A fan is a powered machine used to create a flow of air. A fan consists of a rotating arrangement of vanes or blades, which act on the air. The rotating assembly of blades and hub is known as an impeller, rotor, or runner. Usually, it is contained within some form of housing, or case. This may direct the airflow, or increase safety by preventing objects from contacting the fan blades. Most fans are powered by electric motors, but other sources of power may be used, including hydraulic motors, handcranks, and internal combustion engines.
Mechanically, a fan can be any revolving vane, or vanes used for producing currents of air. Fans produce air flows with high volume and low pressure (although higher than ambient pressure), as opposed to compressors which produce high pressures at a comparatively low volume. A fan blade will often rotate when exposed to an air-fluid stream, and devices that take advantage of this, such as anemometers and wind turbines, often have designs similar to that of a fan.