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What to do if you have a centrifugal pump running dry?

If you have a dry running pump, contact Boulden. We supply composite materials like Vespel® CR-6100, Metcar® or Boulden B-Series which can help your pump survive. These non-galling, non-seizing composite materials can be used to manufacture dry run resistant bearings, bushings, and other wear parts. Upgrading your wear parts to these materials can help your pump survive dry running, or–at a minimum–reduce the damage to your pump if it does run dry.

What happens when a centrifugal pump runs dry?

The consequences of running a pump dry are often dire. The close clearance interfaces in the pump are usually manufactured from metal parts, which can contact each other, generate heat, weld together, and seize the pump. A pump seizure at full operating speed can create severe damage. At a minimum, the subsequent pump overhaul will be very expensive. At worst, hazardous or flammable products can be released into the atmosphere. By upgrading your pump to Vespel® CR-6100Boulden B-Series or Metcar® M-161 you eliminate the metal-to-metal contact points in your pump. Vespel® CR-6100 or Boulden B-Series components convert your stationary wear components to non-seizing, dry run resistant composite materials, while the rotating parts remain metal. The result is metal-to-composite contact inside the machine, resulting in a pump with greater tolerance to running dry. The composite parts will not seize, reducing the risk of damage to the pump. In many cases, the pump can survive dry running and continue in service once conditions are restored.

LPG Pump with Vespel CR-6100
Methan Pump Bushing

How long can a centrifugal pump run dry?

It is not uncommon to see materials advertised as capable of running dry. What these advertisements rarely mention is how long can a centrifugal pump run dry and survive using these materials. To answer this question, Boulden has performed extensive testing on dry run resistant bearings. When applied to our test rig, some of the widely advertised materials only ran dry for a very short time–much less than a minute. Conversely, some of our materials have survived more than an hour running dry. That said, there is no set answer for how long a centrifugal pump can run dry. In general, as pump power and speed increase, the time the pump can run dry decreases. All the same, the photos on this page show components from pumps which ran dry for up to 40 minutes with no damage to either the Vespel® CR-6100 components or the pump parts.

Looking to Upgrade Your Wear Parts?

Boulden has been supplying dry run resistant bearings and pump components for many years. We know that the consequences of running a pump dry can be very costly to your operations. Composite materials including Metcar® M-161, can help your pump survive these off-design conditions. Learn more about the metal parts you can replace with composite components today. To learn more about using composite materials in your pumps, sign up for our newsletter.

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