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Basic Pump Terminology

Flooded Suction - Liquid flows to pump inlet from an elevated source by means of gravity. Recommended for centrifugal pump installations.

Flow - The measure of the liquid volume capacity of a pump. Given in Gallons per Hour (GPH) or Gallons per Minute (GPM) as well as Liters per Minutes (LPM), and milliliters per minute (ml/m).

Foot of Head - A measure of pressure, expressed in feet of head for centrifugal pumps. Indicates the height of a column of water being moved by the pump (without friction losses).

Foot Valve - A type of check valve with a built-in strainer. Used at point of liquid intake to retain liquid in the system, preventing loss of prime when liquid source is lower than pump.

GPM - Gallon per minute

Impeller - An impeller is a rotating disk containing vanes coupled to the engine’s crankshaft. All centrifugal pumps contain an impeller. The impeller vanes sling liquid outward through centrifugal force, causing a pressure change. This pressure change results in liquid flowing through the pump.

Inlet – (suction port) Port where fluid enters the pump.

Magnetic Drive - Seal-less pump design that magnetically couples the motor with the impeller shaft. The motor is chemically and electrically isolated from the liquid being

Perfomance Curve - Chart water flow by comparing total head to flow rate.

Pump Head - is the total resistance that a pump must overcome.

Prime - Charge of liquid required to begin pumping action when liquid source is lower than pump. Held in pump by a foot valve on the intake line or by a valve or chamber within the pump.

Outlet - (discharge port) Port where fluid leaves the pump.

Seal-less - No seal is used; power is transmitted from motor to pump impeller by magnetic force, through a wall that completely separates motor from impeller.

Seals - Devices mounted in the pump housing and/or on the pump shaft that prevent leakage of liquid from the pump.

Self-Priming - Pumps that draw liquid up from below pump inlet (suction lift), as opposed to pumps requiring flooded suction.
Strainer - A device installed in the inlet of a pump to prevent foreign particles from damaging the internal parts.

Sump - A well or pit in which liquids collect below floor level; sometimes refers to an oil or water reservoir.

Variable Speed - Used to control amount flow in a system by varying the frequency of the motor.

Viscosity - The "thickness" of a liquid or its ability to flow. Most liquids decrease in viscosity and flow more easily as they get warmer.

Wet End Kit – everything but the motor

Wetted Parts – Parts that come in contact with the media being pumped.

Title: Basic Pump Terminology
Description: Common terms used in the pump industry.
Published: 12/23/2008
Last Edited: 1/8/2019
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