lubrication oil, and remove oil after completion of the compression process.
There are basically two types of compressors: positive displacement and dynamic. This section will discuss the reciprocating air compressors, the rotary air compressors, the helical screw compressors classed as positive displacement compressors, and the dynamic centrifugal compressors.
General auxiliary equipment will also be discussed. Auxiliary equipment consists of any device(s) that may be added to the system to improve its efficiency or provide a specific function. It provides a safe condition under which the compressor system will be operating.
The most commonly used stationary air compressors are the reciprocating, positive displacement design. They may be single acting or double acting, single stage or multistage, and horizontal, angle, or vertical in design.
In a single-stage unit there is but one compressing element; it compresses air from the initial intake pressure to the final discharge pressure in one step. A multistage machine has more than one compressing element. The first stage compresses air to an intermediate pressure, then one or more additional stages compress it to the final discharge pressure.
In the reciprocating compressor the compression cycle is composed of three phases: intake, compression, and discharge.
During the intake stroke the downward movement of the piston creates a partial vacuum inside the cylinder. The spring-operated intake valve is forced open by the differential pressure between free air on one side and the partial vacuum inside the cylinder. As the valve opens, air fills the cylinder. The piston now moves into the compression stroke, forcing the intake valve closed and raising the pressure of the air trapped in the cylinder. When the pressure of this air is great enough to overcome the force of the spring-operated discharge valve, the valve opens and the compressed air is discharged from the cylinder.
Compressors are classified as low pressure, medium pressure, or high pressure. Low-pressure compressors provide a discharge pressure of 150 psi or less. Medium-pressure compressors provide a discharge pressure of 151 psi to 1,000 psi. Compressors that provide a discharge pressure above 1,000 psi are classified as high pressure. Note that compressors are classified at different pressures than those for classifying total compressed air systems discussed earlier.
Most low-pressure air compressors are of the two-stage type with either a vertical or a vertical W arrangement of cylinders. Two-stage, V-type, low-pressure compressors usually have one cylinder that provides the first (low-pressure) stage of compression and one cylinder that provides the second (high-pressure) stage, as shown in figure 11-3. W-type compressors have two cylinders for the first stage of compression and one cylinder for the second stage. This arrangement is illustrated in figure 11-4.
Compressors may be classified according to a number of other design features or operating characteristics.
Medium-pressure air compressors are of the two-stage, vertical, duplex, single-acting type. Many medium-pressure compressors have differential pistons, as shown in figure 11-5. This type of piston provides more than one stage of compression on each piston.
Rotary sliding vane compressors are machines in which longitudinal vanes slide radially in a slotted rotor that is mounted eccentrically in a cylinder. The rotor is fitted with blades or vanes that are free to slide in and out of longitudinal slots and maintain contact with the cylinder walls by centrifugal force. In operation, as the blades are forced outward by centrifugal force, compartments are formed in which air is compressed (fig. 11-6). Each compartment varies from a maximum volume on the suction side of the revolution to a minimum volume on the compression half of the revolution. This gives a positive displacement- type suction and pressure effect.
Another type of rotary compressor is the twin- lobe unit sometimes referred to as a blowerContinue Reading