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Purpose and function of accumulators in a pump system?

  1. Jul 7, 2008 #1

    Can anyone help me understand the purpose and function of accumulators in a pump system? Also if anyone has any information on the sizing and design of accumulators, it would be helpful.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 7, 2008 #2


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    Re: Accumulators

    Accumulators serve multiple purposes in pumping systems. First, they can act as pulsation dampeners to mitigate pressure transients. Secondly, they serve as stored hydraulic energy once they are charged.

    They are generally sized based on Thermodynamic relations. API Specification 16D gives some equations for determining the volumetric efficiency of them. That would be a good start for you (depending on your background). If you don't know much about Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics, I would suggest a Hydraulic Power Handbook and a Thermo book for starters.

    Hope that helps.

  4. Jul 8, 2008 #3


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    Re: Accumulators

    Good advice from stewart.

    Think of an accumulator as a hydraulic cylinder, with its piston being compressed by a large spring.

    A good example of its use would be a hydraulic machine (such as a press) which is required to operate for 10 seconds in every minute. Rather than switch a massive pump on and off every minute, a much smaller pump can be used together with an accumulator. The pump will run constantly (thus avoiding thermal and mechanical cycling issues). For 50 seconds of each minute, the pump will 'charge up' the accumulator by filling it up, and compressing the spring. Then, for 10 seconds, a valve will operate, letting the spring push the fluid out into the press to do its work, before closing and repeating the cycle.

    Get it?
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