About pumps and the two main pump types

A short general introduction to positive displacement and centrifugal pumps.

Of the Earth’s surface, 72% is covered with water but only 3.5% of this volume is fresh water. Europeans use on average around 150 liters and inhabitants of the USA 380 liters of fresh water per day.

How do we move all this water to and from the users? Simply by using pumps, so it’s easy to see why pumps play a vital role in sustaining life on our planet.

On average, industrial pumping systems account for nearly 25% of industrial electrical energy demand.

A pump is a device that raises or transfers fluids and comes in many guises and executions, but basically they can be categorized by their two main operating principles:

  • Positive
  • Displacement
  • Pumps and Centrifugal Pumps.

Positive displacement pumps mainly come in the form of reciprocating or piston pumps.

The advantages of this pump design are: It has a high efficiency, It can be used for very precise measures of volume, It can generate very high pressures, It is able to prime itself and create suction in order to pump water from a lower level.

Centrifugal pumps are by far the most popular design and count for more than 80% of all pumps in the world.

The advantages are:

  • It has a very simple construction and therefore low in cost and in maintenance,
  • It creates a smooth flow,
  • It can pump very small or very large volumes.

Course overview

Modules: 4
Completion time
Completion time: 15 minutes
Difficulty level
Difficulty level: Basic