Last Updated S022020



Unit Name Pumps, Seals, Compressors and Turbines
Unit Code BME108S
Unit Duration 1 Semester

Bachelor of Science (Engineering)

Duration 3 years    

Year Level One
Unit Creator / Reviewer N/A
Core/Sub-Discipline: Sub-discipline
Credit Points


Total Course Credit Points 81 (27 x 3)

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload (Total student workload including “contact hours” = 10 hours per week; 5 hours per week for 24 week delivery)
Pre-recordings / Lecture – 1.5 hours
Tutorial – 1.5 hours
Guided labs / Group work / Assessments – 2 hours
Personal Study recommended – 5 hours

Unit Description and General Aims

The objective in presenting this unit is to provide students with in-depth knowledge and comprehension of pump, seal, compressor and turbine construction, design applications, operations, selection, installation, and maintenance related issues.

The subject matter covered in this unit will include pump characteristics and operation, and the working principles and performance characteristics of reciprocating and centrifugal compressors. The basic principles and mechanics of seal operation will also be examined, including seal types, operation and applications. The principles and operation of reciprocating and centrifugal compressors will be covered. The unit will include classification, types and operation of various types of turbines.

At the conclusion of this unit, students will have been imparted with the requisite knowledge to judiciously select, install, test and maintain pumps; comprehend the principles and mechanics of operation of reciprocating and centrifugal compressors; and, have considerable insights into various aspects of seals, compressors and turbines

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Examine various fluid properties and distinguish between different pump types along with their operating principles
    Bloom's Level 4
  2. Illustrate various types and working principle of Positive Displacement Pumps
    Bloom's Level 2
  3. Interpret centrifugal pump construction, performance and operation 
    Bloom's Level 5 
  4. Examine selection, installation, testing, maintenance and troubleshooting of pumps
    Bloom's Level 4
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and mechanics of sealing
    Bloom's Level 2
  6. Explain the principles and mechanics of operation of reciprocating and centrifugal compressors
    Bloom's Level 2
  7. Evaluate types and working principle of hydraulic turbines
    Bloom's Level 5

Student assessment

Assessment Type When assessed Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test 

Example Topic: Fluid properties, pump classification, working principles of PD and centrifugal pumps

Students will complete a quiz with MCQ type answers to 30 questions to demonstrate a good understanding of the principles and mechanism of different types of pumps, their components and statutory requirements

Due after Topic 3 10% 1

Assessment 2

Type: Proctored Mid-semester Test
Example Topic: Reciprocating pump working, flow rate and power, centrifugal pump characteristics, cavitation

A mid-semester examination with a mix of theoretical short/detailed answer questions and simple numerical problems to be completed in 1.5 hours

Due after Topic 6 15% 2, 3

Assessment 3

Type: Project / Report

Example Topic: Pump installation, alignment, condition monitoring, bid request, Mechanical Seals, compression methods, mechanical design of compressors

Students will provide answers to simple essay questions to show evidence of their understanding of fundamental seal principles and solve simple calculation based problems on seal life, balance and preload.

Due after Topic 10 20% 4, 5, 6

Assessment 4

Type: Project

Example Topic: Selection of pumps, seals, compressors and turbines for different applications

Students will be presented with examples of applications for which they will choose the right pumps, seals, compressors and turbines, based on their understanding of the parameters governing the selection

Topic 12 40% All
Weekly Quizzes Topics 3-12 10% 2-7

Tutorial Attendance 

Continuous 5% 1 to 7

Prescribed and Recommended Readings


Pump Characteristics and Applications (Third Edition) by Maichael Volk, P.E. – ISBN: 9781466563087
Fluid Mechanics and Machinery (3rd Edition) by Kothandaraman, C. P.; Rudramoorthy, R. - ISBN: 9781906574789
Compressors: Selection and Sizing (Third Edition) by Royce N. Brown - ISBN: 1-4933-0295-7, 0-7506-7545-4

Journal, website

Peer-reviewed journals and websites (advised during lectures)

Notes and Reference Texts

Centrifugal Pumps (Second Edition) by Igor J. Karassik and Terry McGuire – ISBN: 9781461566045
Troubleshooting Rotating Machinery - Including Centrifugal Pumps and Compressors, Reciprocating Pumps and Compressors, Fans, Steam Turbines, Electric Motors, and More by Perez, Robert X.; Conkey, Andrew P – ISBN: 978-1-119-29413-9
Practical Pumps: Design, Operation and Maintenance for Centrifugal and Positive Displacement Pumps, IDC Technologies, Perth.
Predictive Maintenance of Pumps using Condition Monitoring by Ray S Beebe – ISBN: 1856174085, 9781856174084

Unit Content

Topic 1

Properties of Fluids

1. Introduction
2. Three phases of matter
3. Compressible and incompressible fluids
4. Dimensions and units
5. Definition of some common terminology
6. Vapour and gas and a characteristic equation for gases
7. Viscosity and effect of viscosity on machine performance
8. Vapour pressure
9. Pressure and pressure measurement
10. Pressure variation in static fluid (hydrostatic law) and compressible fluid

Topic 2

Introduction to Pumps

1. What is a pump?
2. Why increase a liquid’s pressure?
3. Pressure and head
4. Classification of pumps
5. How centrifugal pumps work
6. Positive displacement pumps

Topic 3

Reciprocating Pumps

1. Introduction
2. Description and working
3. Flow rate and power
4. Indicator diagram
5. Air vessels
6. Rotary positive displacement pumps

Topic 4

Centrifugal Pumps: Types and Operation

1. Introduction: centrifugal pumps
2. Impellers
3. Types: end suction pumps, inline pumps, self-priming pumps, split casing pumps, multistage pumps, vertical column pumps, submersible pumps, slurry pumps, vertical turbine pumps, axial flow pumps, regenerative turbine pumps
4. Pressure developed by the impeller
5. Energy transfer by impeller
6. Pump characteristics
7. Operation of pumps in series and parallel
8. Specific speed and significance
9. Cavitation
10. Axial flow pump
11. Power transmitting systems

Topic 5

Centrifugal Pumps: Construction

1. Casings and diffusers
2. Multistage pump casings
3. Impellers and wearing rings
4. Hydraulic balancing devices
5. Shafts and shaft sleeves
6. Bearings
7. Couplings
8. Baseplates and other pump support

Topic 6

Centrifugal Pumps: Performance and Curves

1. Pump capacity
2. Head
3. Performance curve
4. Horsepower and efficiency
5. Npsh and cavitation
6. Specific speed and suction specific speed
7. Affinity laws
8. System head curves
9. Parallel and series operation
10. Oversizing pump
11. Pump speed selection
12. Pump operation at off-design conditions

Topic 7

Centrifugal Pumps: Installation, Testing, and Maintenance

1. System analysis
2. Pump specification document
3. Bid request, review and analysis
4. Pump installation issues
5. Testing and commissioning
6. Installation, alignment and start-up
7. Operation
8. Maintenance
9. The "hourglass" approach to troubleshooting
10. Applying the 5qs to rotordynamic investigations
11. Performance analysis and its application to optimize time for an overhaul
12. Vibration analysis of pumps - basic

Topic 8


1. Overview
2. o-rings
3. stuffing box and packing assembly
4. Mechanical seals
5. Seal-less pumps

Topic 9

Reciprocating Compressors

1. Introduction
2. Compression methods
3. Intermittent and continuous mode compressors
4. Compressibility and partial pressure
5. Piston compressor and performance
6. Mechanical design
7. Diaphragm compressors and performance
8. Selection and sizing

Topic 10

Centrifugal and Axial Compressors

1. Introduction
2. Centrifugal compressors: performance and mechanical design
3. Shaft end seals
4. Axial compressors: historical background
5. Axial compressors: performance and mechanical design

Topic 11

Hydraulic Turbines: Part 1

1. Introduction
2. Hydraulic power plant
3. Classification of turbines
4. Similitude and model testing
5. Turbine efficiencies
6. Euler turbine equation
7. Pelton turbine

Topic 12

Hydraulic Turbines: Part 2

  1. Reaction turbines
  2. Axial flow turbines
  3. Cavitation in hydraulic machines
  4. Governing of hydraulic turbines
  5. Unit Review


Software/Hardware Used


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