Test Rig for the Atomic Energy Artificial Heart

This test rig was used to analyze the ventricles made for the Atomic Energy Artificial Heart. An artificial heart driven by atomic energy was financed by the Atomic Energy Commission, and by Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA). In 1977 the ERDA became the United States Department of Energy, which lost interest in the development of a nuclear heart. The engine was made by North America/Phillips while the silastic ventricles were made in Kolff's laboratory. Kolff replaced the Sterling engine with a small electromotor on the pump and obtained survival of a calf for 35 days with this artificial heart.
Currently not on view
date made
Kolff Laboratory
place made
United States: Utah, Salt Lake City
Physical Description
silastic (overall material)
dacron (overall material)
surgical tape (overall material)
brass (overall material)
white metal (overall material)
overall: 16 cm x 26.5 cm x 13 cm; 6 5/16 in x 10 7/16 in x 5 1/8 in
overall: 5 1/4 in x 10 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in; 13.335 cm x 26.67 cm x 16.51 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Willim J. Kolff, M.D.
Artificial Organs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Government, Politics, and Reform
Artificial Hearts
Data Source
National Museum of American History