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How Does a Vacuum Pump Work? And Introduction to Vacuum Pumps

Did you know that if you wanted to make a lamp, bulb, or materials used for semiconductors, there is one piece of equipment you need?

That singular tool is a vacuum pump. It’s also used in cars to make your brakes work. They’re used for a broad range of uses, which is why the market for industrial vacuum pumps is going to grow almost 6% a year between now and 2024.

With so many important uses, how does a vacuum pump work?

Keep reading to find out.

How Does a Vacuum Pump Work?

When you first hear the phrase vacuum pump, your first thought it’s something for residential use. You think of a vacuum cleaner or a big pump to suck water from your basement.

Well, that’s not quite a vacuum pump, though it’s a similar concept. That’s called a sump pump.

A vacuum pump takes air from a space and moves it to another place. That leaves a vacuum or empty space. It works like a sump pump because a sump pump takes water and places it elsewhere, ideally out of the basement.

When a light bulb is produced, gas is taken out of the bulb, which allows the light to work.

Categories of Vacuum Pumps

To better understand how a vacuum pump works, you need to know the different categories of vacuum pumps. The categories dictate the purpose of the vacuum pump, and how it works.

There are dozens of different categories of vacuum pumps. They tend to fall under a few main categories.

Gas Binding Vacuum Pump

A gas binding pump simply captures gas molecules and holds them as opposed to moving them from one area to another. Since this type of pump contains the gas collected, it has a limited capacity to run.

Gas Transfer Vacuum Pump

A gas transfer vacuum pump is a broad category that describes the process of taking gas from one area and transferring it to another.

Gas Displacement

Gas displacement vacuum pumps are common and work just like in the examples above. Gas is removed from a sealed area (like a light bulb) and then placed elsewhere.

Under this category are several different types of gas displacement pumps. An oscillation displacement pump like this Gast vacuum pump is an example of a gas displacement pump.

Kinetic Vacuum Pump

A kinetic vacuum pump also displaces gas, but it does so in a different way. It relies on the momentum of high-speed blades, like a fan, to move gases from one area to another.

The Many Uses of Vacuum Pumps

Vacuum pumps are used in almost every industry, from auto to medical. How does a vacuum pump work?

It depends on the type of vacuum pump. A gas transfer pump uses the principles of physics to move gas from one area to another. A gas binding pump collects the gasses instead of moving them. 

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