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Indian Journal of Pure & Applied Physics

Vol. 49, January 2011, pp. 35-41

Condition monitoring of reciprocating air compressor using IR thermography


S S Singh & A K Singh*
Department of Aerospace Engineering, Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (Deemed University), Girinagar, Pune 411 025
*E-mail: draksingh@hotmail.com; aksingh@diat.ac.in
Received 17 January 2010; revised 24 September 2010; accepted 9 November 2010

The usage of IR thermography as an effective condition monitoring tool on reciprocating air compressor has been
studied. The technique allows monitoring of temperatures and thermal patterns while the equipments are running. The
compressor cylinder fins tip temperatures are measured using infrared gun and thermocouple and have been further analysed
by finite element method. Based on experiments and finite element analysis, equation is generated for internal surface
temperature rise in the compressor cylinders due to running of the compressor. The analysis involved correlating the surface
temperature with that obtained by finite element analysis. It is, further, highlighted in the paper that as the compressor under
study does not cater for any kind of temperature measurement to analyse the performance of compressor, thermal imaging of
such equipments can be beneficial in analysing the health of the equipments by acquiring thermal images over a specified
interval of time which could be time specific.
Keywords: Finite element analysis, Infrared, Thermograph, Thermocouple, Steady state

1 Introduction sets of cylinders; one for high pressure and other for
Infrared thermography is now being targeted as a low pressure has been used. A portable Thermal
versatile tool for condition monitoring of Imaging camera (EEV make, Model P 4430) has been
equipments1,2. Infrared imaging will help quickly and used for thermal imaging. It incorporates a video
efficiently find the areas that are most in need of output which can be used for direct recording to a
maintenance. The infrared thermal imaging method computer. The P4430 is a hand-held thermal imaging
utilizes the radiant existence in the infrared spectral camera with pyroelectric vidicon detector having
band from measured objects to measure temperature. spectral response of 8-12 m. It is a self-contained
It is non-intrusive, applicable remotely and suitable battery/ac power operated unit incorporating a
for measurement3 of a large area, and can also serve miniature display monitor and can be fitted with
to record data for subsequent storage and processing interchangeable lens (Focal length 50/75 mm f 0.8)
with a PC. Ay et al.4 used an infrared thermal imaging and angle of view 17/11 deg. The equipment is for
camera to observe the surface temperature of a plate general thermal imaging applications and gives
finned-tube heat exchanger and calculated the local monochrome thermal pictures. The external video
heat transfer coefficient. IR thermography on signal is 1 volt 625 lines 50Hz (CCIR compatible) or
equipments shows that the surface thermal patterns 525 lines 60 Hz (optional), 30 frames / s and 200 lines
are a consequence of internal conditions. Basic aim of per picture height for a temperature difference of 2C
this study is to maintain the equipments by evaluating (chopped) and 1C (panned). A personal computer
its performance at specified interval of time. Using having Q motion card for image acquisition and
finite element analysis5,6, we have shown that the WINVIDEO with Windows operating system has
internal conditions can be evaluated from the external been used.
surface conditions. An IR thermometer gun OPTEX THERMO-
The purpose of this study is to determine the HUNTER make (Model Q185) is used for direct
applicability of IR thermography as a condition temperature reading of the object surface having
monitoring tool and also to evaluate inner surface provision of emissivity adjustment. The temperatures
temperature rise during compressor operation. have been measured using T type thermocouples. For
the purpose, a data acquisition system using GENIE
2 Instrumentation software comprising ADAM 4018 and ADAM 4520
To perform experiments reciprocating air data acquisition modules is used. The camera was
compressor ELGI THPC 500 unit consisting of two calibrated with a hot plate (top surface cast iron)
36 INDIAN J PURE & APPL PHYS, VOL 49, JANUARY 2011

having built-in heater and temperature controller and 3 Experiments on Compressor


surface temperature was measured with t type The reciprocating air compressor ELGI THPC 500
thermocouples, placed on the top surface and IR unit consists of two sets of cylinders; one for high
temperature gun for calibration and comparison pressure (Fig. 1) and other for low pressure (Fig. 2).
purpose. These are fitted in V-configuration on a crankcase.
The fin tip temperature is measured using infrared The first stage compression end temperature amounts
thermometer for all the fins on both cylinders. The to 70C while second stage amounts to 140C. The
thermocouple is placed at fin tip for fins 1, 3, 6 and 8 heat dissipation is through circular fins of reducing
for low pressure cylinder and 1, 3, 6 and 9 for high areas. The set-up for the thermal imaging of
pressure cylinder as numbered from top. The compressor cylinders is shown in Fig. 3. The thermal
measured values as obtained using infrared images have been acquired in two phases. The first
thermometer and thermocouple for both the cylinders phase incorporated acquisition of thermal images of
are presented in Tables 1-4. The temperature scaling low pressure cylinder for seven minutes of
of the thermographs has been done by interpolating compressor running with images acquired for every
the gray scale value of the portion of the image to the minute of compressor running. The second phase
temperature range as obtained by the infrared incorporated acquisition of thermal images of high
thermometer. pressure cylinder for seven minutes of compressor
Table 1 IR Temperature at fin tips of LP cylinder
IR Temperature (oC )
Fin no 1min 2min 3min 4min 5min 6min 7min
No1 22.0 24.0 28.0 30.5 32.5 34.5 37.5
No2 22.0 24.0 26.5 30.0 32.0 34.0 37.0
No3 21.5 23.8 26.5 29.0 31.5 34.0 36.5
No4 21.5 23.8 25.5 28.5 31.0 33.8 36.3
No5 21.4 23.7 25.5 28.5 31.0 33.8 36.0
No6 21.4 22.6 24.5 28.0 30.8 33.6 36.0
No7 21.3 22.4 24.0 27.0 30.5 33.2 35.5
No8 21.3 22.2 24.0 26.0 30.0 33.0 35.0
No9 21.0 22.0 23.0 25.0 29.0 31.0 33.5

Table 2 Thermocouple temperature at fin tips of LP cylinder


Thermocouple Temperature (oC )
Fin no 1min 2min 3min 4min 5min 6min 7min
No1 21.26 23.55 27.13 29.03 31.907 33.686 37.107
No3 21.26 23.52 25.57 28.48 31.44 33.596 36.387
No6 21.23 22.46 25.22 27.51 30.637 33.426 35.657
No8 21.23 21.94 23.844 25.69 30.00 32.906 34.576
Table 3 IR temperature at fin tips of HP cylinder
IR Temperature (oC )
Fin no 1min 2min 3min 4min 5min 6min 7min
No1 28.0 29.0 31.0 36.0 42.0 48.0 55.0
No2 28.0 29.0 31.0 34.5 40.0 44.0 50.0
No3 27.8 28.5 30.5 34.5 37.5 39.0 40.0
No4 27.8 28.5 30.5 33.5 36.5 37.5 39.5
No5 27.6 28.3 30.5 33.0 36.0 36.5 39.0
No6 27.6 28.2 30.2 31.0 34.0 35.0 38.5
No7 27.6 28.2 30.2 30.5 34.0 35.0 38.0
No8 27.4 28.0 30.0 30.5 33.5 34.0 38.0
No9 27.4 27.5 30.0 30.5 33.0 33.5 37.5
No10 27.2 27.5 29.5 30.0 31.0 33.0 36.0
No11 27.0 27.5 29.0 29.5 30.0 32.0 35.5
SINGH & SINGH: CONDITION MONITORING OF RECIPROCATING AIR COMPRESSOR 37

Table 4 Thermocouple temperature at fin tips of HP cylinder


Thermocouple Temperature ( oC )
Fin no 1min 2min 3min 4min 5min 6min 7min
No1 27.86 28.65 30.92 35.57 41.24 47.42 53.65
No3 27.74 27.92 30.72 33.53 35.72 38.36 39.77
No6 27.48 26.98 28.62 30.89 33.16 33.62 37.64
No9 27.33 26.72 28.12 30.55 32.99 33.36 37.56

Fig. 3 Experimental set-up on compressor

4 Modelling and Analysis in ANSYS


Fig. 1 High pressure cylinder
The cross-section of cylinders is modeled as per
dimensions taken from instructional manual of the
compressor. The model development and analysis has
been carried out in Ansys software Version 8.0
environment. The material of the cylinders is cast iron
of thermal conductivity 50 W/mK, density 7.272
kg/m3 and specific heat7 420 J/kg K, taken in the
analysis. The cylinders have been meshed using
PLANE 77 element. A transient conduction and
convection analysis has been carried out to generate
the fin tip temperature. A convection coefficient7,8 of
45W/m2 K has been used on the outer surface of the
cylinders for analysis. The point of application of the
thermal load has been evaluated by selecting the point
of stroke length at which the delivery valve opens and
to the point at which end of piston stroke occurs. The
maximum temperature rise occurs within this portion
of the cylinder and the inner cylinder surface
temperature rises over a period of time due to hot
Fig. 2 Low pressure cylinder compressed air and piston friction. At the outer
surface, heat is dissipated to the environment via
running with images acquired for every minute of circular fins of varying sizes from top to bottom. The
compressor running. The thermal images of high analysis is based on the evaluation that the outer
pressure and low pressure cylinders for alternate surface temperature is a function of inner surface
minutes are shown in Fig. 4. temperature and higher the outer surface temperature,
38 INDIAN J PURE & APPL PHYS, VOL 49, JANUARY 2011

Fig. 4 Thermographs of HP and LP cylinders

it will be an indication of higher inner temperature into account as reference during analysis in ANSYS.
rise. In accordance with the compressor manual, the The thermal load is applied to modeled cross-section
first stage compression end temperature reaches at an assumed value which would generate the fins tip
70 deg and second stage reaches 140 deg. The rise in temperature to the nearest values as obtained by IR
temperature happens over a span of compressor gun and TC. The point of application of thermal load
operation. The IR gun and TC which give the fins has been considered by selecting the point of stroke
temperature at different timings of operation is taken length at which the delivery valve opens and to the
SINGH & SINGH: CONDITION MONITORING OF RECIPROCATING AIR COMPRESSOR 39

Table 5 FEA temperature (C ) at fin tips of LP cylinder


Fin no 1min 2min 3min 4min 5min 6min 7min
No1 22.227 23.365 26.549 29.505 32.463 35.648 39.287
No2 22.227 23.365 26.549 29.505 32.463 35.648 39.287
No3 22.182 23.092 25.641 28.007 30.374 32.923 35.835
No4 22.137 22.82 24.732 26.508 28.284 30.197 32.383
No5 22.091 22.547 23.824 25.009 26.195 27.472 28.931
No6 22.091 22.547 23.824 25.009 26.195 27.472 28.931
No7 22.091 22.547 23.824 25.009 26.195 27.472 28.931
No8 22.091 22.547 23.824 25.009 26.195 27.472 28.931
No9 22.091 22.547 23.824 25.009 26.195 27.472 28.931

Table 6 FEA temperature (C ) at fin tips of HP cylinder


Fin no 1min 2min 3min 4min 5min 6min 7min
No1 28.076 29.712 31.115 36.023 41.164 47.708 54.719
No2 28.076 29.712 31.115 36.023 41.164 47.708 54.719
No3 26.923 28.248 29.384 33.36 37.525 42.826 48.506
No4 26.923 28.248 29.384 33.36 37.525 42.826 48.506
No5 25.769 26.783 27.653 30.697 33.886 37.944 42.293
No6 24.165 25.319 25.922 28.034 30.246 33.062 36.079
No7 24.165 25.319 25.922 28.034 30.246 33.062 36.079
No8 24.165 25.319 25.922 28.034 30.246 33.062 36.079
No9 24.165 25.319 25.922 28.034 30.246 33.062 36.079
No10 24.165 25.319 25.922 28.034 30.246 33.062 36.079
No11 24.165 25.319 25.922 28.034 30.246 33.062 36.079
Table 7 Comparison of temperature (C ) at Fin No 1 of LP cylinder
1min 2min 3min 4min 5min 6min 7min
IR 22.0 24.0 28.0 30.5 32.5 34.5 37.5
TC 21.26 23.55 27.13 29.03 31.907 33.686 37.107
FEA 22.227 23.365 26.549 29.505 32.463 35.648 39.287
Assumed Inner Temp 22.5 25.0 32.0 38.5 45.0 52.0 60.0

Table 8 Comparison of temperature (C ) at Fin No 1 of HP cylinder


1min 2min 3min 4min 5min 6min 7min
IR 28.0 29.0 31.0 36.0 42.0 48.0 55.0
TC 27.86 28.65 30.92 35.57 41.24 47.42 53.65
FEA 28.076 29.712 31.115 36.023 41.164 47.708 54.719
Assumed Inner Temp 35.0 38.5 41.5 52.0 63.0 77.0 92.0

point at which end of piston stroke occurs. The inner temperatures as obtained from IR thermometer,
surface thermal load and subsequent fin tip thermocouple and FEA is presented in Tables 7 and 8
temperature to the nearest value with the ones as and the results are plotted in Figs 6 and 7.
obtained by IR temperature gun and thermocouple, The Inner Surface Temperature for LP Cylinder can
are analyzed for given duration of compressor be evaluated as a function of time (t) in minutes of
running. The various analytical results as evaluated operation by using the following relation:
have been presented in Tables 5 and 6 and the FEM
analysis of both the cylinders for alternate minutes Inner temperature (C) = 0.0694 (t)3 + 1.1607 (t)2
have been shown in Fig. 5. + 0.9444 (t) + 20.071

5 Results and Discussion The Inner Surface Temperature for HP Cylinder


The maximum accuracy is analysed for topmost can be evaluated as a function of time (t) in minutes
fin. The comparison drawn for maximum fin of operation by using the following relation:
40 INDIAN J PURE & APPL PHYS, VOL 49, JANUARY 2011

Fig. 5 FEM analysis of HP and LP cylinders


SINGH & SINGH: CONDITION MONITORING OF RECIPROCATING AIR COMPRESSOR 41

equipment can be beneficial in analysing the health


of the equipment by showing similar thermal images
over a specified interval of time which could be as per
schedule may be quarterly or half-yearly or depending
on the usage of the equipment. In case, the thermal
images show a different thermal profile then further
investigations can be initiated to identify the possible
causes for different thermal pattern. For the cases
where thermal patterns are found to be same then
certain maintenance routines can be rescheduled
which will be cost-effective in terms of manpower
Fig. 6 Comparison of maximum fin temperature of LP cylinder and spares replacements.

Acknowledgement
Authors are thankful to Vice-Chancellor, Defence
Institute of Advanced Technology (Deemed
University), Girinagar, Pune 411025 for granting
permission to publish this work.

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