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Diaphragm pump

A diaphragm pump is a positive displacement pump that uses a combination of the reciprocating action of a rubber or teflon diaphragm and suitable non-return check valves to pump a fluid. Sometimes this type of pump is also called a membrane pump.

There are three main types of diaphragm pumps:

  • In the first type, the diaphragm is sealed with one side in the fluid to be pumped, and the other in air or hydraulic fluid. The diaphragm is flexed, causing the volume of the pump chamber to increase and decrease. A pair of non-return check valves prevent reverse flow of the fluid.
  • As described above, the second type of diaphragm pump works with volumetric positive displacement, but differs in that the prime mover of the diaphragm is neither oil nor air; but is electro-mechanical, working through a crank or geared motor drive. This method flexes the diaphragm through simple mechanical action, and one side of the diaphragm is open to air.
  • The third type of diaphragm pump has one or more unsealed diaphragms with the fluid to be pumped on both sides. The diaphragm(s) again are flexed, causing the volume to change.

When the volume of a chamber of either type of pump is increased (the diaphragm moving up), the pressure decreases, and fluid is drawn into the chamber. When the chamber pressure later increases from decreased volume (the diaphragm moving down), the fluid previously drawn in is forced out. Finally, the diaphragm moving up once again draws fluid into the chamber, completing the cycle. This action is similar to that of the cylinder in an internal combustion engine.


  • Diaphragm pumps have good suction lift characteristics, some are low pressure pumps with low flow rates; others are capable of higher flows rates, dependent on the effective working diameter of the diaphragm and its stroke length. They can handle sludges and slurries with a good amount of grit and solid content.
  • Diaphragm pumps have good dry running characteristics.
  • Diaphragm pumps are low-shear pumps.
  • Diaphragm pumps can be used to make artificial hearts.
  • Diaphragm pumps can be up to 97% efficient.
  • Diaphragm pumps have good self priming capabilities
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Diaphragm_pump". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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