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TypesofAirCompressors

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TypesofAirCompressors
Reciprocating,rotaryscrewandrotarycentrifugalaircompressors
Thethreebasictypesofaircompressorsare
reciprocating
rotaryscrew
rotarycentrifugal
Thesetypesarefurtherspecifiedby:
thenumberofcompressionstages
coolingmethod(air,water,oil)
drivemethod(motor,engine,steam,other)
lubrication(oil,OilFreewhereOilFreemeansnolubricatingoilcontactsthecompressedair)
packagedorcustombuilt

ReciprocatingAirCompressors
Reciprocatingaircompressorsarepositivedisplacementmachines,meaningthattheyincreasethepressureoftheairbyreducingitsvolume.Thismeansthey
aretakinginsuccessivevolumesofairwhichisconfinedwithinaclosedspaceandelevatingthisairtoahigherpressure.Thereciprocatingaircompressor
accomplishesthisbyapistonwithinacylinderasthecompressinganddisplacingelement.
Singlestageandtwostagereciprocatingcompressorsarecommerciallyavailable.
Singlestagecompressorsaregenerallyusedforpressuresintherangeof70psigto100psig.
Twostagecompressorsaregenerallyusedforhigherpressuresintherangeof100psigto250psig.
Notethat
1HP~4CFMat100psi
andthat1to50HParetypicallyforreciprocatingunits.Compressors100hpandabovearetypicallyRotaryScreworCentrifugalCompressors.
Thereciprocatingaircompressorissingleactingwhenthecompressingisaccomplishedusingonlyonesideofthepiston.Acompressorusingbothsidesofthe
pistonisconsidereddoubleacting.
Loadreductionisachievedbyunloadingindividualcylinders.Typicallythisisaccomplishedbythrottlingthesuctionpressuretothecylinderorbypassingaireither
withinoroutsidethecompressor.Capacitycontrolisachievedbyvaryingspeedinenginedrivenunitsthroughfuelflowcontrol.
Reciprocatingaircompressorsareavailableeitherasaircooledorwatercooledinlubricatedandnonlubricatedconfigurationsandprovideawiderangeofpressure
andcapacityselections.

RotaryScrewCompressors
Rotaryaircompressorsarepositivedisplacementcompressors.Themostcommonrotaryaircompressoristhesinglestagehelicalorspirallobeoilflooded
screwaircompressor.Thesecompressorsconsistoftworotorswithinacasingwheretherotorscompresstheairinternally.Therearenovalves.Theseunitsare
basicallyoilcooled(withaircooledorwatercooledoilcoolers)wheretheoilsealstheinternalclearances.
Sincethecoolingtakesplacerightinsidethecompressor,theworkingpartsneverexperienceextremeoperatingtemperatures.Therotarycompressor,therefore,
isacontinuousduty,aircooledorwatercooledcompressorpackage.
Rotaryscrewaircompressorsareeasytomaintainandoperate.Capacitycontrolforthesecompressorsisaccomplishedbyvariablespeedandvariable
compressordisplacement.Forthelattercontroltechnique,aslidevalveispositionedinthecasing.Asthecompressorcapacityisreduced,theslidevalveopens,
bypassingaportionofthecompressedairbacktothesuction.Advantagesoftherotaryscrewcompressorincludesmooth,pulsefreeairoutputinacompactsize
withhighoutputvolumeoveralonglife.
Theoilfreerotaryscrewaircompressorutilizesspeciallydesignedairendstocompressairwithoutoilinthecompressionchamberyieldingtrueoilfreeair.Oilfree
rotaryscrewaircompressorsareavailableaircooledandwatercooledandprovidethesameflexibilityasoilfloodedrotarieswhenoilfreeairisrequired.

CentrifugalCompressors
Thecentrifugalaircompressorisadynamiccompressorwhichdependsontransferofenergyfromarotatingimpellertotheair.
Centrifugalcompressorsproducehighpressuredischargebyconvertingangularmomentumimpartedbytherotatingimpeller(dynamicdisplacement).Inorderto
dothisefficiently,centrifugalcompressorsrotateathigherspeedsthantheothertypesofcompressors.Thesetypesofcompressorsarealsodesignedforhigher
capacitybecauseflowthroughthecompressoriscontinuous.
Adjustingtheinletguidevanesisthemostcommonmethodtocontrolcapacityofacentrifugalcompressor.Byclosingtheguidevanes,volumetricflowsand
capacityarereduced.
Thecentrifugalaircompressorisanoilfreecompressorbydesign.Theoillubricatedrunninggearisseparatedfromtheairbyshaftsealsandatmosphericvents.

RelatedTopics
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TypesofAirCompressors
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TypesofAirCompressors
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