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How Does A Vacuum Cleaner Work?

Physics | 8-14 yrs | Animation, Video

What is the physics behind vacuum cleaners?

A vacuum cleaner’s working is similar to what happens when you take a sip of juice from a straw. As you suck the air out, juice from the glass takes its place. This is because you are creating a space of empty matter with your mouth. Since matter has a tendency to occupy space, the juice will flow upward and into your mouth so long as you continue to suck.

Now apply this theory to a vacuum cleaner. The boxy part of the has a motor inside it that does the same job as your mouth. The rotating fan of the motor creates a vacuum and begins to suck in air through the suction nozzle at the end of a pipe.

Any dust that comes within range of the suction of the nozzle gets pulled into the pipe and is collected in a bag. There is a filter inside that prevents the dirt that escapes from the bag, from entering the motor. The two main types of vacuum cleaners are ones with a canister with a pipe attached to it or an upright one whose suction nozzle is at the bottom of the canister itself.

The next time you come across a vacuum cleaner, ask an adult to help you turn it on. Find different materials such as paper clips, a couple of coins, and a small pile of dirt. Test how close you have to go to the material in order for it to reach the grasp of the suction power.

Looking for more Physics articles and videos? Go to: Physics for Kids.


  1. As an adult, all I know about vacuum cleaner is it sucks the dirt but I don’t know how the technology works behind it. Good video and animation!

  2. I am very long time to use a vacuum cleaner for cleaning my house, But I don’t know how it is working. Today I read this article and know the work of vacuum cleaner. Thank you for this information!!!!