Common Problems in Centrifugal Pumps


Cavitation is a serious operational-type problem that takes place where there is insufficient suction pressure to meet the NPSH requirements of the pump.

“Cavitation” implies a dynamic process of formation of bubbles inside the liquid, their growth and subsequent collapse (implosion) as the liquid flows through the pump. Cavitation results in loss of volumetric efficiency. Cavitation also causes material erosion in the pump components (mainly the impeller) due to the forces released in collapsing the gas or vapor bubbles and this can result in complete failure of the pump.

Cavitation causes 4 main problems:

  1. reduces the pump total head and flow rate
  2. reduces the pump overall efficiency
  3. damages impeller and casing walls
  4. creates noise and vibration issues
Figure 8. Cavitation erosion in an impeller (Photo taken from Fluid Handling Pro website)