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February 19, 2014 — Donald Byres

If you have ever asked an engineer to help you size a pump, they will start talking about the net positive suction head available (NPSHA). Next they will tell how hard it is to calculate. Finally they will tell you that if your NPSHA is too low then you will have cavitation.

Now cavitation is bad. It will destroy your pump.

Impeller destroyed by cavitation

But do not despair. There are two simple tricks to avoid the whole problem.

  1. Keep your suction side hoses large and short.
  2. Never try to suck through a filter, heat exchanger or other piece of equipment.

Your suction hoses and lines should always be the same size or larger than the inlet of your pump. Keep them as short as possible. 

Always put your equipment down stream of the pump.

Follow these two rules and NPSHA and cavitation should never be a problem in your plant.



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