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Machine that uses energy to raise, transport, or compress fluids. Pumps are classified by how they transfer energy to the fluid. The basic methods are volume displacement, addition of kinetic energy, and use of electromagnetic force. Pumps in which displacement is accomplished mechanically are called positive displacement pumps. Kinetic pumps pass kinetic energy to the fluid by means of a rapidly rotating impeller (blade). To use electromagnetic force, the fluid being pumped must be a good electrical conductor. Pumps used to transport or pressurize gases are called compressors, blowers, or fans.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on pump, visit Britannica.com.