Difference between axial fans and centrifugal fans


Axial fans and centrifugal fans are the two most common and widely used fans for machineries. They are different from each other not just in terms of looks but also their design and function.  And it is these differences and uniqueness that make them suitable for different applications. If you are in need of such a fan but are clueless as to which one will suit your needs then reading on will help you immensely. Below, you find details linked to both the varieties of fans, their benefits and applications.

Axial Fans

Long back in the Middle Ages, axial fans could be seen in the European windmills that were horizontally configured. Later in 1880s, they began to be run with electric power.

Axial fans are known so because of the direction of the flow of air they cause. The blades in an axial fan rotate around an axis. It allows cool air to come in parallel to the axis and hot air exit along the same direction. This way, the temperature of the part to which the fan is affixed remains regulated at an optimum level.

Air with a high flow rate can be created using axial fans. That means, when axial fans are used, the volume of air that gets created is large. Nevertheless, the pressure of the airflow created by axial fans is considerably low. Besides this, axial fans need a low power input for functioning. So, that’s definitely a plus.

Centrifugal Fans

The person responsible for the invention of centrifugal fans was military engineer Lieutenant General Alexander Sablukov. He invented these fans in 1832 and they have been in use ever since.

Centrifugal fans are more popularly known as blowers and are different from axial fans in a number of ways.

There is an inbuilt impeller in a centrifugal fan. Air makes way into the impeller in an axial manner and then crosses it radially. There is a volute casing inside which collects the airflow from where it gets discharged in an angle of 90 degrees to the inlet flow. With the rotation of the impeller, the air present within the passage of the blades is pushed out with centrifugal force. This is a continuous process which creates a continuous flow of air through the impeller.

And because the airflow is through ducts or tubes, it assumes higher pressure. That is why centrifugal fans are able to create a steadier airflow. One thing that must be kept in mind here is that centrifugal fans need higher power input for their functioning.

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Applications of axial fans

Axial fans are most suitable for generic purposes for their high-volume, low-pressure airflows. For instance, when air is needed to be moved from one area to another, axial fans can be used effectively. They help cool confined spaces like computer systems as well as larger spaces such as work areas.

Applications of centrifugal fans

Because these fans create high pressure airflow, they are used in applications that perform well with high airflow pressure. Centrifugal fans are best suited for air conditioning and drying purposes. They are also extensively used in air filtration systems.