Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Microfluidics and Nanofluidics

pp 1-12

Date: Latest Version

Peristaltic Pumps

  • Jordan M. BergAffiliated withNano Tech Center & Department of Mechanical Engineering, Texas Tech University Email author 
  • , Tim DallasAffiliated withNano Tech Center & Department of Mechanical Engineering, Texas Tech University


Diaphragm pump; Flexible member pump; Membrane pump; Valveless pumps


Peristaltic pumps are mechanical displacement pumps that induce flow in a fluid-filled, flexible-walled conduit through peristalsis – transport due to traveling contraction waves. While macroscale peristaltic pumps appear in a variety of configurations, micropumps based on this principle almost exclusively use the sequenced contraction and expansion of a small number of discrete actuators – typically three – placed along the fluid channel.


Peristaltic pumps emulate the biological process of peristalsis, in which material is moved through the esophagus or other anatomical passage by the contraction of smooth muscle in rhythmic waves. Figure 1 is a schematic of a typical rotary peristaltic pump, as implemented at the macroscale, in which a set of revolving contact elements creates a traveling compression wave in a section of a flexible tube. Figure 2 is a schematic of a macroscale implementation ...

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