The purpose of this article is to present some guidelines and simplified techniques to size pumps and piping typically used in mud systems. If unusual circumstances exist such as unusually long or complicated pipe runs or if very heavy or viscous drilling muds are used, a qualified engineer should analyze the system in detail and calculate an exact solution.
The main parts, a centrifugal pump consist of are casing, impeller, shaft, bearing, and sealing.
Turbulent flow is detrimental to a centrifugal pump during handling of abrasive fluids. The drilling industry has standardized centrifugal pumps with concentric casings and wide impellers, a design that has proven to offer less turbulence and greatest pump life. The walls of a concentric style of casing (Figure 1) are an equal distance from the impeller throughout the impeller circumference, resulting in a smooth flow pattern. A volute style of casing (Figure 2) has a cutwater point that disturbs the fluid flow pattern, creating an eddy.