Will the water pump explode too? The answer to this question must be yes


All the explosions in the picture are centrifugal water pumps. The explosion was not caused by impurities in the pump, or by a chemical reaction between the pump and some material that should not be in the pump. In fact, for an explosion like this, the water in the pump is very pure – such as boiler feed water, condensate water and deionized water.

How did these explosions happen?

The answer is: when these pumps are running, there is a period of time when the inlet and outlet valves of the pump are closed at the same time (making the pump “idle”). Since the water cannot flow through the pump, all the energy originally used to transport the fluid is converted into heat. When the water is heated, it creates a static pressure inside the pump, which is enough to cause damage to the pump—possible seal failure and pump casing rupture. Such an explosion could cause severe equipment damage and personal injury due to the release of accumulated energy within the pump. However, if the water is heated above the boiling point before the pump fails, a more energetic explosion is possible as the released superheated water rapidly boils and expands (boiling liquid expands vapor explosion – BLEVE ), its severity and hazards are similar to steam boiler explosions. This type of explosion can occur if the pump is running with both the pump inlet and outlet valves closed, regardless of the liquid being handled by the pump. Even a non-hazardous fluid like water creates the serious hazards shown in the diagram, just imagine if the fluid is flammable, then the released material could catch fire with even more serious consequences. It is further envisaged that if the fluid is toxic or corrosive, then the released material could seriously injure persons near the pump.


What can you do?

Before starting the pump, check that all valves are in the correct position. Make sure that all valves in the designed flow path are open, while other valves, such as drain valves and vent valves, are closed. If you are starting a pump remotely, such as from a control room, make sure the pump you are about to start is ready to start. If you’re not sure, go out and check it out, or have someone else check it out. Make sure: Those critical steps that are critical to the safe operation of the pump, including the opening and closing positions of the valves, are included in the equipment’s operating procedures and inspection lists. Some pumps are automatically activated—for example, by a process control computer or level control instrument that automatically empties the storage tank when it is full. Before putting these pumps into automatic control, such as after maintenance, make sure that all valves are in the correct position. In order to prevent the pump from starting when the pipeline is blocked, some pumps are equipped with instrument protection devices-for example, interlocks such as low flow, high temperature, or overpressure. Make sure these safety systems are properly maintained and tested.


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Post time: Apr-17-2023