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​Selection and Types of Slurry Pumps

Jul. 18, 2022

Moving slurry is very challenging because it is highly abrasive, thick, corrosive and contains a high concentration of solids. It is also very tough for pumps. But by choosing the slurry pump correctly, it can run smoothly for a long time. In this article, we will discuss the basics, types and selection of slurry pumps.

What is a slurry pump?

Slurry pumps are heavy duty and robust pumps (mainly centrifugal pumps) capable of handling tough and abrasive fluids such as slurry.

Some examples of industries that handle slurries are mining, dredging, steel processing, foundry, power generation, drilling mud, pulp and paper, wastewater treatment, mineral processing, etc. Due to the presence of solid particles and their highly viscous and sticky nature, mud movement requires more power than normal fluids. Therefore, specially designed heavy duty pumps are needed to work as slurry pumps.

Ceramic Slurry Pump

Ceramic Slurry Pump

Slurry Pump Components

There are six basic components in a slurry pump. They are:

Impeller: Two options to choose from, closed impeller or open impeller.

Shell: Two options to select from; Solid single piece or split shells.

Drive Control: Three types of drive control; Belt drive, gearbox drive, or direct connection of motor with the shaft.

Suction plate liner

Shaft seals: Three design options; Stuffing box, mechanical seal, or expeller.

Bearing Assembly



Slurry type

Theoretically, any solid can be hydraulically conveyed. However, particle size and shape can be limiting factors, depending on whether they can pass through the pump channel without causing clogging. Within the broader "slurry" category, there are four slurry classifications that determine how best to select the right slurry pump.

Class 1: Lightly abrasive

Class 2: Slightly abrasive

Class 3: Significantly more abrasive

Class 4: Highly abrasive

It is not surprising that oil sand pumps are well suited to transport highly abrasive Class 4 slurries. Because slurry pumps are specifically designed to hydraulically transport large solids, they also ensure better wear resistance in harsh conditions. But there's more to choosing a pump than just knowing the type of slurry it will move.

Ceramic Slurry Pump

 Ceramic Slurry Pump

Types of centrifugal slurry pumps

While centrifugal slurry pumps are known for their use in the oil sands, many have other applications as well.

These slurry pumps are best suited for use with water-based solutions and are often used for dredging.

  • Tailings Transfer — Tailings Transfer pumps are best suited for transporting tailings, or the finer abrasive particles that result from hard rock mining, like mud and ore particles, as well as associated chemicals used in the mining process.

  • Cyclone Feed — Like tailings pumps, cyclone feed pumps are also used in hard rock mining and are similar to hydrotransport pumps as they’re applicable to dredging operations. In the cyclone feed market, these pumps are used in all stages of scalping or separating solids by particle size.

  • Flotation Froth — Transporting froth using a slurry pump is a unique application in that the air contained in froth can negatively impact pump performance. This also means it’s difficult to predict pump performance life for these applications. Due to these factors, oversized High-Volume Froth (HVF) pumps, which remove air from froth, are necessary for froth applications.

Choosing the right pump for a particular slurry can help pump owners avoid unnecessary maintenance, repairs and associated downtime. In addition, the right pump application can create a safer working environment, giving peace of mind to those working on or around the pump. Perhaps most importantly, specially selected

slurry pumps also have a longer wear life, which improves the owner's bottom line.

Vertical Centrifugal Ceramic (SIC) Sump Pump

 Vertical Centrifugal Ceramic (SIC) Sump Pump

Selection of slurry pumps

There are several types of pumps available for pumping slurry. However, selecting the precise slurry pump depends on a number of key considerations listed below.

The type of slurry to be handled, including the size and nature of the solid particles present.

The corrosive properties of the slurry primarily determine the pump material used.

Pipe size - the inside diameter of the pipe must be much larger than the maximum particle size

Static pressure head requirements.

Available NPSH

Slurry pipe or piping length

Pump operating parameters specifically discharge pressure and velocity, the lower the better.


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