The Pressure from a Pump has many Uses

Today, there are pipelines everywhere. While many are hidden underground or beneath the sea, overland pipelines have become a common feature of the landscape in many parts of the world. Like the arteries and veins through which the blood travels around our bodies, these human-made vascular systems convey vital materials such as drinking water, crude oil and natural gas to those areas where they are needed. Let’s continue the analogy. Just as the heart must repeatedly contract to maintain blood flow, the steady pressure from a mechanical pump is necessary to keep the fluid or gas moving along a pipeline.

The Water Distribution Network

Pressure Washer PumpIf you think distributing water to homes is a comparatively recent idea, you are seriously mistaken. Although only the wealthier citizens enjoyed this privilege, the engineers of ancient Rome built 11 aqueducts to transport freshwater for up to 90 kilometres from rivers and springs to feed the city’s public baths and fountains. To keep it moving, the Romans relied on gradients and gravity to provide a head of pressure before the invention of the pump. Once within the city, the water was stored in tanks and distributed through lead pipes, again, under the action of gravity.

Today, the goal remains the same, but the methodology is vastly different. Closed pipelines have replaced open aqueducts, while drinking water in Johannesburg and most cities undergoes a succession of purification treatments before delivery to the consumer. While the Romans relied on architectural ingenuity to drive water uphill, a modern water distribution system employs the pressure from a series of pump stations to overcome friction and gravity wherever necessary. Furthermore, it is a two-way process. Wastewater and sewage from homes are returned for recycling to municipal water treatment plants in a similar fashion.

Applications in Industry

When we are not drinking water, we have plenty of other uses for it, such as cleaning things like dirty dishes and clothes. However, items like industrial machinery and earth-moving vehicles invariably become far too soiled for manual cleaning. Typically, high-pressure water jets produced by powerful pumps will often be the only way to get them clean. This type of jetting equipment forms the basis of a heavy-duty vehicle wash bay.

In Johannesburg’s industrial parts, it is often the air that is dirty. Fine dust particles from drilling and similar operations become suspended in the ambient air and can pose a severe health threat to workers. Water jets can also be the solution to this problem. In this case, the pumps deliver the water via high-pressure atomising nozzles to form a fine spray that absorbs the dust and allows it to settle under gravity.