Types of Compressors and How Its Work

A compressor is a tool or fluid machine that works by sucking or compressing air or gas to make it pressurized. The air or gas can then be used right away, like in a gas turbine, or stored first in a tank that acts as an energy store.

In general, compressors can be put into two groups: those with a positive displacement and those with a dynamic removal. Here’s what it is and what kinds it comes in:

Positive Displacement Compressor

Positive displacement compressors move air and gas fluids simultaneously no matter how much the pressure changes. Positive displacement compressors are made up of the following types of compressors:

1. Piston Compressor

Types of Compressors

The same name for the piston compressor is the piston compressor. A piston compressor has a piston that moves back and forth, called reciprocal motion. There is also a valve on the compressor that acts as a piston seal.

Also, this compressor’s storage tube has a one-way valve, so the air in the tank can’t go back into the cylinder.

Reciprocating compressors are less expensive, easy to keep up, and can be used to deliver air or create high pressure. The bad things about it are that it makes a lot of noise and the air that comes out has a lot of oil.

Here is how the reciprocating compressor works:

  • When there is suction, the air pressure in the cylinder will go down, letting air from the outside come in.
  • When the piston’s compression motion moves toward the bottom dead center and continues to the top dead point, the air above the piston has high pressure and is put into the air storage tube.
  • The sucking and squeezing motions toward the reservoir tube will happen all the time. But if the pressure in the tube is too high, the safety valve will open, or the engine will shut off on its own.

2. Diaphragm Compressor

Types of Compressors

Compressors that use a diaphragm are similar to compressors that use a piston and a spring.

This type of compressor works almost the same way as a piston compressor, but the compressed air system into the air storage tank is different. Diaphragm compressors are often used in the pharmaceutical, drug, food, and chemical industries.

The benefit of a diaphragm compressor is that it can still work even if oil or gas leaks out. This makes it perfect for compressing gases that are flammable or corrosive.

The problem with diaphragm compressors is that the diaphragm needs to be replaced after about 200 hours of use, which is expensive.

A diaphragm compressor works by first moving a membrane or diaphragm with the movement of the diaphragm. As the diaphragm moves, it expands and contracts, sucking and pushing air into the storage tube.

3. Screw Compressor

Types of Compressors

A screw compressor is another name for the same thing. A screw compressor is a type of compressor that is usually used instead of a piston compressor when a larger volume of high-pressure air is needed.

Screw compressors are good because they are quiet, easy to use, and don’t make much noise or vibration. The screw’s weakness is that it costs a lot to use a screw compressor with a low capacity.

How a screw compressor works is that air that comes in through the inlet goes into a system of rotating screws that squeezes the air. The compressed air then flows into an air storage tank. This compressor works by sucking in air, compressing it, and letting it out.

Dynamic Compressor or Turbo Compressor

Dynamic compressors move air or gas fluids at different rates depending on how much pressure is on them. Dynamic compressors are made up of the following types of compressors:

1. Centrifugal Compressor

Types of Compressors

A radial compressor is the same thing as a centrifugal compressor. Centrifugal compressors are made so that they don’t need oil. Centrifugal compressors use an impeller to compress the gas and a diffuser to change the speed or kinetic energy into pressure energy.

Centrifugal compressors are good because they can handle many works and come in big sizes. On the other hand, cooling media in the condenser can’t be used with centrifugal compressors.

A centrifugal compressor works because when air comes in from the outside, it is turned by a fast-moving impeller. The incoming air is then expanded until its mass goes up, and the impeller pushes the air towards the wall of the compressor cylinder.

Also, the diffuser in the compressor will raise the pressure of the air that is reflected to make high-pressure air.

2. Axial Compressor

Types of Compressors

Axial compressors turn in a dynamic way and use a series of airfoil fans to slow down the fluid flow. This compressor is mainly used in gas or air cylinders, like those in fast ship engines, jet engines, and small power plants.

The best thing about axial compressors is that they work very well. The problem with axial compressors is that they are expensive, have a lot of parts, and must be made of high-quality materials.

This is how an axial compressor works:

  • The air compressor will pull it in when there is still air outside.
  • The incoming air is then pushed toward the wall of the compressor cylinder by the impeller. This makes the high-pressure air compress first, and then the air leaves the compressor.