Useful information on External Gear Pumps
A gear pump is a type of positive displacement (PD) pump. Gear pumps use the actions of rotating cogs or gears to transfer fluids. The rotating gears develop a liquid seal with the pump casing and create a vacuum at the pump inlet. Fluid, drawn into the pump, is enclosed within the cavities of the rotating gears and transferred to the discharge. A gear pump delivers a smooth pulse-free flow proportional to the rotational speed of its gears.
There are two basic designs of gear pump: internal and external (Figure 1). An internal gear pump has two interlocking gears of different sizes with one rotating inside the other. An external gear pump consists of two identical, interlocking gears supported by separate shafts. Generally, one gear is driven by a motor and this drives the other gear (the idler). In some cases, both shafts may be driven by motors. The shafts are supported by bearings on each side of the casing.
This article describes plastic gear pump in more detail.
There are three stages in an internal gear pump’s working cycle: filling, transfer and delivery (Figure 2).
As the gears come out of mesh on the inlet side of the pump, they create an expanded volume. Liquid flows into the cavities and is trapped by the gear teeth as the gears continue to rotate against the pump casing.
The trapped fluid is moved from the inlet, to the discharge, around the casing.
As the teeth of the gears become interlocked on the discharge side of the pump, the volume is reduced and the fluid is forced out under pressure.
No fluid is transferred back through the centre, between the gears, because they are interlocked. Close tolerances between the gears and the casing allow the pump to develop suction at the inlet and prevent fluid from leaking back from the discharge side (although leakage is more likely with low viscosity liquids).
External gear pump designs can utilise spur, helical or herringbone gears (Figure 3). A helical gear design can reduce pump noise and vibration because the teeth engage and disengage gradually throughout the rotation. However, it is important to balance axial forces resulting from the helical gear teeth and this can be achieved by mounting two sets of ‘mirrored’ helical gears together or by using a v-shaped, herringbone pattern. With this design, the axial forces produced by each half of the gear cancel out. Spur gears have the advantage that they can be run at very high speed and are easier to manufacture.
The close tolerances between the gears and casing mean that these types of pump are susceptible to wear particularly when used with abrasive fluids or feeds containing entrained solids. External gear pumps have four bearings in the pumped medium, and tight tolerances, so are less suited to handling abrasive fluids. For these applications, universal gear pump are more robust having only one bearing (sometimes two) running in the fluid. A gear pump should always have a strainer installed on the suction side to protect it from large, potentially damaging, solids.
Similar to the spur gear pump, the helical gear pump uses a pair of single- or double-helical (herringbone) gears. Helical gears run quieter than spur gears but develop thrust loads which herringbone gears are intended to counteract. These designs are often used to move larger volumes than spur gear pumps. Helical gears produce fewer pulsations than stainless gear pump as the meshing of teeth is more gradual compared with spur-gear designs. Helix angles run between 15 and 30°.
One general disadvantage that all heat preservation gear pump share over some other positive-displacement pump styles – vane pumps, for instance – is their inability to provide a variable flow rate at a given input speed. Where this is a requirement, a work-around is to use drives capable of speed control, though this is not always a practical solution.