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Piezoelectric Disc Pump FAQs

With the recent acquisition of TTP Ventus, we are pleased to add piezoelectric disc pumps to our portfolio of miniature, precision pumps. These ultrasonic, pneumatic micropumps generate pressure or vacuum in a small, silent, vibration-free form factor, and are available with or without integrated electronics for added simplicity. Designed for highly accurate, ultra-smooth, gas and liquid flow control, Lee disc pumps deliver unrivalled pneumatic performance and enable innovation wherever precision control of small volumes is critical.

Below you’ll find a list of frequently-asked questions. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, please contact a Lee Technical Sales Engineer.

How can I drive the disc pumps?
The disc pumps should be driven at its resonant frequency by a frequency-tracking circuit. The drive PCB provided with our Piezoelectric Disc Evaluation Kits uses a simple microprocessor to achieve this; other approaches are also possible. Note that PWM drives of the type commonly used to drive DC motors are not suitable for driving the disc pumps.

Can I integrate the disc pump drive circuit into my own PCB?
Yes. The recommended drive circuit will occupy a small area of your product PCB. Our Technical Note, TN001: Piezoelectric Disc Pump Drive Guide provides you with a reference circuit and guidance notes, and we are also able to provide reference firmware. Given the need to produce a custom board, this step typically follows a successful feasibility demonstration using our Evaluation Kit PCB.

How should I mount the disc pump?
The disc pumps can be mounted in any orientation. We recommend a ‘soft’ mounting for the disc pumps. One way to achieve this is to plug the pump’s inlet and outlet ports into a compliant manifold block, providing both pneumatic connection and mechanical mounting. The pump can also be mounted using features provided on the pump body; in this case we recommend using a compliant o-ring (e.g. 1.42 ID X 1.78 CS mm) and nylon M2 bolt. Our Evaluation Kit circuit board has two surface-mount, threaded steel studs that the pump can be mounted on.

Should I use a filter with the disc pump?
We recommend the use of a filter with a pore size of 3μm or less in order to prevent the ingress of particulates that might otherwise limit the lifetime of the pump.

What do you mean by “SDC” and “PDC” disc pumps?
The disc pump has two pumping chambers or cavities. An SDC (“Series Double Cavity”) the disc pump has these chambers arranged in series, so that the outlet from the first cavity feeds into the inlet to the second, allowing higher pressures to be generated. A PDC (“Parallel Double Cavity”) has the inlets in common, and the outlets in common, allowing higher flows to be generated.

Can I convert an SDC disc pump to a PDC disc pump?
The valves in SDC and PDC disc pumps are assembled differently to ensure that there is no net pressure difference between the two cavities in operation. We therefore recommend that you run them only in their intended configuration.

What is the working temperature range of the disc pumps?
Our BL Series pumps are specified for a range of 5 – 40ºC. Our upcoming XP Series offers a wider temperature range of -25 to +55ºC. The disc pumps can be run outside this range (helped by its lack of sliding / rotating parts); please contact us if you would like to discuss further.

What is the working humidity range of the disc pump?
The disc pumps have been tested from 5 – 95% humidity (non-condensing).

Can I drive a disc pump to its stall pressure?
Yes, the pump can be driven to its stall pressure ( i.e. maximum pressure or vacuum at zero flow) without damage. This is also known as “dead heading”.

Will the pump restart against any pressure head?
Yes, the pump can be restarted normally against any pressure head.

Can I connect multiple disc pumps in series or parallel?
Yes, pumps can be connected in series (to generate more pressure) or parallel (to generate more flow) in the normal way.

Can disc pump be used to pump gases other than air?
Yes, so long as the speed of sound in the gas (or gas mixture) is similar to that in air. The disc pump’s performance depends on the speed of sound in the gas mixture being pumped and it has been designed to work optimally with air. Mixtures of gases with a similar speed of sound can also be pumped, however the pump will not work well with e.g. pure helium.

Can disc pump be used to pump liquid?
The disc pumps operate directly on gas only, but can be used to pump or dispense liquid by applying gas pressure (sometimes called “pressure-driven flow” or “air over liquid”). Please download our microfluidics application note for more information.

Is disc pump waterproof?
No. The disc pumps are not suitable to be washed, and if liquid is ingested into the pump it will stop working.

Is the disc pump ROHS and REACH compliant?
Yes. Note that disc pump’s piezoelectric actuator contains lead titanium zirconium oxide (CAS number 12626-81-2), which is permitted under ROHS. As the disc pump is a component, compliance with other directives (such as WEEE and the Machinery Directive) is the responsibility of the manufacturer of the end product.

I have an issue with one of my disc pump products. Can I arrange to return it for repair or replacement?

Should any product from The Lee Company not perform to its intended specifications as stated on the drawing, it may be returned for evaluation and possibly replaced in accordance to our warranty policy. If you purchased the product directly from The Lee Company USA and would like a Return Material Authorization number with instructions on how to return the product for evaluation, please contact a Lee Technical Sales Engineer. The process may take up to 48 hours to receive the response. Products returned without an RMA number will not be accepted. Any product being returned for credit must be unused and in the original, unopened Lee packaging, and will be subject to restocking charges.