Vacuum pump - the primer
What exactly is a vacuum pump?
A vacuum pump is a device that removes particles of gas from an air-tight container to achieve a partial vacuum. This great invention was the brain-child of Otto von Guerricke, a German politician, inventor, and scientist. Today vacuum pumps are used in so many industries and households alike.
What are the types of vacuum pumps and how do they work?
There are three broad categories of vacuum pumps, according to the techniques used to create a vacuums.
First is the positive displacement pump which uses mechanisms that repeatedly expand cavities to draw gases from the chamber being vacuumed, sealing off the cavity and then expelling the gas into the outside. Momentum transfer vacuum pumps on the other hand use fluids propelled at high speed or fast rotating blades to expel gas molecules from the chamber being vacuumed. The third type of vacuum pump are called entrapment pumps, they entrap gaseous molecules into an absorbed or solid state.
What are the applications for each type of vacuum pump?
Positive displacement vacuum pumps are good for use when a low vacuum is needed because the high backstream flow that they cause can limit their ability to produce high vacuums. Momentum transfer vacuum pumps are used for high vacuums because of the speed of their ability to knock out gas molecules from chambers being vacuumed. Entrapment vacuum pumps are used to add additional vacuum that help in reaching ultra high vacuum levels.
What are vacuum pumps for?
The vacuum pump is used for a lot of important procedures in industries and scientific methods and equipment:
Vacuum pumps are used in creating majority of the kinds of electric lamps, bulbs, CRTs, and vacuum tubes which are essential for major appliances for home and industrial use. They are also used for processing semiconductors, specifically during the implantation and sputtering of ions.
Vacuum pumps are also used in electron microscopes, devices that are used to look at particles as tiny as the smallest part of the atom. They are also used in mass spectrometers that create high vacuums for ion detectors and ion sources.
And vacuum pumps are also used in the medical field. A lot of surgeries and procedures would be difficult, or impossible to do without vacuum pumps and suction tubes that help keep out excessive secretions made by the body.
Vacuum pumps are also used to pull a vacuum needed for certain mechanical devices. For example, gas-powered vehicles need the vacuum created by the engine’s operation combined with the restriction of flow made by its throttle plate. Without this the dampers of the ventilation system of the motors would not move. In motorized vehicles, vacuum pumps are important for boosting the power brakes, and powering the throttle drivers for cruise controls.
Aircrafts also need vacuum pumps to run gyroscopes that are used in many flying instruments. They are used to power some parts of the instrument panel in airplanes and jets.
Much has been developed about vacuums and a lot of the modern conveniences enjoyed by people today would not be possible without vacuums. It is indeed such a good thing that the vacuum pump has been invented.
common typos: vacun, punp, pupm