The SludgeHammer Airlift pumps operate on the principle of air displacement of liquid within the pumps vertical riser. The pump operates with pressurized air that forms a bubble within a containment pipe. This bubble forces liquid held in a vertical riser up when it expands to a sufficient size to overcome the weight of the liquid in the pipe. As such, the delivery rate of any particular pump model is a function of the volume of air delivered to the unit. An air-flow delivery rate of 1 cfm will displace 7.46 gallons of liquid per minute.
Variables to be considered with airlift pump performance include:
1. Air source – Linear air pumps and regenerative blowers provide air according to their varied pump curves. These need to be consulted to determine rate of air flow at different head pressure. Depending on depth and diameter of unit air can be added at a rate that exceeds the capacity of the pump.
2. Depth of placement –
a) The psi of the liquid can be calculated at 0.45 psi/per foot of head, thus placement of the pump at 4 feet depth requires a minimum air pressure of of 1.8 psi for operation.
b) The pump generally will not operate until the bottom of the central vertical riser is at least 1-2 feet underwater. Height of lift will depend on the depth of the inlet so it is recommended that the unit be placed as close to the bottom as possible.
3. Diameter of pipe – Diameter of the vertical riser in the pump is a function of the desired height of lift and the potential for solids clogging. Where suspended solids are in small particulate form the 1″ diameter is suitable. This diameter provides greater lifting capacity for recycling purposes. If larger particulate material is present the 2″ diameter riser eliminates the potential for clogging, however, height of lift is reduced. Expect lifts of up to 6′ with the 1″ diameter airlift unit and lift up to 3′ with the 2″ diameter unit.
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