Industrial laser calibration, by Agilent Vacuum Pumps
(Photo : Industrial laser calibration, by Agilent Vacuum Pumps)

Vacuum technology is an extremely powerful tool for many industrial as well as small-scale applications. However, the vacuums that we imagine in our homes and offices are very different from the vacuum pumps that are used by professionals. These pumps have a much more powerful capacity to create vacuums in spaces and volumes of large quantities. Such industrial applications demand high-powered and reliable vacuum pumps such as the ones made by Agilent Vacuum Pumps.

How does a Vacuum work?

Before we get into the fundamentals and types of vacuum pumps, we need to understand how they work. A vacuum is a space where there is no molecule or object. Many times, we look at a place and think it is empty, but we are unaware that even in closed containers, there is air trapped inside of it. A vacuum ensures that even this invisible air as well as other microbial elements such as bacteria, viruses, dust, or water vapor are sucked out. Industries such as automobiles, aeronautics, pharmaceuticals, foundries, and large-scale waste management require these vacuum pumps to work efficiently according to the exact specifications needed. Its basic operation is that it creates low pressure and then sucks out all the matter inside of a container to create a vacuum. There are many ways in which this is achieved.

Particles Accelerator
(Photo : Particles Accelerator)

Types of Vacuum pumps:

The vacuum pumps have been divided into categories, based on their method of operation. There are 4 main kinds:

1.      Gas Transfer Pumps: The operation of such pumps is rather simple. It works by transferring gas molecules through the process of momentum exchange (kinetic action) or positive displacement. The number of gas molecules that are entering the pump are all expelled in the same exact quantity at a pressure slightly above the atmospheric level. The compression ratio is based on the ratio between the pressure of the exhaust outlet and the lowest pressure of the gas intake.

2.      Kinetic Transfer Pump: A kinetic transfer pump uses the momentum of high-speed blades or vapor introduced into the vacuum chamber to direct the gas molecules outwards towards the exhaust. This works on the principle of momentum transfer that is used to guide the air out of the vacuum. A kinetic transfer pump can reach high compression rates even at low pressures but usually lack sealed volumes.

3.      Entrapment Pumps: In this case, the vacuum pumps trap or capture the gas molecules to a particular surface within the vacuum system. The flow rates of such capture pumps are lower than the usual transfer pumps, but they can achieve very high vacuums, up to 10-15 Torr. These pumps work using chemical reactions that are placed inside the vacuum chamber. When used along with other transfer pumps, they can also achieve ultra-high vacuums. The chemical processes used in such pumps include ionic reactions, cryogenic condensation, and various other chemical reactions. Because there are no moving parts, such pumps are very efficient and reliable. The chemical process collects a thin layer of air molecules which is then removed by the operation of the pumps.

4.     Positive Displacement Pumps: The positive displacement pumps work by trapping a certain volume of gas using mechanical processes and then moving it through the vacuum pump out to the exhaust where it is expelled. Such pumps have multiple stages housed within a single shaft. When the gas is trapped, it is converted to a small volume with high pressure using the compression of the pumps, thus making it flow towards the atmosphere or to the next stage of the pump. The main purpose of a positive displacement type pump is to create low vacuums by expanding a cavity that allows the gases to flow out of the sealed vacuum chamber.

Vacuum pump technology is used in a wide array of industries including medicine, industries, automobiles, foundries, and chemical research. Knowing about the right kind of vacuum pump for your needs is extremely important so make sure that you check out Agilent Vacuum Pumps Website to further discover the amazing vacuum technologies available.

Semiconductor production
(Photo : Semiconductor production)