Vacuum and low pressures are needed in many applications, and the liquid-ring vacuum pump, which does not have any solid-solid contacts between moving and stationary parts, is widely used because of its low operational cost and long service life. Though progress has been made in advancing this pump, industry still has aggressive goals on improving its efficiency and performance.

In this study, a reduced-order model was developed to predict the ability of liquid-ring pumps to ingest air and thereby create lower pressure as a function of pump design and operating parameters. The model developed is semi-empirical — constructed by first analyzing available experimental data to extract features and trends and then encapsulating them into a model through appropriate dimensionless parameters. This model by being in closed form shows the functional relationship between the pump’s design and operating parameters and its ability to ingest air and create a vacuum. To make predictions, this model only requires the following inputs: suction pressure, impeller’s rotational speed, and a few dimensions of the pump.

The model developed was assessed by using it to predict the ability of the pump to ingest air for a wide range of suction pressures (cavitation pressure to 760 torr), rotor speeds (up to 1,750 rpm), and dimensions of the pump (radius and span of the impeller blade, hub radius) and then comparing predictions with experimental data not used in the creation of the model. The model developed was found to be accurate within 11% of the experimental data.

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