Types of air compressors
There are a number of ways to compress gas, and over the years many different types of compressors have been invented to do so. Their ingenious designs allow a method to pressurize atmospheric air and there are three common ways of doing so. The three most common air compressors are the reciprocating, rotary screw and centrifugal.
Reciprocating Air Compressors
- Reciprocating air compressors are considered positive displacement machines, which means they increase the pressure of the air by reducing its volume. Essentially, the machine takes in successive volumes of air which is confined into a closed space and elevating the air to a high pressure. A piston within the cylinder helps accomplishes this feat. These types of air compressors are available as air-cooled or water-cooled in lubricated or non-lubricated configurations and are also provided in a number of different pressures and capacities.
Rotary Screw Compressor
- Another type of air compressor is the rotary screw compressor which are positive displacement compressors. The most common rotary air compressor is the single stage helical or spiral lobe oil flooded screw air compressor. This type of air compressor consists of two rotors that are in a casing, and the rotors compress the air internally. These units are oil cooled, where the oil seals the internal clearances and have no valves.
Centrifugal Air Compressor
- Unlike the other two, the centrifugal air compressor is a dynamic compressor which is based on a transfer of energy from a rotating impeller to the air. This compressor is designed for higher capacity because flow through the compressor is continuous. Centrifugal air compressors are oil free and the oil lubricated running gear is separated from the air by shaft seals and atmospheric vents.
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