Hydraulic Pump Displacement

Displacement is the amount of liquid transferred from a pump’s inlet to its outlet in one revolution or cycle. In a rotary pump, displacement is expressed in cubic inches per revolution and in a reciprocating pump in cubic inches per cycle. If a pump has more than one pumping chamber, its displacement is equal to the displacement of one chamber multiplied by the number of chambers. Displacement is either fixed or variable.

a. Fixed-Displacement Pump. In this pump, the GPM output can be changed only by varying the drive speed. The pump can be used in an open-center system—a pump’s output has a free-flow path back to a reservoir in the neutral condition of a circuit.

b. Variable-Displacement Pump. In this pump, pumping-chamber sizes can be changed. The GPM delivery can be changed by moving the displacement control, changing the drive speed, or doing both. The pump can be used in a closed-center system—a pump continues to operate against a load in the neutral condition.

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