What is a Piston Pump?

A piston pump is a famous type of pump from the category of reciprocating pump.  A piston pump has a high-pressure seal that moves according to the rotation of the piston.  These reciprocating pumps use to pump different fluids such as gases, water, and more. These types of pumps can work in a wide pressure range. Therefore, a high-pressure operation is possible without significantly influencing the flow rate.

Piston pumps can also use to transfer high viscous liquids and liquids with solid particles. It uses a piston to transfer the fluids. This piston moves upward and downward inside the cylinder of the pump.  During the upward movement of the piston, it sucks fluid inside the pump chamber. As the piston moves downward, it discharges the fluid out of the pump.


Piston pumps are typically utilized in applications that require constant high pressure and irrigation or water supply systems. The surface of a piston pump is similar to a car engine.

How does a Piston Pump work?

In a single-acting piston pump, a connecting rod links the displacer with the crankshaft gear. Due to this, the displacer moves back and forth within the cylinder. As the piston moves to the right, the inner pump pressure becomes lower than the external fluid pressure. Due to the pressure difference, a vacuum creates inside the pump cylinder. As a result, the hydraulic fluid starts flowing inside the cylinder of the pump through the suction valve.

Piston Pump Working

As the piston moves backward (left), the outlet valve opens, and the suction valve closes. This will inject the liquid into the drain pipe. This pump uses a single crankshaft to operate the pistons.

To increase the pump efficiency, it is usually made as a double pump, a triple pump, etc.

Piston Pump Types

The piston pumps have multiple types, but the most major types are given below:

1) Lift Piston Pump

In this positive displacement pump, the piston above the stroke allows liquid to flow under the cylinder through a control device called a valve.

On the below stroke, the liquid moves to the top of the cylinder through a control attached to the piston. As the downward stroke completes, the upward stroke begins. During the upward stroke, the liquid exits the pump from the top of the cylinder through the nozzle.

2) Force Pumps

During the working of this pump, the upward stroke of the pump introduces the liquid inside the chamber through a suction valve.  During the piston downstroke, the liquid discharges from the pump through an outlet valve into the drain pipe.  

3) Radial Piston Pump

It is a hydraulic pump, and the operating piston runs symmetrically with a radial track in the area of ​​the drive shaft that deviates from the direction of travel of the axial piston pump.

4) Axial Piston Pump

It is a most famous type of pump that has multiple pistons in a circular array of a tube block. This block drives in order to rotate the axis of symmetry through the main shaft, which connects with the pumping piston.  These pumps can be used as compressors for car air conditioners, standalone pumps, or hydraulic motors.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Piston Pump

A piston pump has the following major advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of Piston Pump:

  • This pump has a wide range of pressure
  • It can manage force without the moving flow rate.
  • The Pressure and flow rate variations have a small effect on the pump performance.
  • It has the capability to move high viscosity fluids such as abrasives and slurries with an excellent design.
  • Low speed.
  • The fluid discharge doesn’t depend on the head. Due to this feature, these pumps can be used as metering pumps.
  • It has high efficiency

Disadvantages of Piston Pumps

The piston pump has the following major disadvantages:

  • The piston pump has a high cost of the maintenance
  • These can control on low flow rates
  • It delivers pulsating flow

Applications of Piston Pumps

  • The piston pumps use in paint sprays.
  • These also use in the oil production industries
  • They are used in the fertilizer industries
  • These types of pump use in the wastewater treatment systems

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