Small Vacuum Pumps
The term "small vacuum pumps" refers to the smaller of those devices that are used to create a vacuum within sealed areas. Small vacuum pumps are smaller than the majority of industrial vacuum pumps by size and dimension, though they are otherwise largely the same. Most often, they are used in dental and medical applications, but they are also of great importance in aviation, where they serve by helping aircraft gyroscopic instrumentation give accurate readings to pilots. To serve their applications well, small vacuum pumps are usually made from durable and/or contamination resistant materials like stainless steel or aluminum. Materials such as these must not boil off when exposed to a vacuum, nor may they balk in the face of vapor pressure.
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Applications of Small Vacuum Pumps
Small vacuum pumps may be portable. When this is the case, they are often used as emergency supplies on ambulances or in high risk settings like nursing homes or public pools. They are also used to generate suction for use in surgical and dental procedures. Often, portable pumps feature an addition of an extra plastic or extra metal outer layer. This feature is applied with the intention of enhancing the appearance of a pump. Miniature vacuum pumps are available for even smaller applications, in particular those that require the use of a battery-powered device, rather than a device that is tethered to a wall or outlet by a cord. They are also quite popular for use with very intricate and sensitive applications, such as particle counting and particle sizing in some branches of science and research. Because they are so compact, small vacuum pumps can fit into tight spaces, and they can be tucked away into workspace areas where they will not get in the way of the people working around them. In fact, some are designed with housings specifically made to fit into spaces like these.
Types of Vacuum Pumps
Small vacuum pumps, like all other vacuum pump styles, can be configured using one of three designs: positive displacement, momentum transfer or entrapment. The first configuration, positive displacement, works based on the principle that you can create a partial vacuum by increasing the volume of a container. Working off of this idea, positive displacement vacuum pumps manage to continually evacuate chambers without requiring infinite growth by repeatedly closing off, exhausting and re-expanding one of their compartments. In other words, positive displacement pumps use positive displacement to create a vacuum. Examples of small positive displacement pumps include diaphragm pumps, rotary vane pumps, piston pumps, screw pumps, wankel pumps, external vane pumps, toepler pumps and lobe pumps. Next, small vacuum pumps featuring the momentum transfer configuration work by compelling collected gas molecules to accelerate in the same direction consistently. They do so via repeated collisions with a solid surface or a steam jet. Examples of small momentum transfer pumps include turbomolecular pumps and diffusion pumps. Finally, small vacuum pumps made with the entrapment configuration engage rapid cooling and heating in order to cause condensation that will compress and trap gas molecules in either an absorbed or solid state. Some of the small entrapment pumps that you may find on the market include ion pumps, cryopumps, sorption pumps, non-reactive getter pumps or titanium sublimation pumps.
Dry or Oilless Vacuum Pumps
In addition to these configurations, small vacuum pumps may additionally be designed as wet, dry or oilless. Wet vacuum pumps depend on oil or other liquids to create a seal and/or lubrication. Dry vacuum pumps, on the other hand, can function without the use of any liquid. Instead of relying on a fluid seal, they rely on close internal dimensional tolerances to create a vacuum. Oilless vacuum pumps, most of which are a type of dry vacuum pump, are cleaner than those types of pumps that do use oil, simply because no oil is entering and contaminating them. Typically, oilless vacuum pumps are used with operating conditions that require close controlment. While oilless pumps therefore require less time and money for cleaning, they do not generate as strong of a seal as those pumps that do use oil or another liquid. Likewise, while wet pumps are generally more expensive because they require supplemental machinery for the prevention of oil back streaming, they do achieve much lower enclosure pressures than dry vacuum pumps.
Things to Consider When Purchasing Small Vacuum Pumps
Discuss your specifications and requirements with an experienced vacuum manufacturer to figure out what type or types of small vacuum pumps may work best for your application. When properly matched and properly installed, small vacuum pumps can do wonders. For manufacturers you can count on, turn to one of the many quality companies that we have listed on this page.