Hydraulic Pump Performance

By 8 February 2018

Pumps are usually rated according to their volumetric output and pressure. Volumetric output (delivery rate or capacity) is the amount of liquid that a pump can deliver at its outlet port per unit of time at a given drive speed, usually expressed in GPM or cubic inches per minute. Because changes in pump drive affect volumetric output, pumps are sometimes rated according to displacement, that is the amount of liquid that they can deliver per cycle or cubic inches per revolution.

Pressure is the force per unit area of a liquid, usually expressed in psi. (Most of the pressure in the hydraulic systems covered in this manual is created by resistance to flow.) Resistance is usually caused by a restriction or obstruction in a path or flow. The pressure developed in a system has an effect on the volumetric output of the pump supplying flow to a system. As pressure increases, volumetric output decreases. This drop in output is caused by an increase in internal leakage (slippage) from a pump’s outlet side to its inlet side. Slippage is a measure of a pump’s efficiency and usually is expressed in percent. Some pumps have greater internal slippage than others; some pumps are rated in terms of volumetric output at a given pressure.