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In fluid mechanics, the definition of an air compressor is a device that can convert power to potential energy stored in compressed air by using an electric motor, diesel engine, or gasoline engine. Through one of several working and operational methods, the air compressor presses more and more air into the air storage tank, which will eventually increase the pressure. When the pressure of the air storage tank reaches its design upper limit, the air compressor will shut off as designed.
Regarding the compressed air, which is then kept in the storage tank until it is used, the energy contained in the compressed air can be used to reduce the pressure of various industrial or domestic application tanks using the released air kinetic energy. When the tank pressure reaches its lower limit, the air compressor will turn on again and repressurize the tank as designed. An air compressor must be distinguished from a pump because it can handle any gas or air substance, and the pump can only work on liquids.
Because these two hydrodynamic designs are similar even if they are similar in some ways, the differences between air compressors and pumps are discussed in this section. A pump is a device that moves liquid substances through its mechanical action. Traditionally, pumps can be divided into three main types based on the methods used by those pumps to move the target fluid. These three types depend on how they move the fluid, and there are direct lift, displacement, and gravity methods.
There are direct lift pumps, displacement pumps, and gravity pumps. Pumps are usually operated by reciprocating or rotating mechanisms, and consume energy to perform mechanical work that moves the fluid. The mechanical pump can also be submerged in the fluid in which they are pumping or be placed external to the fluid. The pump can be divided into positive displacement pump, impulse pump, velocity pumps, gravity pumps, steam pumps and valve-less pumps. In addition, there are two basic types of pumps, namely positive displacement pumps and centrifugal pumps.
Regarding the classification of air compressors, there are three main types: low-pressure air compressors, medium-pressure compressors and high-pressure air compressors. Working mechanism, the displacement type of air compression is different. There are various methods of air compression, and they are considered to be positive displacement or roto dynamic types. The former (positive displacement compressor) works by forcing the air in the room to compress to reduce the pressure in the air room, thereby compressing the substances in the air. Once the maximum pressure is reached, a port or valve opens and the air is discharged into the outlet system from the compression chamber. On the other hand, in addition to positive displacement, there is also dynamic displacement, where air compressors include centrifugal compressors and axial compressors by design. In these types, the rotating assembly transfers its kinetic energy to the air, which is ultimately converted into pressure energy.
Since its invention, air compressors have been widely used in almost every stage of the industrial field. Air compressors have many possible uses, such as the supplying of high-pressure clean air to fill gas cylinders, the supplying of moderate pressured clean air to a submerged surface supplied diver, or the supplying of the moderate pressured clean air for driving some office and school building pneumatic HVAC control system valves.
In fact, most air compressors are either designed as reciprocating pistons, or as rotating blades or rotating screws, and centrifugal compressors are very common in very large applications. However, rotary screw, scroll, and reciprocating air compression are favored for smaller, applications due to their natural essences. In general, all air compressors, such as pumps and valves, should be regularly maintained to ensure that all types of compressors can operate efficiently without leakage or other flaws. So, routine maintenance must be performed by professionals, such as monitor and replace air compressor accessories to ensure safe and efficient operation.
The usage of air compressors in the future will be no less than we have now, and the technology that supports this convenient and simple power plant will be gradually developed. Even if this is not the level of rocket science, it can still help all of us to enjoy the good life brought about by this technology. Engineers and users will help each other in following participation in improvement and development, thereby providing users with superior quality in the future.
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