Vacuum Definition and 112 Discussions

A vacuum is a space devoid of matter. 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 much less than atmospheric pressure. 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 or in space. 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 means higher-quality vacuum. For example, a typical vacuum cleaner produces enough 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 is an even higher-quality vacuum, with the equivalent of just a few hydrogen atoms per cubic meter on average in intergalactic space.Vacuum has been a frequent topic of philosophical debate since ancient Greek times, but was not studied empirically until the 17th century. 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 a tall glass container closed at one end with mercury, 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 bulbs and vacuum tubes, and a wide array of vacuum technologies has since become available. The development of human spaceflight has raised interest in the impact of vacuum on human health, and on life forms in general.

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  1. V

    I Can we use the uncertainty principle to explain something from nothing?

    I have a question related to the uncertainty principle in QFT and if it is related to the early universe conditions. Do we still have four-vector momentum and position uncertainty relation in relativistic quantum theory? I have been following the argument related to the early universe and the...
  2. R

    I Vacuum force factors (vacuum created by a "flow through" liquid)

    Greetings all, I'm new here and hope I'm asking this in the correct thread. So, the question is; where you have a vacuum created by a "flow through" liquid witin a large diameter container exerting suction force upon a smaller diameter input tube submerged in a liquid, does the surface area of...
  3. C

    Determine pump spec necessary to overcome leak

    A vacuum pump is mounted at ground level. The pump is connected to a tree of overhead pipework at a height of 20ft, connected to the pipework are 12 hose reels that can be attached to oil drain tanks. The client requests that the pump be sized so that sufficient vacuum can be achieved to suck...
  4. mpross

    B Dark Energy, Dark Matter and the Speed of Light

    Quote from NASA: My understanding of dark energy is based on NASA's report:; were NASA state as follows: "It turns out that roughly 68% of the universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest - everything on...
  5. S

    Engineering Looking for calculations I could apply to a vacuum-forming machine

    So far I have determined the evacuation time, a basic heat transfer between the heating element and plastic sheet, and a hold down force of the forming bed.
  6. Delta2

    B EM waves in vacuum analogy

    So, is water for water waves, what is the vacuum for EM waves traveling in vacuum. I know the analogy can't be exactly perfect because water molecules oscillate in the presence of water waves, but in vacuum nothing seems to oscillate? Or the vacuum oscillates in some way? And no I am not trying...
  7. S

    I Could the Lorentz symmetry be theoretically broken in vacuum?

    In this paper [1] which considers the possibility that the Lorentz symmetry could be broken, at page 4-5 the author says: "We now introduce a Higgs sector into the Lagrangian density such that the gravitational vacuum symmetry, which we set equal to the Lagrangian symmetry at low temperatures...
  8. S

    Anyone interested in Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) and how they work?

    Just wondering if anyone here finds these video/picture leaks about UAP's (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon) interesting and inspiring enough to try and figure out how they work? Pretty big game changer of technology and would be fun to discuss. I'm hoping at least someone agrees.
  9. J

    I Possibility of PCB Oils in old Diffusion Pumps?

    I recently found three old vintage diffusion pumps left over by the previous lab owners: 1. Veeco EP 2A 2. Veeco EP 2A-1 3. Edwards Speedivac F203 Is there a possibility that these pumps have PCB based oil inside? I do not have access to PCB oil testing at the moment. Also any further...
  10. V

    B Air escaping out of can with hole

    In the first figure, air goes forward and the can goes backward. My question is why does the air exert the pressure gradient force on the can. Can I have a hint for why the can doesn't move when air is being sucked in in the second photo.
  11. R

    B Questions about my work

    So... I've been writing my work about the vacuum and quantum vacuum. Now my problem is that I've come to realize that I can't really bring my thoughts and research onto paper the way I would like it. I am now in 12th grade in high school I know that this is a crazy demand but hear me out: I...
  12. R

    Good literature needed (QFT topics)

    Summary:: Trying to find good books so that I can continue writing my paper about the vacuum Hello fellow physics enthusiasts, I require your support to find good and scientific literature about: Lamb Shift Vacuumpolarisation Zero point energy It can be a long source too, so don't be afraid...
  13. dreens

    I Argon or Dry N2 for venting a small Ultra High Vacuum chamber

    Hi there, I have a small, few liter UHV chamber that frequently needs to be vented and rebaked. I want to shorten my bake time, so I’ve obtained a glove box to allow me to vent, work and close back up under inert gas. i’m curious if people have a preference between Argon and dry Nitrogen. I...
  14. E

    Redshift & Total Energy Density

    1. If today vacuum and matter contribute 71 % and 29 % to the total energy density of the universe, at what redshift z were they contributing equally? 2. If today vacuum, matter, and radiation contribute 71 %, 29 %, and 0.01% to the total energy density of the universe, at what redshift z were...
  15. W

    Replacing bremsstrahlung tubes with solid-state alternatives?

    What are the reasons X-ray vacuum tubes could not be replaced by solid state alternatives?
  16. R

    B Torricelli Vacuum Experiment

    If Evangelista Torricelli truly created a vacuum, then there would be nothing in it, yet you can see through it which means light is obviously still in there (and who knows what else), right? If there was truly nothing in it, and glass is a highly viscous fluid, and fluids conform to fill empty...
  17. mollwollfumble

    I Blow a soap bubble in space?

    This is an experiment I would have liked to do from the ISS, but an approximation could be done in a vacuum chamber on Earth. How big a soap bubble, polymer bubble, or glass bubble could you blow in the vacuum of space? How to calculate the evaporation rate in vacuum? A liquid exposed to vacuum...
  18. gazaah

    Vacuum suspended fishtank: Why would this design work or not?

  19. Plat

    Radiometer rotation speed as function of pressure

    I am experimenting with using a radiometer as an approximate indicator of pressure in my homemade high vacuum system, running a small turbo pump. I am interested in the relationship between pressure and vane rotation speed, with light intensity being constant. I have only been able to find...
  20. H

    I Vacuum quality

    Does the real vacuum pressure/underpressure depends only on the amount of impurities? In the case of theoretical Torricelli vacuum test, when no purities left in the vacuum: Is the vacuum 0Pa at 1m height (with 760mm of Hg) and also the same at 10m height (also with 760mm of Hg) of the test...
  21. Plat

    Calculate the thickness of a plate to withstand a specified uniform pressure

    In exploring the feasibility of constructing a vacuum chamber, I am trying to calculate the thickness of rectangular polycarbonate sheet needed to withstand 100kPa of pressure, given dimensions of 30.5cm by 61cm (12 by 24 inches) and clamped edges. I have found some calculators that will tell...
  22. K

    Misc. Generating as much suction with as little weight as possible

    Hello all, as my final project to attain my bachelors, I have tasked myself with designing some sort of device to collect insects from the canopy of soybean plants that can be suspended under a UAS (quad copter/drone). What I am trying to do is essentially build some sort suction device. The...
  23. S

    Pressure differences in a leaking vacuum vessel

    Hello all, I'm new to this forum and I'm mucking about with some self-made physics conundrums, and I need some help! So, What I am aiming for is a roughly cylindrical vessel (it can, and I think probably has to, be tapered to achieve the effect) with the air being pumped out of one end, and a...
  24. D

    How do wet/dry vacuum cleaners work? What is the physics behind them?

    I have a problem designing and understanding Wet and Dry vacuum cleaners. I understand some of the basics behind pressure however things I need to know is: what pressure/ velocity is needed to suck up water? how to calculate the pressure and velocity generated by the fan? (some examples of...
  25. Javier Lopez

    I Ion sensor for 1e20 ions/m3 density

    What kind of ion sensor can I use in the range 1e19to 1e22 ions/m3? (corresponds to 0.1 to 5 pascals if non ionized) Does it exist any sensor based in the charge capacity?
  26. A

    B Why does time pass in an isolated vacuum?

    I read a little bit on the arrow of time and how some physicists think that it points in the direction of increasing entropy. This made sense until I thought about a vacuum. From what I read, entropy does not increase nor decrease in a vacuum so if we used this definition on the "arrow of time"...
  27. A

    A Vacuum in interacting QFT and physical particles

    After some reading, I'm quite confused about the vacuum state in interacting QFT. I've read the @A. Neumaier post on "The Vacuum Fluctuation Myth," where he notes that "bare quantum field theory with a cutoff, the vacuum is a complicated multiparticle state depending on the cutoff – though in a...
  28. prakhargupta3301

    No sound in vacuum? So can I clap more?

    I was just wondering (Wondering!? Stop wasting our precious time!) about clapping my hands. *Claps* It's sound energy. A little energy is released as heat. Good. This means that I have used some energy from my body. In making those two energies. Right. <<Mentor note: rant removed>> So, I am in a...
  29. J

    I Does the Uncertainty Principle imply a linear cosmology?

    If the uncertainty in the age of the Universe is ##\Delta t## then the Uncertainty Principle implies that it has an uncertainty in its energy ##\Delta E## given by $$\Delta E \ \Delta t \sim h.\tag{1}$$ If this energy fluctuation excites the zero-point electromagnetic field of the vacuum then a...
  30. M

    What would happen to a blob of mercury in space?

    How long would it take for a blob of mercury (the size of a marble or so) to freeze in space? I'd emagine it would have to boil in some way first, and that would send pieces of it flying around, but the surface tension of mercury is much greater than that of water, or urine (as we'd seen...
  31. B

    Parallel vacuum sources

    I have two vacuum sources each pulling 1 inHG. If I connect the vacuum sources to a Y-connector, with identical sized hoses, so that each pulls on one tip of the Y, will I get 2 inHG vacuum on the remaining hose, or will I get 1 inHG with more cfm? Thank you, B
  32. T

    I How can I go about making a "Space Proof" coating?

    So I am planning on launching a Satellite to promote the Dogecoin cryptocurrency. One of the main points is printing/painting (Or whatever) the logo on the side of a metal panel. How can I make it so it doesn't melt off or turn white from radiation so quickly?
  33. K

    A Vacuum in QFT: Fock space or effective potential?

    There seem to be two ways of defning what a vacuum is in QFT: 1. It is state $|0\rangle$ such that $$a_k|0\rangle = 0$$ for all anihilation operators $$a_k$$, with creation operators $$a_k^{\dagger}$$. Thus, it is defined in Fock space. 2. It is state $$|0\rangle$$ such that derivative...
  34. T

    B Why do microcontrollers fail in a Vacuum?

    I was trying to log data inside a vacuum chamber, tried an arduino and a rasperry pi. When reaching -30inHg the devices just stopped working, they powered off, no data in or out and would not work ever again. Why? And no, they did not overheat.
  35. David Dodson

    I Does space have its own density?

    Does space have its own density? i.e. a mass density distinct from the mass density of 'particles' in it? or may it have a uniform density of some kind of vast particle(s)? If so, would the effect on observable masses largely cancel out? One answer from...
  36. FlimFlam

    How can I get my Pi 3 to work in a vacuum?

    Im trying to do some data logging, using a raspberry pi 3 would be super easy as it has a built in WiFi and Bluetooth receiver as well as an SD card. However when the vacuum gets to about -30inHg the Pi shuts off and the red light starts flashing as if there is no OS. Temperatures arent crazy...
  37. J

    I Should the energy density of the vacuum be zero?

    According to [Dark Energy and the Accelerating Universe]( quantum field theory says that the energy density of the vacuum, ##\rho_{vac}##, should be given by $$\rho_{vac}=\frac{1}{2}\sum_{\rm...
  38. P

    I Is it possible to use the vacuum to launch a rocket?

    Hey I'm new to Physics. I have a question. Is it possible to use the force generated when air entera a vacuum tube to launch something into space? Can anybody throw some light on this in simple words please. Thank You.
  39. D

    Question about vacuum powered projectiles

    I'm writing a novel and wanted to research a possible weapon I came up with to make sure the physics are at least possible. However, I could not find anything on vacuum-based projectiles other than ping-pong balls, while this is interesting, but it doesn't answer my question on what would happen...
  40. S

    A Could vacuum decay fundamentally change our universe?

    If the universe suffered a false vacuum decay, would this change physical laws? Could it change the universe so much that it would allow our universe to be a multiverse of level 1, 2, 3 and 4?
  41. A

    A String vacua and particles?

    I've been doing a little bit of reading on string theory, and the very large number of string vacua that are possible (i.e., perhaps 10^500 or more). One thing that is not clear to me is exactly what constitutes a 'vacuum' in string theory. In QFT theory, the vacuum is defined as the state with...
  42. S

    No sublimation for human body in vacuum? [Thermodynamics]

    In my Thermodynamics course, we recently learned about the saturation pressure and saturation temperature of different substances -mainly water. As you know, the saturation temperature at which a substance begins to boil is specific to a fixed saturation pressure. Water only boils at 100...
  43. J

    I Evaporation under vacuum; surface area

    I run a vacuum distillation unit that is used to distill ethylene glycol. The old glycol is subjected to 25Hg of vacuum at a temp of 275 degrees F. There are burner tubes submerged in the glycol to heat it up. The vessel has a diameter of 36 inches and is 124 inches long. We fill the vessel...
  44. C

    I Does moisture escaping from powders decrease chamber vacuum?

    I'm drying some wet powders using vacuum oven and start seeing some condensation on the window after few minutes. The vacuum level stays pretty constant which puzzles me as i thought that the moisture escapes from the powder into the air will increase the chamber pressure or decrease the vacuum...
  45. redtree

    I Metric for the Lambdavacuum

    I am having trouble finding the equation for the metric for the Lambdavacuum solution to the EFE in radial coordinates. Any suggestions?
  46. G

    B How is a Vaccum mathmatically described?

    Anyone know what books and astrophysicist has this knowledge? Thank you, Greg
  47. S

    Light and its ideal speed

    When I read the speed of light in vacuum is c, does it imply that light doesn't actually travel at this speed in nature? My guess is no, light always travels at c, it's just that in the definition, we're trying to ignore the affects on light from other stuff like the comological constant and the...
  48. c704710

    B Do differing frequency light beams attract each other asymmetrically?

    Appearently, two beams of light in a vacuum are attracted to each other. Photons have no Newtonian mass, but their relativistic mass (e=mc^2 or mass-energy equivalence) causes this (as is my understanding). So will a 10^4 Hz beam bend more towards a 10^20 Hz beam than the 10^20 Hz bends towards...
  49. nomadreid

    Newtonian vacuum: what to call it in thought experiment

    Suppose you wanted a thought experiment about a variation on the vacuum (i.e., the spatial slice of spacetime) in which the quantum effects were absent or negligible, and the vacuum energy was zero . What would you call it? You can't call it the vacuum, because this Newtonian version of the...
  50. D

    Electroscope experiment in vacuum

    Hi I am running the electroscope experiment in vacuum. This is shown in (a) in the uploaded figure . Once the aluminum leafs are charged the chamber is pump down (b). As soon the pressure decrease low enough (around relative pressure of 30 inHg) the leafs collapse to each other abruptly. Here...