Reciprocating and centrifugal pumps serve different purposes and operate with separate functions. Centrifugal pumps transport huge amounts of liquid at a time, but the level at which the centrifugal pump operates is reduced as pressure rises. Reciprocating pumps push liquid out through a check valve, but the amount of liquid that is released is limited. Due to the differences in how they operate, they are ideally suited for dissimilar functions.
Reciprocating pumps operate by moving a plunger back and forth through a cylinder. The plunger provides pulses of pressure as it moves. Reciprocating pumps can be single action or double action (pump provides pressure as the piston advances and as it retracts).
Reciprocating pumps are ideal for providing short bursts of high pressure. Examples include bicycle pumps and well pumps.
Centrifugal pumps operate by rotating a central impeller. Intake fluid is provided at the center of the impeller and the spinning acceleration sends it out of the sides of the impeller to provide pressure.
Centrifugal pumps are ideally suited for constant lower pressures, such as that found in pool filters.
For pneumatic tools, a centrifugal pump is better suited due to the constant pressure it can provide. For filling a pressurized container, the higher peak pressures of a reciprocating pump is preferred.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Louise Docker
Parts of a Spray Bottle
A spray bottle is a device that uses a basic pump mechanism to dispense contained liquids. All spray bottles are made up...
What Are Centrifugal Pumps?
Centrifugal pumps are used for virtually all straight pumping applications of low viscosity fluids like water without complications, such as liquids containing...
Horizontal Vs. Vertical Centrifugal Pumps
Centrifugal pumps are some of the most common pumps on the market. This type of pump is highly efficient at transferring fluid...
What Is a Triplex Pump?
Pumps are used to move fluid such as a liquid, slurry or gas. Pumps displace the volume of these fluids via mechanical...
Centrifugal Vs. Rotary Screw Air Compressors
Air compressors have commonly been used to clean work spaces, fill tires and other rudimentary jobs around the home. There are several...
The Advantages & Disadvantages of a Piston Pump
Piston pumps, also called reciprocating pumps, can be powered by an electric motor, steam or a turbine, hydraulic drive mechanism. Piston pumps...
How to Calculate the Power of a Reciprocating Pump
A reciprocating pump is a type of positive displacement pump that uses a piston, plunger or diaphragm to drive pressure into the...
Types of Fire Pumps
A fire pump is a specialized water pump that provides constant, high pressure for a water system used to extinguish fires. The...
Positive Displacement Pump Types
The purpose of a pump is to move fluids. The two types of pumps are dynamic pumps, which use velocity to move...
Basics Parts of a Functioning Centrifugal Pump
A centrifugal pump is a relatively simple piece of equipment. Transferring electrical energy powering the pump into kinetic energy, an impeller inside...
Differences Between Rotary & Reciprocating Compressors
Rotary and reciprocating compressors are both components of gas transfer systems. They both have the same purpose--to bring a gas into the...