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Pumps fall into two broad categories when they are used for fire protection.
Most are centrifugal, which means that they use the energy gained from rotating a disc to impart energy into the water supply. Some pumps, mainly for special applications, are positive displacement. These pumps impart energy into the water supply by compression. As water is basically incompressible, the amount of compression and the size of the chamber dictate how much pressure can be created.
PUMPSThe top photo is a centrifugal, horizontal split-case fire pump, typical of fire pumps used in modern installations. The bottom photo is an old steam-driven, positive displacement piston pump. These will typically not be found in fire protection systems, and are considered obsolete. However, the principle of positive displacement pumps is used today in different pump designs for special applications.
© Hughes Associates,Inc. 2012