Cavitation In Pumps: Potential Causes & Solutions

Cavitation In Pumps: Potential Causes & Solutions

August 03, 2019

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by Katy Manning

Cavitation is a phenomenon that happens when the pressure of a fluid changes suddenly, affecting any gas bubbles that are suspended in it. When the pressure drops, the bubbles pop (implosion rather than explosion). If these implosions occur close to the surface of a metal casting, they will transfer energy to the metal. As a result, tiny pieces of metal can be torn off the surface of the casting.

 

Potential Causes

 

  • Seal Water (Compressant)
    • Compressant rate set incorrectly
    • Gas bubbles introduced to liquid compressant at pressure
    • Vapor pressure of liquid compressant exceeded
  • Improper Clearance
    • Pumps at high vacuum levels may have too much clearance
  • Improper Pressure
    • Operating pressure may exceed the capacity of compressor or vacuum
  • Discharge Blockage
    • A blockage may have stopped a drain, pump outlet, or discharge port

 

Potential Solutions

 

  • Compressant
    • Reduce vacuum
    • Check seal water/compressant rate
    • Use a different compressant
    • Eliminate bubbles
  • Clearance
    • Maintain proper clearance
  • Pressure
    • Reduce operating pressure to suit equipment
  • Discharge
    • Clear blockages from all outlets, drains, and ports
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