Miniature gas pump uses ultrasound for silent operation
16 July 2012
A revolutionary miniature
gas pump that replaces mechanical operation with ultrasonic pressure
generation is much smaller than traditional pumps and has silent
The patented Micro Disc pump, devloped by Cambridge-based TTP, has already been commercialised in a
wound therapy application. It is also suited to other portable medical
applications such as blood pressure measurement, as well as
micro-fluidic and industrial applications where size, noise and
controllability are important design factors.
Disc Pump’s ultra-slim design is achieved by using a
piezoelectric actuator to drive pressure oscillations in a thin disc
shaped cavity: one current model measures just 4mm in thickness.
Silent operation is achieved by running the pump at frequencies
above the limit of hearing, using special custom, high-speed valves
to rectify the pressure oscillations.
The combination of pressure generation technology and high
frequency operation make it possible to deliver pneumatic
performance significantly higher than traditional pumps of
comparable size. With a wide dynamic range, the TTP technology has
already achieved stall pressures in excess of 600 mbar and flow
rates of more than 2,500 cc/min. The high-frequency piezoelectric
mechanism provides virtually ripple-free output compared to the
pulsed output that characterises most conventional pumps.
The ultrasound-driven Disc Pump blows up a
“We see a growing trend towards miniaturisation, portability and
discrete operation in markets such as medical devices, diagnostics
and electronics driving demand for small, silent, high-performance
pumps,” said James McCrone head of the group at TTP responsible for
micro-devices. “Responding to this need with an entirely new
technology is very exciting as the market is currently dominated by
pumps based on mechanical principles dating back over 100 years.”
TTP has already developed a range of designs tailoring
performance to specific applications. “We are working with
development partners and licensees to take the technology into both
existing and new markets. The benefits of Disc Pump — backed up by
our strong portfolio of patents — help our partners to build a solid
market position,” says McCrone.