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A Beginner’s Guide To Pumping Slurry

Jul. 03, 2021

A Beginner’s Guide To Pumping Slurry

If you have ever pumped slurry, you know it is one of the most challenging fluids to move. It is abrasive, viscous, sometimes corrosive, and contains a lot of solids. There is no doubt that the slurry is very difficult for the pump. But the more you know about what you are pumping, the better your pumpselection becomes, setting a you up for longer mean time between failure.

What is "slurry"?

Slurry is any mixture of fluid (such as water) and powdered solids. In mining, steel processing, foundries, and power generation, slurry is used as a convenient method of handling bulk solids. Slurry usually flows under gravity, like a viscous fluid, but it can also be pumped in as needed.

Slurry pump

Slurry pump

Slurry is generally divided into two categories: non-settling or settling. The non-settling slurry is composed of very fine particles, giving the illusion of an increase in apparent viscosity. These slurries usually have lower wear properties, but they do require very careful consideration when choosing the right pump, because their properties are different from ordinary liquids.

Settling slurry is formed by coarse particles, which tend to form unstable mixtures. When choosing a pump, special attention should be paid to the calculation of flow and power. Most slurry applications consist of coarse particles and therefore have high wear properties.

The following are the common characteristics of slurry:


Thick consistency

Does it contain a lot of solids

Usually resolved quickly

Need more power than "water pump" to run

Slurry pump selection

Choosing the right pump for the slurry is the key to maximum benefit. The basic components of the pump, such as the size and design of the impeller, structural materials and discharge structure, must be considered to ensure that the pump can resist the wear caused by the abrasive slurry. Compared with low-viscosity liquid pumps, slurry pumps are generally larger in size and usually require more horsepower to operate because of their lower efficiency. Bearings and shafts must also be stronger and more rigid.

Slurry pump considerations

If you have experience in pumping slurry, you know that this is not an easy job. The slurry is heavy and difficult to pump. They can cause excessive wear of the pump and its components, and if the movement speed is not fast enough, they can block the suction and discharge pipes. Most importantly, it is a challenge to make the slurry pump last for a reasonable time. However, there are things you can do to extend the life of your slurry pump and make pumping slurry less challenging.

Find the best operating point to make the pump run as slow as possible (to reduce wear), but fast enough to prevent solids from settling and clogging the lines

In order to reduce wear, the exhaust pressure of the pump should be reduced as much as possible to the lowest

Follow proper piping principles to ensure that the slurry is delivered to the pump consistently and evenly

Pumping slurry brings some challenges and problems, but with the right engineering and equipment selection, you can experience years of worry-free operation. When choosing a slurry pump, it is important to work with a qualified engineer, because if not selected correctly, the slurry may cause serious damage to the pump.

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