Pumping Gunge, Goo and Slime

Pumping Gunge and Slime

The pumping of viscous fluids such as slime can be quite problematic, and won’t be particularly easy to achieve with common pumps, on this page I will cover possible options that may be available to you if you want to pump goo.

Pumping Goo

Centrifugal Pumps
Most commonly available electric and petrol pumps (submersible pumps, windscreen washer pumps, pool pumps) are centrifugal types.

Centrifugal pump  Impellor
Centrifugal Pump and Impellor

Centrifugal pumps consist of a disc with vanes on, known as an impellor, rotated by the power source (motor, engine etc.) The inlet is arranged at the centre of the disc and the outlet at the edge. This type of pump is simple to manufacture and efficient for fluids such as water, but generally does not work effectively with more viscous fluids, and needs priming; prefilling with the fluid being pumped to get them started. Many centrifugal pumps also do not cope well with lumps- this is dependent on the impeller and case design. You may have some success if your slime is very runny, or using a pump intended for dirty water use (such as a submersible pump).

A notable example of where a centrifugal pump is used, is ‘Life in Color’ to pump paint over the people visiting their events. A good image of this can be found in their Flickr photostream; Life in Color From their photostream it can be seen that they mix in water to keep the viscosity down, as well as ensuring that their paint is well mixed.

There are a number of other types of pump available that are more suited to viscous fluids, but are less widely available;

Displacement Pumps
These use a reciprocating piston (like a bicycle pump or stirrup pump) and can achieve very high pressures, but often at low flow rate. They are used in items such as pressure washers. I am not aware of any readily available powered pumps of this type suitable for use with gunge, but you could use some of the hand pumps of this type that are available (some water pistols are of this type).

Stirrup Pump  Stirrup Pump

Gear Pumps
These consist of a pair of ‘gears’ meshed inside a case- they are common for oil pumps in car engines and hydraulic systems amongst others. I am not aware of any readily available pumps of this type suitable for use with gunge.

Peristaltic Pumps
This type uses a tube squeezed by rollers to move fluid. They can be very accurate at dispensing a set volume of liquid so are commonly used in medical and laboratory equipment, as well as in dosing chemicals in applications such as commercial dishwashers and aquariums. They are typically small, and move very low volumes of liquids (up to 100mls/min range). I am not aware of any readily available pumps suitable for use with gunge in any usable volume.

Peristaltic Pump  Peristaltic Pump

Peristaltic Pump- Complete and with cover removed

Diaphragm Pumps
A diaphragm pump works by the movement of a rubber diaphragm inside a pump chamber. This can either be driven mechanically by hand, motor or engine, or by use of a gas such as air or Carbon Dioxide. They are usually self-priming and to a certain extent can cope with particles/ lumps. In my opinion this type are most suited to the general pumping of goo. It is worth noting that by their nature the output of the pump tends to pulse, so they may not be suitable for an even flow. If they contain two chambers, they are double acting and do not suffer the pulsing anywhere near as much.

Internal Diaphragm Including Valves

Hand or foot powered types are commonly used as bilge pumps in boats, or for hand-wash basins. These may be suitable for moving small amounts of goo, whilst some of the larger bilge pumps can be double acting will move significant volumes.

Large Diaphragm Pump  Hand Diaphragm Pump  
Hand Diaphragm Pumps- Bilge & Site Pumps

Small low voltage diaphragm pumps are commonly used in boats, caravans, RVs etc for pumping fresh water. These don’t appear to be particularly suitable due to their small size, similarly sized Carbon dioxide powered units are often used in drinks dispensing applications. 

Electric Diaphragm Pump  Carbon Dioxide Diaphragm Pump

Electric and Carbon Dioxide Gas Powered Pumps

There are larger electric versions sold as marine shower or toilet drain pumps which are much more suitable for our uses, an indeed is what I use. Common makes include Whale and Jabsco.

Whale Gulper Pump
Whale Gulper Shower Pump
Mounted for Easy Connection

Much larger units are available for industrial use such as pumping oils, chemicals and paint. These units are commonly air powered, and can move significant volumes of fluid, but come with a much higher cost. Typicallyy these are known as Air Operated Double Diaphragm pumps. These are what Nickelodeon use in their Kids Choice Award and Slimefest to move pump their slime.

Air operated slime pump

Typical Air Operated Double Diaphraghm (AODD) Pump, a 3/8" Graco Husky, I use for pumping slime

Tanks  Diaphragm pump slime
Air Diaphragm Pumps in use for Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards-
These are 2-3" Units

Air Pressure
An effective method of moving gunge in limited quantities is to use air pressure to pressurise an enclosure containing the gunge- the easiest method is probably to use a fire extinguisher. Many modern extinguishers use a Schrader valve to enable filling the air and so can easily be hooked up to a foot pump or compressor to refill. The output hose is usually fitted with a standard thread, and so can be easily swapped out with other output hoses. I have used this method on a number of occasions- It is particularly good when you need accurate control of timing, but are away from power. I have painted my extinguishers used for this purple so they are clearly not an active piece of fire fighting kit.

Goo Extinguisher

Goo Extinguisher

The quoted flow rates for a pump (volume pumped in set time, typically in litres or gallons per minute) are usually based on using water at a defined head (height the water is pumped up). Although manufacturers will usually publish tables or charts as to how the flow varies with head, flow rates will be significantly less than quoted for water when used with a more viscous fluid. It is worth bearing this in mind when selecting a pump, and indeed in carrying out trials.

Gunge Index
(c) M.Pantrey 2015-16