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ITT | World Of Pumps Quiz

Pumps 101

Pumps: The Heart of Industries That Are Essential to Life

Ask someone what a pump is, and most people will describe machines that bring water to our homes and workplaces. They might mention the human heart, a natural pump that moves nearly 500 million gallons (1.9 billion liters) of blood in a 70-year lifetime. But pumps move thousands of other raw materials and finished products also essential to our lives.


Nearly 1,400 billion barrels of oil and 3,169 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year are extracted, refined and transported by pumps.

The power industry pumps 10 times more water than municipalities to drive the essential cooling systems at electrical generating plants.


The $3.4 trillion chemical industry uses process pumps to make more than 70,000 products, including inputs for rubber, plastics and textiles.

Pumps move the wood pulp and water used to produce about 300 million metric tons of paper and paperboard each year, including this document.

Helping produce goods from automobile tires to medicine to toothpaste, pumps are the second most common machine in manufacturing after the electric motor.

How Industrial Pumps Power the World


  • Pumps produce more than 550 billion liters (145 billion gallons) of soft drinks and process more than 250 billion liters(66 billion gallons) of milk we drink each year.
  • Chocolate, ketchup, peanut butter,salad dressing-pumps drive or support the production of every processed food on supermarket shelves.
  • Nearly 70 percent of all fresh water used worldwide is pumped to irrigate land and grow the food we eat.


  • Slurry pumps are used extensively in the mining and processing of metals-such as 2.2 million metric tons (2.45 million U.S. tons) of iron ore, 16,000 metric tons (17,640 U.S. tons) of copper and 2.4 million kilograms (5.3 million pounds) of gold worldwide each year.
  • From cement to diamonds to zirconium, pumps move dozens of other minerals used in construction and everyday products.
  • A cellular telephone is made from as many as 42 different metals and minerals.

Tough Jobs That Pumps Do

Cut through steel.

Piston pumps move water as fast as 1,500 miles (2,414 km) per hour, creating enough force to cut through solid metal.

Build islands and beaches.

Centrifugal pumps move sand from offshore to land for creating and maintaining beachfront. They were used to create the manmade islands of Dubai.

Pump flaming hot liquids.

Barrel pumps transport crude oil at 700 degrees Celsius, a fluid temperature as hot as the flame from a matchstick.

Move rocks too big to carry.

Slurry pumps, which move solids mixed with water, are often the most effective way to transport minerals-including rocks as big as a kitchen table.

Push concrete higher than six football fields.

During construction of the Burj Dubai Tower in 2008, concrete was pumped to a new world record height of 606 meters (662 yards)-longer than six fields in both World Cup futbol and American football!

Empty an Olympic pool-fast.

Large centrifugal pumps can move fluids at 200,000 U.S. gallons (757,000 liters) per minute, a flow rate that would drain or fill an Olympic swimming pool (50 m long x 25 m wide x 2 m deep = 2.5 million liters) in three minutes and 18 seconds.

More than 2,000 years of industrial pumps

  • 200 BC Archimedes invents the screw pump, a design still in use today.
  • 1475 A treatise by Francesco di Giorgio Martini, an Italian engineer, describes a mud-lifting machine that is the precursor to the modern centrifugal pump.
  • 1687 Denis Papin, a French mathematician and inventor, designs the first true centrifugal pump, used for drainage projects.
  • 1738 Dutch-Swiss mathematician Daniel Bernoulli publishes Hydrodynamica, which includes the basic principles and equations of fluid dynamics bearing his name.
  • 1848 Seabury S. Gould, a U.S. industrialist, produces the first wooden pump banded with iron at his new company, which continues today as ITT Goulds Pumps.
  • 1849 Goulds Pumps introduces the first all-iron water well pump.
  • 1917 Pump manufacturers form the Hydraulic Institute, a nonprofit industry association.
  • 1977 The American National Standards Institute approves standard dimensions for chemical process pumps.
  • 1999 ITT Goulds Pumps introduces the PumpSmart® control system, signaling the rapid expansion of variable speed drives and digital “smart pumping” systems.