vacuum cleaner

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vacuum cleaner,

mechanical device using a draft of air to remove dust, loose dirt, or other particulate matter from dry surfaces. It is especially useful on highly textured surfaces, such as carpets and upholstery, that are difficult to clean by wiping or brushing. Usually, an electrically powered fan is used to produce a zone in which the air pressure is below atmospheric pressure, causing a draft of air to flow through the material to be cleaned, carrying the small particles with it. The draft passes through a filter bag which traps the particles, and the flow of air is then discharged back into the atmosphere. In some machines the electric motor and wiring are sealed so that wet surfaces can be cleaned safely.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vacuum Cleaner


an air suction device used to clean rooms and remove dust from furniture, clothing, carpets, and drapes. It can also be used to paint walls, wood, and metal surfaces, to humidify the air, and to spray plants.

The vacuum cleaner was invented in the USA in 1899. The main working parts are an electric commutator motor and a centrifugal fan mounted in a metal or plastic housing. A cleaner is equipped with a corrugated hose and various attachments.

There are floor, hand, and spray vacuum cleaners, as well as carpet sweepers and automobile vacuum cleaners. The most widely used vacuum cleaners are floor vacuum cleaners, such as direct-flow (cylindrical) cleaners, and vortical-flow cleaners (canisters). There are also combination vacuum cleaners with attachments for washing carpets, washing and polishing floors, and polishing furniture and automobiles.

The required power input for hand vacuum cleaners varies from 150 to 400 watts, and for floor cleaners from 400 to 750 watts. The average service life of a vacuum cleaner is ten to 15 years.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

vacuum cleaner

[′vak·yəm ‚klē·nər]
(mechanical engineering)
An electrically powered mechanical appliance for the dry removal of dust and loose dirt from rugs, fabrics, and other surfaces.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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