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Regenerative Turbine Principles

The primary difference between a centrifugal and a regenerative turbine pump is that fluid only travels through a centrifugal impeller once, while in a turbine, it takes many trips through the vanes. Referring to the cross-section diagram, the impeller vanes move within the flow-through area of the water channel passageway. Once the liquid enters the pump, it is directed into the vanes, which push the fluid forward and impart a centrifugal force outward to the impeller periphery. An orderly circulatory flow is therefore imposed by the impeller vane, which creates fluid velocity. Fluid velocity (or kinetic energy) is then available for conversion to flow and pressure depending on the external system’s flow resistance as diagrammed by a system curve.

It is useful to note at this point, that in order to prevent the internal loss of the pressure building capability of an MTH regenerative turbine, close internal clearances are required. In many cases, depending on the size of the pump, impeller to casing clearances may be as little as one-thousandth of an inch on each side. Therefore, these pumps are suitable for use only on applications with clean fluids and systems. In some cases, a suction strainer can be used successfully to protect the pump.

Next, as the circulatory flow is imposed on the fluid and it reaches the fluid channel periphery, it is then redirected by the specially shaped fluid channels, around the side of the impeller, and back into the I.D. of the turbine impeller vanes, where the process begins again. This cycle occurs many times as the fluid passes through the pump. Each trip through the vanes generates more fluid velocity, which can then be converted into more pressure. The multiple cycles through the turbine vanes are called regeneration, hence the name regenerative turbine. The overall result of this process is a pump with pressure building capability ten or more times that of a centrifugal pump with the same impeller diameter and speed.

In some competitive designs, you will find that only a single-sided impeller is used. That design suffers from a thrust load in the direction of the motor that must be carried by the motor bearings. MTH turbines use a two-sided floating impeller design that builds pressure equally on both sides. This has the advantage of allowing the pump pressure to hydraulically self-center the impeller in the close clearance impeller cavity, while not burdening the motor bearings with excessive thrust loads.

General Sizing Procedure

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