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13 Different Types Of Pumps and Their Uses

Pumps are incredibly versatile pieces of equipment that offer a variety of uses and applications. Whether it’s delivering liquid or gas, pumping trash uphill, removing water from low-lying areas, transferring chemistry in industrial applications, or moving fluids to remote places; pumps offer an efficient solution every time. But with so many types on the market, choosing the right type of pump can be a daunting task. To make things simpler for you, here is an overview of 13 different industrial pump types as well as their applications and benefits.

What is Pumps?

A pump is a device that uses electrical energy to create mechanical motion to move fluids (liquids, gases, or even slurries). Pumps can be categorized in several ways. For instance, they are one of the three main classes of pumps, along with direct lift, displacement, and gravity pumps, based on how they are used to move the fluid pumps types is classified . Additionally, while some types of pump may be located outside the fluid, others may be submerged.

The pumps use a reciprocating or rotary mechanism to move the fluid by converting energy into mechanical labor. A pump’s power can come from a variety of sources. The energy needed by the pump can be obtained from various sources, including manual labor, electricity, engines, and wind power. The pumps are available in various sizes, from small industrial to huge ones used in medical applications. Different types of pumps have different energy requirements. We will explore types of pumps and their uses.

Mechanical Pumps

Mechanical pumps are devices used to transport fluids, typically liquids, from one place to another. They work by creating mechanical energy, which is then converted into fluid flow. Mechanical pumps are commonly used in various industries and applications, including industrial processes, water supply systems, heating and cooling systems, and oil and gas production.

Types of Mechanical Pumps

There are different types of mechanical pump, including centrifugal pumps, reciprocating pumps, and rotary pumps. Each mechanical pump types operates based on different principles and is suitable for specific applications. Centrifugal pumps, for example, use centrifugal force to move fluids, while reciprocating pumps use pistons or diaphragms to create pressure and displacement. Rotary pumps, on the other hand, use rotating elements to generate fluid flow.

Uses of Mechanical Pumps

  • In the automotive sector, pumps are used for water cooling, fuel injection, and pumping water from wells.
  • Pumps are used to move oil and natural gas as well as in cooling towers and other HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems in many sectors of the energy sector.
  • Pumps are used in the medical field to create medicines through biochemical processes and to replace artificial body components like the artificial heart and penile prostheses.

A fluid’s energy per unit volume increases as power is given. Hydraulic energy receives a transfer of energy from mechanical energy. The Navier-Stokes equations, the governing differential equations, generally describe this energy conversion. Bernoulli’s equation, on the other hand, is a straightforward formula that considers the various energies present in the fluid. The following equation provides Bernoulli’s equation in its original form for incompressible fluids at any given location along a streamline.


Fluid speed, pressure, elevation above a reference plane, and density at a place are represented by the variables v, p, z, and, respectively. The gravitational acceleration is also known as g.

As a result, the total pressure difference between the pump’s input and exit is stated as follows:

Δp= 2(v22​−v12​)+gΔz+ρΔpstatic​​

The static pressure difference is the final term in the equation above. The ratio of the power the pump applies to the fluid to the power it receives is known as the pump’s efficiency, and it can be computed using the following relation:


The volume fluid flow rate, or Q, is expressed in m3/s.

The manufacturer’s information, sometimes in the form of a pump curve, may provide the pump efficiency. Typically, it is produced through fluid dynamics simulations, such as Navier-Stokes solutions for a specific pump geometry or testing. The pump’s design and operational parameters, such as rotating speed, fluid viscosity, and density, affect how efficient the pump is.

Its value depends on the operating head (H) and discharge rate for a particular pump and is not constant:


Until the Best Efficiency Point (BEP), which is in the middle of the performance range, the centrifugal pump’s efficiency rises with the flow rate, but as flow rates rise further, it falls. Additionally, wear effects like growing clearances and shrinking impeller size decrease pump efficiency over time.

Types of Pumps

As was stated at the beginning of this essay, there are various ways that pumps might be categorized. We will go over the classification by general mechanical configuration in this part. Dynamic and positive displacement pumps are the two fundamental types of pumps.

Dynamic Pumps

The energy transfer occurs continuously in dynamic pumps. There are three main categories for dynamic pumps:


The most often employed pumps in the sector are turbopumps. The major moving component of an impeller or turbopump is a rotor, which is mounted on a rotating shaft with many blades. The movement of the blades increases the liquid’s moment of momentum as it passes through the impeller. These pumps are the most prevalent because of their specific structural components, low volume-to-input power ratio, and wide range of industrial applications. All turbopumps belong to the family of turbomachinery.

Based on the liquid’s journey inside the rotor, turbopumps are most frequently categorized in this way.

Centrifugal Pumps

By transforming rotating kinetic energy into hydrodynamic energy, centrifugal pumps move fluids. An engine or motor is typically where rotational energy comes from. The impeller accelerates the liquid as it enters the pump by directing it toward the rotating axis. When ready to exit, it flows radially outward into the pump diffuser or volute chamber.

These pumps are employed in various industries, such as pumping for sewage, water, oil, and petrochemicals. The critical reasons for the great variety of these pumps are Their high flow rate capacity, Mixing potential, Compatibility with abrasive solutions and Relatively straightforward engineering.

Axial Flow Pumps

A popular kind of pump called an axial flow pump, essentially consists of an axial impeller (propeller) in a pipe. An electric motor, gasoline or diesel engine, or a motor can all operate the impeller directly.

Because the difference in radius at the pump’s suction (inlet) and discharge (outlet) is so minimal, fluid particles do not change their radial locations during their flow through the pump. For this reason, this kind of pump is known as an axial pump.

The impeller of the propeller type is enclosed in a casing. The fluid flowing over the impeller blades creates pressure. Moving parallel to the impeller shaft is the fluid. It enables fluid to go axially via the impeller.

The figure shows the axial flow pump’s performance characteristics diagram. As demonstrated, the head at the pump’s best efficiency point can be three times higher than the head at zero flow rate. Furthermore, as the flow declines, so does the power needed, with the most powerful being used at zero flow rates.

In contrast to the radial flow centrifugal pump, which requires more power as the flow increases, this characteristic reduces power requirements. Additionally, the power and pump head requirements rise when the pitch rises. As a result, it enables the pump to adapt to the system’s needs and operate at its most effective level.

An axial flow pump’s key advantage is that it may be used in situations with relatively high flow rates and low heads.

Mixed Flow Pumps

A centrifugal pump with a mixed flow impeller is referred to as a mixed flow pump. It operates on a horizontal plane concerning the direction of the fluid flow and combines the properties of both centrifugal and axial flow pumps. When liquid passes through the impeller, it is sent out and away from the pump shaft at an angle greater than 90 degrees by the blades.

A mixed flow pump is typically utilized in applications requiring a medium to high flow rate and a medium head. It is typically employed for water supply, irrigation, sewage applications, cooling water in thermal and nuclear power plants, handling seawater, and industrial use.

Most mixed-flow pumps are offered in vertical, single-stage designs with diffusers. However, two-stage designs and designs with horizontal and vertical layouts, as well as volute casing, are optional. The pump’s rotor is an impeller for mixed flow with fixed blades.

Peripheral Pumps

Peripheral pumps are specialized pumps that combine centrifugal and positive displacement features. They have a lower flow rate than centrifugal pumps but can produce positive displacement pumps’ high heads.

Their kinetic operating principle is comparable to that of centrifugal pumps. However, they use turbine-like impellers that are radially oriented to move fluid rather than an impeller with vanes. The fluid’s velocity increases in a circular motion while the impeller rotates. This circular channel offers the diffusion needed to convert pressure to velocity. Peripheral pumps are noisier than centrifugal pumps because their internal clearances are smaller and more compact in form. Typically, these pumps have a single stage. However, there are also variations with more stages.

Typical specifications include a flow rate of 1 to 200 GPM, a total head of 50 to 1,200 ft, and a power range of 0.5 to 75 hp. They work well when the high head, low flow, flexible operation, and compact configuration are required. For instance, they are utilized in commercial establishments like bakeries, dry cleaners, and breweries for deep well pumping and cooling water circulators.

Special Pumps

Other forms of dynamic pumps include electromagnetic pumps, hydraulic rams, gas lifts, and eductor-jet pumps.

Eductor-jet Pump

This kind of pump creates a low pressure with the help of a jet, frequently steam. Fluid is drawn within by the low pressure and moved to an area of higher pressure.

Hydraulic Ram (Hydram)

A hydraulic ram is a hydroelectric-powered cyclic water pump. This device employs the force of a water hammer to generate pressure that enables some of the input water to be lifted above its initial starting location.

Gas Lift or Bubble Pumps

The gas lift artificially raises a fluid by injecting bubbles of compressed air, water vapor, or other substances into the exit tube. Due to this, the hydrostatic pressure at the outflow tube is less than at the entrance tube. In the petroleum sector, this method is commonly used. For instance, a gas lift is used in 10% of oil wells in the United States with insufficient reservoir pressure to drill the well.

Electromagnetic Pumps

An electromagnetic pump is a machine that uses electromagnetism to push liquid metal (or any other electrically conducting liquid). A current is sent through it due to the magnetic field being applied at an angle to the direction the liquid is moving. The electromagnetic force produced by this causes the conductive liquid to move. This pump can be used in a cooling system to pump liquid metal applications.

Positive Displacement Pumps

A positive displacement pump forces (displaces) a specific volume of fluid toward the discharge pipe by trapping and pressing a specific volume of fluid.

A cavity expands on the suction side of some positive displacement pumps, and the discharge side, a cavity contracts. When the suction side cavity expands, fluid enters the pump, and when the cavity contracts, it discharges. Every cycle of an operation has a fixed volume.

Instead of centrifugal pumps, positive displacement pumps can conceivably deliver the same flow at a specific speed (rpm) regardless of the discharge pressure. A positive displacement pump is a constant flow device as a result. A slight rise in internal leakage with increased pressure prevents a constant flow rate.

Since a positive displacement pump lacks a shutdown head as a centrifugal pump does, it must not operate in opposition to the closed valve on the pump discharge side. The pressure in the discharge line increases until the line breaks if a positive-displacement pump continues to create flow while running against a closed discharge valve. The pump would be badly harmed as a result. Consequently, a relief or safety valve is required on the discharge side. It might be internal or outside.

Positive displacement pumps can be divided into rotary and reciprocating pumps, depending on the fluid transfer method.

Rotary Pumps

A spinning mechanism used in rotary pumps creates a vacuum that pulls liquid into the pump and transfers it. They are especially effective because, as viscosity rises, they can handle highly viscous fluids at high flow rates.

The pump design, however, necessitates tiny gaps between the spinning component and the outer border, resulting in a gradual, continuous rotation. When the rotary pump spins at high speed, the fluid causes erosion, resulting in more extensive clearances for the liquid to pass through and lower efficiency.

There are Six Primary Categories of Rotary Pumps

Gear Pumps

The most straightforward rotary pump is this one. It has two meshing gears that spin inside a fitting shell. Fluid is pushed around the external edge by the crevices between the teeth, which trap it. Due to the proximity of the teeth in the center, the fluid does not return to the mesh area. Gear pumps are frequently utilized in hydraulic power packs and oil pumps for automobile engines.

Screw Pumps

A more complex rotary pump known as a screw pump uses two or three screws with opposing threads, such that one screw rotates in the clockwise direction and the other in the counterclockwise direction. Installed on parallel shafts are the screws. The fluid is pumped via the pump by the screws. The clearance between moving parts and the casing is small, just like with other rotary pumps.

Rotary Vane Pumps

A rotor that rotates inside a cavity is made up of vanes that are affixed to it. In other instances, the vanes are tensioned and have varying lengths to maintain contact with the walls while the pump turns. This type’s drawbacks include the fact that it is less frequently employed than other vacuum pumps for fluids with high viscosity and high pressure, as well as its intricate design. They are considered appropriate for low-viscosity fluids since they can endure brief periods of dry performance. Go here to learn the fundamentals of a rotary vane pump.

Hollow Disk Pumps

With a cylindrical rotor inside a circular housing, hollow disc pumps (also known as eccentric disc pumps or hollow rotary disc pumps) are comparable to scroll compressors. The liquid is trapped between the rotor and the case as the rotor rotates to some extent, pushing the fluid through the pump. It is used for fluids with high viscosity, including petroleum-derived compounds. Additionally, it can function at pressures as high as 290 psi.

Vibration Pumps

Vibration pumps, also known as vibratory pumps, operate similarly to linear compressors. They function by using a spring-loaded piston and an electromagnet that is connected to AC via a diode. The only moving component is the spring-loaded piston in the electromagnet’s center.

The diode sends energy through the electromagnet during a positive cycle of the AC. Due to the magnetic field formed, as a result, the piston is forced backward, compressing the spring and resulting in suction. The diode shuts off the current to the electromagnet during a negative AC cycle, enabling the spring to decompress and moving the piston forward. The fluid is thus moved in a manner akin to a reciprocating pump.

It is widely used in low-priced espresso machines due to its low cost. However, vibratory pumps cannot operate for longer than a minute because they generate a lot of heat.

Reciprocating Pumps

Reciprocating pumps use one or more oscillating pistons, plungers, or diaphragms to transport fluid, while valves direct the fluid in a specific direction. The pump must first pull the plunger outward to lower chamber pressure before suction can occur. When the plunger is pushed back, the pressure rises, opening the discharge valve and releasing the fluid into the delivery pipe rapidly.

The positive displacement pumps’ suction and discharge sides must expand and collapse chambers. The fluid enters the pump as the cavity on the suction side expands and exits the discharge when the cavity contracts. Regarding each operating cycle, the volume remains constant.

These pumps come in simplex (one cylinder), duplex (two cylinders), triplex (three cylinders), quad (four cylinders), and even more variations. The direction of piston movement (single acting) or with suction and discharge in both directions (double acting). Pump power can come from either a manual or an engine.

Reciprocating pumps are generally employed for applications requiring low flow rates against considerable resistance, such as pumping concrete and heavy oils, which are highly viscous fluids. For instance, water from wells was frequently pumped using manual reciprocating pumps. Additionally, standard foot and bicycle pumps for inflation use reciprocating action.

Reciprocating pumps fall into the following main types

Piston Pumps

The high-pressure seal and the piston are both parts of a piston pump. It can function under a variety of pressures. It is possible to do a high-pressure operation without significantly impacting the flow rate. This pump can also be used in viscous liquids containing solid particles. Piston pumps are standard in systems for irrigation or distribution of water, as well as circumstances needing a high, stable pressure.

An oscillation mechanism underlies the operation, with downstrokes filling the pump chamber and upstrokes expelling the pump fluid.

Plunger Pumps

A positive displacement pump, a plunger pump, has a stationary high-pressure seal that slides through a smooth cylindrical plunger. This sets them apart from piston pumps and enables them to withstand higher pressures. To transfer municipal and industrial sewage, plunger pumps are typically used.

Diaphragm Pumps

Plunger pumps and diaphragm pumps both operate on the same principle. The plunger bends the pumping cylinder’s diaphragm by pressurizing hydraulic oil under pressure. Hazardous fluids are pumped using diaphragm pumps.


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