How to Select a Basket Strainer

How to Select a Basket Strainer

Selection Criteria

The first consideration when selecting a basket strainer is the amount of free open area. This is the ratio of the open area through the strainer basket to the cross sectional area of the pipe. A well-designed basket strainer should have an open area ratio of at least 4 to 1. Anything less may cause excessive pressure drop. The area is calculated with a clean basket – and as the basket begins to clog, the ratio will drop. Unless there is a wide safety margin, the area through the basket may quickly become smaller than the pipe area. This will reduce flow through the strainer and necessitate very frequent cleaning. A small open area ratio also means the holding capacity of the basket is small (an important consideration if there is a lot of solid material to be removed.)

Second, is ease of basket removal. Since a basket strainer is used where cleaning may occur often, it stands to reason that the basket should be able to be removed and replaced as simply as possible. Simplex and Duplex strainers feature hand removable, threaded covers which can be quickly loosened or tightened by hand without the use of tools.

Another item to look for in selecting a strainer is compactness of design. Is the strainer unnecessarily bulky or tall? In many industrial areas, space is at a premium and the less room a strainer takes the better.

Lastly, a wide variety of basket perforation sizes should be available. This is necessary to cope with the great range of particle sizes which the strainer may be called upon to remove.

Selection and Sizing

Selecting the proper size basket strainer for a particular application is extremely important for optimum performance of the strainer. Factors such as viscosity, specific gravity, and mesh lining size all influence pressure drop of flow through the strainer. As a general rule of thumb, a pressure of greater than 2 PSI through a clean strainer usually indicates the strainer selected is too small for the intended application.

In some cases, the strainer size may not always be the same size as the pipe diameter. For example, the pressure drop of highly viscous liquids passing through a mesh basket can cut flow considerably making it necessary to use a strainer several times larger than pipeline to ensure adequate flow. Likewise, if an unusually large amount of material needs to be taken out of the process flows, a larger strainer or multiple strainer should be specified. By using two strainers in series, the first with large openings designed to catch larger particles and the second with a fine mesh lining to trap smaller material, the load is spread over two strainers and time between maintenance for cleaning is also extended.

Proper Basket Selection

The question of which perforation or mesh lining size to use comes up regularly. Here again, the basic rule is to use the coarsest size which will strain out the product to be removed. Using a finer mesh than needed will only result in premature clogging. When in doubt about which of two basket screens to use, it is best to choose the larger. As a rule of thumb, size the baskets for one half the particle size to be removed.