Engineering Tools: What Is a Pump Impeller?

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The global engineering industry is on track to reach the value of $1079.51 billion in 2022. In such a crucial industry, engineering tools play a vital role.

There is a vast range of tools in engineering, each with its own purpose. One of these is the impeller. Impellers are part of pump systems, so you can find them everywhere. 

Keep reading to learn more about pump impellers and the helpful role they play in the engineering industry!

What Is an Impeller?

The impeller is a circular component made up of blades or vanes. The design of impellers differs according to their size, vane position, design, and the speed at which it spins. When this component spins, it creates centrifugal force, which increases the pressure and velocity of the liquid it’s pumping.

The force of the impeller pulls liquid towards its center. There is usually a pipe of some kind attached to this point, where the liquid is pumped through.

A washing machine piping system is one of the most common places you’ll find impeller pumps. Other engineering applications for impellers include powering the jets in boats, pumping air into engines for improved performance, and reducing solids into workable materials.

Types of Impellers

There are three kinds of impellers. They’re commonly made from iron, alloy steel, aluminum, bronze, or brass. 

Open Impellers

In open impellers, the vanes are exposed on both sides of the contraption. Because of this, they are the least efficient type of impeller. 

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t popular. For lower-cost or small pumps, open impellers work efficiently enough. Since they use less material, they are a cheaper option.

Open impellers last longer since they are used in smaller, less damaging systems. Maintenance is also easy because all the parts of the system are visible.

Semi-Open Impellers

These impellers are a good choice for thick liquids or mixtures of liquids and solids. While there are fewer vanes than in an open impeller, the vanes are longer.

Closed Impellers

These are the most efficient impellers. With a covering on both the front and back of the vanes, it has the maximum strength of these piping tools. The covering means stronger suction, which means a more efficient flow. 

The disadvantage of these impellers is their cost. They are more expensive and more difficult to clean and repair. Speed control is also more limited than in other impellers. 

Damage to Impellers

Depending on the type of material and impeller design, there are different types of damage they face. But corrosion, cavitation, and erosion are common problems. 

This is why many people are considering switching to a plastic impeller. While plastic can’t hold up against certain materials, it’s a great alternative in cases where it can pump the substances. Plastic does not suffer the same kinds of damage that traditional impellers do. 

Impellers Are Important Engineering Tools

When we think of engineering tools, we consider the big and complex ones. But pump impellers are a vital part of the engineering industry! They are versatile and cover a wide range of industries and uses. 

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