Plunger Pumps


  • Explain the basic design principles of reciprocating plunger pumps.
  • Identify the major zones and components of plunger pumps.

A Series Of Plungers

Think of a plunger pump just like a basic bottle jack used to lift heavy loads.

  1. A plunger retracts, creating suction that draws fluid in.
  2. The plunger then reverses, and slams the fluid out.
  3. Suction and discharge valves ensure that fluid can only flow through the pump in one direction.
Imagine several of these plungers in a staggered rotational sequence, and that’s the basics of a plunger pump!

The only significant difference between a triplex pump and a quintuplex pump is the number of pumping galleries. A triplex pump has 3 galleries, and a quintuplex pump has 5.

You can find nearly any size of plunger pump on the market — simplex (1), duplex (2), quadruplex (4), etc. You can even find nonuplex (9) pumps! These larger pumps are relatively rare, because it is often more practical to use two smaller pumps in parallel to achieve such high flow rates.

This lesson will focus on triplex and quintuplex pumps, but the operating principles are the same for any variety of plunger pump.

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