Dyson’s Fanless Fan – How Exactly Does That Work?

Dyson is best known for their great vacuum cleaners and I must say, I was shocked to hear about their newest technology; A fanless fan. Straight off their website, the “Dyson “Air Multiplier” fan works very differently to conventional fans. It uses “Air Multiplier” technology to draw in air and amplify it 15 times, producing an uninterrupted stream of smooth air. With no blades or grill, it’s safe, easy to clean and doesn’t cause unpleasant buffeting.”

DysonFanI was able to get my hands on one and I must say, I was a bit perplexed at first, and you are probably wondering yourself how exactly the idea works. If you have gone into a BestBuy or Target recently, you will walk by this thing and do a double take. It is intriguing at first glance and you just have to walk over and play with it and stick your hand in the large hoop. So how does it work? The Air Multiplier uses friction in the air to push out its cool breeze. Around the rim of the circular fan is a little opening from which jets a very thin stream of air at 55 mph. That thin stream of air pulls more air into the stream thanks to the aforementioned friction. This is called entrainment – a new word I just learned.

The air that gets pushed away from the ring towards your  face creates an area of low pressure – not quite a vacuum, but the same effect – in the ring. If you stick your hand in there you can kind of feel it. That low pressure pulls in more air from behind the machine which is then in turn drawn into the air stream. That’s called inducement. I knew this word already ;)

The engineering challenge is in keeping that stream of air flowing smoothly. When I asked an engineer on the process  he told me there were a lot of calculations involved. I’m no mathamatician so I won’t make myself look like an idiot by explaining a bunch of numbers he gave me, but I can describe a better way of thinking about it. Imagine, if you will, a water hose or a faucet. If you turn on the tap half way, then the flow out of the hose is smooth, right? It stays together in a stream when it exits the end of the pipe. If you squeeze the hose or block the faucet in some way making the exit smaller, or if you turn the tap on full,  the water sprays all over the place, right? In a fan, you want a smooth airflow (obviously) which stays aimed at whatever you point it at for without going all over the place, wasting energy in turbulence. The Air Multiplier appears to have achieved this with those complicated equations. The “multiplier” part of the name refers to how much efficiency it saves. It sends approximately 15 times more air at you thanks to taking advantage of these physical processes than it actually has to drive through its own internal spinning turbine.

There you have it! Now you can tell all your friends and family how it works. But before you run out and buy one, I want to put you a little at easy before you see the price:

  • Completely unique design – this eye catching fan looks more like a giant magnifying glass than a fan. It’s simply the coolest fan you have ever seen.
  • Safe (no external moving parts) so your pet or toddler can examine it with no worry of injury
  • No doubt, it’s great at fanning delivering a breeze on par with most fans it’s size

The bad:

  • It’s not cheap, with the 10 inch model going for $299 and the 12 inch fo $329
  • It isn’t the quietest fan I’ve heard, but definitely not the loudest, so if you are looking for a silent fan, you may want to look at other alternatives.

12 Comments

  1. Oooohhhhh I get it, the only reason I came here was to figure out how the heck it works. I saw the commercial and then thought and thought about it until I asked my Phys. Science teacher, and he went on about some kind of molecular reaction, but then I decided to look it up. It looks cool, that’s for sure, but I don’t think it is worth 300 dollars. Maybe I’ll get one once they get a little cheaper.

  2. There is a fan mounted horizontally above the slots in the base of the dyson fan. The fan rotates and as it does so sucks air in thru’ the slots and then pushes the air up and around the circular frame that has perforations along the edge, where the air escapes.

  3. SuperGumby November 25, 2011

    I can’t believe the stupid comments about what a ripoff.

    Ask a parent whose child’s fingers went somewhere they shouldn’t. Obviously, it’s the kid’s fault, for our contributors.

    If I was going to question the device, and I do, it is about the efficiency. For a given amount of air movement does the device consume more or less power?

    Still, I would see advantage to the device. Even if it consumes more power some may consider such safety advantage worth the additional cost.

    What happens if a curtain or piece of paper/string gets sucked into a bladed fan, compared to this device? I can imagine a scenario where the traditional fan jams, the motor overheats, the house burns down… (yes, it may be a longshot, but…)

  4. Elliott August 4, 2011

    I sucks the air through vents in the bottom and forces it through the slit on the hoop. Its an overprices example of extreme over-engineering. There is a reason fan designs havent changed in the last 100 years dyson, they work efficiently and are cheap. Youve redesigned something that fucntioned perfectly into an expensive mess.

  5. Skeptic July 26, 2011

    What a scam, there’s magic here folks, there’s a motor in the base that pumps air into the ring and through the “slit”. $300! You gotta be kidding. It’s not that cool looking either. I thought it was for perming hair when I first saw it. Garbage.

  6. there are blades in the base that forces air through the slit. Can’t move air without blades. Even jet engines have blades.

  7. But how do they generate the original airflow? The stresm that comes out of that small slit at the leading edge of the airfoil?

  8. Bugger July 12, 2011

    Horse shit. Big deal, Dyson is always claiming to have some secret. Stupid people buy this type of over priced products just like their over priced plastic vaccum. Cheap plastic that will break after a while.

  9. This fan has intrigued me from the first time I saw the demonstration. I will own one soon. It’s so futuristic and unique. Even after reading about it I’m still puzzled. Gotta have one.

  10. Cool design. But don’t waste your money. Extremely over priced and doesn’t blow as good as a regular fan. Buy a vornado. They are cheaper. Wonderful reviews. Best fan I’ve ever owned without a doubt.

  11. Feegle June 20, 2010

    Just bought a 12 inch…im not rich…i just got a raise so figured, what the hell, this thing is cool. After setting it up on my dresser (I “need” to have a fan blowing on me when i sleep) i tried to think of cool things i can do with it, but ended up passing out on my bed. In other words, its really cool to have if u have some extra cash.

  12. Mr Chisolm April 30, 2010

    I went into Target to buy a laptop cool pad and I ran into one of these Dyson’s fan I almost had to clear my eye’s from looking at UFO I must say it isn’t something you see everyday matter of fact if I didn’t already have a box fan I would have bought one just because of the way it looks

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