A vacuum cleaner uses the force exerted by its air flow, along with a brushing action, to pick up the dirt, dust, and mite droppings into its dust bag or other dirt container. To effectively remove as many of these microscopic particles from the air flow requires a very efficient filter and a well-sealed vacuum cleaner system. To effectively remove as many of these microscopic particles from the air flow requires a very efficient filter and a well-sealed vacuum cleaner system. High filtration efficiencies in a vacuum system are therefore critical in improving our air quality. ASTM F1977-22: Standard Test Method For Determining Initial, Fractional, Filtration Efficiency Of A Vacuum Cleaner System provides a test method to determine the initial, fractional, filtration efficiency of a vacuum cleaner system (system filtration efficiency).
How Important Is a Filter on a Vacuum?
High-efficiency particulate air [filter] (HEPA) is a type of filter that can trap a large number of very small particles that other vacuum cleaners would simply recirculate back into the air of your home. It is a filtering efficiency specification for filters developed by the Atomic Energy Commission during World War II to effectively remove radioactive dust from plant exhausts without redistribution. A HEPA filter must retain all particles as small as 0.3 µm in particle size with an efficiency rating of 99.97%. The phrase “as small as” means that if all particles were that small, the filter would still have that efficiency. HEPA filters are commonly used on vacuum cleaners as air pollution control. Due to their general reliability and high level of performance, HEPA filters are important in minimizing the release of radioactive materials, dust, asbestos, lead, beryllium, or other toxic particulates.
What Is ASTM F1977?
Modern electrical appliances, incorporating electric motors that use carbon brushes for commutation, may emit aerosolized particles into the surrounding environment. The test method in ASTM F1977-22 determines the initial, fractional, filtration efficiency of a vacuum cleaner system, taking those emissions into consideration. Household and commercial canister (tank-type), stick, hand-held, upright, and utility vacuum cleaner systems are in the scope of ASTM F1977-22. The initial, fractional, filtration efficiencies of the entire vacuum cleaner system, at six discrete particle sizes (0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 1.0, 2.0, and >3 μm), is derived by counting upstream challenge particles and the constituent of downstream particles while the vacuum cleaner system is being operated in a stationary test condition. The information provided in this test method is intended to enable a laboratory to design, fabricate, and qualify the various components utilized in this procedure.
Water-filtration vacuum cleaners that do not utilize a replaceable dry media filter located between the water-based filter and cleaning air exhaust are not included in the test method in the test method in ASTM F1977-22. It has been determined that the exhaust of these vacuum cleaners is not compatible with the specified discrete particle counter (DPC) procedure.
Invention of the First Vacuum Cleaner
The ancestor to today’s modern vacuum cleaner was a “carpet sweeper” invented in 1860 by Daniel Hess of West Union, Iowa. The non-motorized machine used a complex system of bellows for suction and spinning brushes to pick up dirt. A slight improvement on the original design was patented in 1865 by Ives McGaffey of Chicago. His invention was a hand crank-operated vacuum cleaner where one hand turned the crank and the other hand would push the machine across the carpet. The cranking caused a significant difference in the air pressure, resulting in the atmospheric pressure pushing air on the surface, back up into the tube, allowing the vacuum cleaner to suck up debris and dirt off the floor up to the end of the tube.
ASTM F1977-22: Standard Test Method For Determining Initial, Fractional, Filtration Efficiency Of A Vacuum Cleaner System is available on the ANSI Webstore.