Moving liquids very fast...

I'm participating in a project for a Hackaton in which we have to move a liquid from one place to another (about half a meter) the problem is that this has to be done preferably in under a second, which is pretty fast. I was looking for pumps that I could use for this purpose and all I could find was some fish tank pumps or very similar ones that aren't very fast.

EDIT: I need to move about 1 liter maximum. But it depends on the situation, the minimum requirement for the project is about 300 milliliters in a second. Another question which is not essential is that, if possible I would like to use a heavy liquid, the heavier the better, but I know if complicates things, so water is alright.

2nd EDIT: Also, the system needs to be able to move the liquid back and forth.

Does anyone know how I can achieve this??

Ambiguous questions get ambiguous answers. How about some numbers and details? How much liquid? How fast (volume / time)? What is the liquid? Water will pump easier than honey. How is this an Arduino question?

Compressed air could whizz it along...

Or there are many pumps capable of moving vast amounts of water quickly. Round me the farmers use big diesel units ( 200HP or so) to irrigate fields running at a nozzle pressure of around 180psi . Not sure what the water velocity is, but they throw a jet several hundred yards ...

just how much water do you need to move?


The system has to be as small and compact as possible, I cant use pumps bigger than those of a fish tank, it has to be relatively light to be mounted on your back.

What liquid?
What rate?
What pressure?

Size of inlet and delivery connections?


Just read your edit ...

300ml/sec. That's 1000 litres or 220 gallons /hour - quite a lot. A LOT more than a fish tank pump.

Against what pressure?

Reversible - most pumps aren't, so you need two , or valves, either manual or solenoid.

A couple of small boat bilge pumps might do it if there's no pressure involved. A couple of big non-return valves required as well.


There ARE many liquids denser than water, but a lot of them are nasty. You could always saturate the water with eg ordinary salt or calcium chloride to increase it's density. Corrosive to many metals.

Can you put the liquid in a 500ml coke bottle and mount the bottle on wheels?


Or attach some bits of string to the bottle to move it ...


Freeze into
An ice cube and throw it

Or .....

Big syringe , connected to an Arduino of course ....

I need it in liquid state, through a tube probably 1 cm in diameter, the length of an arm. I don't know what rate, pressure or liquid, I'm still figuring that out, I would think that first you choose the pump or actuator to move the liquid fast and then figure out the rest. Its the first time I work with liquids, what is the recommended process of design?

And yes I would probably have to use two of these to get it to back and forth.

I got an idea of using syringes to move the liquid back and forth by using a linear actuator or solenoid, but I have never used either of these, does anyone know how fast these can extend?

If it’s very low duty, maybe a small air compressor with reserve tank and a venturi nozzle pump.

If you apply Bernoulli's principle, you can use a vacuum ejector, applying compressed air to create a vacuum to draw the liquid through conduit, very fast. However, this solution is not very portable, considering the size of air tank for the compressed air.

As long as the liquid is moving toward earth, simply removing whatever opposing force, will move it at 9.80665 m/s2.

Sounds very much like an X-Y problem to me. We've all had a bit of fun with these vague specs....


OP - why do you want to move a liquid around like this ? what's it for? What's the REAL project?


C6H2(NO2)3CH3. is there a requirement that you survive ? should move pretty much anything a couple dozen meters in a half second.

What we are talking about is accelerating a mass, up to some speed, in under 1000 mS

back and forth is a requirement.

I have to say posts #6 and #7 are your best starting point.

a NERF type gun,
spheres of ice
a chamber from which to pick up the ice and the pump is your motorized NERF gun that will rapid fire your particles.

Lets get some real facts here.

How is the liquid stored on each end?

How strong are the containers?

Does the receiving container have air or other material that must be vented?

Will the evaporated liquid be replaced periodically?

Does it matter if the liquid is heated in the process?

Does the tubing strength and the connections to the containers support the kind of pressure needed to move the fluid?

What replaces the fluid in the sending container? Air? Another fluid?


if you take two chambers. and in-between have a vertical pump.
the top of the pump has a Y and a diverter.
one way the fluid would hit the diverter and flow into chamber 1.

on the bottom, each chamber has a valve.
when the Y is set to a chamber, the opposite chamber bottom valve is open.
this flip flop would alls the one pump to pull fluid from either of the chambers and have it flow into the other chamber.

= or =

put the two chambers together inside of a circle.
rotate the circle, gravity keeps the water on the bottom.
the fluid moves without moving.

If I was doing this, i’d run a continuous air compressor into an accumulator…
In the meantime - let the liquid source flow into a low-pressure cylinder attached to the outbound transfer pipe…

Then close the liquid in,et, and dump the air accumulator into the back-end of the cylinder- the liquid will move as fast as the transfer pipe will allow.
Once the forward transfer is complete, close the ‘forward’ valve in the cylinder… rinse and repeat for the reverse cycle.

If the air tank and compressor are large enough, this could run continuously at full volume - as fast as you want.

Fundamental principle: In general, gases can be compressed, liquids can’t.

And there is a big difference between pumping a liquid continuously or just moving a small finite amount of liquid.

If there is what amounts to an unlimited supply of liquid then some form of centrifugal pump would probably be appropriate - but would not be cheap and would require a lot of power. (By unlimited, I mean within the time period of the experiment).

If there is only a finite amount of liquid I suspect some form of piston pump would be needed. But that, too, could require a lot of power because, as well as accelerating the liquid there is the friction of the piston seals to be overcome.