Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) technique in conjunction with refractive index matching was successfully utilized to investigate the velocities of the slurry particles in the impeller of a centrifugal slurry pump. Tests were performed in an optically clear centrifugal slurry pump at speeds of 725 rpm and 1000 rpm using a slurry made up of sodium iodide solution as the working fluid and glass beads (500μm mean diameter) as solid particles at volumetric concentrations of 1%,2%, and 3%. In the intra blade region of the impeller, the highest particle velocities were obtained on the suction side of the blade and in the blade trailing edge region as the blade sweeps through and velocity magnitude increases with the pump speed. But this magnitude was less than that of circumferential velocity of the blade tip. Relative velocity plots show that flow separation takes place on the suction side of the blade in the region below the blade tip for clear fluid flow conditions. This was expected as the pump is made to operate with a slurry and not a single-phase liquid. At higher pump speeds and particle volumetric concentrations, a marked improvement in the slurry flow in the impeller is observed i.e., the recirculation zone decreases. This results from the centrifugal forces on the particles and its inertia at that speed. Also the slurry particles are pushed on the pressure side of the blade and slide along it which can result in frictional wear. These results are discussed in this paper.

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