Axial Pump

on . Posted in Pump

An axial pump, also known as an axial-flow pump, is a type of pump that moves fluid by means of an impeller with blades that generate an axial (parallel to the shaft) flow pattern.  Unlike radial-flow pumps, where fluid moves outward from the pump's center, in axial pumps, the fluid flows in the same direction as the pump shaft.

Axial Pump Index

Axial pumps are commonly used in situations where a high flow rate is essential, such as in agricultural irrigation, drainage systems, and applications involving the movement of large volumes of water.  Their design makes them well-suited for scenarios where the emphasis is on fluid circulation rather than generating high pressure.

Axial pump Types

Axial pumps come in different types, each designed to meet specific application requirements.

  • Propeller Pumps  -  These pumps have a propeller-like impeller with multiple blades.  The blades are set at an angle to the axis, and the impeller rotates to generate axial thrust and move fluid.
  • Mixed Flow Pumps  -  Mixed flow pumps combine elements of both axial and radial flow.  The impeller design generates both axial and radial components of flow. This type offers a compromise between the characteristics of axial and radial pumps.
  • Kaplan Turbines  -  Kaplan turbines are a type of axial-flow water turbine used for hydroelectric power generation.  They have adjustable blades that allow for optimization of performance under varying flow conditions.
  • Tubular Propeller Pumps  -  Tubular propeller pumps are designed with a tubular casing and a propeller-type impeller.  The tubular casing provides a streamlined flow path.
  • Axial Flow Submersible Pumps  -  Axial flow submersible pumps are designed to be submerged in the fluid they are pumping.  They typically have a vertical orientation and are installed in pits or wells.
  • Vertical Axial Flow Pumps  -  Vertical axial flow pumps have a vertical shaft and are designed to handle large volumes of water at relatively low heads.
  • Adjustable Blade Axial Pumps  -  Some axial pumps feature adjustable blades, allowing operators to change the angle of the blades to optimize pump performance under different flow and head conditions.
  • Deep Well Axial Flow Pumps  -  Deep well axial flow pumps are designed for pumping water from deep wells.  They are often used in agricultural irrigation and water supply systems.

The specific type of axial pump chosen depends on the requirements of the application, including flow rates, head conditions, and the nature of the fluid being pumped. Each type of axial pump has its advantages and limitations, and selection should be based on a careful consideration of the specific needs of the pumping system.


Axial Pump Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Axial pumps are well-suited for applications requiring high flow rates.  They can efficiently move large volumes of fluid, making them useful in scenarios like irrigation and flood control.
  •  These pumps are effective in applications where a relatively low pressure head is required.  They are not designed for high-pressure applications but excel in moving fluid with moderate pressure.
  • Axial pumps can be energy efficient, especially in applications with a focus on moving large quantities of fluid.  Their design allows for the effective conversion of mechanical energy into fluid flow.
  • Many axial pumps have a simple design, consisting of a rotating impeller or propeller and a stationary casing.  This simplicity can contribute to easier maintenance and operation.
  • Axial pumps come in various designs (propeller pumps, mixed flow pumps, Kaplan turbines), making them versatile for different applications such as irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, and marine propulsion.
  • Axial pumps are well-suited for applications in open systems, such as drawing water from rivers, lakes, or reservoirs.  They can efficiently operate in scenarios where a continuous flow of water is available.
  • Axial pumps are not suitable for applications requiring high head pressure.  They are designed for scenarios where the emphasis is on high flow rates with moderate pressure.
  • The efficiency of axial pumps can vary based on factors such as pump design, speed, and specific application conditions.  In some cases, they may be less efficient compared to other pump types, especially at off-design conditions.
  • Axial pumps, particularly those designed for high flow rates, can be large and heavy.  This may limit their use in applications where space and weight constraints are critical.
  • Axial pumps can be sensitive to cavitation, a phenomenon where vapor bubbles form in the fluid due to low pressure areas.  Cavitation can lead to reduced pump efficiency and damage to components.
  • In axial pumps with adjustable blades, such as Kaplan turbines, the complexity of blade adjustment mechanisms may increase maintenance requirements.
  • While versatile, axial pumps may not be the best choice for all applications.  Other pump types, such as centrifugal pumps, may be more suitable for certain pressure and head requirements.


axial pump Characteristics

Axial pumps, also known as axial-flow pumps, have specific characteristics that distinguish them from other types of pumps.

  • Axial Flow  -  The primary feature of axial pumps is that they generate fluid flow parallel to the pump shaft or axis.  This is in contrast to radial-flow pumps, where the fluid flows perpendicular to the pump shaft.
  • Impeller Design:  -  Axial pumps have an impeller with blades or vanes that are designed to generate axial thrust.  The impeller may have a propeller-like design, and the blades are typically set at an angle to the axis.
  • High Flow Rates, Low Head  -  Axial pumps are designed to handle large volumes of fluid at relatively low pressure (head).  They are efficient in applications where the emphasis is on moving a significant quantity of fluid.
  • Efficiency  -  Axial pumps are known for their efficiency in pumping large volumes of water or other fluids.  However, their efficiency can be influenced by factors such as impeller design, operating conditions, and system characteristics.
  • Variable Pitch Impellers  -  Some axial pumps feature variable pitch impellers, allowing for adjustment of the blade angle.  This can be useful in optimizing pump performance under different flow and head conditions.
  • Low Net Positive Suction Head (NPSH)  -  Axial pumps typically require a lower Net Positive Suction Head (NPSH) compared to some other pump types.  This characteristic can be advantageous in applications where the suction conditions are challenging.
  • Simple Construction  -  Axial pumps often have a relatively simple construction, consisting of an impeller and a casing.  This simplicity contributes to ease of maintenance and repair.
  • Application in Low-Head Environments  -  Axial pumps are well-suited for applications where the pump is required to operate in low-head environments, such as in open channels, rivers, or reservoirs.
  • Commonly Horizontal Orientation  -  Axial pumps are commonly installed in a horizontal orientation, especially in applications where water or fluid is drawn from an open source like a river or reservoir.
  • Large Diameter Impellers  -  Axial pumps often have large-diameter impellers to efficiently move large volumes of fluid.  The impeller design is crucial in determining the pump's performance.
  • Limited Lift Capability  -  While axial pumps are efficient in moving fluid horizontally, their ability to lift fluid vertically (lift capability) is limited.  In applications requiring significant lift, other pump types may be more suitable.
  • Water Lubrication  -  Axial pumps often rely on water or the pumped fluid for lubrication.  This can be an important consideration in applications where lubrication maintenance is a concern.

Understanding these characteristics is essential when selecting an axial pump for a specific application.  Factors such as flow requirements, head conditions, and the nature of the fluid being pumped will influence the choice of an axial pump and its operational parameters.

Axial pump Applications

Axial pumps, with their specific characteristics geared towards high flow rates and low head applications, find utility in various industries.

  • Irrigation Systems  -  Axial pumps are widely used in agriculture for irrigation purposes.  They efficiently lift and transport large volumes of water from a water source, such as a river or reservoir, to irrigate fields.
  • Flood Control  -  In situations where excess water needs to be moved quickly, axial pumps are employed for flood control.  They help in transferring water away from flooded areas to prevent damage.
  • Aquaculture  -  Axial pumps are used in aquaculture systems to circulate and aerate water in fish farms.  Adequate water circulation is essential for maintaining water quality and supporting the health of aquatic organisms.
  • Cooling Systems  -  Industrial cooling systems, particularly those in power plants and manufacturing facilities, use axial pumps to circulate large volumes of water for heat dissipation.
  • Hydroelectric Power Generation  -  Axial pumps play a role in hydroelectric power plants, where they move water between reservoirs at different elevations.  This is common in pumped storage hydroelectric systems.
  • Marine Applications  -  Axial pumps are used in various marine applications, including ballast systems on ships.  They help control the vessel's stability by adjusting the amount of water in ballast tanks.
  • Desalination Plants  -  In desalination processes, where seawater is converted into freshwater, axial pumps may be employed to transfer water between different stages of the desalination system.
  • Wastewater Treatment  -  Axial pumps can be utilized in wastewater treatment plants for transferring and circulating water at different stages of the treatment process.
  • Mining Operations  -  Axial pumps may be used in mining for dewatering applications, assisting in pumping out excess water from mines or excavation sites.
  • Fire Protection Systems  -  Axial pumps are used in fire protection systems to move large volumes of water from a water source, such as a reservoir or water tank, to firefighting equipment like hydrants or sprinkler systems.
  • Water Supply Systems  -  Axial pumps are employed in municipal water supply systems to transport water from sources like reservoirs to distribution networks.
  • Construction Dewatering  -  In construction sites, axial pumps are used for dewatering excavations or construction pits by removing excess water.
  • Oil and Gas Industry  -  In certain applications within the oil and gas sector, axial pumps may be used for transferring fluids with low head requirements.

It's important to note that axial pumps are particularly effective in applications where a high flow rate is required, but the pressure (head) remains relatively low.  The selection of an axial pump for a specific application depends on factors such as flow requirements, the nature of the fluid, and the specific conditions of the pumping system.

Piping Designer Logo 1