Energy Conservation in a Centrifugal Pump - Fluid Flow

Fluid entering a centrifugal pump is immediately directed to the low pressure area at the center or eye of the impeller. As the impeller and blading rotate, they transfer momentum to incoming fluid. A transfer of momentum to the moving fluid increases the fluids velocity. As the fluids velocity increases its kinetic energy increases. Fluid of high kinetic energy is forced out of the impeller area and enters the volute.

The volute is a region of continuously increasing cross-sectional area designed to convert the kinetic energy of the fluid into fluid pressure. The mechanism of this energy conversion is the same as that for subsonic flow through the diverging section of a nozzle. The mathematical analysis of flow through the volute is based on the general energy equation, the continuity equation, and the equation relating the internal properties of a system. The key parameters influencing the energy conversion are the expanding cross-sectional area of the volute, the higher system back pressure at the discharge of the volute, and the incompressible, subsonic flow of the fluid. As a result of the interdependence of these parameters, the fluid flow in the volute, similar to subsonic flow in a diverging nozzle, experiences a velocity decrease and a pressure increase.

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