There are numerous types of pumps available, each suitable for different applications. So, which one is going to be best for the circulator and/or chiller you’re trying to run? It largely depends on what you’re going to be circulating, and how quickly.
In this article, we’ll first briefly look at the types of pumps that can be used in a circulator or chiller, then discuss which are better in different circumstances.
Four Typical Pump Types in A Circulator/Chiller
I. Positive Displacement Pumps
Positive displacement pumps work primarily on a suction principle. They alter pressure within the pumping mechanism to pull and push liquid through. They are typically high-power and work well with viscous liquids.
Rotary vane pumps create suction through rotating pieces. They pull in liquid from one side, accelerate it through the center, which also builds up pressure that sends the liquid out the other side. These pumps work well in situations where the liquid is free from particles or other contamination, but any solid matter will quickly gum up the works.
Reciprocating pumps create suction and pressure by using a chamber that expands and contracts – similar to a bellows. This is typically accomplished through the use of either pistons or diaphragms. A lack of easily accessible moving parts makes them a better choice when the liquid has solid matter, but the pulsing flow they create may not be right for all applications.
II. Centrifugal Pumps
Centrifugal pumps are simpler and more straightforward than positive displacement pumps. They make use of rotating impellers to directly pull/push liquid through the mechanism. They tend to have lower power and flowthrough than positive displacement options but are cheaper and easier to service.
This makes them the most commonly seen type of pump, particularly in smaller applications.
III. Turbine Pumps
Turbine pump combines both principles. They utilize an impeller, like a centrifugal pump, but the design is laid out to encourage pressure buildup. This gives them a substantially stronger outflow. Turbine pumps are typically used in situations where low flow at high steady pressure is desired.
So, which is going to be best for a chiller or circulator? If you are only circulating water at constant pressure, a centrifugal pump will usually be good enough. A rotary vane pump would also work. However, for viscous liquids or situations where you need high output force, choose a reciprocating or turbine pump.
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