peristaltic pump

How Do Peristaltic Pumps Work?

Peristaltic pumps are positive displacement pumps that are versatile and highly reliable. They can pump various fluids while exercising gentle functions. Peristaltic pumps are used in numerous industries, including health and pharmacies, chemical industries, food processing, and wastewater treatment. They are renowned for transferring fluids, including viscous and abrasive fluids, and for containing solids. 

In this blog, we will focus on the concept of peristaltic pumps, comprehending how they work, their parts, and their applications and benefits in various sectors. 

What is a Peristaltic Pump?

A peristaltic pump is a positive displacement pump that propels fluid through a flexible tubular member or hose. Its basic operation uses a process termed peristalsis, where the tubes’ circular squeezing and relaxation drive the liquid’s flow. The concept of peristaltic pumping, an innovative approach to fluid handling, has its roots in early medical practices. The first practical peristaltic pumps, a testament to human ingenuity, emerged in the 20th century. With time, it changed to enhance speed and amperage, control, and reliability, and with the changes, it was used in industries and laboratories.

With their versatile capabilities, peristaltic pumps are now utilized across various industries. Their unique advantages, such as contamination-free pumping and the ability to handle viscous and shear-sensitive fluids, have opened up a world of possibilities. Some of the primary applications span across:

  • Dialysis Machine
  • IV Infusion Systems
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
  • Chemical Processing
  • Food and Beverage
  • Paints and Coatings
  • Biotechnology and Life Sciences
  • Analytical Instruments
  • Research and Development
  • Wastewater Treatment
  • Environmental Sampling

Working Principle of a Peristaltic Pump

Peristalsis is otherwise associated with a series of wave-like muscle contractions that move food and non-solids through the digestive canal. This process involves progressive and apparent muscle contraction and relaxation, which pump the contents through the oesophagus, stomach, and intestines. Peristaltic pumps mimic this natural mechanism to move fluids through a flexible tube or hose.

In a peristaltic pump, rollers or shoes are attached to a rotor instead of muscles, compressing and releasing a flexible tube. As the rollers move, they create a wave-like motion that propels the fluid forward. This mechanism is advantageous because it shields the fluid’s flow from the other parts of the pump that are in constant motion. This makes the pump suitable for use in applications requiring contamination prevention, such as sterile or sensitive applications.

Operational Cycle

The operational cycle of a peristaltic pump consists of several key stages: compression, restoration, and fluid movement. Here’s a detailed look at each stage:

1. Compression

  • The pump features a series of rollers or shoes attached to a rotor.
  • As the rotor starts to rotate, these rollers slide along the length of the flexible tube, applying pressure at particular points and thus collapsing the tube.
  • This kind of compression narrows in the middle, squeezing the tube so that some fluid is left inside the tube to prevent backflow.
  • This action forms a locked fluid cavity between each roller while altering the relative flow rates of fluids and gases.

2. Restoration

  • This occurs as the rotor rotates, and the rollers pass through the compression point of contact to release the tube into its un-constricted state.
  • The tube is usually flexible, similar to silicone or other elastomers, guaranteeing a permanent and thorough return to the tube’s initial diameter.
  • It leads to the formation of a vacuum. In other words, the suction causes more fluids to be drawn through the inlet side towards the tube end.

3. Fluid Movement

  • The trapped fluid pockets are then moved through the tube by compression and restoration. 
  • The fluid pocket is pushed towards the pump’s outlet by the rollers.
  • New fluid is fed to the tube through the inlet due to the vacuum created during restoration. 
  • This creates a smooth, continuous fluid flow from the inlet to the outlet.

4. Continuous Flow

  • The rotor is continuously rotated to keep the compression and restoration ongoing. 
  • Various rollers are kept around the rotor to ensure continuous compression. 
  • These actions facilitate an uninterrupted flow of fluid. 

The quality and flexibility of the tube material are potential factors that determine the operational efficiency of the peristaltic pump. Precise alignment of the roller mechanism is crucial to ensure uniform fluid movement and compression. 

How to Use a Peristaltic Pump

Let us understand the various steps involved in operating a peristaltic pump. 


Mount the pump on a solid base or incorporate it into the system. Determine the correct size and type of tube for pumping the fluid. Insert the tube into the pump head and ensure it is properly aligned and secure. Connect the inlet and outlet tubing to the ports on the pump and provide a tight fit to prevent leaks. 

Priming the Pump

When starting the pump, the tube must be filled with the fluid manually, if necessary. This helps remove air bubbles and provides smooth operation of the equipment. Ensure all valves and fittings are installed in the right place and secured properly.


Switch on the pump’s power supply. Use the control interface to set the desired flow rates. Monitoring the pump’s operation during the initial operation is crucial to spot any issues.


Observe the tube’s condition regularly and determine whether it shows signs of wear or damage. Replace it if needed. Adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintaining the product so that the pump lasts and offers optimal performance.

Types of Peristaltic Pumps

Hose Pumps

Using a fortified hose, hose pumps are designed to handle high pressures and more abrasive fluids. It is thus suitable for heavy-duty industrial applications. However, it can be costly and time-consuming in case of a replacement. 

Tube Pumps

Tube pumps use smaller and more flexible tubes. They are easy to maintain and replace and less expensive than hose pumps. Tube pumps are used for precise, low-flow applications such as medical devices, food processing, or laboratory equipment. 

Single Roller Pumps

Single roller pumps compress the tube using a single shoe or roller. They create a pulsed flow and are applicable in cases where periodic dosing is important. 

Multiple Roller Pumps

Multiple roller pumps compress the tube periodically with two or four rollers to ensure a continuous fluid flow. This creates a smoother and more consistent flow, unlike the pulsated effect of single roller pumps. 

Portable Peristaltic Pumps

Portable peristaltic pumps are easy to move and suitable for on-site applications. They are compact and lightweight, designed for mobility, and are often powered by batteries or have options for AC/DC power adaptability.

Stationary Peristaltic Pumps

Stationary peristaltic pumps are bigger and require fixed installation at a location. Being commonly used in industrial processes, stationary peristaltic pumps are powered by a consistent AC power source. 

Advantages of Peristaltic Pumps

  • Non-Contamination: The fluid is enclosed within the tube, preventing contamination by the pump mechanism. Thus, peristaltic pumps are used in sterile and sensitive processes.
  • Self-Priming Capability: Most peristaltic pumps are self-priming, which means that they do not have to be started up by being filled with fluid. 
  • Handling of Viscous Fluids: Peristaltic pumps can protect the fluid from shear damage while pumping low-viscosity fluids to high-viscosity slurries.
  • Easy Maintenance: It is easier to maintain because the tube is the only component that might require replacement, and little maintenance is required. 
  • Reversible Flow: Most peristaltic pump designs can be easily configured to operate in reverse, offering multiple new usage options.
  • Accurate Dosing: It allows for the strict regulation of the flow rate, which is imperative in medical and laboratory practice for precise dosing.

Importance of Peristaltic Pumps in Various Industries

Peristaltic pumps are indispensable in multiple industries. Today, they are used for plant production, process control, and water treatment on industrial scales. Here’s how peristaltic pumps help different sectors in their hassle-free functioning:

Contamination Prevention: Advanced peristaltic pumps ensure the entire pumping system is contamination-free. By ensuring that the fluid only touches the tubing, peristaltic pumps reduce the risk of contamination, which is crucial for industries like pharmaceuticals and food processing. This also makes peristaltic pumps suitable for chemically reactive or abrasive substances and high-purity products. In addition, almost all pump tubing can be sterilized by autoclaving, gamma irradiation, or ethylene oxide gas application. This guarantees the total sterility of the whole pump system using minimal costs.

Flocculants and Reagents: Peristaltic pumps are also appropriate for pumping flocculants and reagents to the thickener and flotation process. Some chemicals can be shear-sensitive, so a pump that shears them could be the better option. A low-shear peristaltic pump does not stir or cut the longer polymer chains. The net effect is higher chemical efficiency and, consequently, less use of costly chemicals.

Precise Flow Control: Peristaltic pumps are very popular due to their unique flow features and are thus perfect for process control. They dispense accurate quantities of the fluids due to their steady flow rates, which is very important, especially in the production of drugs, the food industry, and chemical processing industries. This pump mechanism makes it easy to get the exact volume of the fluid. 

Self-Priming and Dry Running: Peristaltic pumps are preferred due to features such as self-priming and dry running without damaging the equipment. This characteristic helps increase operational flexibility because they do not require pre-filling to pump fluids, making them suitable for applications where quick startup is crucial. 

Chemical Compatibility: Chemical processing industries prefer peristaltic pumps for their excellent compatibility with chemical solutions. The tubing, made of materials like silicone, Viton, and Tygon, is made to withstand a massive amount of chemicals so that it remains rather durable with no time for corrosion. 

Peristaltic Pumps from Ocean

Ocean has established itself as a leading supplier of high-quality peristaltic pumps in Oman. Their relentless commitment to delivering products with precise manufacturing, exceptional durability, maximum efficiency, optimal performance, and unmatched reliability has made them the preferred choice across industries. In addition to peristaltic pumps, Ocean is an authorized supplier of a wide range of top-notch industrial equipment, such as AODD (Double Diaphragm) pumps, advanced ultrasound testing devices, and industrial filters, all of which are designed to meet the diverse needs of businesses in Oman and MENA region.

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