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How Do You Size a Diaphragm Pump?

Oct. 20, 2023

Sizing a diaphragm pump is a crucial step in ensuring that it can effectively and efficiently meet the requirements of your specific application. Diaphragm pumps are versatile and can be used for a wide range of fluids, but the sizing process involves several key considerations. Here's how to size a diaphragm pump:


Understand Your Application Requirements 

Begin by gaining a comprehensive understanding of your application's requirements. You need to know the following details:


Fluid Type: What type of fluid will the diaphragm pump handle? Consider the viscosity, corrosiveness, and abrasiveness of the fluid.


Flow Rate (GPM or LPM): Determine the desired flow rate, which is the volume of fluid you need to move in a given time, typically measured in gallons per minute (GPM) or liters per minute (LPM).


Discharge Pressure (PSI or Bar): Define the required discharge pressure, which is the pressure the pump needs to generate to move the fluid to the desired location, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) or bar.


Suction Lift and Head: Identify the height from the source to the pump (suction lift) and the height from the pump to the destination (head). This helps determine the pump's ability to lift and move the fluid.


Temperature Range: Know the temperature range of the fluid, as this can affect the choice of diaphragm material and the pump's overall performance.

 Electric Diaphragm Pump

Choose the Appropriate Pump Type 

Diaphragm pumps come in various types, and selecting the right one is essential. The most common types are:


Air-Operated Double Diaphragm Pumps (AODD): These pumps use compressed air to actuate the diaphragms. They are versatile, easy to maintain, and suitable for a wide range of applications.


Mechanically Actuated Diaphragm Pumps: These pumps use a mechanical linkage to move the diaphragms. They are ideal for high-pressure applications and are often used in chemical and industrial settings.


Electric Diaphragm Pumps: Driven by an electric motor, these pumps are efficient and commonly used in applications requiring continuous operation.


Your choice of pump type depends on factors like the nature of the fluid, the required pressure, and the availability of power sources.


Calculate Diaphragm Pump Capacity 

Once you've gathered the necessary application information and chosen the pump type, you can calculate the diaphragm pump's capacity. The capacity is determined by the pump's flow rate and pressure capability.


Flow Rate (Q): Calculate the required flow rate by considering the application's demand. Be sure to account for any fluctuations in flow, which may necessitate an oversized pump.


Pressure Head (H): Calculate the total dynamic head (TDH) by adding the suction head, discharge head, and friction losses. This will help you determine the required pump head or pressure.


Select the Pump: Based on your calculations, choose a diaphragm pump with a flow rate and head capacity that meets or slightly exceeds your requirements.


Consider Pump Material and Diaphragm Material

The compatibility of the pump and diaphragm materials with the handled fluid is crucial for long-term performance and durability. Diaphragms can be made from various materials, such as rubber, thermoplastic, PTFE, and more. Select a diaphragm material that is resistant to the fluid's properties, such as corrosiveness or abrasiveness.


The materials used for the pump housing, wetted parts, and diaphragms should be compatible with the fluid and the environmental conditions of your application.


Account for Safety and Maintenance 

Safety and maintenance considerations are important in the sizing process. Ensure that the diaphragm pump is designed with safety features, such as leak detection and overpressure protection. Additionally, assess the ease of maintenance, including diaphragm replacement and pump inspection.


It's essential to follow the manufacturer's maintenance recommendations and schedule to ensure the pump's longevity and optimal performance.


Finalize Your Selection 

After considering all the factors and calculating the pump's requirements, make a final selection that best aligns with your application needs. Consult with diaphragm pump manufacturers and suppliers for recommendations and to ensure that the chosen pump model is well-suited to your specific requirements.


In summary, sizing a diaphragm pump involves understanding the application's requirements, choosing the right pump type, calculating capacity based on flow rate and pressure, considering materials, accounting for safety and maintenance, and making a final selection. Proper sizing ensures that the diaphragm pump can perform effectively and efficiently in your specific application while also maximizing its operational life.