CESAPS is a type of air "filter" that is actually not a filter at all. CESAPS is a cyclonic particle separator system designed for use on vehicles operating in heavy dust environments. The CESAPS unit works through the method of cyclonic separation, not filtration, to clean intake air. Cyclonic separation works by drawing air through a helical port, establishing a rotational air flow. During this rotational flow, centrifugal force sends the heavier, denser particles, such as dust and dirt, to the outside walls of the separator port, while the lighter, clean air flows freely through the center.
Particle separator technology is in widespread use in many different machines, devices, and products. They are used in modern home vacuum cleaners as an efficient way to collect dust and dirt. Particle separators are also used in environmental air cleaning and dust extraction. Devices such as dust cyclones are used to collect wood chips and dust in woodworking and cabinetmaking shops.
One of the most notable uses of particle separator technology is that of the U.S. military. Many military helicopters use particle separator air intakes as a primary air cleaner for their turbine powerplants. This air cleaner option was chosen as the answer to the often times dusty landing environments that, over time, cause internal fouling of turbine components, leading to costly unscheduled engine removal and overhaul. After installation of a particle separator in place of a standard filter, engine component lifespan would dramatically increase, and unscheduled maintenance decreased as well. The naturally self cleaning, maintenance free nature of particle separators, in addition makes for a very attractive option for extreme dust conditions.