If you've got a positive displacement pump in your system (such as a hose pump, air operated diaphragm), odds are you might be experiencing some sort of pulsation in the system because of them. How can you control the resulting pipe rattle and excess movement in your pipes and system? A pulsation dampener may be a great place to start.
For more information about pulsation dampeners, we sat down with Brandon Dalrymple and Nathan Ackeret from Blacoh Fluid Control (manufacturer of pulsation dampeners, surge suppressors, and inlet stabilizers), and asked them to answer a few of our customers’ most common questions about pulsation dampeners.
WHAT DOES A PULSATION DAMPENER DO?
Pulsation dampeners absorb the energy from the pulse wave created by a positive displacement pump, much like a shock absorber on a vehicle. Absorbing those pulse waves protects pipe welds and supports, and system components from damage due to pressure or excess movement.
HOW DOES A PULSATION DAMPENER WORK?
A pulsation dampener creates an area of low pressure in the system with enough volume to absorb the pulsation. The pulsation dampener has a membrane with a "cushion" of compressible gas/air behind it that flexes to absorb the pulse, allowing a laminar flow downstream of the dampener.
WHERE ARE PULSATION DAMPENERS COMMONLY USED?
Pulsation dampeners are commonly used wherever a positive displacement pump discharges flow in an unsteady manner, and where the pulse is not desired for the piping system. Air operated double diaphragm, metering and hose/peristaltic pumps typically benefit from a pulsation dampener.
The type of pulsation dampener used is typically defined by where they are placed in the system, and what they need to do. For example, "pulsation dampeners" are on the downstream side of the pump, "inlet stabilizers" are on the inlet side of the pump, and an accumulator or "surge suppressor" is used next to a valve or other device that restricts the flow in a system.
This video shows where you would place an inlet stabilizer, and how it is used to reduce the pulsation with an air operated diaphragm pump in suction lift conditions.
If you're experiencing problems with rattling pipes, intermittent flow, water hammer, or pulsations in your system, don't ignore it. Take the steps necessary to control these symptoms to prevent system deterioration down the road.
Need help with pulsations or water hammer problems? Ask us about it! We gladly provide technical assistance to businesses in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.