In order to prevent the backward flow of piezoelectric pumps, this paper presents a single-active-chamber piezoelectric membrane pump with multiple passive check valves. Under the condition of a fixed total number of passive check valves, by means of changing the inlet valves and outlet valves' configuration, the pumping characteristics in terms of flow rate and backpressure are experimentally investigated. Like the maximum flow rate and backpressure, the testing results show that the optimal frequencies are significantly affected by changes in the number inlet valves and outlet valves. The variation ratios of the maximum flow rate and the maximum backpressure are up to 66% and less than 20%, respectively. Furthermore, the piezoelectric pump generally demonstrates very similar flow rate and backpressure characteristics when the number of inlet valves in one kind of configuration is the same as that of outlet valves in another configuration. The comparison indicates that the backflow from the pumping chamber to inlet is basically the same as the backflow from the outlet to the pumping chamber. No matter whether the number of inlet valves or the number of outlet valves is increased, the backflow can be effectively reduced. In addition, the backpressure fluctuation can be significantly suppressed with an increase of either inlet valves or outlet valves. It also means that the pump can prevent the backflow more effectively at the cost of power consumption. The pump is very suitable for conditions where more accurate flow rates are needed and wear and fatigue of check valves often occur.
Keywords: PZT actuator; backpressure; flow rate; multiple check valves; piezoelectric membrane pump.