When you sip soda through a straw, you are utilizing the simplest of all suction mechanisms. Sucking the soda up causes a pressure drop between the bottom of the straw and the top of the straw. With greater fluid pressure at the bottom than the top, the soda is pushed up to your mouth.

In its 100-year history, the electric vacuum cleaner has become an indispensable home appliance for most people, and it's obvious why. Imagine picking all this sawdust out of the carpet by hand!

This is the same basic mechanism at work in a vacuum cleaner, though the execution is a bit more complicated. In this article, we'll look inside a vacuum cleaner to find out how it puts suction to work when cleaning up the dust and debris in your house. As we'll see, the standard vacuum cleaner design is exceedingly simple, but it relies on a host of physical principles to clean effectively.