The operational range and the performances of pumps are limited by the occurrence of backflow and prerotation in the suction pipe as the flow rate is reduced. This paper presents the study of static pressure measurements and visualizations in the suction pipe, near the inlet of a centrifugal pump, at partial flow rates, in steady conditions, and during a fast start-up of the pump. The tests were carried out in water on the DERAP© test loop of the ENSAM Lille laboratory. Standard methods allowed to determine the recirculation critical flow rate. A visualization method showed that the axial extent of the recirculation and the prerotation with the flow rate is considerably reduced during a fast start-up compared to steady conditions.

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