From order-of-magnitude calculations, the erosion mechanism in slurry pumps for mining applications was found to be a scouring type. Impact erosion was found to be unlikely to occur. The erosion model assumes a “sliding bed” type of flow pattern and neglects the effect of turbulent diffusion of slurry particles. This choice was based on flow regime data from slurry pipeline flow and was not verified experimentally in pumps. A new centrifugal-erosion laboratory testing fixture was designed and fabricated at Allis-Chalmers which reproduces this type of erosion. Since flow conditions were closely controlled, an absolute rate of erosion could be determined. For mild steel (Rockwell C = 10) and aluminum oxide particles, a specific erosion energy of 1.5 × 108 in-lb/in3 (1000 joules/mm3) was measured. Flow pattern and slurry concentrations were calculated in a pump impeller using a quasi-three-dimensional streamline curvature method. These were combined with the above erosion model and the local erosion rate was estimated. Actual operating data had to be estimated for a quarry application of the pump because field test data was not available. The uncertainties of the field test data did not allow an exact numerical verification of the wear rate calculation, but order of magnitude agreement was obtained. The wear rate distribution agreed very well with the wear pattern observed on the impeller used in the quarry and the locations of excessive wear could be identified.

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