Finite Element Modeling of a Viscous Fluid Flowing through an External Gear Pump

Vincent de Bie, Martien A. Hulsen (Corresponding author), Patrick D. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Gear pumps are frequently used for the transport of high-viscosity fluids, for instance, for the extrusion of polymers. The flow rate of this extrusion process is regularly controlled by an external gear pump. In this work, the 2D flow of a viscous fluid through such an external gear pump is studied using the finite element method. Local mesh refinement based on the respective distance between moving boundaries is essential to capture the relatively narrow clearances in the pump. The gear pump works against the pressure driven flow, therefore its performance is strongly dependent on material and processing parameters. The flow of Newtonian and shear-thinning fluids through the external gear pump is studied for a range of processing conditions. Pump curves are obtained that display the volumetric efficiency against the Hersey number, which is defined as viscosity times rotation speed divided by pressure difference over the pump. Analysis of the residence time of the fluid in the pump, shows that vortices are present in the inflow channel causing material to remain in the pump for longer times.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000060
Number of pages12
JournalMacromolecular Theory and Simulations
Issue number1
Early online date19 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


The results of this study have been obtained through the FLEX‐Pro project (PROJ‐00679), which was in part funded by the European Funding for Regional Development (EFRO). The research is performed in collaboration with VMI Holland B.V.

FundersFunder number
European Funding for Regional Development
VMI Holland B.V.
European Regional Development Fund


    • external gear pumps
    • finite element modeling
    • residence time
    • viscous fluids
    • volumetric efficiency


    Dive into the research topics of 'Finite Element Modeling of a Viscous Fluid Flowing through an External Gear Pump'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this