A propelling unit moves the carrier stream through the flow injection analyzer. Although several different propelling units have been used, the most common is a peristaltic pump. As illustrated here, a peristaltic pump consists of a set of rollers attached to the outside of a rotating drum. Tubing from the reagent reservoirs fits between the rollers and a fixed plate. As the drum rotates the rollers squeeze the tubing, forcing the contents of the tubing to move in the direction of the rotation. Peristaltic pumps provide a constant flow rate, which is controlled by the drum’s speed of rotation and the inner diameter of the tubing. Flow rates from 0.0005–40 mL/min are possible, which is more than adequate to meet the needs of FIA where flow rates of 0.5–2.5 mL/min are common. One limitation to a peristaltic pump is that it produces a pulsed flow—particularly at higher flow rates—that may lead to oscillations in the signal.
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