An experimental investigation and a simple model of a valveless pump

Thomas T. Bringley, Stephen Chilress, Nicolas Vandenberghe, Jun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We construct a valveless pump consisting of a section of elastic tube and a section of rigid tube connected in a closed loop and filled with water. By periodically squeezing the elastic tube at an asymmetric location, a persistent flow around the tubes is created. This effect, called the Liebau phenomenon or valveless pumping, has been known for some time but is still not completely understood. We study the flow rates for various squeezing locations, frequencies, and elastic tube rigidities. To understand valveless pumping, we formulate a simple model that can be described by ordinary differential equations. The time series of flow velocities generated by the model are qualitatively and quantitatively similar to those seen in the experiment. The model provides a physical explanation of valveless pumping, and it allows us to identify the essential pumping mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number033602
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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