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Introduction to the fundamentals of vacuum science and technology

Described as ‘a space in which the pressure is below surrounding atmospheric pressure’, vacuum science is a subject and concept that has stimulated many great minds for millennia.

The origins of vacuum science can be traced back to as early as the 4th century when Aristotle stated that ‘nature abhors a vacuum’. 

How the fundamentals of vacuum science impacts the use of vacuum pumps

In essence, it meant that unfilled spaces are unnatural and go against the laws of nature and physics. This belief was widely held until the early 17th century when Gasparo Berti created the first verifiable vacuum.

It wasn’t until the 20th century that the use of vacuum science and technology in industrial processes began. Driven by the introduction of radio and television – both of which relied on vacuum tubes – the demand for vacuum grew and so too did its development.

Since then, vacuum science and technology has grown almost exponentially. Not only has it laid the foundation for modern industrial manufacturing – it’s also provided a platform for numerous technology innovations and advancements in product design and development.

Today, the vacuum industry is a multi-billion $ market, and vacuum technology is prevalent throughout day-to-day life.

The fact is that vacuum technology is a critical enabler for other technologies and has many applications in both industry and scientific research.

Click here to read our comprehensive guide about the fundamentals of vacuum science.

Besides the semiconductor industry, which accounts for the biggest share, vacuum technology is used in a wide range of industrial processes - be it packaging, drying, degassing, distillation, coating, evacuation or insulation - and it doesn’t stop there.

Scientific applications range from analytical and medical instrumentation to the use of vacuum in particle physics, space research, nuclear fusion, material sciences, biology and chemistry. Many of the developments and discoveries made across these sectors simply would not have been possible without vacuum technology.

Of course, since the applications and markets are so diverse, each application requires a different vacuum solution and poses different challenges. 

With this considered, an understanding of the underlying principles that govern vacuum science and the hardware available is essential for all those in the industry. This includes the fundamentals of vacuum and how they impact the mechanism, choice and use of vacuum pumps, as well as the classification of pump technologies and pump selection.

In our eBook, we’ll discuss the foundations of vacuum, concepts parameters and terminology, classification of pump technologies and considerations in pump selection and operation.

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