A cyclone separator uses a form of inertia called centrifugal force typically to move air that is filled with dirt and dust through a vertical cylinder with a cone-shaped bottom. The air moves very quickly as it enters the chamber at the top of the cylinder, creating a mini tornado.
The particles of dust and dirt that enter the cyclone are heavier than the air that surrounds them. Because of this, more force is needed to keep the debris continuously moving in a circular motion, although the force of the air that is inside the chamber isn't that strong. As the air continues to spin, the heavier particles of dirt and dust begin to separate from the other debris and move toward the walls of the chamber, sliding to the bottom of the container's dust bin.
The clean air that is located at the bottom of the cyclone begins to change directions as it moves up the center of the container's cylinder. From there the clean air travels to an exhaust tube or outlet that is usually attached to a filter that catches fine particles of debris that remain in the air. Cyclone separators are also used to remove pollutants from the air, gas and water.
There are a variety of cyclone separators that are used to perform these jobs that generally function in the same way by separating larger particles of debris from the air or other substances. These include cyclone grease separators, horizontal dust collectors, multiple cyclone separators, secondary airflow separators and hydrocyclonic separators.