Researchers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, have developed a diaphragm pump driven by a piezoelectric actuator. The pump is a prototype of a lightweight pump for circulating cooling liquids in protective garments, high-power electronic circuits, and other medical applications.
The pump contains no sliding seals or bearings that could wear; the only parts subject to wear are two check valves. Since the pump has a large volumetric flow rate and a small dead volume, it could be started reliably under all conditions. In the new pump, mechanical resonance is used to amplify the motion generated by the piezoelectric actuator, increasing the volumetric flow rate.
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