WHICH PULSELESS SYRINGE PUMP BEST FITS YOUR MICROFLUIDIC APPLICATION?
Introduction to microfluidic pulseless syringe pump
As explained in our tutorial syringe pumps and microfluidics 2014, common syringe pumps have two major drawbacks when it comes to research in microfluidics: responsiveness and flow oscillation/pulsatile flow. Recently, some syringe pump manufacturers have developed pulseless syringe pumps to overcome these issues. In this tutorial we will explain the differences between classic and pulseless syringe pumps for microfluidics. If you want to know more about the main systems for microfluidic flow control for your application, read our tutorial on choosing your microfluidic flow control system.
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Pulseless syringe pump principles
As explained in a previous tutorial, the motor step of syringe pumps generates pulsative flow when dealing with low flow rates since the syringe’s piston follows the discrete steps of the motor. To resolve this issue, pulseless syringe pumps (such as those offered by Harvard Apparatus) use engines that enable a hundredth thousand of microsteps per revolution of the lead screw and sometimes couple them with a motor gear.
Since the motor step still exists, pulseless syringe pumps remain pulseless only within a given range of flow rates, which depends on the syringe volume you choose since the syringe pump adapts to the motor speed to the syringe volume. For this reason, it is always important to stay where the flow rate remains pulseless during your experiment, which is quite easy for most microfluidic applications.
Note that another source of pulsation can result from a bad alignment of the lead screw. So, even with the best pulseless syringe pump, always take care of your pump because with time you could bias moving parts and once more create oscillations.
There are also additional methods which can eventually serve as complements to pulseless syringe pumps in reducing pulsatile flow (for more information, check the end of this tutorial).
Pulseless syringe pumps available on the market
The following descriptions of pulseless microfluidic syringe pumps currently available on the market have been compiled by the Elveflow R&D team and relies on datasheets provided by the manufacuturing companies, on discussions with their representatives and in some cases, on tests conducted in our R&D labs. Since the interpretation of supplier datasheets are sometimes “difficult”, we recommend that you always take the time to discuss of your application with company representatives before buying your microfluidic flow control setup (for instance one of our partner company Darwin Microfluidics provide different kind of syringe pumps, peristaltic pumps, .. dedicaced to microfluidics ) . You can also contact us to discuss your microfluidic research with a microfluidic flow control specialist. This review contains only those microfluidic syringe pumps manufacturers whose R&D teams verified the relevance of the information provided below.
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