Manufacturer testing diaphragm pumps to ensure they're working properly.

How Does a Diaphragm Pump Work?

Diaphragm pumps are versatile, efficient, and durable, making them a popular choice for a wide range of applications across many industries. From wastewater treatment to agricultural irrigation and everything in between, diaphragm pumps can handle a wide range of fluids.

Read on to learn how diaphragm pumps work and the differences between a standard diaphragm pump and an agricultural one.

What Is a Diaphragm Pump?

A diaphragm pump is a type of positive displacement pump that uses a flexible diaphragm made of rubber or other elastomeric materials to transfer fluid from one area to another. 

These types of pumps are utilized in a wide range of industries such as agriculture, wastewater treatment, chemical processing, and more. Diaphragm pumps can handle a wide range of fluids including viscous and corrosive ones. 

How Does It Work?

A diaphragm metering pump works by using a reciprocating motion to transfer liquid from the inlet to the outlet. A flexible diaphragm creates that motion and is driven by an electric motor, gas motor, or hydraulic actuator. 

The fluid inlet connects to the fluid source and the fluid outlet connects to the point of delivery. The flexible diaphragm separates the fluid inlet and outlet, creating a fluid chamber. 

The motor engages either a spring or hydraulic fluid to move the diaphragm back and forth, thereby creating a reciprocating motion that draws fluid into the fluid chamber and then pushes it out through the outlet. Jaeco’s diaphragm pumps utilize hydraulic fluid which tends to be more durable for continuous use than pumps with springs.

The control mechanism regulates the movement of the diaphragm and ensures that the fluid is dispensed at a precise and controlled rate. This can be done by adjusting the stroke length of the diaphragm or the speed of the motor.

The basic operation of a diaphragm pump can be broken down into two main phases: suction and discharge.

Suction phase—In the suction phase, the diaphragm contracts and creates a vacuum within the pump chamber. This vacuum draws fluid into the chamber through a one-way check valve. 

Discharge phase—As the diaphragm expands, the volume within the pump chamber decreases, thereby increasing pressure on the fluid. This pressure forces the fluid through the outlet valve and into the discharge piping. The outlet is also a check valve to prevent fluid from flowing back into the chamber.

The reciprocating mechanism of the diaphragm pump causes the diaphragm to expand and contract repeatedly, creating a continuous flow of fluid through the system.


Diaphragm Pump vs. Agricultural Diaphragm Pump

While the basic operation of all diaphragm pumps is the same, some differences exist in design and functionality between a standard diaphragm pump and an agricultural diaphragm pump.

For example, agricultural diaphragm pumps are specially designed for irrigation, fertigation, and chemigation agricultural applications. They also tend to be used more when “all-weather” applications are required.

JAECO agricultural diaphragm pumps come in single and double-diaphragms. With an extra diaphragm in between, these pumps provide an additional barrier further reducing the opportunity for contamination. 

Comparison Table

Feature Standard Diaphragm Pump Agricultural Diaphragm Pump
Materials Liquid End 316 Stainless Steel, PVC, Alloy 20, Hastelloy-C 316 Stainless Steel: Standard
PVCl: Standard
Alloy 20: Optional
Hastelloy-C: Optional
Diaphragm PTFE PTFE – Standard
Available in Simplex and Duplex? Yes Yes
Motor Options Electric, gas, belt-driven
  • Single or Three Phase
  • 12V DC
  • Variable Speed Motor Drive
  • V-Belt
  • Gasoline
Accuracy ± .5% at steady state ± .5% at steady state
Field-convertible from simplex to duplex? Yes Yes
  • Pressure relief valves
  • Backpressure valves
  • Calibration columns
  • Pulsation dampeners
  • Pressure gauges
  • Pressure relief valves
  • Calibration columns
  • Back pressure valves
  • Pulsation dampeners
Accuracy ± .5% at steady state ± .5% at steady state

Reduce Downtime With JAECO Diaphragm Pumps

JAECO Diaphragm Pumps offer on-the-fly adjustment providing users with ultimate flexibility and reduced machine downtime. Our expert engineers will help you find the right pump for your application. Click below to get a quote.


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