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# A Simplified Method of Determining the Efficiency of a Motor-Driven Centrifugal Pump Page 1 of 4

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## A Simplified Method of Determining the Efficiency of a

Motor-Driven Centrifugal Pump
Efficiency Matters
by Robert X. Perez

## A common concern in processing plants is determining the pumping healthor efficiencyof

Centrifugal pumps. As pump impeller seals wear as a result of erosion and corrosion
mechanisms, tight internal clearances open up and allow fluid to recirculate internally, gradually
degrading performance. As wear progresses, a centrifugal pump will eventually become unable
to perform its intended function. Periodically monitoring pump performance allows end users to
identify internal degradation before a serious loss of capability occurs.

## The Old Method

In the past, plant machinery professionals have used the tried-and-true centrifugal pump
horsepower equation (see Equation 1).

This equation may look simple enough, but, on closer inspection, it poses some difficulties. First,
the user must determine the head. To determine the head a pump generates, the user must know
the suction and discharge pressures and the specific gravity of the fluid being pumped at the
actual operating conditions. Specific gravity of a liquid, however, is not always easy to determine,

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and it can vary with temperature and composition. Second, the user must discern the actual
pump shaft horsepower. Horsepower is also difficult to measure directly. Torque-measuring
couplings are available, but they sometimes can add another level of complexity to the analysis.

A Simplified Alternative
To sidestep these issues, a different equation can be used to determine centrifugal pump
efficiency without having to know the liquids specific gravity and pumps output shaft horsepower.
This equation allows you to determine a centrifugal pumps efficiency by only knowing these
values: the pumps discharge pressure (P2) and suction pressure (P1), flow rate (Q), electric
motor efficiency (effm), and motor power in kilowatts (kW ).

First, start with the basic hydraulic brake horsepower equation to eliminate the need to know the
liquids specific gravity (see Equation 2)

This relationship means that the motor output power is equal to the kilowatt input to the motor
times the motor efficiency.

Because the brake horsepower result in Equation 2 and the motor power result in Equation 3 are
expressed in different units of power, we must insert a constant into one of the relationships

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before we can set them equal to each other. Equation 4 shows the hydraulic power equation in
terms of kilowatts.

Now, set the pump power equation (now in kW units) equal to the motor power equation to get
the relationship indicated in Equation 5.

Solving for the pump efficiency term, you arrive at the final pump efficiency equation (see
Equation 6).

P2 and P1 are measured with pressure gauges at the discharge and suction of the pump being
assessed, Q is the total pump flow measured with a fixed or portable flow meter, and kW is the
true power going to the electric motor driver.

For example, field data of a single-stage centrifugal pump driven by an electric motor might
reveal the following:
P2 = 300 psi
P1 = 100 psi
Q = 600 gpm

Experience indicates that the electric motor has a mechanical efficiency of 96 percent. An
electrical power meter measures that 100 kW of true power is being consumed by the electric

Using the new efficiency equation, you arrive at the centrifugal pump efficiency (see Equation 7).

## To read other Efficiency Matters articles, go here.

Robert X. Perez has 30 years of rotating equipment experience in the petrochemical industry. He
earned a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University (College
Station) and a masters degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.
He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Texas. For an app that can help calculate

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A Simplified Method of Determining the Efficiency of a Motor-Driven Centrifugal Pump Page 4 of 4

pump efficiency, visit either the Apple app or Google Play (Android) store and look for the Pump
Calcs app.

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