Air Lift Pump
The Air Lift Pump is a type of deep well pump, sometimes used to remove water from mines. It can also be used to pump a slurry of sand and water or other “gritty” solutions.
In its most basic form this pump has NO moving parts, other than an air compressor. The efficiency of the air compressor is a prime factor in determining the overall efficiency of the pump.
Increased efficiency in the pump itself can be achieved – but with added complexity.
Compressed air is piped down a shaft. The air then returns up a Discharge Pipe carrying water with it. The pump works by “aerating” the water in the discharge pipe.
The added air lowers the specific gravity of the fluid mixture. Since it is lighter than the surrounding water, it is pushed upwards.
This type of pump can lift 20 to 2000 gallons per minute, up to about 750 feet. The discharge pipe must be placed deep into the water, from 70% of the height of the pipe above the water level (for lifts to 20 feet) down to 40 percent for higher lifts.
This pump is at least 2,000 years old.
The Archimedes Screw (also called an Archimedes Snail) was used for irrigation and powered by horses, people, mules, etc. This pump is even used today, although rarely!
The helix revolves inside a tube and the water rises accordingly.
Whether or not it was actually invented by Archimedes is certainly debatable, though his overall brilliance is not.
The Archimedes Snail or Archimedes Scroll is at least 2,000 years old. Like its brother the Archimedes Screw, it was used for irrigation and was usually powered by humans, horses, or mules.
A tube is wrapped around a pole, which is then rotated. This drawing shows an ancient worker pumping water with an Archimedes Snail. Whether or not this pump or the Archimedes Screw were actually invented by Archimedes is certainly debatable, though his overall brilliance is not.