, and even off the page, but it cannot be off the curve. If the pump i&soff the curve, something else is out of control, like the velocity, or impeller (iiameter, assembled parts and tolerances. Now, the 'lack of control' is the real problem, and not the pump.

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