Slurry is not known for its easy-moving properties. That makes pumping slurry a difficult task, especially if the pump is not suited for it. Here’s a helpful primer on what you need to know to more successfully pump slurry—and avoid headaches in the process.
Why Selecting the Right Slurry Pump Matters So Much
The makeup and properties of slurry are typically highly abrasive—and make wear and tear on ill-suited pumps incredibly likely.
Generally speaking, slurry is any mixture of fluid, water included, and a broken up or granulated solid or solids. Slurry typically has a high viscosity (thickness), which can at times be corrosive or toxic. For these reasons and more, slurry can be hard on pumps.
Slurries are often categorized into two main types: settling and non-settling. Settling slurries consist of coarse particles that generally develop into unstable mixtures. Conversely, non-settling slurries are made up of much finer particles that pass for being thicker in appearance. Non-settling slurries are tougher than liquid, but not as rough on pumps as setting slurries. However, most slurry applications contain coarser particles and behave harsher.
Additionally, slurries are often weighty, making them more difficult to pump. But weight isn’t the only pumping difficulty they pose. They can clog up suction and discharge lines if not fast-moving enough, wear on pumps and their components, and even shorten pump life. This makes the right pump all the more necessary—so removal and replacement isn’t a constant occurrence.
The Proof Is in the Pump
It might seem more intuitive now: Pumping slurry is as much about the pump as it is about slurry. A highly abrasive slurry will spell trouble for a pump or components not up to the task. Construction material, impeller size and design, bearings and shafts, and discharge structures all have to be properly made and calibrated to ensure a pump lasts under the pressure of slurry.
Slurry pumps differ from other pumps, like water or low-thickness pumps, in size and ruggedness. Slurry pumps are generally larger and built with more rugged and rigid components for increased durability. This makes them stand up better to slurry’s abrasive properties, which is what you want in a slurry pump.
Beyond following standard piping guidelines, finding optimal pump speed, and rigging discharge pressure to the lowest point possible, what you need to ensure a pump that lasts is just that: a pump that lasts. Vulcan Pumps provides exactly what you need to pump slurry effectively. Our U.S.-made pumps are quality control tested before assembly and during manufacture, custom-made for application requirements, and consist of materials (including 28% chrome iron, ASTMA532) that hold up against abrasive slurry. Contact us for more information today!