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Pneumatic Pumps

What is a pneumatic pump?

Pneumatics are a branch of technology that uses the force of compressed gases to generate mechanical effects. Pneumatic pumps, in particular, use compressed air to create force that is used to move fluids through a piping system. Their system of operation is very similar to that of hydraulic pumps. Essentially, pneumatic pumps use air in the same way that hydraulic pumps use fluids. Both are capable of creating extremely amplified levels of pressure that can generate surprisingly large amounts of power.

How do they work?

These pumps use a double piston system, with one piston having a substantially larger diameter than the other. Between the two pistons are an airtight chamber filled with either liquid or another compressed gas. The compressed gas from the outside pushes on the larger-diameter piston, which in turn pushes against the gas or liquid in the intermediate chamber. Because there is no pressure lost between the larger piston and the smaller one, the smaller piston receives a highly amplified level of force, which can translate into powerful mechanical action.

Primary advantages

Pneumatic pumps are used in only a few types of applications, most notably for moving slurry through chromatography columns. However, where they are used, these pumps are appreciated for the simplicity of their design, their low maintenance, and their relatively high safety ratings. The main disadvantages are the storage needed for the compressed gas tanks, and the fact that hydraulic pumps use very similar mechanisms to create even greater force.

Other related Pump Types include: piston pumps, diaphragm pumps, air operated double diaphragm pump, double diaphragm pump.

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