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What is an Impeller?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 17, 2024
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An impeller is a blade operating inside of a piece of tubing that causes water to be propelled through it at high speed. The impeller acts much like a jet engine and forces fluid through a tube at an increased pressure. In manufacturing, impeller pumps are used to push fluids to and from work stations and machinery at great pressure and speed. The impeller pump pushes the water outward from the rotating blade and against the tubing wall to create pressure.

Many objects found in common use today utilize an impeller pump. Personal water craft, such as Jet Ski's, use an impeller to push the water out of the rear of the machine. The turbo charger on automobiles and trucks use an impeller to compress the incoming air and force it into the induction system. Many ground well water systems use one to pump drinking water up and out of the well and into the home.

By utilizing the high pressure characteristics of an impeller pump, a smaller pump motor and pipeline can be used to transport a large amount of water or fluid. By pushing the fluid through a pipe line at high pressure, high speed travel of the fluid is attainable.

This process also allows a manufacturing site to maintain high pressures and volumes at a vast number of outlets. A manufacturing facility needs to compensate for the pressure loss that occurs when a number of outlets are drawing fluid from the system at one time. Many machines are designed to operate at a predetermined pressure in order to function properly. By using the proper system, several or all of the work sites can be operated simultaneously without a drop in fluid pressure from the supply line.

These pumping systems are typically quiet and trouble free, and require little in the way of maintenance. The drive unit is easily removed from the pumping unit in case of replacement, allowing service with limited disruption. Many breakthroughs in composite design are allowing pumping components that can operate in extreme conditions for prolonged periods of time without failure. Also, sealed bearings allow prolonged operation without required greasing or lubrication.

Modern manufacturing lubrication and fluid drive requirements have led to advantages in many facets of life. Pumping stations all around the world are benefiting from the design of increased flow pump styles. Consumers are using this technology to relax and to play in many cases without giving it a second thought.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon994467 — On Feb 11, 2016

After a lot of study and looking on the internet for a high pressure pump which can handle the highly corrosive chemicals, I found the best destination in India: Etchcut. They manufacture chemical etching and cutting machines. I am using their chemical pump, which has a titanium shaft and impeller. It works fine for us. Good luck. -- Martin

By starrynight — On Jul 12, 2011

@JaneAir - It's always good to have fun facts to share with the family. I bet they'll be super impressed with your knowledge of the inner workings of a Jet Ski.

I think it's also interesting that impellers are used in wells. I've never lived anywhere with a well water system so I really had no idea how the water got from the well into the home. Now I know!

By JaneAir — On Jul 11, 2011

I've never heard of an impeller and I certainly didn't know that Jet Ski's have them. Thinking back to my Jet Ski experience in the past though, I do remember that a steady spray of water shoots out the back while it's in use. I guess this probably comes from the impeller!

My family likes to go Jet Skiing every summer, so this year I'm going to wow them with my new-found impeller knowledge.

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