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3 Types of Vacuum Pumps and their applications


A vacuum pump is a device that removes air, gas or vapor from a confined space, sealing a void inside. This equipment has long been credited to many inventions that came into existence, and applications in various industries – from pharmaceutical, sewerage to automotive and a lot more.

However, while a vacuum pump basically has a common function, it actually has a number of types, with each varying in design, requirements, and applications.

In this infographic, Compresstech Resources, Inc. highlighted three common types of vacuum pumps according to their techniques. But first, we gathered some information that we think is best for you to know:

3 Types of Vacuum Pumps and Their Applications Infographics

The Invention of Vacuum Pumps

Although the history of vacuum technology can be traced back to ancient Greece — with ancient philosophers such as Democritus proposed the existence of vacuum – it was only during the 1650s when the first vacuum pump was conceived.

About 1650: Otto von Guericke invented the first vacuum, whose parts were kept airtight by water – an idea used to this day, only that water is replaced with oil.

1705: Francis Hauksbee produced an improved version of two-cylinder pump that remained a pattern of cylinder vacuum pumps until the end of the 19th century.

19th Century: Henry Fleuss introduced the first cylinder oil pump.

1905: Wolfgang Gaede invented a speedier version of a rotary mercury pump introduced during the same year.

1915: Gaede also brought in the last inventive steps in the vacuum pump technology wherein he created the equipment based on new principles. This resulted in the wide use of vacuum to this day.

21st Century: Today, the use of vacuum pumps spans in various industries and its applications are as varied as the processes of using vacuums.

Types of Vacuum Pumps by their Techniques

Positive Displacement Vacuum Pumps (For Low Vacuums)

When it comes to situations requiring low vacuums, a positive displacement pump proves to be the most efficient. This equipment operates by using a mechanism that repeatedly expands a cavity to allow gases to flow out from the container and release them into the environment.

This equipment is further divided into a number of types, but the two most common tool used for industrial applications are:

  • Rotary Vane Pump – a rotary vane pump consists of a cavity and a rotor with vanes attached to it. In this pump, the gas enters the inlet port where it is trapped and compressed before it is eliminated through the exhaust valve.

Advantage: It is considered an economical option that only requires minimal power.

  • Diaphragm Pump – also referred to as double diaphragm pumps, this too is considered versatile and ideal for pumping water, acids or slurries. It is commonly used in industries such as food and beverage, shipping, and processing.

Advantage: Versatile and can be used in a wealth of applications.

Momentum Transfer Vacuum Pumps (For High Vacuums)

In conjunction with one or two positive displacement pumps, a momentum transfer pump is the most viable tool for achieving high vacuums. Otherwise known as molecular pumps, this equipment works by employing high-speed jets of dense fluids to accelerate gas molecules from the container to the exhaust side.

The two main types of molecular pumps are:

  • Diffusion Pump – in a diffusion pump, gas molecules are released from the container using a high-speed heat of vapor. This vapor is produced by heating diffusion pump oil to its boiling temperature, which is considered an old principle.

Advantage: It provides high reliability at a low cost.  

  • Turbomolecular Pump – by transferring kinetic energy from the high-speed rotating blades to the gas, a turbomolecular pump propels the gas towards the exhaust outlet at higher speeds.

Advantages: It provides low pressures with low transfer rates.

Entrapment Vacuum Pumps (For Ultra-High Vacuums)

Finally, for applications that require ultra-high vacuums, an entrapment pump would be your best bet. This pump uses cold temperatures to condense gas molecules to a solid or absorbed state. These molecules then create a thin film which is then removed by the entrapment pump. This tool is known to be the most effective since it’s usually placed directly into the container.

  • Cryopump – a cryopump or cryogenic pump operates by storing gases and vapors and freezing them on a cold surface, rather than eliminating them out of the container. While these pumps are very effective, its efficiency still depends on the freezing and boiling points of the gas.

Advantage: It operates at high-pumping speeds

  • Sputter Ion Pumps – by using the principles of gettering and ionization, a sputter ion pump works by combining gases with chemically active materials to eliminate them.  

Advantage: It can reach pressures that are as low as 10−11 mbar under ideal conditions.


Contact Compresstech Today

Compresstech is a reputable compressed air product and service provider in the Philippines. We take pride in being a direct distributor of the best vacuum pump brands in the country, providing services to every industry imaginable.

Contact us and let us help you find the best vacuum pumps for your needs!

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