October 13, 2009 12:09 am

Dyson launches the bladeless electric fan

First there was the bagless vacuum cleaner, then the towel-less hand dryer: Now James Dyson, the British inventor, has developed a bladeless electric fan which goes on sale on Tuesday in the US and Australia.

The Dyson Air Multiplier fan – which looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie – uses advancements in airflow engineering instead of traditional blades to ‘multiply’ air 15 times and push out 119 gallons of smooth and uninterrupted air every second.

As a result, Dyson claims the bladeless fan, which works by forcing a jet of air out of a narrow circular slit and then over an aerofoil-shaped blade, is at least as efficient as its bladed counterpart, more comfortable and much safer.

Conventional electric fans have gone largely unchanged for years,” notes Mr Dyson. “The fundamental problem has remained the same for more than 125 years – the blades ‘chop’ the air creating an uneven airflow and unpleasant buffeting.”

Dyson

Mr Dyson and his team of fluid dynamics engineers developed the technology behind the bladeless fan after studying the performance of an earlier Dyson invention, the Dyson Airblade commercial hand dryer that uses sheets of clean air travelling at 400mph to dry hands far more quickly and efficiently than rivals.

A team of fluid dynamics engineers spent four years running hundreds of simulations to precisely measure and optimise the machine’s circular aperture and airfoil-shaped ramp before perfecting Dyson’s Air Multiplier technology.

“We realised that this inducement, or amplification, effect could be further enhanced by passing airflow over a ramp,” says Mr Dyson. “And of course this was the point where the idea of a bladeless fan became a real possibility. Here was a way to create turbulent-free air and finally do away with blades.”

The new fan works by drawing air into the base of the machine. The air is forced up into the loop amplifier and accelerated through the 1.3mm annular aperture, creating a jet of air that hugs the airfoil-shaped ramp. While exiting the loop amplifier, the jet pulls air from behind the fan into the airflow (inducement). At the same time, the surrounding air from the front and sides of the machine are forced into the air stream (entrainment), amplifying it 15 times. The result is a constant uninterrupted flow of cooling air.

The Dyson Air Multiplier is powered by an energy efficient brushless motor and air speed can be precisely adjusted with a dimmer switch. It will be available in two sizes, a 10-inch model costing $300 and a 12-inch model costing $330.

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