Why Is a Slurry Pump Necessary Over a Standard Water Pump?

slurry pump

Slurry pumps and water pumps are not one and the same, which rings true for other pumps as well. Each serves a different purpose, which helps to inform why they’re not interchangeable systems. But why, exactly, is a slurry pump necessary over a standard water pump in certain, specific applications? Read on for the full answer. 

Know the Difference Between Slurry and Water Pumps

As mentioned, a slurry pump differs from a water pump in many key ways. First, slurry pumps and water pumps (as their names suggest) pump different materials. Slurry pumps pump mixtures of fluids not present when pumping hot water, hot oil, or thermanol, which can include or involve gravel, copper, sand, alcohols, acids, petroleum, abrasive mixtures, and more. Slurry pumps are specially made to handle these abrasive and/or caustic materials, having replaceable, durable, and robust pump parts. 

On the other hand, hot water pumps are able to bear high temperature pressure, but don’t have the hydraulic capacity to pump solid or slurry particles effectively. Hot water pumps also lack the ability to stand up to the highly abrasive and corrosive nature of slurries. 

Why a Slurry Pump Works for Intended Use

What makes a slurry pump so effective at handling slurry? It has many wear-resistant properties, including a bigger impeller diameter, bearings, shafts, and internal system. It also typically boasts heavy-duty construction—much more so than standard water pumps possess. 

Due to this, slurry pumps can transport solid and slurry materials more effectively and efficiently. The other core component to slurry pump success is the utilization of centrifugal force. Centrifugal force propels material(s) outward from the center of the pump. Centripetal force does the opposite: It propels material(s) toward the pump center. However, slurry pumps have to perform on a centrifugal basis. This is due to the way in which forces produce velocity to the slurry, which fast tracks material transportation. Operationally, a centripetal pump would render ineffective for slurry, causing the slurry and solids to conglomerate together rather than flow freely. 

Means for Slurry Pump Implementation

There are three main ways to pump slurry based on what the specific situation calls for. These are semi-dry, dry, and wet. Semi-dry installations are almost exclusively used for dredging applications that utilize horizontal pumping orientation. Dry installations are when pump drive and bearings stay out of slurry, and the “wet” end is free from liquid and stands on its own. Here, the wet end comprises the impeller, shell, suction liner or hub, and shaft sleeve. For wet installations, which Vulcan Pumps specializes in, the slurry pump and drive are wholly submersible. This is essential for a range of slurry pump applications, including those done underwater. 
Vulcan Pumps’ HDS submersible slurry pump is built for long-lasting use through quality assured, U.S.-made manufacturing. Contact us for more info on this product, and how our locally inventoried parts and fast lead-times can benefit your operation.