High Performance Diaphragm

Metering Pump Principles - Part lV

Continued from Part lll (Metallic Diaphragm Liquid Ends)

The High Performance Diaphragm liquid end, HPD, combines all of the best characteristics of traditional liquid ends into one technologically advanced design. Its operating characteristics and simplicity of operation make it the best pump to consider first for most metering pump applications. 

HPD operation is similar to the disc diaphragm in that it is hydraulically actuated and utilizes the same shape and diaphragm. It is similar to a tubular diaphragm in the respect that the process fluid has a “straight through” path through the liquid end. Its low NPSH requirements are similar to that of a packed plunger liquid end. But the primary advantages of the HPD are the unique design features that separate it from traditional designs.

The MARS Advantage 

A hydraulically actuated diaphragm liquid end design requires a refill system to compensate for hydraulic fluid that bleeds past the piston or through an air bleed valve during normal operation. 

Hydraulic fluid is also expelled from the chamber through the internal relief valve when the system experiences excess pressure, and therefore must also be replenished. The HPD features a Mechanically Actuated Refill System (MARS) that offers a number of advantages over traditional refill systems. To understand the advantages of MARS, traditional refill systems must first be explored.

Traditional Designs 

Traditional designs use a system that refills the chamber when a vacuum is created by the inability of the diaphragm to move beyond the hydraulic contour plate. 



It also refills when the suction is momentarily or permanently starved by accidental valve closure, insufficient NPSH, or other similar occurrences. When this happens, the hydraulic fluid chamber is overfilled because a vacuum has been created even though the diaphragm has not been able to travel rearward. To avoid diaphragm rupture due to overfilled hydraulic oil, a process side contour plate stops the diaphragm's forward travel, and forces the hydraulic relief valve to open, thus expelling the excess fluid. 

The contour plate is a concave (actually, concavo-convex) disc that supports the diaphragm and limits its travel. The plate has a series of holes bored through it to permit the fluid to come into contact with the diaphragm. The pattern and size of these holes requires careful engineering to maintain the contour plate strength required to withstand the force of the diaphragm experienced at operating pressure.


The hydraulic contour plate does not cause any problems in pump operation since the hydraulic fluid passes easily through the contour plate holes. However, a process contour plate, required by traditional disc diaphragm liquid ends, places limitations on the types of process fluids the pump can handle (such as slurries) since the process fluid must also pass through contour plate holes. The process contour plate also creates a pressure loss which raises the NPSH requirement of the liquid end.

The MARS System The MARS System eliminates the need for a process contour plate by assuring that the hydraulic fluid can only be refilled when the diaphragm has traveled all the way back to the hydraulic contour plate. The diaphragm presses against the MARS valve, which only then permits a poppet valve to open from the vacuum created by insufficient hydraulic fluid. 

Hydraulic overfill is therefore impossible. With the process contour plate gone, the straight through path of the process liquid makes the HPD a perfect choice for slurries and viscous materials. It also lowers the NPSH requirements of the pump, since pressure loss through a process contour plate is eliminated. 

The MARS system also simplifies HPD start-up. Unlike other hydraulic liquid ends, the refill valve does not need adjustment. Additionally, since the HPD hydraulic fluid cannot be overfilled, there is no need to perform delicate procedures to synchronize hydraulic fluid balances (a difficult task required for tubular and other double diaphragm liquid ends). With the HPD, you just fill the reservoirs, and turn it on.

Advanced Liquid End Technology
HPD Preshaped Composite Diaphragm



The HPD features a preshaped PTFE/elastomer composite disc diaphragm. On the process side, the chemical resistance of PTFE is utilized. On the hydraulic side, the elastomer imparts favorable elastic and mechanical factors. 

The composite diaphragm eliminates the inherent problems of pure PTFE diaphragms. PTFE tends to cold flow when compressed between two metal parts (such as those required to seal the hydraulic side from the process side).



The HPD composite diaphragm features an integral "O" ring seal around the perimeter of the diaphragm, which provides a better seal between hydraulic and process fluids than conventional diaphragm materials. The HPD is capable of handling pressures up to 3025 psi and temperatures up to 300⁰F (with special modifications).


MARS System Operation


Figure 1 Diaphragm (A) and piston (C) are full forward. Mars valve (B) in forward position holds poppet valve (D) closed, preventing refill line hydraulic oil from entering the chamber.


Figure 2 Diaphragm (A) and piston (C) are full rearward. Mars valve (B) is also rearward due to diaphragm position, thus freeing poppet (D) to open if required. Poppet (D) is shown closed, indicating hydraulic oil refill is not required.


 Figure 3 Diaphragm (A) and piston (C) are full rearward, once again forcing Mars valve (B) to its rearward position, which allows poppet (D) to open if required. Low oil volume creates a vacuum and opens poppet, permitting hydraulic fluid to enter the chamber from the refill line.

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