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What Are Pulsation Dampeners and How Do They Work?

Pulsation dampeners, or pulsation dampers, can be important for the smooth operation of fluid systems. We explain how they work and what they are used for.

Providing an effective solution to the challenges posed by pressure pulsations, pulsation dampers are designed to minimize pressure fluctuations during pumping processes, ensuring optimal performance and longevity of the pump and system. By examining the components of pulsation dampeners and exploring their functionality and types, we provide the information needed to make an informed decision about their use.

Understanding Pressure Pulsations

To get the most out of pulsation dampeners, it is essential to understand the causes and effects of pressure pulsations. Pulsations can be generated by almost all positive displacement pumps which move fluids by enclosing and mechanically moving fixed volumes. These pulsations can have far-reaching effects on systems. For diaphragm pumps, pressure pulsations are generated by the intermittent up and down strokes of the diaphragm, causing fluctuations in flow rate and pressure. These fluctuations, or pressure spikes, can be detrimental to overall performance, resulting in noise, vibration, increased wear and tear, reduced efficiency and even system failures.


In some applications, such as inkjet printing, effective pulsation damping makes the use of diaphragm pumps possible in the first place. With the addition of pulsation dampeners, system fluctuations and pressure variations can be controlled, reducing stress on downstream flow path components, thus extending the life of the overall system. Because diaphragm pumps offer outstanding advantages such as leak-tightness, cleanliness, chemical compatibility and gentle handling of media, pulsation dampeners can be a key element in using the ideal pumping technology, even when the application is sensitive to pulsation.

Types of Pulsation Dampener

For diaphragm pumps and fluid handling systems, pulsation dampeners can be key components to maintaining a stable and reliable system. KNF offers two main types of pulsation dampeners: integrated dampeners, as used in some of the Smooth Flow Pump Series, and external dampeners that can be added at almost any position in a fluid system. Their characteristics and functionalities can reduce pressure spikes, provide smooth flow and exceptional pump performance.

Components of a Pulsation Dampener

While all types of pulsation dampener will have variations in aspects like size, exact geometry or materials, they share common components in their inner workings. Each contributes to the steady flow of liquid, ensuring system stability and longevity. These components include:

  • Pressure vessel: The pressure vessel is the main body of the pulsation dampener. It houses the various components and is designed to withstand the pressures experienced during pumping. The material and design of the pressure vessel are essential factors in ensuring the durability and safety of the dampener.
  • Diaphragm: The diaphragm separates the liquid from the dampening element and the environment. Its flexible properties allow the inner volume of the pulsation damper to vary. For KNF dampers, customers can choose between different diaphragm materials such as EPDM or FFKM to achieve chemical compatibility.
  • Dampening element: In KNF pulsation dampeners, the dampening element is a solid component located directly outside of the diaphragm. It is responsible for absorbing and dampening pressure fluctuations. The specific compressibility of the material allows it to expand and contract, counteracting the pressure spikes and maintaining a more constant and steady flow rate.
  • Inlet and outlet connections: These connections integrate the pulsation dampener into the pump system. Precise sizing and positioning of these connections is essential to eliminate pulsations and achieve a practical and effective dampening effect.
Pulsation dampers like this KNF FPD 10 are used in fluid systems to minimize pulsation.
Pulsation dampers like this KNF FPD 10 are used in fluid systems to minimize pulsation.

How Pulsation Dampeners Work

The dampening process used by pulsation dampeners is precise and works by applying equal pressure to the pump strokes during low-pressure points. As the diaphragm pump generates pressure pulsations, the dampening element within the dampener expands and contracts in response. This action absorbs the excess pressure during peaks and releases stored energy during troughs, resulting in a more uniform downstream flow. The pressure provided by the dampener reduces pressure fluctuations while minimizing noise and vibration.

Selecting the Right Pulsation Dampener

Several factors should be considered when selecting the appropriate pulsation dampener or Smooth Flow Pump for a system. Preferred flow rates, operating pressure levels, fluid types, connection size, available space, and the level of pulsation reduction required – all play an important role in determining the most suitable dampener or Smooth Flow Pump to maximize efficiency and longevity. Consulting with a qualified expert at KNF during the selection process will ensure the selected dampener or pump meets the specific needs of the pumping system.

The Benefits of Pulsation Dampeners

Pulsation dampeners have a range of diverse benefits in liquid handling systems. From improved pump efficiency to enhanced safety measures, pulsation dampeners can positively impact pump system performance, longevity, and operational reliability. Some of these benefits include:

  • Improved pump and system performance: By reducing pulsation, pulsation dampeners contribute to a more consistent and efficient pump performance by decreasing the friction between the media and the system. This, in turn, increases the overall system efficiency.
  • Increased equipment lifespan: Minimizing the stress to the pump and system components leads to a longer lifespan for equipment. Pulsation dampeners can act as a protective barrier, reducing the wear and tear associated with uncontrolled pressure fluctuations.
  • Reduced noise and energy savings: The dampening of pressure spikes not only reduces friction, but also results in quieter pump operation. Improved efficiency can also save energy, making pulsation dampeners a sustainable and cost-effective solution.
  • Low maintenance: A pulsation dampener usually requires little or no maintenance during its service life. However, regular inspections are recommended to check for general wear and leakage, particularly for inline pulsation dampeners. If required, all KNF pulsation dampers can be serviced.

Pulsation Dampener Knowledge and Support From KNF

Pulsation dampeners can be a vital accessory for diaphragm pumps. Their ability to regulate pressure spikes and many other benefits make them crucial to achieving optimal performance, durability, and safety in various pumping applications.


Understanding their functionality, types, components, and applications is critical to achieving their full potential in a variety of industrial settings. As manufacturers of high-quality positive displacement pumps, the technical experts at KNF have the expertise to help customers better understand these essential accessories.

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