Although the term “vacuum” is understood very differently by the mainstream, in the scientific community, a vacuum is simply a space devoid of matter. This scientific concept took nearly 2,000 years to prove, but since its acceptance, advances in vacuum technology have led to a number of methods for achieving a vacuum and applications in a wide array of industries.
History of the Scientific Vacuum
The concept of a space devoid of matter is first credited to Democritus, an ancient Greek philosopher circa 400 BCE. His speculation that space without matter existed between atoms was in direct contradiction to Aristotle who maintained that there was no space without matter. Aristotle’s belief was widely accepted in the scientific community until an experiment by Evangelista Torricelli, a student of Galileo, in 1644, created the first vacuum in a mercury tube.
Since Torricelli’s first vacuum tube, vacuum technology has steadily advanced, and in the process, a number of laws of physics have been articulated and proven, including Boyle’s Law and hydrodynamic ratios and relationships. The 1800s saw a leap in the measurement of vacuum pressure and the application of vacuum technology to the production of lamps (and radios and televisions in the 20th century).
Modern Vacuum Methods
Torricelli’s first vacuum was considered a positive displacement pump, and that technology is still applied to today. However, the vacuum achieved by a positive displacement pump is typically limited to the rough or moderate ranges (102-10-3 Torr). More sophisticated vacuum methods, such as turbomolecular pumps and ion pumps, allow scientists to achieve high (10-5-10-7 Torr) to ultra-high (10-11 Torr) vacuum ranges.
Modern Vacuum Tools
Vacuum technology is used in a number of industries as well as scientific research. In order for the processes and products to operate as designed, the vacuum must be maintained, and that requires modern tools.
Vacuum tools range from gauges used to measure pressure. Pressure changes are typically the first indication that there may be a failure somewhere in the vacuum system. Leak checking equipment is another essential tool for scientific vacuum maintenance and troubleshooting.
Modern Vacuum Service
Scientific Vacuum Sales & Support, Inc. has the tools and expertise needed to maintain all types of vacuum systems. Our technicians have more than 20 years of experience working with all modern vacuum methods. Contact us for a free consultation and free estimate for vacuum components and hardware and maintenance or repair service.