The Many Uses of Vacuum Pumps

Among the many types of pumps that are used both in the home and in industry, vacuum pumps stand as some of the most versatile and useful. Their design is somewhat simple, yet they can perform a wide variety of tasks that you may not even realise.

Vacuum Pump Used in an Air Conditioner

The basic idea behind the vacuum pump is to remove the air in a contained unit. One of the most common types of vacuum pumps, or suction pumps as they are sometimes called, that is used every day is a straw. When a person sucks on it, air is removed and the drink rushes to the top and into the person’s mouth because of the pressure difference.

It may surprise you to know that this concept has been around since 1650, with some simpler versions possibly sooner. But what can they do for you today and in the world we live in now, other than aid in the consumption of your refreshing drink?

For anyone at home, these types of pumps are found in air conditioning units, sewage systems and some electrical appliances, such as lamps. We may not even notice them sometimes, but they work to keep us comfortable and our home in good shape.

For industrial applications, vacuum pumps are used in the moving of composite plastic, slurry and other liquid resources. In specialised fields, they are used in milking machines on the farm, freeze drying units, certain instruments in older aircraft models, medical processes, cabinet making, printing press, laboratories, etc.

Most of the industries or businesses that use pumps, prefer to use vacuum pumps because of their practical design and many applications.

We carry a number of different models of these pumps, ranging from simple to more complex ones, which are designed to last longer and endure in harsher conditions. We also have the different parts that keep these remarkable machines running.

The vacuum pump has three main types and we have them all, including momentum transfer, entrapment and positive displacement. Whatever the use, we have pumps that fit all kinds of scenarios and we know that they can do whatever job you need them to do.

For more information about vacuum pumps and how to order one of your own, please call 1300 922 973.

A Simple Guide to Pumps: Part 1

We get a lot of questions about pumps. What kind of pump is right for the job? What is the difference between kinds of pumps? How do water pumps work? We’re going to give you a simple guide to some of the pumps we offer throughout Australia, and hope we can make your choices easier. If it doesn’t work, you can always feel free to call us or email us; we will be happy to recommend the right pump for the right job.

Vacuum Pumps

A vacuum pump works just like a shop-vac. It removes air to create a vacuum. This causes lower pressure in the space where the air was removed, and allows the higher-pressure air to rush in and fill the space created when the air was removed. The most popular vacuum pump is a positive displacement pump. Vacuum pumps are used more for applications that don’t involve water, but are sometimes used in sewage systems.

Centrifugal Pumps

A centrifugal pump moves water by converting rotational kinetic energy into hydro dynamics energy. The energy comes from a motor, and water enters an impeller, where it is accelerated to move outward through the pump to either a diffuser or a volute chamber, where it then leaves the pump. Centrifugal pumps are best used for water, but are often used for sewage, chemicals, slurries etc.

Rotary Vane Pumps

A rotary vane pump is classified as a positive-displacement pump. It has vanes which are mounted to a rotor inside of a cavity. The simple type has a circular rotor which rotates inside of a circular cavity. The centres are slightly offset, causing what is known as eccentricity. To make a long story short, they are often used for holding wood or other materials down on CNC Routers in the furniture industry.

Double Diaphragm Pumps

A double diaphragm pump, also known as an AODD, is classified as a positive displacement pump that uses two diaphragms made of thermoplastic, Teflon, or rubber, which work with a reciprocating action. They can be up to 97% efficient, are self-priming, and can handle viscous fluids. They can also handle solids and corrosive liquids. Most uses for this pump are industrial, but they are also used on the filters for fish tanks. Another interesting use is artificial hearts.

How a Peristaltic Pump Works

If “peristaltic pump” reminds you vaguely of school, it’s because you might have heard it in a high school biology class. Peristalsis is the process by which food gets from your mouth to the other end of your gastro-intestinal tract. A more visible example might be seeing time-lapse photography of a snake swallowing an object that is wider than he is.

In peristalsis, whatever is being moved is on the inside of a tube, and outside forces are squeezing the tube, starting at one end and moving to the other end. As it is in nature, so it is with a peristaltic pump.

A peristaltic pump is classified as a positive displacement pump, and is used to pump fluids. The tube is filled with product, and a rotor with rollers, “wipers” or “shoes,” turns, causing the rollers to compress the tube at one end. Just like the biological example we used, the fluid is forced to the other end and finally out of the tube. Similar to squeezing a tube of toothpaste.

When the fluid is displaced, it causes a vacuum, and product is drawn in behind the rollers to refill the tube. This is often called “resilience” or “restitution.” The cycle starts over again for as long as there is fluid to pump and the rotor turns.

A popular application for a peristaltic pump is when sanitation is at a premium. Because neither the rotor nor the rollers touches the inside of the tube, there is less chance of any outside parts cross-contaminating the contents of the tube. Medical applications include pumping IV fluids and circulating blood through a heart-lung machine during heart bypass surgery.

It is also used for aggressive chemicals and other instances where the environment needs to be protected from the fluids, or where the fluid or sludge needs to be protected from the environment.   Due to their design, they are often the first choice for pumping viscous fluids or abrasives.

This means that there are no pressurised seals or O-rings to worry about. The only major design concern is that the tubing has to be elastomeric to maintain the integrity of the circular cross sections after repeated and prolonged use.

Besides being difficult to contaminate, peristaltic pumps are also extremely low-maintenance, and no backflow or check valve is needed to prevent siphoning.

Vacuum Pump Applications in the Laboratory

There are numerous vacuum pump applications for laboratories. In fact, if not for vacuum pumps, most laboratories would grind to a screeching halt. Here are some of the many vacuum pump applications in laboratories.

Vacuum Pump Applications - Vacuum Ovens

Aspiration

Aspiration is the use of suction to remove gases, fluids or debris. They can be used for applications such as removing spilled liquids from a bench to removal of specific components after centrifugation.

Cell Harvesting

This is the process of collecting cells from blood or bone marrow in animals and humans. A vacuum pump works with a cell harvester in this process.

Concentrators

Concentrators use a combination of heat, vacuum and centrifugal force to condense and evaporate solvents from analytical and biological samples. The concentrator works with a vacuum pump.

Desiccation

Desiccation is “extreme drying.” A vacuum pump and a desiccation chamber combine to dry materials in a controlled environment.

Filtration

A vacuum pump is used to move a solution through filter paper. The basic lab configuration is a filtration flask and a vacuum pump.

Freeze Drying

This removes acids, organic solvents and/or water from materials through a process called sublimation. The freeze dryer works in tandem with the vacuum pump.

Rotary Evaporators

Rotary evaporators evaporate liquids by applying heat and reducing the pressure while rotating them in a vessel. The vacuum pump works with a chiller, a vacuum controller and a rotary evaporator.

Solvent Degassing

This removes gases and particles from solvents. It is recommended by instrument manufacturers that all solvents and samples are degassed before being analysed. This can reduce downtime of instruments, optimise instrument performance and extend instrument life.

Tissue Culture

This is the process of keeping tissue in a culture medium alive and growing. The configuration usually consists of a vacuum pump, a liquid trap and a pipette.

Vacuum Concentrating

This process uses a vacuum pump to concentrate research or clinical samples for further analysis.

Vacuum Ovens

Vacuum ovens are used in dental offices to manufacture ceramic dental prostheses. The removal of air prevents cavities in the finished product.

Need a Vacuum Pump? Call Pump Solutions Australasia Today

For more information or to talk to a customer service agent, call us today: 1300 793 418.