By: Vincent Fraser and Jerry Hernandez
The vacuum chamber is a simple machine used to lower the atmospheric pressure within a sealed container. Its major goal is to obtain a lower pressure by using a process that removes oxygen and any other gases until there is hardly any gas within the host container. This simple process allows objects like the cathode tube to function, which cannot operate properly without the vacuum. When successful, the cathode tube uses the vacuum in order to increase the speed and range of high voltage electricity, otherwise without this, it would not be possible to obtain electrons through the average atmospheric pressure of earth.
Although these vacuum chambers are very useful for many other contraptions, they are blatantly dangerous if not used properly. The main hazard of a vacuum chamber would have is an implosion. A Implosion is the exact opposite of an explosion because an implosion, when active, travels inward rather than outward like an explosion. The implosion process occurs when the pressure surrounding the host container is too great for the container to handle. When this happens, the weak areas of the container will crack from the weight of the atmosphere above it. As the pressure meets the crack the atmosphere forces its way into the container in an attempt to fill the vacuum of missing space. If the crack is small, the large amount of gases rushing in would force the surrounding material inward, rather than outward. If the container is too weak to handle the weight of the atmosphere, the entire container that contains the vacuum quickly and unexpectedly collapse.
Since the vacuum chamber is a simple device, it is not too difficult to put together. The most important component of the vacuum chamber is the vacuum pump. What the vacuum pump does is extract gases within the container until there is very little or no gas left. The vacuum pump is also the most important component of the chamber because it creates the vacuum. However, an airtight container and sturdy material is equally important. Since the vacuum pump removes gases from the container, a container with leaks defeats the purpose of the vacuum chamber. If the host container has holes and leaks, the vacuum pressure would fluctuate, resulting in a defective vacuum chamber which would be difficult to maintain and run.
In order to make the vacuum more effective, a series of valves may be added to maintain the pressure, even if the vacuum pump is disconnected. The valves allow for the opening and closing of a series of pipes, which gives it the ability to seal or release the vacuum. Another useful attachment (attachable to the a valve) is a pressure gauge. The pressure gauge makes the current pressure of the container known, because without the gauge, the dropping atmospheric levels would be unknown.