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Module 1/6

Types of Pumps and


To define the different types of fans
and pumps in common use.
To define and discuss the fan / pump
To discuss drive systems for fans and

The commissioning of air and water systems
requires a basic knowledge of the different types
of fans and pumps that are used and an
understanding of the mathematical laws that
govern their performance. It is also important to
understand the drive systems used for pumps
and fans.
In this module we will discuss the types of fans
and pumps commonly used in air and water
systems and look at the laws that can be applied
to them. We will also look at the drive systems
used and how to change fan speeds by altering
pulleys and belts.

A pump is a device used to move fluid around
a pipework system, such as a low
temperature hot water heating system, 'a
chilled water system or a condenser water
A pump will normally consist of four main
parts; an impeller, a casing, a motor to rotate
the impeller and a drive arrangement to
transmit power from the motor to the
Let us look at the different types of pumps in
common use.

Reciprocating Pumps
Reciprocating Pumps consists of one or more
cylinders, with each cylinder having an inlet and an
Each cylinder houses a piston connected to a
common crankshaft, which is in turn connected to an
electric motor.
As the crankshaft is turned by the motor, the piston is
pulled down the cylinder, creating a suction which
draws fluid into the cylinder through the inlet.
As the crankshaft continues to turn, the piston is
pushed up the cylinder, discharging, the fluid through
the outlet.
Valves located in the cylinder inlets and outlets
prevent fluid being drawn in through the outlet or
being discharged through the inlet. These valves are
opened and closed automatically at the correct time
and normally operated, by the movement of the fluid,
however they can also be operated by the crankshaft.

Reciprocating Pumps
A sketch of a reciprocating pump is given below:

This type of pump is not normally used for fluid flow

in heating or chilled water systems.
Due to the non-compressibility of water which could
lead to damage of the pump, sealing of the cylinder
against leakage and system pressure fluctuations.
However, this principle can be used for compressors
in refrigeration systems; reciprocating compressor
pumps (and compresses) refrigerant in the manner
described above.

Centrifugal Pumps
The majority of pumps used for heating and chilled water fluid
movement are of the centrifugal type.
A centrifugal pump consists of a circular impeller with
backward curved vanes, connected to an electric motor via a
drive arrangement. The impeller is housed in a volute shaped
The illustration below shows a centrifugal pump; you can
clearly see the shape that the casing takes.

Centrifugal Pumps
As the impeller rotates, fluid is drawn into the centre of the
impeller. Due to centrifugal force the fluid is pushed away
from the impeller and forced through the outlet of the casing.
The casing is a volute shape so that as much of the
centrifugal force (kinetic energy) is converted to pressure
energy as possible.
Motors can be connected to the impeller in one of two ways;
either directly or by a belt drive arrangement. Belt drives are
discussed in Parts 3 and 4 of this module.
Direct drive can be in one of two forms; close coupled or
direct coupled.
In a Close Coupled arrangement, the impeller is directly fitted
to the motor shaft as can be seen in the illustration overleaf.
In a Direct Coupled arrangement, the impeller is fitted to a
shaft, which is in turn connected to the motor shaft through a
flexible coupling.

In-Line Circulators
An in-line circulator (or pump) is basically a close
coupled, direct drive centrifugal pump, arranged so that
the inlet and outlet connections are on the same centre
line. This is for ease of installation.
Two basic types are used, floor mounted and pipeline
mounted. The left hand illustration below shows a floor
mounted type, whilst the right hand illustration shows a
pipeline mounted type.

Floor mounted


You can see that the floor mounted pump has a base
frame. Pipeline mounted pumps are light enough to be
mounted directly in the pipeline.

Sump Pumps
Sump pumps are often a type of direct
centrifugal pump, arranged so that the
inlet and outlet connections are on the
same centre line.
In this type of pump however, the inlet
connection is normally open, that is, it
does not have a pipe attached to it.
The inlet is normally protected with a
screen to prevent solids entering the

Multi-Stage Pumps
A multi-stage pump is a type of centrifugal pump,
however, instead of one single impeller, a number
of impellers are mounted on a common shaft.
This type of pump is normally used for very high
pressure applications and operates on the principle
that two impellers in series will produce almost
double the pressure of one impeller.
An illustration of a multi-stage pump is given below.

A fan is a device used to move air in
ventilation and air conditioning systems,
such as those studied in the previous
A fan, just as a pump, will normally consist
of four main parts; an impeller, a casing, a
motor to rotate the impeller and a drive
arrangement to transmit power from the
motor to the impeller.
Let us look at the different types of fans in
common use.

Centrifugal Fans
Centrifugal fans have a multi-bladed impeller
housed in an volute casing.
Air is drawn into. the axis of the impeller,
turns a right angle and is discharged radially
by centrifugal force.
The impeller blades may be straight or face
either backwards or forwards, dependent
upon the fan performance required.
The motor is normally outside the fan casing
and is connected by a belt drive arrangement,
although on small fans the motor may be
located in the centre of the impeller.

Paddle Blade
A paddle blade impeller is the simplest
type of centrifugal impeller.
It normally consists of a number of straight
blades fixed to a backplate.
Due to its nature it is the least efficient of
the centrifugal impellers, however,
because the blades are straight, they will
not clog when used with air systems that
have a high dirt content, such as dust
extract systems.

Forward Curved
A forward curved impeller has a large number of short
blades, curved towards the direction of rotation.
With this type, air leaves the impeller at a higher speed
than the impeller tip speed. Because of this fact, the
impeller can be of a smaller diameter and run at a lower
speed than other types of centrifugal fan.
However, because the blades are shallow, the velocity of
the air across the blades does not decrease, making the
forward curved impeller very inefficient.
This means that the motor can easily be overloaded if the
system resistance has been over estimated and the fan
passes too much air.

Backward Curved
A backward curved impeller has between ten
and sixteen blades of either curved or straight
form, inclined away from the direction of
The blades are relatively deep.
With this type, air leaves the impeller at a
lower speed than the impeller tip speed. This
low air speed, combined with the deep blades
gives the backward curved impeller a non
overloading power characteristic.
It also makes it very efficient when compared
against the forward curved type and will
generate much higher pressures if necessary.

Aerofoil Blade
This type of impeller is a refinement of the
backward curved type, however, it has aerofoil
section blades.
That is, the blades are of aerodynamic design
(similar to the wing of an aeroplane).
This type of blade gives a higher volumetric
capacity (airflow) and a higher efficiency than the
standard backward curved blade.

Axial Fans
Axial fans basically consist of an impeller with a number of blades,
usually of aerofoil cross section, housed in a cylindrical casing. The
impeller is mounted directly, on to the motor shaft; the motor
being housed inside the casing behind the impeller. There is
normally a very fine clearance between the blades and the casing;
the closer the blade is to the casing, the higher the fan efficiency,
pressure development and output.
The pitch angle of the blades can be altered within limits to
increase or decrease the fan performance, however if the pitch
angle is altered too far, the fan will stall. The centre of the impeller
is always blanked off with an aerodynamic hub to prevent air short
circuiting around the impeller and to act as a fairing for the motor.
Guide vanes can be fitted to the impeller at either the inlet or
outlet to correct "swirling" of the air stream and increase efficiency.
This type of axial fan is known as a single stage fan. The
sketches below show axial impellers without guide vanes and with
Axial-flow (without guide vanes).
(with guide vanes)

A multi-stage fan is two or more
single stage fans placed in series.
If guide vanes are fitted to the
assembly, the pressure developed
over a single stage fan corresponds
to. the number of stages.
Therefore a two stage fan will produce
twice the pressure that a single stage
fan will for the same volume flow rate
and it follows that a three stage fan
will produce three times the pressure.

Contra Rotating
A contra rotating fan is two axial fans
placed in series, however the
impellers rotate in opposite
This type of arrangement will
produce approximately two and a half
times the pressure that a single stage
fan will for the same volume flow

Tangential Fans
A Tangential (or crossflow) fan is constructed in a similar
way as a lengthened Forward Curve Centrifugal Fan but in
the air instead of entering through the centre (or eye) of the
impeller enters tangentially.
These fans are quiet in operation and give an even airflow
over three length of the impeller, but have very little ability
to develop pressure.
Due to these characteristics, these types of fans are
typically found in fan coil units and fan convector heaters,
for example overdoor heaters in shops etc.

Mixed Flow Fans

A mixed flow fan consists of an impeller with a
number of blades, often of aerofoil cross
section, similar to an axial flow fan. The hub of
the impeller is of a conical shape, such that the
passage of air- through the impeller has both
axial and radial characteristics -- hence the
term "mixed flow".
Static guide vanes are normally fitted
downstream of the impeller to remove the swirl
generated by this type of fan. The mixed flow
fan has a very high efficiency and can develop
higher pressures than axial fans.
Mixed flow impellers can be either direct driven
or powered by a drive belt arrangement.

Propeller Fans
Propeller fans have an impeller of two or more blades,
very much like the propeller of a boat or an aeroplane.
The impeller is normally connected directly to the
motor shaft; hence it is direct driven.
Propeller fans can deliver a high volume flow rate,
however they have a very low pressure development;
hence they are normally used in situations where they
are not connected to ductwork such as window and
wall fans.
The sketch below shows a typical propeller fan


It is a fact of life that a pipework or ductwork
system will not be installed exactly to the original
design. This may be due to subtle changes in the
building design, the impracticality of installing the
system in the way it was designed or errors might
have been made in the system design. Fortunately,
this situation can often be resolved very easily. The
performance of a fan or a pump is governed by a
series of mathematical laws known as the Fan Laws.
If the fan laws are used properly by a
commissioning engineer, they will enable him to reassess the design performance of a fan or pump to
suit the resistance of the ductwork or pipework
layout that has been installed. We will look at these
laws first and then explain how they can be used

Fan Laws
The primary fan laws allow the performance of
fans (and pumps) to be predicted, at different
speeds and duties by relating fluid flow,
pressure, density, impeller speed and diameter
and the power required to drive the impeller.
Because the temperature of the fluid across
the impeller remains constant to all intents
and purposes, the density of the fluid in its
passage through the fan or pump can be
Similarly, the diameter of the impeller will
remain constant under normal operating
conditions, this can also be neglected.

Fan Laws
By discounting density and impeller diameter, a simplified set
of fan laws can be obtained. These are:
N2 2
N2 3
Fluid Volume Flow (m3/s)
Pressure developed (Pa)
Power input (kW)
Impeller Speed (rp)
The Suffix 1 after a letter indicates the letter applies to the
initial situation.
The Suffix 2 after a letter shows the letter applies to the new
situation, the one you are looking for.

Fan Laws
Let us assume that a fan running at 500 rpm will discharge 2 m 3/s of air
against a ductwork system (external static) resistance of 200 N/m 2
and will absorb 3 kW of power in the process. If the fan speed. is
increased by 10%:
Q2 =
Q1 x
= 2.2m3/s






W2 =



200 x


= 242N/m2 or Pa



= 4kW


You can see from the example that if the fan speed is increased by 10%
a) The volume handled by the fan will increase by 10% (from 2m 3/s to
2.2 m3/s)
b) The pressure developed by the fan will increase by 21% (from 200
N/m2 to 242 N/m2)
c) The power input to the fan will increase by 33% (from 3kW to 4kW).


You can see from the example in Part 3
that the performance of a fan or pump can
be altered by changing its rotational
This is very useful, for example, when a
fan is found to be developing only 90% of
its design requirement. By increasing the
fan speed slightly, the fan can be made to
develop its design duty. Similarly, this can
be applied to a pump.

Methods of Speed Control

Direct Driven Fans and Pumps
It is difficult to change the impeller speed of any
direct driven fan or pump, because the impeller is
connected directly to the shaft of the motor. In
this instance, the impeller size is changed instead.
A smaller impeller will give a lower duty, whilst a
larger impeller will give a higher duty.
In the case of axial fans, the angle of the impeller
blades (pitch angle) can be altered within limits.
This again can be complicated and is best left to
the fan manufacturer or a very experienced
commissioning engineer. If the pitch angle is
made too steep or too shallow, the motor may
stall or feather respectively.

Methods of Speed Control

Belt Drive Arrangements
The speed of any fan or pump that is
driven through a belt drive arrangement
can be varied by altering the size of the
Part 5 of this module looks at this type of
arrangement and Part 6 considers altering
the arrangement to change the impeller

Methods of Speed Control

Electronic Speed Control
The motor of any fan or pump can, if required,
be speed controlled by a number of electronic
methods; frequency inverters and eddy
current controllers are favoured.
This type of control gives the motor an
infinitely variable speed, so that the
corresponding impeller speed can be finely
tuned to suite site conditions.
This type of speed control can be expensive
and is normally used for specialist
applications only, such as variable volume

Methods of Speed Control

Impellers are normally driven by electric motors. The
motor is sized in accordance with the design power
absorbed by the impeller (typically fan. power
absorbed is 80% of the motor power rating);
therefore the available increase in fan speed or axial
blade pitch angle is limited by the available capacity
of the motor.
There is always a maximum safe speed for an
impeller - this must never be exceeded, if in doubt,
refer to the manufacturer.
Prior to altering the speed of a fan, the fan bearings
must be checked to ensure that they are capable of
taking any additional load that may be imposed on

A backward curved centrifugal fan has been
designed to supply 1.15 m3/s at 250 pascals,
when running at 1120 rpm and absorbing 2.5
kW. When the volume flow rate of the fan
was checked on site it was found to be
delivering only 1.05 m3/s. The fan is driven
by a 3.0 kW motor running at 1440 rpm.
Using the fan laws, calculate:
a) The fan speed increase required to obtain
the design volume flow rate.
b) The increase in absorbed power that the
speed increase will cause.




Q2 =

By transposition:




1120 x

1.15 =

1226 rpm

This is a speed or airflow increased in the ratio of 1.15 = 1.095 or 9.5% increase




N 23 =


3.28 Kw

Once you understand that airflow varies directly with speed the ratio of increase
above of 1.095 can be put into the pressure and power equations.
i.e. W2 =

W1 (1.095)3 = 2.5 x 1.314 = 3.28 kW

In this particular instance, it would be impossible to upgrade the fan speed

because the motor is not large enough to cope with the additional fan power.
Remember, the motor size is only 3.0 kW.
This example has been used to highlight that, even a 10% increase in speed will
cause a large increase in fan power. In this case, a larger motor would have to be
installed (4 kW motor) to cope with the increase.


Belt drive systems consist of four main elements:
Pulley wheels
Drive belts
Drive guards
Pulley wheels are fitted to both the motor shaft and the fan/pump
shaft. Power is transmitted from the motor shaft to the fan or pump
shaft by drive belts connecting the pulleys on both shafts. Guards are
fitted over the complete drive assembly for safety purposes.
One of the largest manufacturers of belt drive systems is Fenner
Power Transmission.
In order to progress further within this module you will need to obtain
a copy of their Drive Design & Maintenance Manual
Fenners Head Office can be contacted on 01254 674171. They have
many regional offices throughout the U.K.

Correct Installation and


Pages 49 and 50 from the Fenner Manual give

instructions on the correct installation and
operation of belt drives and also belt tensioning
A large amount of information can be obtained
from the condition of drive belts. Cracking of
belts shows that the belts are too loose; they
should be renewed and correctly tensioned.
Black dust indicates wear; pulley alignment and
condition should be checked and if necessary
both the pulleys and belts replaced.
Never attempt to change belts, pulleys, etc.,
without having first electrically isolated the item
of plant. Keep all lubricants off the drives and
belts and never allow water or any other
substance to drip onto them.


It has already been stated in this module that the
usual method of altering the speed of belt driven
fans and pumps is by changing the pulley speed.
This part of the module aims to show you how to
select pulleys and the corresponding belts.
We shall use pages 15, 16, 20, 31, 37 and 38 of the
Fenner Manual to size some pulleys to meet the
original design requirements. The site conditions
will be as in the exercise at the end of Part 4, Page
The fan was designed to supply 1.15 m 3/s at 250
pascals, when running at 120 rpm and absorbing
2.3 kW. Let us assume that the fan and motor both
have a 32mm diameter shaft and that they are
500mm apart. For the reasons given in the original
example let us assume that the fan is served by a
4kW motor running at 1440 rpm.


Primarily we need to calculate the speed ratio between
the fan and motor. This is achieved by dividing the lower
speed by the higher:
Speed ratio =
1440 =
Next we need to obtain the service factor from table 3
on page 16. We know that we are looking at a fan motor
that is below 7.5 kW. Let us assume that the motor will
have a direct on-line starter and the fan will be run for 24
hours a day.
From table 3 we can see that our fan falls into Class 1
and has a service factor of 1.3. If the motor had a stardelta starter, the factor would be 1.2. In the special cases
column of the table, we can see that the factor should be
multiplied by 1.05 for the speed ratio that we calculated
above. This gives us an adjusted service factor of:
1.3 x
1.05 =


Now we need to calculate the design power. This
is obtained by multiplying the motor size by the
adjusted service factor:
4.0 kW x 1.365 = 5.46
We now refer to table 2 on-page 15. If we draw a
line across from the calculated design power (5.46
kW) and also one up from the speed of the faster
shaft (1440 rpm) we can see that the lines
intersect in the "SPA" area of the table. This is the
type of pulley and belt that we will use for-our
If we now refer to table 1 on page 15 and again
compare the calculated design power against the
fastest shaft speed, we can see that the
minimum pulley diameter must be 80mm.


By referring to the centre distance table on page 20,
looking down the speed ratio column, we can see
that we need a 140mm diameter SPA pulley on the
driver (motor) and a 180 SPA pullet on the driven
(fan). Reading across the table, we can see that the
nearest centre distance to our required 500mm is
548mm. The belt length at the top of the column is
SPA1600. The correction factor, again at the top of
the column, is 0.95.
From the top section of the power rating table on
page 31 we can see that the rated power per belt
for a 140mm diameter pulley at 1440 rpm is
6.05kW. We can also see from the bottom section of
the power rating table that with a speed ratio of
1.29 and a motor speed of 1440 rpm the additional
power per belt for speed ratio is 0.39 kW.


We now. need to calculate the corrected power per belt. This
is done by adding the rated power per belt to the additional
power per belt then multiplying them by the correction factor:
= (6.05 + 0.39) x
= 6.12 kW per belt
If we now divide the calculated design power by the corrected
power per belt, we will arrive at the number of belts required:
Therefore we only need one belt. If this figure were 1.89, we
would need two belts.
Finally, we need to check the pulley dimension tables given
on pages 37 and 38 to ensure that our selected pulleys will
fit. We can see that both a one groove SPA 140 pulley and a
one groove SPA 180 pulley can have a maximum shaft size of
Note: that should the pulleys be either increased in
size or increased in grooves, a change in Bush Size
may also be required.

Speed ratio =
1227 =
Adjusted service factor = 1.3 x 1.05
Design power
4.0 kW x 1.365 = 5.46
From table 2 we can see that we will need SPA type pulleys
and belts.
Table 1 shows that the minimum pulley diameter must be
By referring to the centre distance table, we can see that
the nearest speed ratio to ours is 1.18. There are a number
of options for pulley sizes at this ratio. It is best from an
economy reason to select the smallest pulleys; in this case.
a 90 SPA for the motor and a 106 SPA for the fan. None of
the other selections are wrong, but the 80/90 given in
italics would not be used for our application. This is
because that particular one would need a cogged belt (as
indicated by the note at the bottom of the table).

The nearest centre distance is 546mm. The belt length at the
top of the column is SPA1400. The correction factor again at
the top of the column is 0.90.
The rated power per belt for a 90mm diameter pulley at 1440
rpm is 2.29 kW. With a speed ratio of 1.18 and a motor speed
of 1440 rpm the additional power per belt for speed ratio is
0.24 kW.
The corrected power per belt = (2.29 + 0.24) x 0.90 = 2.28 kW
per belt.
The number of belts required
5.46 = 2.39
Therefore we would need three belts.
By checking the pulley dimension tables we can see that both
a three groove SPA 90 pulley and a three groove SPA 106
pulley can have a maximum shaft size of 42mm.