how vacuum cleaner worksYou probably already know that vacuum cleaners use suction to pull debris out of carpets or off of surfaces.

What exactly is suction? Suction is what happens when the pressure in one area becomes lower than the pressure in another area. Whatever is in the higher pressure area will be forced into the lower pressure area, in nature’s attempt to even out the pressure.

So how does this work in a vacuum cleaner? Here’s how!

Vacuum has six basic parts

  • An intake port – where dirt and debris enter the vacuum
  • An exhaust port – where air exits the vacuum
  • A motor – to run the machine
  • A fan – to create air pressure
  • A bag – to hold debris
  • A housing unit – that holds the other five basic parts

How Vacuum Cleaners Work

To run a vacuum, one must plug it in. The motor runs on the electrical current. There’s a fan attached to the motor.

The fan turns and air is forced toward the exhaust port.

The particles of air that the fan forces towards the exhaust port become denser (closer together) causing more air pressure in front of the fan and less behind the fan.

When the pressure behind the fan falls below the pressure of the air outside of the vacuum, air from the outside of the vacuum then forces its way into the vacuum through the intake port in an attempt to equalize the air pressure.

Contrary to what one might think, the lower pressure air inside doesn’t suck the outside air in – the outside air forces its way in. And with the outside air comes the dirt and debris on your carpet or your drapes, or whatever else you might be attempting to vacuum.

The air particles, as they move, brush up against particles on your carpet or drapes, and, if the particle is light enough and the suction is strong enough, the particle will be forced, with the outside air, into the vacuum.

If the vacuum has brushes they will push dirt and other particles up into the air stream, allowing the stream to carry the dirt along into the vacuum.

As the fan continues to run, there will be a stream of air constantly running into the vacuum and out the exhaust port.

Along the way, the air is going to go through the bag of the vacuum. The bag is a big filter that keeps particles in but allows air to flow through. Some vacuums have a bag at the end of the vacuum near the exhaust port and others have bags close to the intake port.

What Causes a Vacuum Cleaner to Have a Powerful Suction?

The strength of a vacuum’s suction depends upon a number of things:

  • How strong the fan is
  • Whether there is anything blocking the flow of air between the intake and the exhaust port causing drag
  • The size of the intake port. The smaller the intake port, the stronger the suction.

And there you go! Now you know how a vacuum works. It’s really a very simple, but important machine.

 

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