Pump Characteristics Experiment
experiment water flows from a 20 liter polycarbonate tank to a
centrifugal pump or a gear pump. The pumps are belt-driven by a
variable speed DC motor mounted on ball bearings. An arm on the
motor bears on a load cell connected to a panel meter, and this
allows the torque (and thus power) to be measured. A stainless
pressure transducer driving a panel meter indicates the pump
discharge pressure. Water discharged from the pump passes through
an orifice/differential pressure cell combination, through a
rotameter, and then through a turbine meter. Water leaving the
turbine meter flows to an upper 20 liter tank, and returns through a
ball valve to the lower tank.
Closing the ball valve allows an absolute measurement of flow rate by timing the rate a change of level in either tank. Students calculate the pump efficiency as a function of RPM from the torque/RPM and flow rate/discharge pressure data, and also calibrate the orifice, turbine meter, and rotameter over a range of flow rates. Space is available to add as options other flow meters such as vortex or ultrasound meters. Water can be replaced by a more viscous fluid such as a solution of corn syrup or glycerine, or a light oil.
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