Piezoelectric Micropumps

Written by: PI (Physik Instrumente) Ltd | Published:

Where fluid or gas delivery needs to be controlled in the milli, micro, nano and picolitre range piezoelectrically driven pumps can provide a compact and low power design. Specialist piezo manufacturer PI Ceramic has helped to design and manufacture a number of piezo based pump and metering solutions for medical and printing applications.

A piezoelectric microdiaphragm pump will typically consist of a valve unit and piezo actuator driven pump diaphragm. The design of the piezo pump drive is critical in terms of minimising power consumption and ensuring good device to device repeatability. PI Ceramic work closely with customers on the design to identify appropriate substrates, bonding methods and cabling solutions that are suitable for the piezo device chosen. The piezo element may be as simple as a disk bonded to a substrate or may be a more complex design comprising of multilayer piezo technology.

Due to the small volumes per pumping cycle repetition rates of up to 10kHz are required in order to achieve high flow rates. Piezo ceramic is a solid state material without moving parts which is extremely reliable and devices working at this frequency will be expected to operate for several years without failure. Exposure however, to excessive forces, mishandling or moisture can significantly impact upon performance and lifetime. Minimising risk at the design stage is therefore critical and this is where PI Ceramic typically get involved applying their knowledge and experience in support of the application.

The fundamentals of piezo technology, information on piezo ceramic materials and actuators and details of the company's manufacturing technology is freely available as pdf downloads on the PICeramic website. http://piceramic.com/piezo-technology.html

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