vacuum
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A vacuum is a
space Space is the boundless Three-dimensional space, three-dimensional extent in which Physical body, objects and events have relative position (geometry), position and direction (geometry), direction. In classical physics, physical space is often ...

space
devoid of
matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atoms, which are made up of interacting subatomic partic ...
. The word is derived from the Latin adjective ''vacuus'' for "vacant" or " void". An approximation to such vacuum is a region with a gaseous
pressure Pressure (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force applied perpendicular to the surface of an object per unit area over which that force is distributed. Gauge pressure (also spelled ''gage'' pressure)The preferred spelling varies by country and e ...

pressure
much less than
atmospheric pressure Atmospheric pressure, also known as barometric pressure (after the barometer), is the pressure within the atmosphere of Earth. The Standard atmosphere (unit), standard atmosphere (symbol: atm) is a unit of pressure defined as , which is equival ...
. Physicists often discuss ideal test results that would occur in a ''perfect'' vacuum, which they sometimes simply call "vacuum" or free space, and use the term partial vacuum to refer to an actual imperfect vacuum as one might have in a
laboratory A laboratory (; ; colloquially lab) is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which science, scientific or technological research, experiments, and measurement may be performed. Laboratory services are provided in a variety of settings: ...

laboratory
or in
space Space is the boundless Three-dimensional space, three-dimensional extent in which Physical body, objects and events have relative position (geometry), position and direction (geometry), direction. In classical physics, physical space is often ...
. In engineering and applied physics on the other hand, vacuum refers to any space in which the pressure is considerably lower than atmospheric pressure. The Latin term ''in vacuo'' is used to describe an object that is surrounded by a vacuum. The ''quality'' of a partial vacuum refers to how closely it approaches a perfect vacuum. Other things equal, lower gas
pressure Pressure (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force applied perpendicular to the surface of an object per unit area over which that force is distributed. Gauge pressure (also spelled ''gage'' pressure)The preferred spelling varies by country and e ...

pressure
means higher-quality vacuum. For example, a typical
vacuum cleaner A vacuum cleaner, also known simply as a vacuum or a hoover, is a device that causes suction in order to remove dirt from floors, upholstery, draperies, and other surfaces. It is generally electrically driven. The dirt is collected by either a d ...

vacuum cleaner
produces enough
suction
suction
to reduce air pressure by around 20%. But higher-quality vacuums are possible. Ultra-high vacuum chambers, common in chemistry, physics, and engineering, operate below one trillionth (10−12) of atmospheric pressure (100 nPa), and can reach around 100 particles/cm3.
Outer space Outer space, commonly shortened to space, is the expanse that exists beyond Earth and Earth atmosphere, its atmosphere and between astronomical object, celestial bodies. Outer space is not completely empty—it is a Ultra-high vacuum, near-per ...
is an even higher-quality vacuum, with the equivalent of just a few hydrogen atoms per cubic meter on average in intergalactic space. This source estimates a density of for the
Local Group The Local Group is the galaxy group that includes the Milky Way. It has a total diameter of roughly , and a total mass of the order of . It consists of two collections of galaxies in a "dumbbell" shape: the Milky Way and its satellites form ...

Local Group
. An
atomic mass unit The dalton or unified atomic mass unit (symbols: Da or u) is a non-SI unit of mass Mass is an Intrinsic and extrinsic properties, intrinsic property of a body. It was traditionally believed to be related to the physical quantity, quantity ...
is , for roughly 40 atoms per cubic meter.
Vacuum has been a frequent topic of
philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such quest ...

philosophical
debate since ancient
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
times, but was not studied empirically until the 17th century.
Evangelista Torricelli Evangelista Torricelli ( , also , ; 15 October 160825 October 1647) was an Italian people, Italian physicist and mathematician, and a student of Galileo. He is best known for his invention of the barometer, but is also known for his advances in o ...

Evangelista Torricelli
produced the first laboratory vacuum in 1643, and other experimental techniques were developed as a result of his theories of atmospheric pressure. A Torricellian vacuum is created by filling with mercury a tall glass container closed at one end, and then inverting it in a bowl to contain the mercury (see below). Vacuum became a valuable industrial tool in the 20th century with the introduction of
incandescent light bulb An incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe is an electric light with a wire #Filament, filament heated until it glows. The filament is enclosed in a glass bulb with a vacuum or inert gas to protect the filament ...

incandescent light bulb
s and
vacuum tube A vacuum tube, electron tube, valve (British usage), or tube (North America), is a device that controls electric current flow in a high vacuum between electrodes to which an electric voltage, potential difference has been applied. The type kn ...
s, and a wide array of vacuum technologies has since become available. The development of
human spaceflight Human spaceflight (also referred to as manned spaceflight or crewed spaceflight) is spaceflight with a crew or passengers aboard a spacecraft A spacecraft is a vehicle or machine designed to spaceflight, fly in outer space. A type of ...

human spaceflight
has raised interest in the impact of vacuum on human health, and on life forms in general.


Etymology

The word ''vacuum'' comes , noun use of neuter of ''vacuus'', meaning "empty", related to ''vacare'', meaning "to be empty". ''Vacuum'' is one of the few words in the English language that contains two consecutive vowels .


Historical understanding

Historically, there has been much dispute over whether such a thing as a vacuum can exist. Ancient Greek philosophers debated the existence of a vacuum, or void, in the context of
atomism Atomism (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''atomon'', i.e. "uncuttable, indivisible") is a natural philosophy proposing that the physical universe is composed of fundamental indivisible components known as atoms. References to the concept of atomism ...
, which posited void and atom as the fundamental explanatory elements of physics. Following
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thou ...

Plato
, even the abstract concept of a featureless void faced considerable skepticism: it could not be apprehended by the senses, it could not, itself, provide additional explanatory power beyond the physical volume with which it was commensurate and, by definition, it was quite literally nothing at all, which cannot rightly be said to exist.
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...

Aristotle
believed that no void could occur naturally, because the denser surrounding material continuum would immediately fill any incipient rarity that might give rise to a void. In his ''
Physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical science is that depar ...
'', book IV, Aristotle offered numerous arguments against the void: for example, that motion through a medium which offered no impediment could continue ''ad infinitum'', there being no reason that something would come to rest anywhere in particular.
Lucretius Titus Lucretius Carus ( , ;  – ) was a Ancient Rome, Roman Roman literature, poet and Ancient Roman philosophy, philosopher. His only known work is the philosophical poem ''De rerum natura'', a didactic work about the tenets and philosoph ...
argued for the existence of vacuum in the first century BC and
Hero of Alexandria Hero of Alexandria (; grc-gre, Ἥρων ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς, ''Heron ho Alexandreus'', also known as Heron of Alexandria ; 60 AD) was a Greece, Greek mathematician and engineer who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egy ...

Hero of Alexandria
tried unsuccessfully to create an artificial vacuum in the first century AD. In the medieval
Muslim world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic community, which is also known as the Ummah. This consists of all those who adhere to the religious beliefs and laws of Islam or to societies in which Islam is practiced. In ...

Muslim world
, the physicist and Islamic scholar
Al-Farabi Abu Nasr Muhammad Al-Farabi ( fa, ابونصر محمد فارابی), ( ar, أبو نصر محمد الفارابي), known in the Western world, West as Alpharabius; (c. 872 – between 14 December, 950 and 12 January, 951)PDF version was a reno ...

Al-Farabi
wrote a treatise rejecting the existence of the vacuum in the 10th century. He concluded that air's volume can expand to fill available space, and therefore the concept of a perfect vacuum was incoherent. According to Nader El-Bizri, the physicist
Ibn al-Haytham Ḥasan Ibn al-Haytham, Latinization of names, Latinized as Alhazen (; full name ; ), was a medieval Mathematics in medieval Islam, mathematician, Astronomy in the medieval Islamic world, astronomer, and Physics in the medieval Islamic world, ...

Ibn al-Haytham
and the Mu'tazili
theologians Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an Discipline (academia), academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the ...

theologians
disagreed with Aristotle and Al-Farabi, and they supported the existence of a void. Using
geometry Geometry (; ) is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. It is concerned with properties of space such as the distance, shape, size, and relative position of figures. A mathematician who works in the field of geometry is ca ...

geometry
, Ibn al-Haytham mathematically demonstrated that place (''al-makan'') is the imagined three-dimensional void between the inner surfaces of a containing body. According to Ahmad Dallal,
Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī Abu Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni (973 – after 1050) commonly known as al-Biruni, was a Khwarazmian Iranian peoples, Iranian in scholar and polymath during the Islamic Golden Age. He has been called variously the "founder of Indolog ...
also states that "there is no observable evidence that rules out the possibility of vacuum". The
pump A pump is a device that moves fluids (liquids or gases), or sometimes Slurry, slurries, by mechanical action, typically converted from electrical energy into hydraulic energy. Pumps can be classified into three major groups according to the metho ...

pump
was described by Arab engineer
Al-Jazari Badīʿ az-Zaman Abu l-ʿIzz ibn Ismāʿīl ibn ar-Razāz al-Jazarī (1136–1206, ar, بديع الزمان أَبُ اَلْعِزِ إبْنُ إسْماعِيلِ إبْنُ الرِّزاز الجزري, ) was a polymath: a ulama, s ...
in the 13th century, and later appeared in Europe from the 15th century.
Donald Routledge Hill Donald Routledge Hill (6 August 1922 – 30 May 1994)D. A. King, “In Memoriam: Donald Routledge Hill (1922-1994)”, ''Arabic Sciences and Philosophy,'' Volume 5 / Issue 02 / September 1995, pp 297-302 was a British engineer and History of scien ...
, "Mechanical Engineering in the Medieval Near East", ''Scientific American'', May 1991, pp. 64–69 ( cf.
Donald Routledge Hill Donald Routledge Hill (6 August 1922 – 30 May 1994)D. A. King, “In Memoriam: Donald Routledge Hill (1922-1994)”, ''Arabic Sciences and Philosophy,'' Volume 5 / Issue 02 / September 1995, pp 297-302 was a British engineer and History of scien ...

Mechanical Engineering
).
European
scholars A scholar is a person who pursues academic and intellectual activities, particularly academics who apply their intellectualism into expertise in an area of Studying, study. A scholar can also be an academic, who works as a professor, teacher, or ...
such as
Roger Bacon Roger Bacon (; la, Rogerus or ', also '' Rogerus''; ), also known by the Scholastic accolades, scholastic accolade ''Doctor Mirabilis'', was a medieval England, medieval English philosopher and Franciscans, Franciscan friar who placed consid ...
, Blasius of Parma and
Walter Burley Walter Burley (or Burleigh; 1275 – 1344/45) was an English scholastic philosopher and logician with at least 50 works attributed to him. He studied under Thomas WiltonHarjeet Singh Gill, ''Signification in language and culture'', Indian Inst ...
in the 13th and 14th century focused considerable attention on issues concerning the concept of a vacuum. Eventually following
Stoic physics Stoic physics refers to the natural philosophy of the Stoicism, Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, Rome which they used to explain the natural processes at work in the universe. To the Stoics, the cosmos is a single pantheism, ...
in this instance, scholars from the 14th century onward increasingly departed from the Aristotelian perspective in favor of a
supernatural Supernatural refers to phenomena or entities that are beyond the laws of nature. The term is derived from Medieval Latin , from Latin (above, beyond, or outside of) + (nature) Though the corollary term "nature", has had multiple meanings si ...

supernatural
void beyond the confines of the cosmos itself, a conclusion widely acknowledged by the 17th century, which helped to segregate natural and theological concerns. Almost two thousand years after Plato,
René Descartes René Descartes ( or ; ; Latinized: Renatus Cartesius; 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, scientist, and mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in their work ...

René Descartes
also proposed a geometrically based alternative theory of atomism, without the problematic nothing–everything
dichotomy A dichotomy is a partition of a set, partition of a whole (or a set) into two parts (subsets). In other words, this couple of parts must be * jointly exhaustive: everything must belong to one part or the other, and * mutually exclusive: nothing ...

dichotomy
of void and atom. Although Descartes agreed with the contemporary position, that a vacuum does not occur in nature, the success of his namesake coordinate system and more implicitly, the spatial–corporeal component of his metaphysics would come to define the philosophically modern notion of empty space as a quantified extension of volume. By the ancient definition however, directional information and magnitude were conceptually distinct. Medieval
thought experiment A thought experiment is a hypothetical situation in which a hypothesis, theory, or principle is laid out for the purpose of thinking through its consequences. History The ancient Greek ''deiknymi'' (), or thought experiment, "was the most anci ...
s into the idea of a vacuum considered whether a vacuum was present, if only for an instant, between two flat plates when they were rapidly separated. There was much discussion of whether the air moved in quickly enough as the plates were separated, or, as
Walter Burley Walter Burley (or Burleigh; 1275 – 1344/45) was an English scholastic philosopher and logician with at least 50 works attributed to him. He studied under Thomas WiltonHarjeet Singh Gill, ''Signification in language and culture'', Indian Inst ...
postulated, whether a 'celestial agent' prevented the vacuum arising. The commonly held view that nature abhorred a vacuum was called '' horror vacui''. There was even speculation that even God could not create a vacuum if he wanted and the 1277 Paris condemnations of
Bishop A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episcopal polity, authority and oversight in a religious institution. In Christianity, bishops are normally responsible for the governance of dioceses. The role or offic ...

Bishop
Etienne Tempier, which required there to be no restrictions on the powers of God, led to the conclusion that God could create a vacuum if he so wished.
Jean Buridan Jean Buridan (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around prese ...
reported in the 14th century that teams of ten horses could not pull open
bellows A bellows or pair of bellows is a device constructed to furnish a strong blast of air. The simplest type consists of a flexible bag comprising a pair of rigid boards with handles joined by flexible leather sides enclosing an approximately airtig ...

bellows
when the port was sealed. The 17th century saw the first attempts to quantify measurements of partial vacuum.
Evangelista Torricelli Evangelista Torricelli ( , also , ; 15 October 160825 October 1647) was an Italian people, Italian physicist and mathematician, and a student of Galileo. He is best known for his invention of the barometer, but is also known for his advances in o ...

Evangelista Torricelli
's
barometer A barometer is a scientific instrument that is used to measure air pressure in a certain environment. Pressure tendency can forecast short term changes in the weather. Many measurements of air pressure are used within surface weather analysis ...

barometer
of 1643 and
Blaise Pascal Blaise Pascal ( , , ; ; 19 June 1623 – 19 August 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and Catholic Church, Catholic writer. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen. Pa ...

Blaise Pascal
's experiments both demonstrated a partial vacuum. In 1654,
Otto von Guericke Otto von Guericke ( , , ; spelled Gericke until 1666; November 20, 1602 – May 11, 1686 ; November 30, 1602 – May 21, 1686 ) was a German scientist, inventor, and politician. His pioneering scientific work, the development of experimental me ...

Otto von Guericke
invented the first
vacuum pump A vacuum pump is a device that draws gas molecules from a sealed volume in order to leave behind a partial vacuum. The job of a vacuum pump is to generate a relative vacuum within a capacity. The first vacuum pump was invented in 1650 by Otto vo ...

vacuum pump
and conducted his famous
Magdeburg hemispheres The Magdeburg hemispheres are a pair of large copper hemispheres, with mating rims. They were used to demonstrate the power of atmospheric pressure. When the rims were sealed with grease and the air was pumped out, the sphere contained a vacuum a ...

Magdeburg hemispheres
experiment, showing that, owing to atmospheric pressure outside the hemispheres, teams of horses could not separate two hemispheres from which the air had been partially evacuated.
Robert Boyle Robert Boyle (; 25 January 1627 – 31 December 1691) was an Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, Alchemy, alchemist and inventor. Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the foun ...

Robert Boyle
improved Guericke's design and with the help of
Robert Hooke Robert Hooke Fellow of the Royal Society, FRS (; 18 July 16353 March 1703) was an English polymath active as a scientist, natural philosopher and architect, who is credited to be one of two scientists to discover microorganisms in 1665 using ...
further developed vacuum pump technology. Thereafter, research into the partial vacuum lapsed until 1850 when August Toepler invented the Toepler pump and in 1855 when
Heinrich Geissler Heinrich may refer to: People * Heinrich (given name), a given name (including a list of people with the name) * Heinrich (surname), a surname (including a list of people with the name) *Hetty (given name), a given name (including a list of peo ...

Heinrich Geissler
invented the mercury displacement pump, achieving a partial vacuum of about 10 Pa (0.1 
Torr The torr (symbol: Torr) is a Pressure#Units, unit of pressure based on an absolute scale, defined as exactly of a standard atmosphere (unit), atmosphere (). Thus one torr is exactly (≈ ). Historically, one torr was intended to be the ...
). A number of electrical properties become observable at this vacuum level, which renewed interest in further research. While outer space provides the most rarefied example of a naturally occurring partial vacuum, the heavens were originally thought to be seamlessly filled by a rigid indestructible material called aether. Borrowing somewhat from the
pneuma ''Pneuma'' () is an ancient Greek word for "breathing, breath", and in a religious context for "spirit (animating force), spirit" or "soul". It has various technical meanings for medical writers and philosophers of classical antiquity, particula ...
of
Stoic physics Stoic physics refers to the natural philosophy of the Stoicism, Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, Rome which they used to explain the natural processes at work in the universe. To the Stoics, the cosmos is a single pantheism, ...
, aether came to be regarded as the rarefied air from which it took its name, (see
Aether (mythology) In Greek mythology, Aether, Æther, Aither, or Ether (; grc, Αἰθήρ (Brightness) ) is the personification of the bright upper sky. According to Hesiod, he was the son of Erebus (Darkness) and Nyx (Night), and the brother of Hemera (Day). I ...
). Early theories of light posited a ubiquitous terrestrial and celestial medium through which light propagated. Additionally, the concept informed
Isaac Newton Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, Theology, theologian, and author (described in his time as a "natural philosophy, natural philosopher"), widely ...

Isaac Newton
's explanations of both
refraction In physics, refraction is the redirection of a wave as it passes from one transmission medium, medium to another. The redirection can be caused by the wave's change in speed or by a change in the medium. Refraction of light is the most common ...

refraction
and of radiant heat. 19th century experiments into this
luminiferous aether Luminiferous aether or ether ("luminiferous", meaning "light-bearing") was the postulated Transmission medium, medium for the propagation of light. It was invoked to explain the ability of the apparently wave-based light to propagate through empty ...
attempted to detect a minute drag on the Earth's orbit. While the Earth does, in fact, move through a relatively dense medium in comparison to that of interstellar space, the drag is so minuscule that it could not be detected. In 1912,
astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They observe astronomical objects such as stars, planets, natural satellite, moons, comets and galaxy, g ...

astronomer
commented: "While the interstellar absorbing medium may be simply the ether, is characteristic of a gas, and free gaseous molecules are certainly there". Later, in 1930,
Paul Dirac Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac (; 8 August 1902 – 20 October 1984) was an English theoretical physicist who is regarded as one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the Univer ...

Paul Dirac
proposed a model of the vacuum as an infinite sea of particles possessing negative energy, called the
Dirac sea The Dirac sea is a theoretical model of the vacuum as an infinite sea of particles with negative energy. It was first postulated by the United Kingdom, British physicist Paul Dirac in 1930 to explain the anomalous negative-energy quantum states p ...

Dirac sea
. This theory helped refine the predictions of his earlier formulated
Dirac equation In particle physics, the Dirac equation is a relativistic wave equation derived by British physicist Paul Dirac in 1928. In its Dirac equation#Covariant form and relativistic invariance, free form, or including Dirac equation#Comparison with the ...
, and successfully predicted the existence of the
positron The positron or antielectron is the antiparticle or the antimatter counterpart of the electron. It has an electric charge of +1 ''elementary charge, e'', a spin (physics), spin of 1/2 (the same as the electron), and the same Electron rest ...

positron
, confirmed two years later.
Werner Heisenberg Werner Karl Heisenberg () (5 December 1901 – 1 February 1976) was a German theoretical physicist and one of the main pioneers of the theory of quantum mechanics Quantum mechanics is a fundamental Scientific theory, theory in physics ...
's
uncertainty principle In quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle (also known as Heisenberg's uncertainty principle) is any of a variety of Inequality (mathematics), mathematical inequalities asserting a fundamental limit to the accuracy with which the values fo ...

uncertainty principle
, formulated in 1927, predicted a fundamental limit within which instantaneous position and
momentum In Newtonian mechanics, momentum (more specifically linear momentum or translational momentum) is the Multiplication, product of the mass and velocity of an object. It is a Euclidean vector, vector quantity, possessing a magnitude and a dire ...

momentum
, or energy and time can be measured. This has far reaching consequences on the "emptiness" of space between particles. In the late 20th century, so-called
virtual particle A virtual particle is a theoretical transient particle that exhibits some of the characteristics of an ordinary particle, while having its existence limited by the uncertainty principle In quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle (als ...
s that arise spontaneously from empty space were confirmed.


Classical field theories

The strictest criterion to define a vacuum is a region of space and time where all the components of the
stress–energy tensor The stress–energy tensor, sometimes called the stress–energy–momentum tensor or the energy–momentum tensor, is a tensor physical quantity that describes the density and flux of energy and momentum in spacetime, generalizing the Cauchy st ...
are zero. This means that this region is devoid of energy and momentum, and by consequence, it must be empty of particles and other physical fields (such as electromagnetism) that contain energy and momentum.


Gravity

In
general relativity General relativity, also known as the general theory of relativity and Einstein's theory of gravity, is the differential geometry, geometric scientific theory, theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1915 and is the current descr ...
, a vanishing stress–energy tensor implies, through
Einstein field equations In the General relativity, general theory of relativity, the Einstein field equations (EFE; also known as Einstein's equations) relate the geometry of spacetime to the distribution of Matter#In general relativity and cosmology, matter within it ...
, the vanishing of all the components of the Ricci tensor. Vacuum does not mean that the curvature of
space-time In physics, spacetime is a mathematical model that combines the three-dimensional space, three dimensions of space and one dimension of time into a single four-dimensional manifold. Minkowski diagram, Spacetime diagrams can be used to visualize S ...
is necessarily flat: the gravitational field can still produce curvature in a vacuum in the form of tidal forces and
gravitational wave Gravitational waves are waves of the intensity of gravity generated by the accelerated masses of an orbital binary system that Wave propagation, propagate as waves outward from their source at the speed of light. They were first proposed by Oliv ...
s (technically, these phenomena are the components of the Weyl tensor). The
black hole A black hole is a region of spacetime where gravitation, gravity is so strong that nothing, including light or other Electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetic waves, has enough energy to escape it. The theory of general relativity predicts t ...
(with zero electric charge) is an elegant example of a region completely "filled" with vacuum, but still showing a strong curvature.


Electromagnetism

In
classical electromagnetism Classical electromagnetism or classical electrodynamics is a branch of theoretical physics that studies the interactions between electric charges and electrical current, currents using an extension of the classical Newtonian model; It is, therefo ...
, the vacuum of free space, or sometimes just ''free space'' or ''perfect vacuum'', is a standard reference medium for electromagnetic effects. Some authors refer to this reference medium as ''classical vacuum'', a terminology intended to separate this concept from QED vacuum or QCD vacuum, where vacuum fluctuations can produce transient
virtual particle A virtual particle is a theoretical transient particle that exhibits some of the characteristics of an ordinary particle, while having its existence limited by the uncertainty principle In quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle (als ...
densities and a
relative permittivity The relative permittivity (in older texts, dielectric constant) is the permittivity In electromagnetism, the absolute permittivity, often simply called permittivity and denoted by the Greek letter ''ε'' (Epsilon, epsilon), is a measure of t ...
and
relative permeability In multiphase flow in porous media, the relative permeability of a phase is a dimensionless measure of the effective permeability of that phase. It is the ratio of the effective permeability of that phase to the absolute permeability. It can be v ...
that are not identically unity.For a qualitative description of vacuum fluctuations and virtual particles, see The relative permeability and permittivity of field-theoretic vacuums is described in and more recently in and also QCD vacuum is
paramagnetic Paramagnetism is a form of magnetism whereby some materials are weakly attracted by an externally applied magnetic field, and form internal, induced magnetic fields in the direction of the applied magnetic field. In contrast with this behavior ...
, while QED vacuum is
diamagnetic Diamagnetic materials are repelled by a magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field that describes the magnetic influence on moving electric charges, electric currents, and magnetic materials. A moving charge in a magnetic field expe ...
. See
In the theory of classical electromagnetism, free space has the following properties: * Electromagnetic radiation travels, when unobstructed, at the
speed of light The speed of light in vacuum, commonly denoted , is a universal physical constant that is important in many areas of physics. The speed of light is exactly equal to ). According to the special relativity, special theory of relativity, is ...
, the defined value 299,792,458 m/s in
SI units The International System of Units, known by the international abbreviation SI in all languages and sometimes pleonastically as the SI system, is the modern form of the metric system and the world's most widely used system of measurement. ...
. * The
superposition principle The superposition principle, also known as superposition property, states that, for all linear systems, the net response caused by two or more stimuli is the sum of the responses that would have been caused by each stimulus individually. So tha ...
is always exactly true. For example, the electric potential generated by two charges is the simple addition of the potentials generated by each charge in isolation. The value of the
electric field An electric field (sometimes E-field) is the field (physics), physical field that surrounds electrically charged particles and exerts force on all other charged particles in the field, either attracting or repelling them. It also refers to the ...
at any point around these two charges is found by calculating the vector sum of the two electric fields from each of the charges acting alone. * The
permittivity In electromagnetism, the absolute permittivity, often simply called permittivity and denoted by the Greek letter ''ε'' (Epsilon, epsilon), is a measure of the electric polarizability of a dielectric. A material with high permittivity polarizes ...
and permeability are exactly the electric constant and magnetic constant , respectively (in
SI units The International System of Units, known by the international abbreviation SI in all languages and sometimes pleonastically as the SI system, is the modern form of the metric system and the world's most widely used system of measurement. ...
), or exactly 1 (in
Gaussian units Gaussian units constitute a metric system The metric system is a system of measurement that succeeded the Decimal, decimalised system based on the metre that had been introduced in French Revolution, France in the 1790s. The historical deve ...
). * The
characteristic impedance The characteristic impedance or surge impedance (usually written Z0) of a uniform transmission line is the ratio of the amplitudes of voltage and Electric current, current of a single wave propagating along the line; that is, a wave travelling i ...
() equals the
impedance of free space The impedance of free space, , is a physical constant A physical constant, sometimes fundamental physical constant or universal constant, is a physical quantity that is generally believed to be both universal in nature and have constant (mathemat ...
≈ 376.73 Ω. The vacuum of classical electromagnetism can be viewed as an idealized electromagnetic medium with the
constitutive relations In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical science ...
in SI units: :\boldsymbol D(\boldsymbol r,\ t) = \varepsilon_0 \boldsymbol E(\boldsymbol r,\ t)\, :\boldsymbol H(\boldsymbol r,\ t) = \frac \boldsymbol B(\boldsymbol r,\ t)\, relating the electric displacement field to the
electric field An electric field (sometimes E-field) is the field (physics), physical field that surrounds electrically charged particles and exerts force on all other charged particles in the field, either attracting or repelling them. It also refers to the ...
and the
magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field that describes the magnetic influence on moving electric charges, electric currents, and magnetic materials. A moving charge in a magnetic field experiences a force perpendicular to its own velocity and to t ...
or ''H''-field to the magnetic induction or ''B''-field . Here is a spatial location and is time.


Quantum mechanics

In
quantum mechanics Quantum mechanics is a fundamental Scientific theory, theory in physics that provides a description of the physical properties of nature at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles. It is the foundation of all quantum physics including qua ...
and
quantum field theory In theoretical physics Theoretical physics is a branch of physics that employs mathematical models and abstractions of physical objects and systems to rationalize, explain and predict List of natural phenomena, natural phenomena. This is in c ...
, the vacuum is defined as the state (that is, the solution to the equations of the theory) with the lowest possible energy (the
ground state The ground state of a quantum-mechanical system is its stationary state of lowest energy In physics, energy (from Ancient Greek: wikt:ἐνέργεια#Ancient_Greek, ἐνέργεια, ''enérgeia'', “activity”) is the physical qu ...
of the
Hilbert space In mathematics, Hilbert spaces (named after David Hilbert) allow generalizing the methods of linear algebra and calculus from (finite-dimensional) Euclidean vector spaces to spaces that may be infinite-dimensional. Hilbert spaces arise naturally ...
). In
quantum electrodynamics In particle physics, quantum electrodynamics (QED) is the relativity theory, relativistic quantum field theory of electrodynamics. In essence, it describes how light and matter interact and is the first theory where full agreement between quantum m ...
this vacuum is referred to as ' QED vacuum' to distinguish it from the vacuum of
quantum chromodynamics In theoretical physics, quantum chromodynamics (QCD) is the theory of the strong interaction between quarks mediated by gluons. Quarks are fundamental particles that make up composite hadrons such as the proton, neutron and pion. QCD is a type o ...
, denoted as QCD vacuum. QED vacuum is a state with no matter particles (hence the name), and no
photon A photon () is an elementary particle that is a quantum of the electromagnetic field, including electromagnetic radiation such as light and radio waves, and the force carrier for the electromagnetic force. Photons are Massless particle, massless ...
s. As described above, this state is impossible to achieve experimentally. (Even if every matter particle could somehow be removed from a volume, it would be impossible to eliminate all the blackbody photons.) Nonetheless, it provides a good model for realizable vacuum, and agrees with a number of experimental observations as described next. QED vacuum has interesting and complex properties. In QED vacuum, the electric and magnetic fields have zero average values, but their variances are not zero.For example, see As a result, QED vacuum contains vacuum fluctuations ( virtual particles that hop into and out of existence), and a finite energy called
vacuum energy Vacuum energy is an underlying background energy that exists in space throughout the entire Universe. The vacuum energy is a special case of zero-point energy that relates to the quantum vacuum. The effects of vacuum energy can be experimental ...
. Vacuum fluctuations are an essential and ubiquitous part of quantum field theory. Some experimentally verified effects of vacuum fluctuations include
spontaneous emission Spontaneous emission is the process in which a Quantum mechanics, quantum mechanical system (such as a molecule, an atom or a subatomic particle) transits from an excited state, excited energy state to a lower energy state (e.g., its ground state ...
and the
Lamb shift In physics, the Lamb shift, named after Willis Lamb, is a difference in energy between two energy levels 2''S''1/2 and 2''P''1/2 (in term symbol notation) of the hydrogen atom which was not predicted by the Dirac equation, according to which the ...
.
Coulomb's law Coulomb's inverse-square law, or simply Coulomb's law, is an experimental law of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its motion and behavior through Spacetime, ...
and the
electric potential The electric potential (also called the ''electric field potential'', potential drop, the electrostatic potential) is defined as the amount of work (physics), work energy needed to move a unit of electric charge from a reference point to the sp ...
in vacuum near an electric charge are modified.In effect, the dielectric permittivity of the vacuum of classical electromagnetism is changed. For example, see Theoretically, in QCD multiple vacuum states can coexist. The starting and ending of
cosmological inflation In physical cosmology, cosmic inflation, cosmological inflation, or just inflation, is a theory of exponential expansion of the universe, expansion of space in the early universe. The inflationary epoch lasted from  seconds after the conje ...
is thought to have arisen from transitions between different vacuum states. For theories obtained by quantization of a classical theory, each
stationary point In mathematics Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and the spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes. These topics are represented in ...
of the energy in the configuration space gives rise to a single vacuum.
String theory In physics, string theory is a Mathematical theory, theoretical framework in which the Point particle, point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by Dimension (mathematics and physics), one-dimensional objects called String (physic ...
is believed to have a huge number of vacua – the so-called
string theory landscape The string theory landscape or landscape of vacua refers to the collection of possible false vacuum, false vacua in string theory,The number of metastable vacua is not known exactly, but commonly quoted estimates are of the order 10500. See Micha ...
.


Outer space

Outer space Outer space, commonly shortened to space, is the expanse that exists beyond Earth and Earth atmosphere, its atmosphere and between astronomical object, celestial bodies. Outer space is not completely empty—it is a Ultra-high vacuum, near-per ...
has very low density and pressure, and is the closest physical approximation of a perfect vacuum. But no vacuum is truly perfect, not even in interstellar space, where there are still a few hydrogen atoms per cubic meter. Stars, planets, and moons keep their
atmosphere An atmosphere () is a layer of gas or layers of gases that envelop a planet, and is held in place by the gravity of the planetary body. A planet retains an atmosphere when the gravity is great and the temperature of the atmosphere is low. A s ...
s by gravitational attraction, and as such, atmospheres have no clearly delineated boundary: the density of atmospheric gas simply decreases with distance from the object. The Earth's atmospheric pressure drops to about at of altitude, the Kármán line, which is a common definition of the boundary with outer space. Beyond this line, isotropic gas pressure rapidly becomes insignificant when compared to
radiation pressure Radiation pressure is the mechanical pressure exerted upon any surface due to the exchange of momentum between the object and the electromagnetic field. This includes the momentum of light or electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength that is Ab ...
from the
Sun The Sun is the star A star is an astronomical object comprising a luminous spheroid of plasma (physics), plasma held together by its gravity. The List of nearest stars and brown dwarfs, nearest star to Earth is the Sun. Many other st ...
and the
dynamic pressure In fluid dynamics, dynamic pressure (denoted by or and sometimes called velocity pressure) is the quantity defined by:Clancy, L.J., ''Aerodynamics'', Section 3.5 :q = \frac\rho\, u^2 where (in International System of Units, SI units): * is the ...
of the
solar wind The solar wind is a stream of charged particles released from the upper atmosphere of the Sun, called the Stellar corona, corona. This Plasma (physics), plasma mostly consists of electrons, protons and alpha particles with kinetic energy betwee ...
s, so the definition of pressure becomes difficult to interpret. The
thermosphere The thermosphere is the layer in the Earth's atmosphere directly above the mesosphere and below the exosphere. Within this layer of the atmosphere, ultraviolet radiation causes photoionization/photodissociation of molecules, creating ions; the th ...
in this range has large gradients of pressure, temperature and composition, and varies greatly due to
space weather Space weather is a branch of space physics Space physics, also known as solar-terrestrial physics or space-plasma physics, is the study of Plasma (physics), plasmas as they occur naturally in the Earth's Near space, upper atmosphere (aeronomy) a ...
. Astrophysicists prefer to use
number density The number density (symbol: ''n'' or ''ρ''N) is an intensive quantity used to describe the degree of concentration In chemistry, concentration is the Abundance (chemistry), abundance of a constituent divided by the total volume of a mixture. S ...
to describe these environments, in units of particles per cubic centimetre. But although it meets the definition of outer space, the atmospheric density within the first few hundred kilometers above the Kármán line is still sufficient to produce significant drag on
satellite A satellite or artificial satellite is an object intentionally placed into orbit in outer space. Except for passive satellites, most satellites have an electricity generation system for equipment on board, such as solar panels or radiois ...
s. Most artificial satellites operate in this region called
low Earth orbit A low Earth orbit (LEO) is an geocentric orbit, orbit around Earth with a orbital period, period of 128 minutes or less (making at least 11.25 orbits per day) and an orbital eccentricity, eccentricity less than 0.25. Most of the artificial object ...
and must fire their engines every couple of weeks or a few times a year (depending on solar activity). The drag here is low enough that it could theoretically be overcome by radiation pressure on
solar sail Solar sails (also known as light sails and photon sails) are a method of spacecraft propulsion using radiation pressure exerted by sunlight on large mirrors. A number of spaceflight missions to test solar propulsion and navigation have been p ...
s, a proposed propulsion system for
interplanetary travel Interplanetary spaceflight or interplanetary travel is the Human spaceflight, crewed or Uncrewed spacecraft, uncrewed travel between stars and planets, usually within a single planetary system. In practice, spaceflights of this type are confined ...
. Planets are too massive for their trajectories to be significantly affected by these forces, although their atmospheres are eroded by the solar winds. All of the
observable universe The observable universe is a Ball (mathematics), ball-shaped region of the universe comprising all matter that can be observation, observed from Earth or its space-based telescopes and exploratory probes at the present time, because the electroma ...
is filled with large numbers of
photon A photon () is an elementary particle that is a quantum of the electromagnetic field, including electromagnetic radiation such as light and radio waves, and the force carrier for the electromagnetic force. Photons are Massless particle, massless ...
s, the so-called cosmic background radiation, and quite likely a correspondingly large number of
neutrino A neutrino ( ; denoted by the Greek letter Nu (letter), ) is a fermion (an elementary particle with spin-1/2, spin of ) that interacts only via the weak interaction and gravity. The neutrino is so named because it is electric charge, electricall ...
s. The current
temperature Temperature is a physical quantity that expresses quantitatively the perceptions of hotness and coldness. Temperature is measurement, measured with a thermometer. Thermometers are calibrated in various Conversion of units of temperature, temp ...
of this radiation is about .


Measurement

The quality of a vacuum is indicated by the amount of matter remaining in the system, so that a high quality vacuum is one with very little matter left in it. Vacuum is primarily measured by its
absolute pressure Pressure measurement is the measurement of an applied force by a fluid (liquid or gas) on a surface. Pressure is typically measured in unit of measurement, units of force per unit of surface area. Many techniques have been developed for the me ...
, but a complete characterization requires further parameters, such as
temperature Temperature is a physical quantity that expresses quantitatively the perceptions of hotness and coldness. Temperature is measurement, measured with a thermometer. Thermometers are calibrated in various Conversion of units of temperature, temp ...
and chemical composition. One of the most important parameters is the
mean free path In physics, mean free path is the average distance over which a moving particle (such as an atom, a molecule, or a photon) travels before substantially changing its direction or energy (or, in a specific context, other properties), typically as a ...
(MFP) of residual gases, which indicates the average distance that molecules will travel between collisions with each other. As the gas density decreases, the MFP increases, and when the MFP is longer than the chamber, pump, spacecraft, or other objects present, the continuum assumptions of
fluid mechanics Fluid mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the mechanics of fluids (liquids, gases, and plasma (physics), plasmas) and the forces on them. It has applications in a wide range of disciplines, including mechanical engineering, mechanic ...
do not apply. This vacuum state is called ''high vacuum'', and the study of fluid flows in this regime is called particle gas dynamics. The MFP of air at atmospheric pressure is very short, 70  nm, but at 100  mPa (≈) the MFP of room temperature air is roughly 100 mm, which is on the order of everyday objects such as
vacuum tube A vacuum tube, electron tube, valve (British usage), or tube (North America), is a device that controls electric current flow in a high vacuum between electrodes to which an electric voltage, potential difference has been applied. The type kn ...
s. The
Crookes radiometer The Crookes radiometer (also known as a light mill) consists of an airtight glass bulb containing a partial vacuum, with a set of vanes which are mounted on a spindle inside. The vanes rotate when exposed to light, with faster rotation for more i ...
turns when the MFP is larger than the size of the vanes. Vacuum quality is subdivided into ranges according to the technology required to achieve it or measure it. These ranges were defined in ISO 3529-1:2019 as shown in the following table (100 Pa corresponds to 0.75 Torr; Torr is a non-SI unit): * Atmospheric pressure is variable but standardized at 101.325 kPa (760 Torr). * Deep space is generally much more empty than any artificial vacuum. It may or may not meet the definition of high vacuum above, depending on what region of space and astronomical bodies are being considered. For example, the MFP of interplanetary space is smaller than the size of the Solar System, but larger than small planets and moons. As a result, solar winds exhibit continuum flow on the scale of the Solar System, but must be considered a bombardment of particles with respect to the Earth and Moon. * Perfect vacuum is an ideal state of no particles at all. It cannot be achieved in a
laboratory A laboratory (; ; colloquially lab) is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which science, scientific or technological research, experiments, and measurement may be performed. Laboratory services are provided in a variety of settings: ...

laboratory
, although there may be small volumes which, for a brief moment, happen to have no particles of matter in them. Even if all particles of matter were removed, there would still be
photon A photon () is an elementary particle that is a quantum of the electromagnetic field, including electromagnetic radiation such as light and radio waves, and the force carrier for the electromagnetic force. Photons are Massless particle, massless ...
s and
graviton In theories of quantum gravity, the graviton is the hypothetical quantum of gravity, an elementary particle that mediates the force of gravitational interaction. There is no complete quantum field theory of gravitons due to an outstanding m ...
s, as well as
dark energy In physical cosmology and astronomy, dark energy is an unknown form of energy that affects the universe on the largest scales. The first observational evidence for its existence came from measurements of supernovas, which showed that the u ...
,
virtual particle A virtual particle is a theoretical transient particle that exhibits some of the characteristics of an ordinary particle, while having its existence limited by the uncertainty principle In quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle (als ...
s, and other aspects of the quantum vacuum.


Relative versus absolute measurement

Vacuum is measured in units of
pressure Pressure (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force applied perpendicular to the surface of an object per unit area over which that force is distributed. Gauge pressure (also spelled ''gage'' pressure)The preferred spelling varies by country and e ...

pressure
, typically as a subtraction relative to ambient atmospheric pressure on Earth. But the amount of relative measurable vacuum varies with local conditions. On the surface of
Venus Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is sometimes called Earth's "sister" or "twin" planet as it is almost as large and has a similar composition. As an Inferior and superior planets, interior planet to Earth, Venus (like Mercury (pl ...
, where ground-level atmospheric pressure is much higher than on Earth, much higher relative vacuum readings would be possible. On the surface of the moon with almost no atmosphere, it would be extremely difficult to create a measurable vacuum relative to the local environment. Similarly, much higher than normal relative vacuum readings are possible deep in the Earth's ocean. A
submarine A submarine (or sub) is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. The term is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely op ...
maintaining an internal pressure of 1 atmosphere submerged to a depth of 10 atmospheres (98 metres; a 9.8-metre column of seawater has the equivalent weight of 1 atm) is effectively a vacuum chamber keeping out the crushing exterior water pressures, though the 1 atm inside the submarine would not normally be considered a vacuum. Therefore, to properly understand the following discussions of vacuum measurement, it is important that the reader assumes the relative measurements are being done on Earth at sea level, at exactly 1 atmosphere of ambient atmospheric pressure.


Measurements relative to 1 atm

The SI unit of pressure is the pascal (symbol Pa), but vacuum is often measured in
torr The torr (symbol: Torr) is a Pressure#Units, unit of pressure based on an absolute scale, defined as exactly of a standard atmosphere (unit), atmosphere (). Thus one torr is exactly (≈ ). Historically, one torr was intended to be the ...
s, named for an Italian physicist Torricelli (1608–1647). A torr is equal to the displacement of a millimeter of mercury (
mmHg A millimetre of mercury is a Pressure measurement#Liquid column (manometer), manometric Unit of measurement, unit of pressure, formerly defined as the extra pressure generated by a column of mercury (element), mercury one millimetre high, and ...
) in a
manometer Pressure measurement is the measurement of an applied force by a fluid (liquid or gas) on a surface. Pressure is typically measured in unit of measurement, units of force per unit of surface area. Many techniques have been developed for the me ...
with 1 torr equaling 133.3223684 pascals above absolute zero pressure. Vacuum is often also measured on the barometric scale or as a percentage of
atmospheric pressure Atmospheric pressure, also known as barometric pressure (after the barometer), is the pressure within the atmosphere of Earth. The Standard atmosphere (unit), standard atmosphere (symbol: atm) is a unit of pressure defined as , which is equival ...
in bars or atmospheres. Low vacuum is often measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or pascals (Pa) below standard atmospheric pressure. "Below atmospheric" means that the absolute pressure is equal to the current atmospheric pressure. In other words, most low vacuum gauges that read, for example 50.79 Torr. Many inexpensive low vacuum gauges have a margin of error and may report a vacuum of 0 Torr but in practice this generally requires a two-stage rotary vane or other medium type of vacuum pump to go much beyond (lower than) 1 torr.


Measuring instruments

Many devices are used to measure the pressure in a vacuum, depending on what range of vacuum is needed. Hydrostatic gauges (such as the mercury column
manometer Pressure measurement is the measurement of an applied force by a fluid (liquid or gas) on a surface. Pressure is typically measured in unit of measurement, units of force per unit of surface area. Many techniques have been developed for the me ...
) consist of a vertical column of liquid in a tube whose ends are exposed to different pressures. The column will rise or fall until its weight is in equilibrium with the pressure differential between the two ends of the tube. The simplest design is a closed-end U-shaped tube, one side of which is connected to the region of interest. Any fluid can be used, but is preferred for its high density and low vapour pressure. Simple hydrostatic gauges can measure pressures ranging from 1 torr (100 Pa) to above atmospheric. An important variation is the McLeod gauge which isolates a known volume of vacuum and compresses it to multiply the height variation of the liquid column. The McLeod gauge can measure vacuums as high as 10−6 torr (0.1 mPa), which is the lowest direct measurement of pressure that is possible with current technology. Other vacuum gauges can measure lower pressures, but only indirectly by measurement of other pressure-controlled properties. These indirect measurements must be calibrated via a direct measurement, most commonly a McLeod gauge. The kenotometer is a particular type of hydrostatic gauge, typically used in power plants using steam turbines. The kenotometer measures the vacuum in the steam space of the condenser, that is, the exhaust of the last stage of the turbine. Mechanical or elastic gauges depend on a Bourdon tube, diaphragm, or capsule, usually made of metal, which will change shape in response to the pressure of the region in question. A variation on this idea is the capacitance manometer, in which the diaphragm makes up a part of a capacitor. A change in pressure leads to the flexure of the diaphragm, which results in a change in capacitance. These gauges are effective from 103 torr to 10−4 torr, and beyond. Thermal conductivity gauges rely on the fact that the ability of a gas to conduct heat decreases with pressure. In this type of gauge, a wire filament is heated by running current through it. A
thermocouple A thermocouple, also known as a "thermoelectrical thermometer", is an electrical device consisting of two dissimilar electrical conductors forming an electrical junction. A thermocouple produces a temperature-dependent voltage as a result of the ...
or
Resistance Temperature Detector Resistance thermometers, also called resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), are sensors used to measure temperature. Many RTD elements consist of a length of fine wire wrapped around a heat-resistant ceramic or glass core but other constructio ...
(RTD) can then be used to measure the temperature of the filament. This temperature is dependent on the rate at which the filament loses heat to the surrounding gas, and therefore on the thermal conductivity. A common variant is the Pirani gauge which uses a single platinum filament as both the heated element and RTD. These gauges are accurate from 10 torr to 10−3 torr, but they are sensitive to the chemical composition of the gases being measured.
Ionization gauge Pressure measurement is the measurement of an applied force by a fluid (liquid or gas) on a surface. Pressure is typically measured in unit of measurement, units of force per unit of surface area. Many techniques have been developed for the me ...
s are used in ultrahigh vacuum. They come in two types: hot cathode and cold cathode. In the
hot cathode In vacuum tubes and gas-filled tubes, a hot cathode or thermionic cathode is a cathode electrode which is heated to make it emit electrons due to thermionic emission. This is in contrast to a cold cathode, which does not have a heating element. ...
version an electrically heated filament produces an electron beam. The electrons travel through the gauge and ionize gas molecules around them. The resulting ions are collected at a negative electrode. The current depends on the number of ions, which depends on the pressure in the gauge. Hot cathode gauges are accurate from 10−3 torr to 10−10 torr. The principle behind
cold cathode A cold cathode is a cathode that is not electrically heated by a filament.A negatively charged electrode emits electron The electron ( or ) is a subatomic particle with a negative one elementary charge, elementary electric charge. Elect ...
version is the same, except that electrons are produced in a discharge created by a high voltage electrical discharge. Cold cathode gauges are accurate from 10−2 torr to 10−9 torr. Ionization gauge calibration is very sensitive to construction geometry, chemical composition of gases being measured, corrosion and surface deposits. Their calibration can be invalidated by activation at atmospheric pressure or low vacuum. The composition of gases at high vacuums will usually be unpredictable, so a mass spectrometer must be used in conjunction with the ionization gauge for accurate measurement.


Uses

Vacuum is useful in a variety of processes and devices. Its first widespread use was in the
incandescent light bulb An incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe is an electric light with a wire #Filament, filament heated until it glows. The filament is enclosed in a glass bulb with a vacuum or inert gas to protect the filament ...

incandescent light bulb
to protect the filament from chemical degradation. The chemical inertness produced by a vacuum is also useful for
electron beam welding Electron-beam welding (EBW) is a fusion welding process in which a charged-particle beam, beam of high-velocity electrons is applied to two materials to be joined. The workpieces melt and flow together as the kinetic energy of the electrons is t ...
, cold welding,
vacuum packing Vacuum packing is a method of packaging that removes air from the package prior to sealing. This method involves placing items in a plastic film package, removing air from inside and sealing the package. Shrink film is sometimes used to have a tig ...
and vacuum frying. Ultra-high vacuum is used in the study of atomically clean substrates, as only a very good vacuum preserves atomic-scale clean surfaces for a reasonably long time (on the order of minutes to days). High to ultra-high vacuum removes the obstruction of air, allowing particle beams to deposit or remove materials without contamination. This is the principle behind
chemical vapor deposition Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is a vacuum deposition method used to produce high quality, and high-performance, solid materials. The process is often used in the semiconductor industry to produce thin films. In typical CVD, the wafer (electro ...
,
physical vapor deposition Physical vapor deposition (PVD), sometimes called physical vapor transport (PVT), describes a variety of vacuum deposition methods which can be used to produce thin films and coatings on substrates including metals, ceramics, glass, and polym ...
, and
dry etching Dry etching refers to the removal of material, typically a masked pattern of semiconductor material, by exposing the material to a bombardment of ions (usually a plasma (physics), plasma of reactive gases such as fluorocarbons, oxygen, chlorine, b ...
which are essential to the fabrication of
semiconductors A semiconductor is a material which has an electrical resistivity and conductivity, electrical conductivity value falling between that of a electrical conductor, conductor, such as copper, and an insulator (electricity), insulator, such as glas ...
and
optical coating An optical coating is one or more thin-film optics, thin layers of material deposited on an optical component such as a lens (optics), lens, prism (optics), prism or mirror, which alters the way in which the optic reflection (physics), reflects an ...
s, and to
surface science Surface science is the study of physical and chemical phenomena that occur at the interface of two phases, including solid Solid is one of the State of matter#Four fundamental states, four fundamental states of matter (the others bein ...
. The reduction of convection provides the thermal insulation of
thermos bottle A vacuum flask (also known as a Dewar flask, Dewar bottle or thermos) is an thermal insulation, insulating storage vessel that greatly lengthens the time over which its contents remain hotter or cooler than the flask's surroundings. Invente ...
s. Deep vacuum lowers the
boiling point The boiling point of a substance is the temperature at which the vapor pressure of a liquid equals the pressure surrounding the liquid and the liquid changes into a vapor. The boiling point of a liquid varies depending upon the surrounding en ...
of liquids and promotes low temperature
outgassing Outgassing (sometimes called offgassing, particularly when in reference to indoor air quality) is the release of a gas that was dissolved, trapped, freezing, frozen, or absorption (chemistry), absorbed in some material. Outgassing can include subli ...
which is used in
freeze drying Freeze drying, also known as lyophilization or cryodesiccation, is a low temperature Food drying, dehydration process that involves freezing the product and lowering pressure, removing the ice by Sublimation (phase transition), sublimation. This ...
,
adhesive Adhesive, also known as glue, cement, mucilage, or paste, is any non-metallic substance applied to one or both surfaces of two separate items that molecular binding , binds them together and resists their separation. The use of adhesives of ...
preparation,
distillation Distillation, or classical distillation, is the process of separation process, separating the components or substances from a liquid mixture by using selective boiling and condensation, usually inside an apparatus known as a still. Dry distilla ...
,
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of Materials science, materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic Chemical element, elements, their Inter-metallic alloy, inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which ...
, and process purging. The electrical properties of vacuum make
electron microscope An electron microscope is a microscope that uses a beam of accelerated electrons as a source of illumination. As the wavelength of an electron can be up to 100,000 times shorter than that of visible light photons, electron microscopes have a hi ...
s and
vacuum tube A vacuum tube, electron tube, valve (British usage), or tube (North America), is a device that controls electric current flow in a high vacuum between electrodes to which an electric voltage, potential difference has been applied. The type kn ...
s possible, including
cathode ray tube A cathode-ray tube (CRT) is a vacuum tube containing one or more electron guns, which emit electron beams that are manipulated to display images on a Phosphorescence, phosphorescent screen. The images may represent electrical waveforms (osci ...
s. Vacuum interrupters are used in electrical switchgear.
Vacuum arc A vacuum arc can arise when the surfaces of metal electrodes in contact with a good vacuum begin to emit electrons either through heating (thermionic emission) or in an electric field that is sufficient to cause field electron emission. Once initia ...
processes are industrially important for production of certain grades of steel or high purity materials. The elimination of air
friction Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and material elements sliding (motion), sliding against each other. There are several types of friction: *Dry friction is a force that opposes the relative la ...
is useful for flywheel energy storage and
ultracentrifuge An ultracentrifuge is a centrifuge optimized for spinning a rotor at very high speeds, capable of generating acceleration as high as (approx. ). There are two kinds of ultracentrifuges, the preparative and the analytical ultracentrifuge. Both cla ...
s.


Vacuum-driven machines

Vacuums are commonly used to produce , which has an even wider variety of applications. The
Newcomen steam engine The atmospheric engine was invented by Thomas Newcomen in 1712, and is often referred to as the Newcomen fire engine (see below) or simply as a Newcomen engine. The engine was operated by condensing steam drawn into the cylinder, thereby creati ...
used vacuum instead of pressure to drive a piston. In the 19th century, vacuum was used for traction on
Isambard Kingdom Brunel Isambard Kingdom Brunel (; 9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859) was a British civil engineer who is considered "one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history," "one of the 19th-century engineering giants," and "one ...
's experimental
atmospheric railway An atmospheric railway uses differential air pressure to provide power for propulsion of a railway vehicle. A static power source can transmit motive power to the vehicle in this way, avoiding the necessity of carrying mobile power generating eq ...
.
Vacuum brake The vacuum brake is a brake, braking system employed on trains and introduced in the mid-1860s. A variant, the automatic vacuum brake system, became almost universal in British train equipment and in countries influenced by British practice. Vac ...
s were once widely used on
train In rail transport, a train (from Old French , from Latin , "to pull, to draw") is a series of connected vehicles that run along a railway track and Passenger train, transport people or Rail freight transport, freight. Trains are typically pul ...
s in the UK but, except on
heritage railway A heritage railway or heritage railroad (US usage) is a railway operated as living history to re-create or preserve railway scenes of the past. Heritage railways are often old railway lines preserved in a state depicting a period (or periods) i ...
s, they have been replaced by air brakes.
Manifold vacuum Manifold vacuum, or engine vacuum in an internal combustion engine is the difference in air pressure between the engine's Inlet manifold, intake manifold and Earth's atmosphere. Manifold vacuum is an effect of a piston's movement on the Stroke (en ...
can be used to drive
accessories Accessory may refer to: * Accessory (legal term), a person who assists a criminal In anatomy * Accessory bone * Accessory muscle * Accessory nucleus, in anatomy, a cranial nerve nucleus * Accessory nerve In arts and entertainment * Accessory ( ...
on
automobile A car or automobile is a motor vehicle with Wheel, wheels. Most definitions of ''cars'' say that they run primarily on roads, Car seat, seat one to eight people, have four wheels, and mainly transport private transport#Personal transport, pe ...
s. The best known application is the
vacuum servo A vacuum servo is a component used on motor vehicles in their brake, braking system, to provide assistance to the driver by decreasing the braking effort. In the US it is commonly called a brake booster. A vacuum servo also known as a power boo ...
, used to provide power assistance for the
brake A brake is a mechanical device that inhibits motion by absorbing energy from a moving system. It is used for slowing or stopping a moving vehicle, wheel, axle, or to prevent its motion, most often accomplished by means of friction. Background ...
s. Obsolete applications include vacuum-driven
windscreen wipers A windscreen wiper, windshield wiper, wiper blade (American English American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United St ...
and Autovac fuel pumps. Some aircraft instruments ( Attitude Indicator (AI) and the Heading Indicator (HI)) are typically vacuum-powered, as protection against loss of all (electrically powered) instruments, since early aircraft often did not have electrical systems, and since there are two readily available sources of vacuum on a moving aircraft, the engine and an external venturi.
Vacuum induction melting Vacuum induction melting (VIM) utilizes electric currents to melt metal within a vacuum. The first prototype was developed in 1920. Induction heating induces eddy currents within conductors. Eddy currents create heating effects to melt the metal. ...
uses electromagnetic induction within a vacuum. Maintaining a vacuum in the condenser is an important aspect of the efficient operation of
steam turbine A steam turbine is a machine that extracts thermal energy from pressurized steam and uses it to do work (physics), mechanical work on a rotating output shaft. Its modern manifestation was invented by Charles Algernon Parsons, Charles Parsons in 1 ...
s. A steam jet ejector or liquid ring vacuum pump is used for this purpose. The typical vacuum maintained in the condenser steam space at the exhaust of the turbine (also called condenser backpressure) is in the range 5 to 15 kPa (absolute), depending on the type of condenser and the ambient conditions.


Outgassing

Evaporation Evaporation is a type of vaporization that occurs on the surface of a liquid as it changes into the gas phase. High concentration of the evaporating substance in the surrounding gas significantly slows down evaporation, such as when h ...
and sublimation into a vacuum is called
outgassing Outgassing (sometimes called offgassing, particularly when in reference to indoor air quality) is the release of a gas that was dissolved, trapped, freezing, frozen, or absorption (chemistry), absorbed in some material. Outgassing can include subli ...
. All materials, solid or liquid, have a small
vapour pressure Vapor pressure (or vapour pressure in English-speaking countries other than the US; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differences) or equilibrium vapor pressure is defined as the pressure exerted by a v ...
, and their outgassing becomes important when the vacuum pressure falls below this vapour pressure. Outgassing has the same effect as a leak and will limit the achievable vacuum. Outgassing products may condense on nearby colder surfaces, which can be troublesome if they obscure optical instruments or react with other materials. This is of great concern to space missions, where an obscured telescope or solar cell can ruin an expensive mission. The most prevalent outgassing product in vacuum systems is water absorbed by chamber materials. It can be reduced by desiccating or baking the chamber, and removing absorbent materials. Outgassed water can condense in the oil of
rotary vane pump A rotary vane pump is a pump#Positive-displacement pumps, positive-displacement pump that consists of vanes mounted to a rotor (turbine), rotor that rotates inside a cavity. In some cases these vanes can have variable length and/or be tensioned to ...
s and reduce their net speed drastically if gas ballasting is not used. High vacuum systems must be clean and free of organic matter to minimize outgassing. Ultra-high vacuum systems are usually baked, preferably under vacuum, to temporarily raise the vapour pressure of all outgassing materials and boil them off. Once the bulk of the outgassing materials are boiled off and evacuated, the system may be cooled to lower vapour pressures and minimize residual outgassing during actual operation. Some systems are cooled well below room temperature by
liquid nitrogen Liquid nitrogen—LN2—is nitrogen in a liquid state at low temperature. Liquid nitrogen has a boiling point of about . It is produced industrially by fractional distillation of liquid air. It is a colorless, low viscosity liquid that is wide ...
to shut down residual outgassing and simultaneously
cryopump A cryopump or a "cryogenic pump" is a vacuum pump that traps gases and vapours by condensing them on a cold surface, but are only effective on some gases. The effectiveness depends on the freezing and boiling points of the gas relative to the cryop ...
the system.


Pumping and ambient air pressure

Fluids cannot generally be pulled, so a vacuum cannot be created by . Suction can spread and dilute a vacuum by letting a higher pressure push fluids into it, but the vacuum has to be created first before suction can occur. The easiest way to create an artificial vacuum is to expand the volume of a container. For example, the
diaphragm muscle The thoracic diaphragm, or simply the diaphragm ( grc, διάφραγμα, diáphragma, partition), is a sheet of internal Skeletal striated muscle, skeletal muscle in humans and other mammals that extends across the bottom of the thoracic cavit ...
expands the chest cavity, which causes the volume of the lungs to increase. This expansion reduces the pressure and creates a partial vacuum, which is soon filled by air pushed in by atmospheric pressure. To continue evacuating a chamber indefinitely without requiring infinite growth, a compartment of the vacuum can be repeatedly closed off, exhausted, and expanded again. This is the principle behind positive displacement pumps, like the manual water pump for example. Inside the pump, a mechanism expands a small sealed cavity to create a vacuum. Because of the pressure differential, some fluid from the chamber (or the well, in our example) is pushed into the pump's small cavity. The pump's cavity is then sealed from the chamber, opened to the atmosphere, and squeezed back to a minute size. The above explanation is merely a simple introduction to vacuum pumping, and is not representative of the entire range of pumps in use. Many variations of the positive displacement pump have been developed, and many other pump designs rely on fundamentally different principles. Momentum transfer pumps, which bear some similarities to dynamic pumps used at higher pressures, can achieve much higher quality vacuums than positive displacement pumps. Entrapment pumps can capture gases in a solid or absorbed state, often with no moving parts, no seals and no vibration. None of these pumps are universal; each type has important performance limitations. They all share a difficulty in pumping low molecular weight gases, especially
hydrogen Hydrogen is the chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol H and atomic number 1. Hydrogen is the lightest element. At standard temperature and pressure, standard conditions hydrogen is a gas of diatomic molecules having the chemical ...
,
helium Helium (from el, ἥλιος, helios, lit=sun) is a chemical element with the symbol (chemistry), symbol He and atomic number 2. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert gas, inert, monatomic gas and the first in the noble gas gr ...
, and
neon Neon is a chemical element A chemical element is a species of atoms that have a given number of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei, including the pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of that species. Unlike chemical com ...
. The lowest pressure that can be attained in a system is also dependent on many things other than the nature of the pumps. Multiple pumps may be connected in series, called stages, to achieve higher vacuums. The choice of seals, chamber geometry, materials, and pump-down procedures will all have an impact. Collectively, these are called ''vacuum technique''. And sometimes, the final pressure is not the only relevant characteristic. Pumping systems differ in oil contamination, vibration, preferential pumping of certain gases, pump-down speeds, intermittent duty cycle, reliability, or tolerance to high leakage rates. In
ultra high vacuum Ultra-high vacuum (UHV) is the vacuum A vacuum is a space devoid of matter. The word is derived from the Latin adjective ''vacuus'' for "vacant" or "Void (astronomy), void". An approximation to such vacuum is a region with a gaseous pressure m ...
systems, some very "odd" leakage paths and outgassing sources must be considered. The water absorption of
aluminium Aluminium (aluminum in American and Canadian English) is a chemical element A chemical element is a species of atoms that have a given number of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei, including the pure Chemical substance, substan ...
and
palladium Palladium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Pd and atomic number 46. It is a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal discovered in 1803 by the English chemist William Hyde Wollaston. He named it after the 2 Pallas, asteroid ...
becomes an unacceptable source of outgassing, and even the adsorptivity of hard metals such as stainless steel or
titanium Titanium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ti and atomic number 22. Found in nature only as an oxide, it can be reduced to produce a lustrous transition metal with a silver color, low density, and high strength, resista ...
must be considered. Some oils and greases will boil off in extreme vacuums. The permeability of the metallic chamber walls may have to be considered, and the grain direction of the metallic flanges should be parallel to the flange face. The lowest pressures currently achievable in laboratory are about . However, pressures as low as have been indirectly measured in a cryogenic vacuum system. This corresponds to ≈100 particles/cm3.


Effects on humans and animals

Humans and animals exposed to vacuum will lose
consciousness Consciousness, at its simplest, is sentience and awareness of internal and external existence. However, the lack of definitions has led to millennia of analyses, explanations and debates by philosophers, theologians, linguisticians, and scient ...
after a few seconds and die of hypoxia within minutes, but the symptoms are not nearly as graphic as commonly depicted in media and popular culture. The reduction in pressure lowers the temperature at which blood and other body fluids boil, but the elastic pressure of blood vessels ensures that this boiling point remains above the internal body temperature of Although the blood will not boil, the formation of gas bubbles in bodily fluids at reduced pressures, known as ebullism, is still a concern. The gas may bloat the body to twice its normal size and slow circulation, but tissues are elastic and porous enough to prevent rupture. Swelling and ebullism can be restrained by containment in a
flight suit A flight suit is a full-body garment, worn while flying aircraft such as military airplanes, Glider (aircraft), gliders and helicopters. These suits are generally made to keep the wearer warm, as well as being practical (plenty of pockets), and ...
. Shuttle astronauts wore a fitted elastic garment called the Crew Altitude Protection Suit (CAPS) which prevents ebullism at pressures as low as 2 kPa (15 Torr). Rapid boiling will cool the skin and create frost, particularly in the mouth, but this is not a significant hazard. Animal experiments show that rapid and complete recovery is normal for exposures shorter than 90 seconds, while longer full-body exposures are fatal and resuscitation has never been successful. A study by NASA on eight chimpanzees found all of them survived two and a half minute exposures to vacuum. There is only a limited amount of data available from human accidents, but it is consistent with animal data. Limbs may be exposed for much longer if breathing is not impaired..
Robert Boyle Robert Boyle (; 25 January 1627 – 31 December 1691) was an Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, Alchemy, alchemist and inventor. Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the foun ...

Robert Boyle
was the first to show in 1660 that vacuum is lethal to small animals. An experiment indicates that plants are able to survive in a low pressure environment (1.5 kPa) for about 30 minutes. Cold or oxygen-rich atmospheres can sustain life at pressures much lower than atmospheric, as long as the density of oxygen is similar to that of standard sea-level atmosphere. The colder air temperatures found at altitudes of up to 3 km generally compensate for the lower pressures there. Above this altitude, oxygen enrichment is necessary to prevent
altitude sickness Altitude sickness, the mildest form being acute mountain sickness (AMS), is the harmful effect of high altitude, caused by rapid exposure to low amounts of oxygen at high elevation. People can respond to high altitude in different ways. Sympt ...
in humans that did not undergo prior
acclimatization Acclimatization American and British English spelling differences#iseize, or acclimatisation (#Names, also called acclimation or acclimatation) is the process in which an individual organism adjusts to a environmental change, change in its envi ...
, and
spacesuit A space suit or spacesuit is a garment worn to keep a human alive in the harsh environment of outer space, Vacuum (outer space), vacuum and temperature extremes. Space suits are often worn inside spacecraft as a safety precaution in case of l ...
s are necessary to prevent ebullism above 19 km. Most spacesuits use only 20 kPa (150 Torr) of pure oxygen. This pressure is high enough to prevent ebullism, but
decompression sickness Decompression sickness (abbreviated DCS; also called divers' disease, the bends, aerobullosis, and caisson disease) is a medical condition caused by dissolved gases emerging from Solution (chemistry), solution as bubbles inside the body tissue ...
and gas embolisms can still occur if decompression rates are not managed. Rapid decompression can be much more dangerous than vacuum exposure itself. Even if the victim does not hold his or her breath, venting through the windpipe may be too slow to prevent the fatal rupture of the delicate alveoli of the
lung The lungs are the primary Organ (anatomy), organs of the respiratory system in humans and most other animals, including some snails and a small number of fish. In mammals and most other vertebrates, two lungs are located near the vertebral co ...
s.
Eardrum In the anatomy of humans and various other tetrapods, the eardrum, also called the tympanic membrane or myringa, is a thin, cone-shaped biological membrane, membrane that separates the external ear from the middle ear. Its function is to transm ...
s and sinuses may be ruptured by rapid decompression, soft tissues may bruise and seep blood, and the stress of shock will accelerate oxygen consumption leading to hypoxia. Injuries caused by rapid decompression are called
barotrauma Barotrauma is physical damage to body Fluid compartments, tissues caused by a difference in pressure between a gas space inside, or contact with, the body and the surrounding gas or liquid. The initial damage is usually due to over-stretching th ...
. A pressure drop of 13 kPa (100 Torr), which produces no symptoms if it is gradual, may be fatal if it occurs suddenly. Some
extremophile An extremophile (from Latin ' meaning "extreme" and Greek ' () meaning "love") is an organism that is able to live (or in some cases Thriving, thrive) in extreme environments, i.e. environments that make survival challenging such as due to extre ...
microorganisms A microorganism, or microbe,, ''mikros'', "small") and ''organism'' from the el, ὀργανισμός, ''organismós'', "organism"). It is usually written as a single word but is sometimes hyphenated (''micro-organism''), especially in old ...
, such as
tardigrade Tardigrades (), known colloquially as water bears or moss piglets, are a phylum of eight-legged Segmentation (biology), segmented micro-animals. They were first described by the German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773, who called t ...
s, can survive vacuum conditions for periods of days or weeks.


Examples


See also

* Decay of the vacuum (
Pair production Pair production is the creation of a subatomic particle and its antiparticle from a electric charge, neutral boson. Examples include creating an electron and a positron, a muon and an antimuon, or a proton and an antiproton. Pair production ofte ...
) * Engine vacuum *
False vacuum In quantum field theory In theoretical physics Theoretical physics is a branch of physics that employs mathematical models and abstractions of physical objects and systems to rationalize, explain and predict List of natural phenomena, na ...
*
Helium mass spectrometer A helium mass spectrometer is an instrument commonly used to detect and locate small leaks. It was initially developed in the Manhattan Project during World War II to find extremely small leaks in the Gaseous diffusion, gas diffusion process of enri ...
– technical instrumentation to detect a vacuum leak * Joining materials *
Pneumatic tube Pneumatic tubes (or capsule pipelines, also known as pneumatic tube transport or PTT) are systems that propel cylindrical containers through networks of Tubing (material), tubes by Gas compressor, compressed air or by partial vacuum. They are use ...
– transport system using vacuum or pressure to move containers in tubes *
Rarefaction Rarefaction is the reduction of an item's density, the opposite of compression (physical), compression. Like compression, which can travel in waves (sound waves, for instance), rarefaction waves also exist in nature. A common rarefaction wave is ...
– reduction of a medium's density *
Suction Suction is the colloquial term to describe the air pressure Atmospheric pressure, also known as barometric pressure (after the barometer), is the pressure within the atmosphere of Earth. The Standard atmosphere (unit), standard atmosphere ( ...
– creation of a partial vacuum * Theta vacuum – vacuum state of semi-classical pure-Yang Mills theories * Vacuum cementing – natural process of solidifying homogeneous "dust" in vacuum * Vacuum column – controlling loose magnetic tape in early computer data recording tape drives *
Vacuum deposition Vacuum deposition is a group of processes used to deposit layers of material atom-by-atom or molecule-by-molecule on a solid surface. These processes operate at pressures well below atmospheric pressure (i.e., vacuum). The deposited layers can r ...
– process of depositing atoms and molecules in a sub-atmospheric pressure environment * Vacuum engineering *
Vacuum flange A vacuum flange is a flange at the end of a tube used to connect vacuum chambers, tubing and vacuum pumps to each other. Vacuum flanges are used for scientific and industrial applications to allow various pieces of equipment to interact via physical ...
– joining of vacuum systems


References

* *


External links


Leybold – Fundamentals of Vacuum Technology (PDF)

VIDEO on the nature of vacuum
by Canadian astrophysicist Doctor P


American Vacuum Society

Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A

Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B




*
Vacuum, Production of Space

"Much Ado About Nothing" by Professor John D. Barrow, Gresham College
* Free pdf copy o
The Structured Vacuum – thinking about nothing
by Johann Rafelski and Berndt Muller (1985) . {{Authority control Physical phenomena Industrial processes Gases Articles containing video clips Latin words and phrases