The centrifugal pump is one of the most widely used pumps. Lower efficiency, worse cavitation performance and stronger unsteady flow are three main problems for the low-specific-speed centrifugal pumps. Due to unsteady flow within pumps, pressure is fluctuant, which further induces vibration and noise. For a centrifugal pump with different impellers, its characteristics of unsteady flow are also different. In this paper, five different impellers were designed adopting low-specific-speed design method, splitter-blades design method and velocity-coefficient method with a set of performance parameters (Q = 25m3/h, H = 10m, n = 1450r/min). 3D unsteady turbulent flow field within the centrifugal pump was simulated. The periodic fluctuation phenomenon and the unsteady flow characteristics were investigated. The static pressure fluctuation in the volute and at the volute outlet and the instantaneous head changes were showed for the pumps with five different impellers operated at design and off-design conditions. The pressure fluctuation is the strongest near the tongue and is slighter at the volute outlet section. The transient head fluctuation increases with the flow rate. The transient head fluctuation of the pump with the low-specific-speed designed impeller is the biggest, while that of the pump with the normal-designed impeller is the smallest. Among the three splitter-blade impellers, the transient head fluctuation of the impeller with splitter blades leaned to the corresponding suction side of the long blades is the smallest. Eventually, the different design schemes were evaluated using the unsteady flow analysis. These conclusions from this paper can supply some references for the design of low-specific-speed centrifugal pumps considering its pressure fluctuation and flow-induced vibration and noise.

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