What is a Slurry Pump?

man with drill

A slurry pump is a type of water pump intended for use in situations where solids are accidentally or intentionally suspended in water. Like centrifugal pumps, slurry pumps rotate water through the impeller. Depending on the specific application, the rotation controls the particles and prevents solids from entering and causing damage or corrosion to other pieces of machinery. In other applications, a slurry pump is used to keep solids suspended, preventing any settling or other separation of solids from a liquid medium. Certain compounds and other materials require suspension in water for safe transport, using a mud pump to keep the suspended compounds in constant motion.

Although various slurry pump designs appear on the market, the basic operating principles remain the same. The pump is housed in a high-pressure housing, typically in a semi-spiral shape. Inside the housing are several drive devices that rotate a shaft and bearing assembly. The impellers are located along the shaft, with vanes to help create the centrifugal force needed to turn the slurry. Once the drive devices are engaged, the bearings keep the shaft turning smoothly and consistently while the rotor spins or centrifuges the slurry.

To illustrate the effects of a slurry pump, consider mixing sand and water in a regular cup. Rotate the glass at a high enough speed and the sand will remain suspended in the water. Centrifugal slurry pumps operate on the same principle, albeit driven by belts, drives and other mechanical components to create the high pressure centrifuge needed for large volumes of heavy slurry.

Using a slurry pump is common in certain industrial applications. For example, the mixture of water and cement forms a type of paste that must remain in motion to prevent the evaporation of water and the subsequent drying of the cement into the concrete. Cement mixer trucks are a common example of a centrifugal slurry pump used to transport a slurry compound. Paper production is another application that involves a pulp pump. Wood pulp and water are mixed and centrifuged by means of a pump during the production of various papers.

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Different applications naturally require different centrifugal pumps. Typically, a slurry pump is intended for use as a submersible pump, as applications often require high pressure which is best achieved when the impeller is placed in the slurry. Slurry weight determines the type, design and capacity of slurry pump required. These designs are most easily divided according to light, medium, or heavy folder weight.

Light slurry requirements typically result from accidental or unwanted introduction of particles such as hard water or other solutions with less than 5% solids. The presence of large particles, large concentrations of particles or compounds that need suspension for transport require medium or heavy slurry pumps. Particle size and concentration percentage determine whether a medium or heavy slurry pump is needed.

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