Positive Displacement Pump

Diving into the complex world of engineering, you'll discover the significant role of the Positive Displacement Pump. This pivotal device, with differing types and utilisation, facilitates the transportation of fluids with upmost efficiency. This comprehensive guide unpacks its definition, working process, diverse examples, and unique advantages. Moreover, it shines a light on the frequently discussed issue of cavitation in Positive Displacement Pumps and its impact on performance. Brace yourself to be inundated with enlightening engineering knowledge on the compelling subject of Positive Displacement Pumps.

Positive Displacement Pump Positive Displacement Pump

Create learning materials about Positive Displacement Pump with our free learning app!

  • Instand access to millions of learning materials
  • Flashcards, notes, mock-exams and more
  • Everything you need to ace your exams
Create a free account
Table of contents

    Understanding Positive Displacement Pump: An Overview

    In the broad world of engineering, a familiar term you might encounter is 'Positive Displacement Pump'. This type of pump plays a significant role in many engineering applications, particularly in fluid systems. You might be curious about what exactly this term means and how this type of pump works. This article aims to explain all about the Positive Displacement Pump in an engaging and understandable way.

    Unpacking Positive Displacement Pump Meaning

    In the simplest terms, a positive displacement (PD) pump refers to a type of pump that moves fluids by capturing a fixed amount and forcing (displacing) that sealed volume into the discharge pipe.

    Some interesting features of PD pumps include:
    • They provide the same flow at a given speed (RPM) irrespective of the discharge pressure.
    • They operate well with high viscosity liquids.
    • They are self-priming as they can draw liquid up from heights.

    An example of a positive displacement pump is the common household water pump. This device moves water from the public supply or a well into your home's plumbing. It operates by creating a vacuum that sucks in the water and then displaces this water into your home's pipes.

    How Does a Positive Displacement Pump Work?

    Let's dive deep into the workings of a positive displacement pump. PD pumps work on a very basic principle: force a set volume of liquid from the inlet pressure section of the pump into the discharge pipe. This is accomplished via a sequence of actions:
    • The inlet valve opening – creating a space for the liquid to flow into the pump.
    • The sealing process – as the inlet valve closes, the liquid becomes trapped inside the pump.
    • Lastly, the discharge process – the pump forces the liquid out into the discharge pipe.
    However, the precise mechanism by which this occurs varies depending on the specific design of the PD pump. With a better understanding of PD pumps, you may realize these pumps play an essential role in your everyday life without you perhaps even noticing their existence. Whether in your home plumbing or in the operation of industrial machinery, the positive displacement pump is a staple of modern engineering.

    Positive displacement pumps come in a wide array of designs, each with their unique functionalities. From rotary lobe pumps used in food processing industries to reciprocating piston pumps used in oil fields, each version of a PD pump is designed to offer precise control over the flow of liquids, making them indispensable tools in different engineering applications.

    Exploring Positive Displacement Pump Examples

    Delving further into the concept of positive displacement pumps, it's worthwhile to explore some examples, especially the operation of a pneumatic positive displacement pump. This knowledge will help you to understand a variety of applications in which positive displacement pumps can be utilised.

    How Does a Pneumatic Positive Displacement Pump Operate?

    One remarkable example of a positive displacement pump is the pneumatic positive displacement pump. This type of pump is driven by pressurised air instead of electric motors or engines. It features a pumping mechanism that displaces fluid in response to direct air pressure. Consider the operation of a Diaphragm Pump, a type of pneumatic positive displacement pump. These pumps have two diaphragms connected by a shaft in the centre of the pump. The air pressure alternates from one side of the pump to the other, which results in the reciprocating movement of the diaphragms. The primary steps involved in their mechanism of action include:
    • The compressed air enters the air valve which directs the flow to the backside of Diaphragm A. The compressed air pushes Diaphragm A outward moving fluid out of chamber A.
    • At the same time, the opposing diaphragm, Diaphragm B, gets pulled inward by a shaft connected to Diaphragm A. This action sucks fluid into chamber B.
    • Once Diaphragm A reaches the end of its stroke, the air valve redirects air to the back side of Diaphragm B, pushing it outwards and forcing fluid out of chamber B.
    • Simultaneously, Diaphragm A moves inward, due to the shaft, creating a vacuum and drawing fluid into chamber A.
    The above process repeats alternatingly, creating a smooth and continuous flow.

    Other Common Examples of Positive Displacement Pumps

    There are numerous examples of positive displacement pumps that demonstrate a variety of pumping principles. Below is a table showcasing a few common examples:
    Pump TypeWorking Principle
    Gear PumpFluid is moved by the action of two interlocking gears rotating in a sealed chamber.
    Screw PumpUses one or several screws to move the fluid along the screw(s).
    Piston PumpA piston moves forward, decreasing the pressure in the pump chamber and sucking the fluid in. On the return stroke, the fluid is pushed out for discharge.
    Lobe PumpRotary lobes 'trap' the fluid between them and the pump casing, then carry it around the casing to the discharge point.
    Each type of positive displacement pump brings unique advantages to certain applications. For example, a gear pump, due to its high pressures and compact size, is useful in hydraulic systems. A screw pump, on the other hand, is effective for moving high viscosity fluids. By understanding these pumps, your appreciation for the engineering brilliance behind simple, everyday mechanisms will surely deepen.

    Delving into Different Types of Positive Displacement Pumps

    The world of positive displacement pumps is diverse and exciting, offering a range of designs to suit a multitude of industrial applications. What makes them similar is their fundamental mechanism, which captures a certain volume of fluid and forces it into the discharge pipe. However, how they do this varies greatly, leading to the assortment of pump types that exist today.

    Characterising Various Positive Displacement Pump Types

    Let's dive into some key types of positive displacement pumps and shed light on their respective features. Reciprocating Pumps are a fundamental type of positive displacement pump where the reciprocating action - back-and-forth motion - of a piston or diaphragm is used. Depending on the configuration, reciprocating pumps can be categorised as:
    • Piston Pumps: Here, the piston's reciprocating motion creates suction and discharge phases. The volume of fluid displaced is directly proportional to the piston's movement and chamber's size.
    • Diaphragm Pumps: These pumps replace the piston with a flexible membrane, eliminating the need for a seal around the piston and making them suitable for handling harmful fluids.
    Rotary Pumps, unlike reciprocating pumps, utilise rotary movement to transfer fluid. The fluid is trapped within pump chambers before being forcibly pushed into the discharge pipe. Variations include:
    • Gear Pumps: Fluid is displaced by two rotating, interlocked gears. They're ideal for constant, accurate, and well-controlled fluid delivery.
    • Screw Pumps: These pumps feature two or more intermeshing screws, allowing them to handle liquids with a high viscosity range, including lubricating oils.
    • Vane Pumps: These pumps use a slotted rotor and variable-length vanes that trap and seal the fluid before forcing it through the discharge pipe.

    Comparing and Contrasting Different Types of Pumps

    Now that you're familiar with an assortment of positive displacement pump types, it's vital to understand their differences and where they are best suited in the engineering world.
    Type of PumpWorking MechanismUse Cases
    Piston PumpUses the reciprocating motion of a piston to force fluid.Applied where high pressure and low flow rates are required, like water jetting or hydro testing.
    Diaphragm PumpRelies on the back and forth flexing of a diaphragm to move fluid.Used in applications handling corrosive, shear-sensitive, and abrasive fluids, such as in chemical processing and food industries.
    Gear PumpFluid is displaced by two interlocked gears rotating.Used in applications requiring a smooth pulseless flow, like in oil pumping applications.
    Screw PumpUses two or more screws rotating to move viscous liquidsUsed for pumping fluids with a wide viscosity range, such as in crude oil transport.
    Vane PumpUses the expansion and contraction of flexible vanes to move fluid.Commonly used in mid-pressure hydraulic applications, like automatic transmissions.
    In the end, choosing the appropriate pump depends on factors such as the nature of the fluid, operating pressure, power availability, and required flow rate. The intricate features of each pump type make the world of positive displacement pumps such a fascinating component of engineering.

    Advantages of Using Positive Displacement Pumps

    It's invaluable to understand the advantages of positive displacement pumps given their broad usage in many industrial applications. Recognising their unique features will bring forth a clear comprehension of why they might be preferable over other styles of pumps in specific settings.

    Key Benefits and Advantages of Positive Displacement Pumps

    Positive displacement pumps, by design, serve a multitude of benefits over other types of pumps due to their specific operating principles. 1) Consistent Flow Rate: One of the primary advantages of positive displacement pumps is their ability to provide a consistent and even flow rate. Regardless of the pressure, the flow rate remains steady due to the pump's operating principle of trapping a fixed quantity of fluid and forcing it into the discharge pipe. 2) High-Pressure Applications: While other types of pumps struggle to maintain efficiency under high pressure, positive displacement pumps actually thrive in such conditions. Some types — such as diaphragm, piston, and screw pumps — demonstrate particular adeptness in managing high-pressure challenges. 3) Capability to Handle High Viscosity Fluids: Certain liquids are naturally more viscous, making them difficult for some pump types to handle. However, positive displacement pumps can efficiently transfer high viscosity fluids, a feature that makes them extremely useful in specific industries like oil and gas or food processing. 4) Better Priming Capabilities: Positive displacement pumps are self-priming, meaning they can function even if significant amounts of air or gas are present in the fluid. This is a distinct advantage when dealing with substances that generate gases during pumping, such as wastewater or volatile industrial fluids.

    Unique Features Contributing to the Advantages of Positive Displacement Pumps

    A clear understanding of the features that underpin the operation of positive displacement pumps expands our appreciation of their advantages. Here are notable characteristics that make these pumps a potent choice in a variety of industries. Construction and Design: The mechanics of positive displacement pumps differ greatly from other pump types. These pumps consist of a cavity which expands to create an area of low pressure into which fluid flows. The cavity is then sealed as liquid is expelled out under high pressure, contributing to the pump’s capability to handle high pressures and maintain a constant fluid flow rate. Versatility of Pumping Medium: Positive displacement pumps aren't just limited to pumping liquids. Some models are adept at pumping gases, making them versatile and suitable for a wider range of applications. Their power of handling a range of material viscosities and pressures deepens their versatility. Operates at Any Speed: Different pumping applications necessitate differing operational speeds. Some pumps falter or become inefficient with changing speeds, whereas positive displacement pumps can maintain their effectiveness across all speeds attributable to their design mechanism. This makes them suitable for a wide array of applications needing varied pumping speeds. Capability to Handle Abrasive and Shear Sensitive Materials: Certain fluids or gases are particularly abrasive or sensitive to shear stress. Positive displacement pumps, such as the diaphragm, screw and rotary pumps, are designed to reduce contact between moving parts and the pumping fluid. This allows them to handle abrasive or shear-sensitive substances better, a beneficial characteristic for sectors like mining or chemical processing. Each of these unique features shapes the capabilities of positive displacement pumps. Discerning their inherent characteristics and benefits provides valuable insight in determining a pump type that is best suited for a specific application.

    The Issue of Cavitation in Positive Displacement Pumps

    In the world of positive displacement pumps, cavitation is a significant issue that warrants attention. Understanding what cavitation is, its causes, and how it impacts the performance of these pumps are critical factors for effective pump operation and maintenance.

    What is Cavitation in Positive Displacement Pumps?

    Cavitation is an undesirable phenomenon that occurs when the local static pressure in a fluid drops below the vapour pressure of the fluid, causing the fluid to vaporise and form small bubbles or 'cavities.' These bubbles quickly collapse or implode when they again reach a region of higher pressure, releasing significant energy. This imploding action results in shock waves that can cause considerable damage to the pump components.

    Cavitation: Cavitation is the formation and subsequent collapse of vapour pockets in a fluid due to dynamic action.

    While this phenomenon can affect many types of pumps, its implications on positive displacement pumps are particularly significant because of their specific operating principles and mechanisms. A considerable drop in pressure on the suction side of the pump due to a blocked inlet or high viscosity fluid often triggers cavitation. This results in an imbalance in pressure that makes it more conducive for cavitation to occur. Cavitation in positive displacement pumps can also be caused by several factors including:
    • High fluid temperature
    • Elevation changes leading to increased suction lift
    • Improper pump selection or incorrect pump speed
    • Incorrect installation, such as long suction lines with multiple elbows or fittings

    The sounds of cavitation can resemble marbles inside your pump, among other alarming noises. Recognising the early signs of cavitation, such as noise increases or fluctuating pump operation, can prevent extensive damage.

    The Impact of Cavitation on Positive Displacement Pumps Performance

    Cavitation can have severe impacts on the operation and longevity of positive displacement pumps. The relentless wave of energy released from the collapsing bubbles can erode pump parts over time—specifically the pump's impellers, casings, and seal faces—leading to reduced efficiency and ultimately, pump failure. Here's how cavitation influences the performance of positive displacement pumps: 1) Decreased Efficiency: The formation of cavities or bubbles adds unnecessary volume to the fluid, disrupting the smooth and consistent flow of fluid. This condition hinders the pump's ability to effectively move fluid, decreasing efficiency. 2) Increased Maintenance and Downtime: Given that cavitation actively damages the pump parts, more frequent maintenance is necessary. Thus increased downtime ensues due to repair requirements. 3) Reduced Pump Longevity: The metallic surfaces of pump parts impacted by cavitation can become pitted, weakening the structural integrity over time. If cavitation goes unchecked, this damage can lead to the need for premature replacements or complete pump failure. 4) Noise and Vibration: Cavitation often produces audible noises and even vibrations that can disrupt the workplace environment and potentially pose safety hazards. Predominantly, the effects of cavitation tend to have direct cost implications. These include increased maintenance costs, potential replacement of damaged parts, and the fallout from pump downtime's productivity loss. Understanding the implications of cavitation, recognising the symptoms, and employing preventative maintenance measures is essential for maintaining the health of a positive displacement pump and sustaining its performance over time. The critical nature of this phenomenon calls for thorough consideration both at the time of pump selection and during operation.

    Positive Displacement Pump - Key takeaways

    • A Positive Displacement Pump works by capturing a set volume of liquid and forcing it into a discharge pipe, and is found in domestic and industrial applications.
    • Examples of Positive Displacement Pump types include rotary lobe pumps, reciprocating piston pumps, and pneumatic positive displacement pumps.
    • Pneumatic Positive Displacement Pumps operate using direct air pressure, with diaphragm pumps being a common example.
    • Key advantages of Positive Displacement Pumps include a consistent flow rate, the ability to handle high-pressure applications and high viscosity fluids, better priming capabilities and suitability across a range of pumping speeds.
    • Cavitation is a key issue in Positive Displacement Pumps, and involves the formation and collapse of vapour pockets in a fluid, potentially causing damage to the pump components.
    Positive Displacement Pump Positive Displacement Pump
    Learn with 30 Positive Displacement Pump flashcards in the free StudySmarter app

    We have 14,000 flashcards about Dynamic Landscapes.

    Sign up with Email

    Already have an account? Log in

    Frequently Asked Questions about Positive Displacement Pump
    What are positive displacement pumps? Write in UK English.
    Positive displacement pumps are types of pumps that move fluid by repeatedly enclosing a fixed volume, reducing that volume, and forcing the fluid into the discharge pipe. They function by trapping a definite amount of fluid then forcing (displacing) that trapped volume into the discharge pipe.
    Are gear pumps positive displacement?
    Yes, gear pumps are a type of positive displacement pump. They operate by using two meshing gears to pump fluid by alternately creating and releasing a system of fixed volume compartments.
    How does a positive displacement pump work?
    A positive displacement pump works by trapping a fixed volume of fluid then forcing (displacing) that trapped volume into the discharge pipe. This is achieved by the reciprocating motion of a flexible diaphragm, which modulates the volume of the liquid or gas, creating a flow.
    What are the types of positive displacement pumps? Please write in UK English.
    The types of Positive Displacement Pumps include Rotary Pumps (like Gear, Screw and Lobe pumps) and Reciprocating Pumps (such as Piston, Diaphragm, and Plunger pumps). Other types are Peristaltic and Progressive Cavity Pumps.
    Is a centrifugal pump a positive displacement pump?
    No, a centrifugal pump is not a positive displacement pump. They are two distinct types of pumps. A centrifugal pump uses kinetic energy to move fluids, while a positive displacement pump moves fluids by trapping a fixed amount and forcing (displacing) that trapped volume into the discharge pipe.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    What is a Positive Displacement Pump (PDP)?

    What are some key characteristics of Positive Displacement Pumps (PDPs)?

    What are some common types of Positive Displacement Pumps (PDPs)?


    Discover learning materials with the free StudySmarter app

    Sign up for free
    About StudySmarter

    StudySmarter is a globally recognized educational technology company, offering a holistic learning platform designed for students of all ages and educational levels. Our platform provides learning support for a wide range of subjects, including STEM, Social Sciences, and Languages and also helps students to successfully master various tests and exams worldwide, such as GCSE, A Level, SAT, ACT, Abitur, and more. We offer an extensive library of learning materials, including interactive flashcards, comprehensive textbook solutions, and detailed explanations. The cutting-edge technology and tools we provide help students create their own learning materials. StudySmarter’s content is not only expert-verified but also regularly updated to ensure accuracy and relevance.

    Learn more
    StudySmarter Editorial Team

    Team Engineering Teachers

    • 15 minutes reading time
    • Checked by StudySmarter Editorial Team
    Save Explanation

    Study anywhere. Anytime.Across all devices.

    Sign-up for free

    Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.

    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

    The first learning app that truly has everything you need to ace your exams in one place

    • Flashcards & Quizzes
    • AI Study Assistant
    • Study Planner
    • Mock-Exams
    • Smart Note-Taking
    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

    Get unlimited access with a free StudySmarter account.

    • Instant access to millions of learning materials.
    • Flashcards, notes, mock-exams, AI tools and more.
    • Everything you need to ace your exams.
    Second Popup Banner