One Simple Aspect Explains it All: Airflow Direction

What’s the difference between axial and centrifugal fans? It’s a question we hear often when helping customers with their fan applications.

People usually envision an axial fan if the subject comes up. That’s because most people are familiar with a residential window or floor fan, which is always axial. But if you’ve ever had flooding or construction in your home, you might be familiar with power blowers, which tend to be centrifugal.

The difference between axial and centrifugal fans comes down to the direction of the airflow, which affects both appearance and function.

Airflow in an Axial Fan

In an axial fan, the air enters the fan from one side and continues in the same direction as it exits the fan on the opposite side. Whether the fan is in a vent, a window, or free-standing, it is open on both sides, and the blades rotate to process and accelerate the air from one side to the other.

Airflow in a Centrifugal Fan

In a centrifugal fan, the air enters the inlet in one direction, and the blades rotate inside the fan to turn the air 90 degrees so that it exits the outlet in a perpendicular direction through a forced draft or induced draft process, depending on the application. The ductwork and surrounding industrial applications determine the positioning of the fan.

See the Difference Between Axial and Centrifugal Fans from an Application Engineer

Chet White, Senior Application Engineer / Sales & Marketing Manager, demonstrates how to clean a blower wheel using a simple whiteboard drawing in this 90-second video.

To ask questions, get more details, or discuss your application, reach out and connect with one of our application engineers.

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