Have you been wondering what is an air compressor and what it does? Well, you are in the right place. We will look intensively at compressors to understand how they work.
Additionally, we will also discuss the different types of air compressors that you can buy. Furthermore, in this guide, we will look at the specifications of air compressors that you need to look out for when purchasing one.
In the current world of pneumatic, air compressors play an essential part in the operation of different industries, factories, and workshops. Previously, before air compressors came into the picture, most tools operated on electricity. Unfortunately, these tools were expensive, heavy, and hence not portable.
However, air compressors have changed this narrative as they come in different sizes and shapes. Thus, you will find them in use at various workstations. So, read on to understand better what an air compressor is.
What Is Air Compressor?
Different Types air compressor work
Air compressors are mechanical machines that increase air pressure by reducing the volume. By doing so, these devices help to store large volumes of air in small containers. Notably, air compressors work in two phases, namely, the compression and the release operation phases.
Moreover, there are two types of air compressors, the positive displacement air compressor, and the dynamic air compressor. In other words, we also refer to the dynamic air compressor as a centrifugal air compressor.
When picking on an air compressor, there are several factors that you need to consider. Notably, they include the working conditions, the storage space available, and the portability of the machine.
Types of Air Compressors
There are several categories of air compressors classified in different ways. Actually, they are commonly divided according to the functional method they use to generated pressure.
So, let’s shed light on some of the common types of air compressors.
Positive Displacement Air Compressors
These types of air compressors work by taking in air and mechanically reducing the space it occupies, subsequently increasing pressure.
In other words, a positive displacement air compressor works by drawing air in and then forcing it out through some outlets on the compressor. In this case, the increase in air pressure is due to the machine pumping air at a CFM rate that is bigger than the outlets.
Furthermore, there are several types of positive displacement compressors they include:
We also refer to Piston Compressors as reciprocating compressors. These types of compressors depend on the countering action of one or more pistons compressing air held within a cylinder. Subsequently, the device releases the air through an outlet valve into high-pressure-receiving tanks.
Usually, the compressor and the tank are in the same frame as a unit.
Majorly, piston compressors compress air for energy production. Also, they are used for natural gas transmission by pipeline companies and operators.
Usually, a piston compressor is selected depending on the pressure requirements (psi) and the flow rate (cm). Piston air compressors provide compressed air in the 90-110 psi range, and volume ranges from 30 to2500 cm.
Typically, you get these ranges through commercial, off-the-shelf units.
Usually, scroll air compressors and other low-end compressors are ideal for air conditioning in homes
Typically, scroll air compressors comprise stationary and orbiting spirals that reduce the volume between them. In this case, you will find the outlet placed somewhere near the center.
Since these spirals do not come in contact with each other, then there is no need for lubrication.
In fact, that is scroll air compressor is termed as intrinsically oil-free. Consequently, the capacity for a scroll air compressor is limited.
Rotary Screw Compressors
Typically, this type of compressor uses two-meshed revolving helical screws to fit air into a smaller storage space. Also, they are either portable or stationary. Furthermore, their horsepower ranges from 3 horsepower (2.2kW) to 1200 horsepower (890kW).
Rotary screws compressors are usually classified based on the cooling method, stages, and drive types. Notably, they come in water flooded, oil-flooded, and dry varieties.
Rotary Vane Compressors
The rotary vane compressors have a rotor with blades fitted in circular slots. Therefore, as the rotor rotates, it makes the blades slide in and out of the propeller slots.
Consequently, it maintains contact with the outer housing wall. Hence, the rotation of the blades creates a sequence of increasing and reducing the volume
Besides, the rotary vane device can be a vacuum pump or a compressor. Also, they are either portable or stationary.
Though they work at relatively low pressure, rotary vane compressors usually achieve a 90% mechanical efficiency.
Dynamic Air Compressors
Dynamic air compressors are also known as centrifugal air compressors. Typically, they depend on the transfer of energy from a rotating impeller to the gas.
Are you looking for a compressor that produces high pressure? Look no further. Dynamic air compressors are what you need as they provide high pressure by vigorous displacement.
Typically, they rotate at high speed to produce high pressure more efficiently.
Thus, they are ideal for use in oil refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants, and fossil gas handling plants.
Diagonal compressors are also known as mixed-flow compressors. They are quite similar to dynamic air compressors but have an axial and radial velocity component at the rotor’s exit.
Also, the speed of the mixed-flow compressor is 1.5 times larger than the centrifugal compressor.
An axial compressor is a dynamic rotating compressor that compresses fluids using collections of fan-like airfoils.
Usually, this type of compressor is best fitting where high airflow rates are required because they have high efficiencies.
Also, we use them in gas turbine engines, chemical plans, and natural gas pumping stations.
However, axial compressors are relatively expensive.
Electricity and Fuel Options
Most air compressors run on electricity or fossil fuels. Also, in vehicles, you will find hydraulic air pumps in use.
Generally, electric air compressors are more desirable as they do not emit fumes like the fuel-powered ones. Also, electrically powered compressors do not emit a lot of noise.
Let’s watch video how to fix air compressor
Oil and Oil-free Compressors
Oil is used in compressors to remove heat generated when compressing the air. Also, in some compressors oil provides a seal.
However, there are compressors such as the rotary-screw compressor does not need oil for them to operate.
Finally, air compressors play a vital role in the day to day activities of different industries. Air compressors are in various sectors. Notably, you will find air compressors used in vehicles, gas stations, construction sites, or even in the medical field.
In fact, an air compressor happens to be one of the most versatile devices a homeowner should have. It is used in inflation, cleaning, and even operating pneumatic tools.
With this guide, we believe that now you understand what is air compressor and what it does.
Additionally, you should consider the various types of compressors before settling for one that is ideal for your needs. Your pressure needs should also help you decide on which compressor to go for based on their pressure capabilities.
Notably, electrically-powered and oil-less air compressors are the most efficient and the most environment friendly since they do not emit fumes to the atmosphere.
Lastly, it is essential also to decide which type of compressor you will go for depending on your needs and the space that you have. There are big air compressors, and also there are some relatively small and portable air compressors.