A vacuum cleaner is made up of several components, and can include a variety of accessories and equipment. The vacuum unit itself is composed of an electric motor, a rotating fan, a dust bag, and intake and outtake ports.
How Vacuum Cleaners Work
When in use, the electric motor causes the fan blades to spin, forcing the air forward toward the exhaust port which causes pressure to drop behind the fan inside the unit. This creates a vacuum which causes the unequal pressure to create suction, pulling air particles through the intake port. The rotating brushes assist in loosening the dirt and debris particles and they are pushed along with the air stream into a porous dust bag. The holes in the bag material are large enough to allow the air to pass through, but too small for dust and dirt to do the same, thereby trapping the debris within the filter bag.
Suction Power of Vacuum Cleaners
Suction power in a vacuum varies with the speed of the fan, the fullness of the filter bag, and the size of the intake port. The faster the fan spins, the greater the difference in pressure, causing suction to increase. When the filter bag is full, the particles can sometimes clog the dust bag and slow down the passage of air through the unit, causing a slow down in current and reduce suction. The smaller the intake port, the more concentrated the suction, thereby the more powerful the suction.
Types of Vacuum Cleaners
Upright vacuums and canister vacuums are both vacuums that use the porous filter bag method. They may also come with a variety of accessories and attachments with different sized intake port openings. These attachments can be used to clean different surfaces such as furniture, draperies, and area rugs with a more concentrated suction. Attachments may also be adorned with brushes and bristles to assist in kicking up dirt particles into the air stream.
Vacuum Cleaners for Liquids and Solids
There are also vacuums which have the ability to pick up liquids as well as solids. The process of suction is the same; however the air stream enters the intake port and passes through a wider area within the unit. A bucket or container is placed beneath this wide area, and when the air current passes through the wider space it slows down, and the heavier water particles detach from the slower moving air and drop into the bucket.
Modern Vacuum Cleaners
A recent development in the vacuuming industry has been a new technology called the cyclone vacuum. The particle filled air is passed through cylinders creating a high speed spiral of air, which in turn creates powerful centrifugal force. The dirt particles are whipped outward and then drop into the bottom of the cylinder. Because of this process, the cyclone vacuum does not need a filter or dust bag. As cyclone vacuums are the newest technology they are generally more costly than uprights or canisters. However, they are also considered the highest rated performance-wise.