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What is a Peristaltic Pump?

Our Peristaltic Pump Explained

A peristaltic pump or tube pump is a type of positive displacement pump and can be used for pumping a variety of liquids. Because the liquids do not come in contact with a pump mechanism this makes these pumps ideal for the pumping of corrosive or sterile liquids. The liquid is contained within a flexible peristaltic pump tube fitted inside a circular pump casing. A rotor with a number of "rollers" attached to the external circumference compresses the flexible paristaltic pump tubing.

The pump tubing is often referred to as manifold tubing, and is usually a silicone tubing. In some pumps, the tubing is held in a cassette. As the rotor turns, the part of the tube under compression closes (or "occludes") forcing the liquid being pumped to move through the tube. As the tube opens to it's natural state after the passing of the cam ("restitution"), it creates a partial vacuum refilling the pump tubing.

In this way liquid flow is induced through the peristaltic pump. This process is called peristalsis. Peristalsis emulates the process used in the biological systems of humans. e.g. the gastrointestinal tract.

There are several manufacturers of peristaltic pumps: Watson-Marlow, Masterflex and Ismatec are some of the better known.


Peristaltic pumps are typically used to pump clean/sterile or aggressive fluids, where cross-contamination cannot occur. Some common applications include pumping IV fluids through an infusion device, aggressive chemicals, high solids, slurries and other materials where isolation of the product from the environment and the environment from the product is critical.

Peristaltic pumps for medical use have additional safety features. For this reason, iPumps are not intended for medical or veterinarian use. You should check in your local area for suitability for these various applications.