Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.77, No.1, 3-10, 1999
The efficiency of short airlift pumps operating at low submergence ratios
An airlift pump operating at submergence ratios between 0.2 and 0.6 and using water as the pumping liquid, has been investigated. Circular pipes of constant short length of 1 m and inner diameters of 3 and 5 cm were used as riser tubes. The water flow rate measurements for various air flow rates allowed the study of the pumping efficiency as a function of the air flow rate, submergence ratio and certain geometrical parameters (riser tube diameter and injector design). The efficiency curves start from a zero efficiency at a minimum air flow rate, then increase rapidly with the air flow rate up to an efficiency maximum. For higher air flow rates, the efficiency decreases exponentially. Diagrams showing the influence of the riser tube diameter and injector design, are presented. Additionally, based on the experimental data, two equations are presented, which allow the prediction of the maximum efficiency and the corresponding water and air flow rates inside the experimental range.