How EXAIR Uses Fluidics To Make Efficient, Quiet, and Safe Compressed Air Products

EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products incorporate several distinct principles of fluidics into our engineered designs. To be clear, these principles aren’t exclusive to making quiet and efficient compressed air products. I personally have used them all for business and pleasure over the years. In the Navy, for example, the air ejectors that pulled vacuum on the main condensers where our turbines dumped their ‘used’ steam were basically great big Venturis – they restricted the diameter through which a fluid (steam, in this case) flowed, gradually increased that diameter, and doing so, changed the velocity so that a low pressure area (or vacuum) developed in the throat:

Graphic representation of the Venturi effect.

EXAIR E-Vac Vacuum Generators use the Venturi effect to draw vacuum of up to 27″Hg. They’re typically used with Vacuum Cups for pick-and-place material handling applications.

Here are a few examples of Mr. Venturi’s discovery, implemented in modern industry.

I first learned about the Bernoulli principle on a grade school field trip to the National Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, about an hour from where I grew up. See, this Bernoulli guy discovered that when there is an increase in the speed of a fluid, a simultaneous decrease in fluid pressure occurs at the same time. That’s why airplane wings are shaped like they are – flat on the bottom and curved on top…when the air flowing that extra distance over the top speeds up to get to the back of the wing as fast as the air that’s simply flowing underneath the wing does, the decrease in pressure on top causes the wing (and the plane it’s attached to) rise in the air.

Bernoulli’s Equation: this is the math that proves it works.

The Bernoulli principle is incorporated in to the design & operation of EXAIR engineered Air Knives, Air Wipes, Air Amplifiers, and Air Nozzles.

The Coanda effect is the third fluidics principle that’s incorporated into the design & operation of many EXAIR engineered compressed air products. Its namesake, Henri Coanda, was an early 20th Century aeronautical engineer who discovered that if a jet of fluid exiting an orifice flows across a surface, it’ll tend to not only adhere to and follow that surface (even if it curves or bends), but also entrain fluid from the surrounding area.

EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products such as (left to right) the Air Wipe, Super Air Knife, Super Air Nozzle, and Air Amplifier all use the Coanda effect to entrain enormous amounts of air from the surrounding environment.

There are a couple of easy – and interesting – experiments that demonstrate the Coanda effect, both of which I used when I was a Cub Scout leader and our Pack’s Webelos den was earning their Science Activity Pin:

Turn a faucet on and let the running water flow over the convex ‘bottom’ of a spoon. Everything we know about the laws of gravity say that when the water reaches the ‘bottom-most’ point on the spoon’s convex surface, it ought to fall straight down…but it doesn’t:

Another experiment that defies everything we think we know about gravity can be performed with a ball, and a source of air flow. Here’s a short video, showing how the air flow from an Air Amplifier ‘wraps’ around a ball and holds it in that jet of air:

The Webelos den did this with a leaf blower and a playground ball. Unlike a lot of things I’ve done, I DEFINITELY encourage you to try THAT at home.

For forty years now, EXAIR has been putting these principles of fluidics into practice by engineering & manufacturing the most efficient, quietest, and safest compressed air products on the market. If you’d like to find out how we can help you get the most out of our products – and your compressed air system – give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
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What Is A Coanda Profile?

The big thing that sets engineered products like EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products apart from other devices is the engineering that goes into their design.  Several principles of fluidics are key to those designs:

The one I wanted to discuss today, though, is the Coanda Effect, what it means for our engineered compressed air products, and what they can do for you:

The Coanda effect is named after Henri Coandă, who was the first to use the phenomenon in a practical application…in his case, aircraft design.  He described it as “the tendency of a jet of fluid emerging from an orifice to follow an adjacent flat or curved surface and to entrain fluid from the surroundings so that a region of lower pressure develops.”  Put simply, if fluid flows past a solid object, it keeps flowing along that surface (even through curves or bends) and pulls surrounding fluid into its flow.  Here’s a demonstration, using an EXAIR Super Air Amplifier and a plastic ball:

What’s interesting here is that the Super Air Amplifier is not only DEMONSTRATING the Coanda effect, it’s also USING it:

Air Amplifiers use the Coanda Effect to generate high flow with low consumption.

EXAIR Standard and Full Flow Air Knives also have Coanda profiles that the primary (compressed air) flow follows, and uses, to entrain “free” air from the surrounding environment:

Compressed air flows through the inlet (1) to the Standard Air Knife, into the internal plenum. It then discharges through a thin gap (2), adhering to the Coanda profile (3) which directs it down the face of the Air Knife. The precision engineered & finished surfaces optimize entrainment of air (4) from the surrounding environment.

EXAIR Air Wipes can be thought of as “circular Air Knives” – instead of a Coanda profile along the length of an Air Knife, an Air Wipe’s Coanda profile is on the ring of the Air Wipe, which entrains surrounding air into a 360° ring of converging air flow:

Air Wipe – How it works

So that’s the science incorporated in the design of our products.  But what does it mean to the user?

  • Efficiency.  Pulling in a tremendous amount of “free” air from the surrounding environment means minimal consumption of compressed air, while still getting a hard hitting, high velocity air flow.
  • Sound reduction.  This air entrainment also creates a boundary layer in the air flow, resulting in a much quieter air flow than you get from a simple open-end blow off.

EXAIR Corporation is committed to helping you get the most out of your compressed air system, and thanks to Mr. Coandă, that includes reducing your compressed air consumption and noise levels.  If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS




Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Intelligent Compressed Air: Bernoulli’s Principle


Daniel Bernoulli was a Swiss mathematician and physicist born in 1700. He is most known for the Bernoulli principle, published in his book Hydrodynamica in 1739. The Bernoulli’s principle states that an increase in speed of a fluid will result in a decrease in pressure. As a fluid moves from a wider pipe to a narrow one, the fluid begins to move faster. The given volume of the fluid moving from one point to another over a set amount of time will not change. In order for the same amount of fluid to pass through a smaller orifice, it must speed up. This is displayed quite well in the flow of a river. At wide, open spaces the river flows slowly. In areas that become narrow, for example by a canyon wall, the speed of the river’s flow increases dramatically.

The Bernoulli principle also provides an explanation for the lift that is created on an airplane wing. When air encounters an obstacle (in this case an airplane wing), its path will narrow as it flows around the object. As this stream of air speeds up, some of the energy from the random motion of the air molecules must be converted into energy of the stream’s forward flow. Pressure is created by the random motion of these air molecules. Transferring this energy into the stream flow then results in a drop in the air pressure. An airplane wing is shaped so that the air must move faster over it than under it. This causes the slower moving air underneath to exert more pressure on the wing than the air moving across the top. This is referred to as lift and is what allows an airplane to fly.

Temperatures are beginning to creep back up here in Cincinnati and just last week pitchers and catchers for the Cincinnati Reds reported for Spring Training. They’ll also be watching Bernoulli’s principle in action. The oft-dreaded (for batters, anyway) 12-6 curveball occurs due to the way the pitcher forces the ball to spin. Due to way he grips the ball across the laces and imparts this spinning motion, more air pressure forms on the top of the ball. This causes the bottom of the ball to accelerate downwards, resulting in the phenomenon that drives many baseball players crazy as they swing and miss due to a miscalculation of the ball’s position.


Some of EXAIR’s products also utilize the Bernoulli Principle. As the high-velocity air exits the nozzle of a Super Air Knife, a low pressure area is created that draws in surrounding ambient air at a rate of 40:1. The same also occurs with the Super Air Amplifiers, Adjustable Air Amplifiers, and Air Nozzles. If you’d like to discuss the application of any of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products, give an Application Engineer a call today.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD


River image courtesy of Sasori33 via Creative Commons License
Reds image courtesy of Lisa via Creative Commons License