How Do Vacuum Cleaners Work?

How Do They Suck So Much?


Roomba Robot powered by a Raspberry Pi

By: Nathan Britton, Journalist

Everyone has seen and used a vacuum cleaner, but how does it work? That’s what we’ll be finding out today.

The most important part of the vacuum is the fan. The fan is reversed so that the air isn’t pushed out the sucking end, because that would just redistribute the dust instead of collecting it in the container. Picture this: you’re sucking on an empty water bottle. What happens? The bottle crinkles up. Now imagine that you were drinking through a straw. What happens? You’re sucking the air out, and there can’t be an empty part with nothing in it, so the water goes up to fill where the air was in. This is how the fan works, except there’s a filter that lets the dust in, but not out.

Sometimes the dust lodges itself on a carpet, for example, and the fan alone can’t suck it up. That’s where the spinning brush comes in. The brush beats the carpet so that the dust dislodges itself, like what you did to clean carpets before vacuums were invented. Then the fan can suck up the dust, and all is well.

And that is how vacuums work. there are more parts to vacuums, such as the Roomba, but that would be a whole other article.