Difference Between Reciprocating & Centrifugal Pump

Pump
••• Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Louise Docker

Reciprocating and centrifugal pumps serve different purposes and operate with separate functions. Centrifugal pumps transport huge amounts of liquid at a time, but the level at which the centrifugal pump operates is reduced as pressure rises. Reciprocating pumps push liquid out through a check valve, but the amount of liquid that is released is limited. Due to the differences in how they operate, they are ideally suited for dissimilar functions.

Reciprocating Pumps

Reciprocating pumps operate by moving a plunger back and forth through a cylinder. The plunger provides pulses of pressure as it moves. Reciprocating pumps can be single action or double action (pump provides pressure as the piston advances and as it retracts).

Reciprocating Uses

Reciprocating pumps are ideal for providing short bursts of high pressure. Examples include bicycle pumps and well pumps.

Centrifugal Pumps

Centrifugal pumps operate by rotating a central impeller. Intake fluid is provided at the center of the impeller and the spinning acceleration sends it out of the sides of the impeller to provide pressure.

Centrifugal Uses

Centrifugal pumps are ideally suited for constant lower pressures, such as that found in pool filters.

Pump Comparison

For pneumatic tools, a centrifugal pump is better suited due to the constant pressure it can provide. For filling a pressurized container, the higher peak pressures of a reciprocating pump is preferred.

Related Articles

What Are the Functions of the Left & Right Atria?
How Does a Check Valve Work?
How to Calculate Volume of a Circular Cylinder
Differences Between Rotary & Reciprocating Compressors
How Hydraulic Accumulators Work
How Hydraulic Hammers Work
How to Calculate Static Head
How to Make a Working Heart Model
How to Convert CV to GPM
What Is the Definition of Hydraulic Lift?
Difference Between Standard & Full Port Ball Valves
How Hydraulic Pilot Valves Work
How to Fix a Submersible Water Pump
How Do Pneumatic Controls Work?
How to Calculate Heat Loss During Pipeline Depressurization
How a Hydraulic Jack Works
Pneumatic Cylinder Definition
What Is an Instrument Which Measures the Pressure of...
What are Gehl 4625 Skid Steer Specifications?