Advanced Pump Engineering for Severe Applications

Industry-centred research projects


The purpose of the APESA Engineering Industry Doctorate (EID) is to train Early Stage Researchers (ESR) in an industry-centred research environment that will equip them with the range of scientific, engineering, business and transferable skills that they will need to convert their R&D into commercially successful products and services.

Because the EID research is industry-centered, it will enhance the research capability and competitiveness of Weir Minerals Netherlands (WMNL) and will provide GEHO® pumps with a clear and distinct advantage over their OEM (original equipment manufacturers) competitors and replicators.

The research theme of the EID is Advanced Pump Engineering for Severe Applications. During its working life, a pump is subject to a range of material damage mechanisms.These are broadly classed as erosion, corrosion and corrosion fatigue, however the nature of the mechanisms arising can vary greatly and may interact and combine to cause more severe damage than consideration of the individual mechanisms may indicate.

Making sense of this complex behaviour requires an understanding of the behaviour of the slurry pump as a whole: the properties of the pump materials; the size, shape and concentration of the solid particles in the slurry; the chemical nature of the slurry; the effect of pump flow path design on slurry impingement velocity and angles; potential regions of flow cavitation; etc. This is by definition a multidisciplinary problem.

The proposed research programme has three over-arching research objectives:

  1. Damage mechanisms: Investigate, characterise and quantify the causes and effects of the mechanisms that limit the operating life of positive displacement slurry pumps.
  2. Predictive models: Develop models with better predictive power for these damage mechanisms based on experimental studies, analytical modelling and numerical modelling, as appropriate.
  3. Damage mitigation: Investigate potential strategies/processes/procedures for implementation during design/manufacture, to optimise the use of material and maximise the operating life of pumps and components.

The objectives will be addressed through five ESR projects designed to meet the academic requirements of an individual PhD thesis. Together, these will represent a coherent interdisciplinary investigation of the industry-critical research challenges identified by WMNL.

Individual Project Summaries


ESR1 Project - Marta Morgantini

GEHO® Pump Corrosion Fatigue Life – Predictive modelling of the effect of mean stress on corrosion fatigue life

The aim of the PhD project is to develop comprehensive quantitative understanding of the effect of mean stress on corrosion fatigue life of low alloy steel which is used for GEHO® pumps designed by Weir Minerals for a long service life in aggressive operating environments.

The project will combine vast amounts of experimental corrosion fatigue data to assist in the generating of diagrams and mathematical models which can be used to improve designs in the GEHO® equipment.

ESR2 Project - Volodymyr Okorokov

Residual Stress for Increased Pump Life – Validating application of residual stresses and developing numerical analysis techniques for simulation of induced residual stress applied to GEHO® pump

The aim of the PhD project is to develop comprehensive quantitative understanding of the effect of compressive residual stresses on the corrosion fatigue life of carbon steels which are used for the pumps designed by Weir Minerals for a long service life in aggressive operating environments.

The project will focus on the development of accurate simulation models to predict the increase in life expectancy of GEHO® pumps, caused by inducing residual stresses to varying extents, with experimental data to validate the results.

ESR3 Project - Francesco Rizzuto

Simulation of Cavitation in GEHO® Pumps – Cavitation in PD slurry pumps: Development and experimental validation of predictive numerical models

Cavitation is a phenomenon that occurs when the pressure drops below the evaporation pressure. Liquid in that condition changes status, from liquid to vapour, almost instantaneous. The processes are reversible when the pressure increase up to the vapour pressure and reduce the efficiency, creating an important damage to the system.

This project aims to generate a Computational Fluid Design (CFD) model which accurately depicts, and predicts, cavitation within GEHO® equipment.The aim of the PhD project is to develop comprehensive quantitative understanding of the effect of mean stress on corrosion fatigue life of low alloy steel which is used for GEHO® pumps designed by Weir Minerals for a long service life in aggressive operating environments. The project will combine vast amounts of experimental corrosion fatigue data to assist in the generating of diagrams and mathematical models which can be used to improve designs in the GEHO® equipment.

ESR4 Project - Blazej Polakiewicz

Failure mode analysis in PD Slurry Pump Valves: Laboratory testing of wear mechanisms and in situ valve wear experiments for selected hard materials/coatings

Wear mechanism of valve and seat in slurry positive displacement pumps is complex phenomenon. Damages are caused by abrasion, erosion, corrosion and impact factor. All those processes act synergistically and cause more damages than each one individually.

The aim of this project is to reduce wear within valve and seat of positive displacement GEHO® pumps. Hence, to select the most promising materials for the specific application, it is necessary to better understand the complex wear mechanisms in valve system.

ESR5 Project - Evripidis Tsergas

Corrosion Protection Systems – Investigation of coatings and cathodic protection systems and development of design rules for enhanced corrosion fatigue life in PD pumps.

This project aims to identify, simulate and apply an effective corrosion protection method which will improve the fatigue life in positive displacement pump components. The project will combine experimental and simulation practices to identify a solution to minimise corrosion within GEHO® pumps and extend the overall life of the pump.