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What is a Reciprocating Pump? Its Parts & Working Principal. Learn Here....!

What is a Reciprocating Pump? Its Parts & Working Principal. Learn Here....!


What is  Reciprocating Pump?
Reciprocating Pump is one type of hydraulic machine in which a specific volume of liquid is collected in a enclosed volume and by using pressure it is discharged to the required application. Reciprocating Pump is  a positive displacement pump. Reciprocating pump convert mechanical energy into hydraulic energy. Reciprocating Pump is employed where low volume of flow is required at high pressure.

Principal of Reciprocating Pump?
Reciprocating Pump operate on the Principal of Pushing the liquid by using piston which produce Reciprocating motion in a enclosed cylinder.

Main Part of  Reciprocating Pump
There are several parts of reciprocating pump. Suction Pipe, Suction Valve, Delivery Pipe, Delivery Valve, Piston and Piston Rod, Cylinder, Strainer, Crank and Connecting Rod & Air Vessel. The function of all main component are as discussed follow.


1. Suction Pipe
Suction pipe is the component which connects the liquid reservoir to the cylinder of the reciprocating pump. The function of suction Pipe is to draw the liquid from liquid reservoir and supply it to the cylinder. The liquid is suck through suction pipe from the source to the cylinder.

2. Suction Valve
Suction Valve is the component which is located between cylinder and inlet of suction pipe. suction valve allow only one directional flow. suction valve is a non-return valve which restrict the return flow of liquid from suction pipe. suction valve is normally open during the suction of liquid. but while return flow of liquid suction valve get closed automatically. 

3. Delivery Pipe
Delivery Pipe is the component which connects the cylinder of the reciprocating pump and a location where liquid can be deliver. The function of delivery pipe is to supply the liquid from reciprocating pump to desired location.

4. Delivery Valve
Delivery Valve is the component which is located between cylinder and outlet of Delivery pipe. Delivery valve allow only one directional flow. Delivery valve is a non-return valve which restrict the return flow of liquid from Delivery pipe. Delivery valve is normally open during the discharging of liquid. but while return flow of liquid Delivery valve get closed automatically. 

5. Cylinder
Cylinder is a hollow part which can be made of cast iron or steel alloy. the piston and piston rod are placed inside the cylinder. suction pipe and delivery pipe are attached to the cylinder so that suction from the liquid reservoir and discharge to the desired location take place. During the suction of liquid, cylinder can store liquid into it. and later with the help of pressure exerted by piston and piston rod arrangement, liquid is discharged to desired location. 

6. Piston and Piston Rod
Piston is solid component which reciprocate (forward and backward motion) into the cylinder. when piston is move in backward direction, the suction through suction pipe take place and when piston is move in forward direction, the discharge through delivery pipe take place. Forward and Backward motion of piston is regulated with the help of piston rod. 

7. Crank and Connecting Rod
Crank is the circular solid disc which is connected to some power source like engine, motor etc. it is used to convert rotary motion of crank into linear (forward and backward motion) motion of piston so that piston can able to produce suction and delivery of liquid. connecting rod is the component which is connect crank to the piston rod.

8. Strainer
Strainer is the component which restrict the solid particle from the liquid to enter into the cylinder. strainer is located at the end of the suction pipe. strainer will protect suction pipe from chocking or blocking the delivery pipe.

9. Air Vessel
Air Vessel is employed to eliminate the friction head. Air Vessel is fitted on suction as well as delivery pipe. Air vessel help to deliver uniform discharge. Air Vessel reduce the amount of work to overcoming the frictional resistance in the suction & delivery pipe.

Diagram of Reciprocating Pump

Reciprocating Pump With Air Vessels
Image Source : Google | created by theconstructor 
Working Reciprocating Pump


  • The crank is connected to power source like motor & engine. as power source switched ON,the crank connected to power source start  rotating. As crank rotate, the connecting rod which attached to the crank is also in motion.
  • The piston is attached to the connecting rod. motion of connecting rod result in the linear motion of piston in forward and backward direction. If piston move in backward direction then it create vacuum in the cylinder.
  • This vacuum will open the suction valve and liquid from liquid reservoir is  sucked from liquid reservoir.
  • As we all know the vacuum is nothing but the pressure below atmospheric pressure  and liquid always flow from high pressure to low pressure. As the liquid reservoir is placed at atmospheric pressure and vacuum is created into the cylinder. the suction of liquid from liquid reservoir to cylinder take place.
  • As piston move in forward direction, pressure in the cylinder increase and this increased pressure close the suction valve and open delivery valve. and liquid get delivered through the delivery pipe.
  • Then again the piston moves backward to create suction and the whole process is repeated.
  • This is the simple working of reciprocating pump(single acting reciprocating pump). Single acting reciprocating pump will produce only one delivery stroke per one revolution of crank. But in case of double acting reciprocating pump, there will be two delivery strokes per one revolution of crank.


Type of Reciprocating Pump
Reciprocating Pump is categorized in several types based on mechanics, Air Vessel & Number of Cylinder.

A) According to Mechanism
According to mechanism employed, reciprocating pump is categorized into following type

1. Single Acting Reciprocating Pump.
Single Acting Reciprocating Pump is act only in single direction in each stroke. Single Acting Reciprocating Pump suck liquid in the suction stroke and deliver water in another delivery stroke. it consist of single suction and delivery valve.

Video Source : Youtube | created by LEARN AND GROW

2. Double Acting Reciprocating Pump
Double Acting Reciprocating Pump always act in bi-direction in each stroke. there are two stroke in the double acting reciprocating pump. during first stroke i.e. suction stroke. liquid is get sucked. also simultaneously delivery of liquid from previous cycle take place. During the next stroke i.e. Delivery Stroke, Liquid get deviled in delivery stroke. during this delivery stroke liquid for next cycle is get sucked.  it consist of two suction and delivery valve.

Video Source : Youtube | created by LEARN AND GROW


B) According to Air Vessel
according to presence of air vessel, reciprocating pump is categorized into following type

1. Pump with Air Vessel
It will deliver continuous flow of liquid at uniform flow rate. it accumulate water by compressing the air in air vessel.

2. Pump without Air Vessel
in this pump some amount of air remains present in the pump due to absence of air vessel. for domestic purpose such type of pump is used.

C) According to Number of cylinder
according to Number of cylinder, reciprocating pump is categorized into following type

1. Single cylinder
Single cylinder reciprocating pump consist of only one cylinder attached to single shaft.

2. Double Cylinder
Double cylinder reciprocating pump consist of only two cylinder attached to single shaft.

3. Triple Cylinder
Triple cylinder reciprocating pump consist of only three cylinder attached to single shaft.

Advantage of Reciprocating Pump

  • High pressure can be obtained.
  • Produce high suction lift.
  • No need of Priming.
  • It can be used for air also
  • Can work in wide pressure range

Disadvantage of Reciprocating Pump
  • High maintenance cost
  • Low discharging capacity
  • More parts mean high initial cost
  • Pulsating flow
  • Difficult to pump viscous fluid
  • No uniform torque
  • High wear in parts

Application of Reciprocating Pump
  • Feeding small boilers condensate return
  • Pneumatic pressure systems
  • Oil drilling operations
  • Light oil pumping
This above article, I had detailed about Reciprocating Pump Working Principle, Diagram advantage & disadvantage. If you find this article useful kindly take few second for us and write in the comment. if you find any wrong information please mention it into comment.

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