In simple terms, viscosity is how thick a liquid is. For instance, water isn’t very viscous, but sludge is. Fluids may also gain/lose viscosity if heat or pressure is applied. Viscosity is measured in units known as Seconds Say bolt Universal (SSU) and is measured using a viscometer.
Choose the right pump depending on fluid viscosity
The consistency of the fluid you want to pump will determine the kind of pumps you’ll need. This is because thicker fluids cause more resistance when energy is applied. That means that pumps used for water may not be suitable for oil.
There are two options you can select from once you’ve evaluated the viscosity of the liquid that needs to be pumped:
- Centrifugal pumps: These are ideal for relatively less viscous liquids, for instance, water. While these water pumps don’t necessarily stop functioning in fluids that are slightly more viscous, their efficiency may take a hit. This is because a centrifugal motor isn’t designed to operate in thick liquids. A centrifugal pump is ideal for relatively thin liquids that need to be pumped at high speeds.
- Positive displacement pumps: These pumps are specially designed to work effectively in thicker fluids. These fluids are basically liquids which are over 2000 SSU in viscosity. These pumps would be ideal for oil. A positive displacement pump is also suited for fluids that need to be pumped slowly and gently to keep their properties intact. This could include food pastes, paint, etc. that would become runny and unusable if pumped at high speeds.
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