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Vane Pumps

What is a vane pump?

A type of positive displacement pump that uses the back and forth movement of rectangle shaped vanes inside slots to move fluids. They are sometimes referred to as sliding vane pumps.

How do they work?

The pump includes a cylindrically - shaped rotor turning about its centerline inside of an asymmetrically - shaped casing. The cylindrical rotor has a number of rectangle shaped slots running linearly along the outside of the cylinder. As the cylindrical rotor turns, centrifugal force causes the vanes to move outward, such that the outer edge of the vane stays in touch with the inside surface of the asymmetrically- shaped casing. The asymmetrical shape of the casing causes the vanes to move in and out of the slots as the rotor turns. As the vanes move past the suction port of the pump, a vacuum is created, which draws fluid into the pumping chamber. The fluid then moves between the vanes, and is eventually forced out the discharge port of the pump. Like many rotary pumps, the direction of flow can be reversed by reversing the direction of rotation of the pump.

Where are they used?

Vane pumps are used in many different positive displacement applications. They can handle thin liquids, like water and gasoline, as well as fluids with low viscosity. They don’t work well with highly viscous fluids, as the higher viscosity would keep the vanes from moving freely in the slots.

Because they handle a range of viscosity, they are widely used for fuel loading terminals and fuel transport vehicles, which carry liquids of varying viscosities. They are often used to move propane, solvents, alcohol, and fuels. They are also used to move soft drink syrups and similar commercial applications.

Vane pums are available in many configurations and can also handle fluids with a wide range of temperatures and pressures. Because they often are used for pumping clean hydrocarbons including gas and light oils, vane pumps are normally constructed with iron casings and rotors. The vanes are often made of carbon, which has good lubricity to keep the vanes sliding inside the slots and against the inside surface of the casing, even when pumping low lubricity fluids like gasoline.

Obviously, the type of fluid you are handling will play a big part in whether this pump is right for your application. High-viscosity or thicker fluids likely mean you'd have to greatly reduce the speed of the pump — and a vane pump might not be the best option. In some cases they may be an alternative to gear pumps for moving clean, relatively low viscosity oils.

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