The suitability of oil–water emulsions to predict shear forces in stirred bioreactors under cost-effective and time-saving conditions has been demonstrated several times, but no application to pumps has been described so far. In this report, the drop sizes in a model oil–water system were determined for the Levitronix PuraLev® multi-use (MU) series (PuraLev® 200MU and PuraLev® 600MU), a peristaltic pump (Masterflex® I/P Easy Load), and 4-piston diaphragm pump (Quattroflow 1200- SU, where SU is single-use) using inline endoscopy. It was determined that the Sauter mean diameter could be used as a comparison criterion to estimate mechanical stress in pumps. The investigation showed that PuraLev® MU pumps are characterized by up to 59% larger Sauter mean diameters than their counterparts at comparable operational conditions. This indicates lower hydrodynamic stress in the PuraLev® MU pumps. Using computational fluid dynamics, a well-streamlined fluid flow and low turbulent energy dissipation rates were found in the PuraLev® MU pumps, which correlated well with experimental results. A calculation model was used to predict the Sauter mean diameter by combining both experimental and computational fluid dynamics data. Good agreement with deviations below 13% was determined between model predictions and experimental data.
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