Tag Archives: machined parts

The Effect of Wear Ring Clearance on NPSHR

Recommended reading from the 32nd Pump Users Symposium, 2016

A Short Break

In recent weeks, we have discussed how an upgrade to composite wear rings allows you to avoid pump seizure, and therefore reduce the wear ring clearance in your pump. This reduction in clearance increases the Lomakin Effect in the pump and improves pump efficiency.

One thing we did not discuss is that reducing the wear ring clearance also reduces the pump NPSHR.

In the past, discussion of the relationship between pump NPSHR, wear ring clearance, and cavitation has led to many questions. Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are somewhat restricted due to limited testing on this topic.

Last year, there was a paper which provided some clear data on this subject. The authors used a pump test stand, two different impeller configurations, and wear rings at various clearances. We recommend taking a look at the following paper for greater technical insight into the relationship between wear ring clearance and pump NPSHR.

The Influence of Impeller Wear Ring Geometry on Suction Performance

by Thomas Leibner, David Cowan, and Simon Bradshaw

Published at the 32nd Pump Users Symposium

Houston, TX, September 2016

Until Next Time

In the near future, we will return to our series on upgrading pumps with Vespel® CR-6100, addressing how to upgrade specific pump configurations.

Contact Boulden For More Information

Until then, if you have a pump operating at less than 500 F (260 C) where you want to reduce the NPSHR, contact Boulden today. We have a huge inventory of Vespel® CR-6100 standard sizes in stock ready for immediate shipment almost anywhere in the world.

For application and installation details, download the Boulden Installation Guide for Vespel® CR-6100

Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 7

Upgrading pumps with composite wear componentsPart 7: Between Bearings, Radially Split Pumps (API Types BB2, BB4, and BB5)


DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100 is a composite material which is used for the stationary wear parts of your pump and can be used in nearly all process chemicals from cryogenic temperatures to 500 F (260 C).

The upgrade to Vespel® CR-6100 wear parts involves two steps: eliminate the metal-to-metal contact points in the pump to minimize the risk of pump seizure, then reduce clearance to improve reliability and increase efficiency.

Radially Split Pumps

Today, we cover the details on using Vespel® CR-6100 to upgrade your between-bearings, radially-split pumps. The components we want to upgrade in these pumps are the case rings, throttle bushing, and throat bushings.

Single and two-stage BB2 style pumps are widely used in refining and petrochemical applications featuring higher temperatures and low NPSH available. Upgrading the wear rings (and inter-stage bushing in two-stage designs) with Vespel® CR-6100 and reduced clearance will help maintain rotor stability, improve efficiency, and reduce the pump NPSHR.

Multi-stage BB4 and BB5 designs are used in several ideal applications for Vespel® CR-6100: unit charge pumps in refinery, petrochemical, and gas processing along with boiler feed water in many different industries. Upgrading the wear rings and throttle bushings of these pumps with Vespel® CR-6100 and reducing the clearance can produce significant efficiency gains of 4-6%. Higher efficiency translates to either lower operating cost as your pump uses less energy to produce the same flow, or increased throughput which can pay for the upgrade in a matter of days

Wear Rings

The key point in upgrading the wear rings in these designs is to ensure the Vespel® CR-6100 is retained against differential pressure. In many designs, the original case wear rings are manufactured with an “L” shaped profile as shown in Figure 1. This shape of this design will, in most cases, retain the rings against differential pressure. You only need to modify the original design to incorporate the press fit required for Vespel® CR-6100 and then final machine the rings after they are pressed into the diffusers.

Vespel® CR-6100 case rings for a hydrocracker charge pump

Vespel® CR-6100 case rings for a hydrocracker charge pump


In some pumps, however, the case rings go straight across the diffusers. When they are metal rings, they are usually welded in place. To replace these designs with Vespel® CR-6100, you may need to modify the diffusers to incorporate an “L” shaped profile, or design another method of retaining the components against differential pressure. If you have any questions, contact Boulden with the pump cross sectional drawing and we can help.

Throttle Bushings (aka Balance Drums)

The throttle bushings of BB4 and BB5 pump types can be exposed to high differential pressures. For these components, Boulden has developed a patent-pending design called the PERF-Seal™ which improves the performance and dramatically increases the differential pressure capability of composite materials used in this position.

Boulden recommends the PERF-Seal™ design for all throttle bushings in BB4 and BB5 pumps. Contact us and we can either supply machined parts or provide drawings for you to manufacture the components in your shop for the upgrade.

To be continued…

Our final look at specific pump types will feature vertically suspended pumps. After that, we will cover a few specific topics and wrap up this series.

Until then, if you have a radially split pump where you would like to improve the reliability or efficiency, contact Boulden today. We can provide you all of the details required for your upgrade and have the Vespel® CR-6100 in stock in a wide range of sizes available for immediate delivery.
For details on installing Vespel® CR-6100 into nearly any centrifugal pump type, download the Boulden Installation Guide.

Contact Us Today To Learn More About Vespel and Boulden Company!

Contact Us Today To Learn More About Vespel and Boulden Company!