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Centrifugal Pump Demonstration Unit

The centrifugal pump is the machine most commonly used to move liquids from one place to another. As such it is a particularly instructive unit that introduces students to the whole subject of rotodynamic fluid machines.

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FM50 Centrifugal Pump Demonstration Unit – Issue 3

The centrifugal pump is the machine most commonly used to move liquids from one place to another. As such it is a particularly instructive unit that introduces students to the whole subject of rotodynamic fluid machines.

Discovering the relationship between head, flow, rotational speed and power provides a framework of general applicability. For example, matching the required duty point to the conditions of maximum energy efficiency may be explored as a creative student project.

Ordering Specification

  • A small-scale centrifugal pump demonstration unit, comprising of a water reservoir, the pump, control valves and interconnecting pipework all mounted on a stainless steel base
  • Equipped with electronic measurement sensors for pump head pressure, suction,
    flow rate and water temperature
  • Transparent pump volute for visibility
  • Capable of being linked to a PC (not supplied) via a USB interface console (an essential accessory), which does not require internal access to the computer Also enables interfacing to other software packages
  • Supplied with software providing full instructions for setting up, operating, calibrating and performing the teaching exercises. Facilities for logging, processing and displaying data graphically
  • Offers a complete teaching package of coursework and laboratory investigation

Instructional Capabilities

  • Demonstration of a single-stage centrifugal water pump in operation
  • Measurement of constant-speed pump performance, including production of characteristic curves:
    - Pump total head
    - Motor shaft power
    - Impeller speed
    - Pump efficiency
  • Introduction to pump speed laws
  • Investigation of impeller styles
  • Comparison of student calculations with computer results


A motor-driven centrifugal pump, mounted on a stainless steel plinth with a water reservoir and pipework for continuous circulation. The pump volute and the water reservoir are manufactured from clear acrylic for maximum visibility. Similarly the pipe runs are made from transparent PVC. Manually operated valves at the pump inlet and outlet allow control of the flow and also facilitate the study of suction effects.

The pump volute has been designed so that the impeller can be easily accessed and replaced without tools. The FM50 is delivered with two impellers, one with forward-curved blades and one with backward-curved blades, allowing the students to investigate the effects of impeller characteristics.

Electronic sensors measure the pump inlet pressure, the pump outlet pressure, the flow rate and the water temperature.

The pump speed is accurately controlled by an advanced electronic inverter within the IFD7 (an essential accessory). This inverter also calculates the torque produced at the motor drive shaft, allowing the power used by the pump to be derived. The IFD7 also provides the conditioning electronics for the sensors and allows their readings to be displayed on the computer software.

Connections to the IFD7 are a single multiway connector for the sensors and a connector for the pump motor drive.

The equipment is provided with advanced education and data logging software. See the software section of this datasheet for further details.

Performance Specification

Max flow rate: 1.6 l/s typical
Max head: 9.0m
Max pump speed: 1,800rpm
Motor power rating: 250W


All Armfield CAPTURE units are now supplied with LabVIEW™ based software to present and record the data in a way that is straightforward to use and understand for the student, yet offers a wide range of advanced features and capabilities.

Software Capabilities

Each piece of FM equipment is supplied with its own run time software. This can be installed on any Windows based PC and requires no additional licences or software to be installed to use it to its full extent. It includes a range of facilities and capabilities designed to make the operation of the equipment and processing of the results very straightforward. This enables the student to focus on generating a true understanding of the subject material.

Typical functions include:

  • Diagrammatic representation of the equipment complete with real-time display of the various sensor outputs
  • Detailed ‘help’ facilities giving in-depth guidance
  • Automatic data logging of sensor values into a spreadsheet format
  • Control over sampling intervals
  • Sophisticated graph plotting facilities of both measured and calculated values, including comparisons taken under different conditions
  • Export of data to Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet software
  • General notepad facility
  • Facility to add notes to an individual sample
  • Calibration facility for sensors
  • Real-time bar graph display of sensor outputs
  • Recent history graphical display

Software Upgrades

Existing CAPTURE MkII users can upgrade to the new LabVIEW™ software, (ie any system incorporating an IFD7 Interface Unit). No hardware changes are necessary unless also upgrading from a 32-bit to a 64-bit computer. If the computer operating system is being upgraded at the same time it may also be necessary to upgrade the IFD7. See the IFD7 section for more details.

Software Source Code

Advanced LabVIEW users may wish to access and modify the code supplied by Armfield. Armfield can supply the source code for the LabVIEW software, enabling the programs to be optimised for particular requirements.

To use this facility, an up to date version of the National Instruments LabVIEW development software must be installed on the PC, together with all applicable licences. (Note, Armfield do not supply National Instruments Software.)

Order Code FM-LV-SC.

Software Order Codes

FM40-LV-RT, FM41-LV-RT etc. for standard software or FM-LV-SC for the source code version.

Technical Details

The analogue output data is digitised and transferred to a computer using the standard USB (Universal Serial Bus). This allows any standard modern Windows computer to be used, including notebooks, and does not require any internal access to the computer.

The equipment is supplied complete with a USB lead for connection to the computer.

The FM50 interfaces to the computer using the IFD7 device and the USB port of the computer.

Also available is a software driver that enables the outputs to be read in other software programs, such as LabVIEW.

Essential Equipment

Shipping Specification

Volume: 1.10m3
Gross weight: 110kg

Overall Dimensions

Height: 0.60m
Length: 0.88m
Width: 0.51m