How Does a Vacuum Cleaner Work (The Science Behind It)

After we enter the room, we notice that it looks pretty clean. Without giving it a second thought, we leave just like that. Even your cleanroom has fine particles that your eyes cannot see, as they are almost invisible.

We are fortunate to have common cleaning equipment for dealing with all of these small particles and other cleanup tasks around the house, in the garage, on vehicles, and even in tight spaces.

And we call them vacuum cleaners. However, exactly how does a vacuum cleaner work, what makes it suck all that nasty stuff inside, and what is the science behind it? Let’s find out.

How Does a Vacuum Cleaner Work

Exactly How Does a Vacuum Cleaner Work?

There’s a front-side rotating brush for loosening the dirt. A fan and electric motor combinedly make air come out of the cleaner’s one end and sucks air from another end. The air that goes in basically contains all the dirt and dust that later gets trapped in a separate container.

Now those who don’t know what a vacuum cleaner is, it’s equipment that sucks up dirt, dust, and all majorly small particles. To understand the science behind its function, we have to go a little deeper and perhaps work with a few examples.

Understanding The Science Behind Vacuum Cleaner Mechanism

The most common example that gets thrown for explaining the working mechanism of a vacuum cleaner is a straw. When we use it, the suction that we try to create inside basically comes from making a negative air pressure. By sucking it.

And the pressure inside the straw becomes low compared to the atmosphere surrounding it. You can also find the same thing happening in space films. Remember those spaceship hulls having breaches sucking all the people into space.

That’s the same action taking place with the vacuum cleaner. A negative pressure gets created inside. And so, there’s the flow of air going into it.

Now back to the straw example, if you are drinking juice, then as you keep sucking the air, it creates an empty space in the straw that gets filled by the juice. And that happens from the glass towards your mouth, making the juice travel towards your mouth.

Similarly, the vacuum makes suction of air, which creates a space (a vacuum) and all that grime and dirt fills up that space. And that happening simultaneously, makes the grime and dirt travel inside of the vacuum as long as there’s suction.

The motor of the vacuum plays the part your mouth plays in terms of drinking juice. While the straw’s role is taken over by the hose of a vacuum. 

And that’s just a simple partial explanation of what is happening. But having some idea on vacuum cleaner parts and functions is still necessary for making the concept complete. If you are curious about how each part of the vacuum plays its role, keep reading.

The Role of Electric Motor in Vacuum Cleaner Mechanism

It has to be the most significant part of the construction of vacuum cleaners. The electric motor creates a spinning motion. And that spins a fan. This fan is responsible for creating the suction or air for sucking elements inside. 

Also, the fan helps to push all the entered small particles into a separate bag or canister, which is located on another side.

Now the tricky thing about this mechanism is, there’s no way air will be kept on getting inside a confined area continuously. At some point, it will stop. And if that happens, the cleaner will turn off, and basically, the purpose fails.

To solve this issue, there’s an exhaust also living inside. This part helps in venting air outside. Basically, to the other side. And so, the air keeps going out, space constantly keeps on being available for the new air to enter.

The Role of Dust Collector

Dust collectors are mainly of two types, one that needs a bag and the other that does not. The bag version is light, replaceable and conventional style. You’ll be able to figure them out on your own. 

While the bagless one could be multi-cyclone or single cyclone type. These are heftier and more complicated in structure. You also don’t need to change them for a long time.

An attached cup is there in a bagless dust collector vacuum that showcases all the accumulated dirt and debris in it. And once it reaches the load limit, you just throw out the gross stuff and put back the cup.

The cyclonic system is spinning the sucked dirty air at a very high speed. Quite like a centrifuge. This makes the dust and air separate from each other. And then basically the dust and air are sucked into two different routes. The dust goes to a cylinder-shaped bin or vessel.

This cyclonic air filtering system makes cleaning better efficient. Also, the vacuums are eco-friendly with reusable filters. To run such a bagless vacuum, you need to spend less compared to bagged vacuum cleaners.

Also learn, how to keep bagless vacuum smell better.

The Role of Filter

One of the most important parts of a vacuum cleaner after the motor is the filter. If the polluted air leaves the cleaner machine, then it’s not a good thing for the environment and surroundings, right? 

There are tiny particles, almost invisible for the human eye to see, that don’t get stuck in the bag or canister. And these would just leave the machine with existing air. 

Having these fine particles flying in the air means we are at risk of inhaling in huge quantities. And that would be terrible news for lung health.

The filter makes sure this never happens. Having at least one fine filter (such as HEPA) would make sure the air leaving the cleaner body does not have such a huge quantity of fine particles. And it reduces such risk, keeping the air safe to breathe in.

The Attachments Help with Suction Power

If you know how to use a vacuum cleaner and have tried it before, then you may have noticed how different attachments for it create varying suction. And this is because vacuum cleaning power is not something that only the motor handles. 

The size of the intake port is also responsible. And so, these ports come in the form of attachments that people buy and use for working with different suction power. So that you can clean with a suction meant to target a specific type of dirt or stain.

For Your Information – the narrower and smaller the attachment ports are, the higher is suction power.

Wrapping Up

And that’s basically how a vacuum cleaner works. Keep in mind there are several types of vacuum cleaners available these days. And they do vary in mechanism slightly for of course targeting different types of cleaning needs.

However, the very basic concept of this cleaning equipment mechanism is pretty much the same. And we’ve tried to give you a good explanation for that. Hope It Helps!

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