A few years back, an air compressor was not so easily available in the market to assist various pneumatic tools like these days. At that time, it was familiar for shops to own a centralized power system to generate all the pneumatic tools through a setup of wheels, belts, and driveshafts, etc. But nowadays with the help of an air compressor, we can power up any powered tools and it makes any project run smoothly. However, I am going a bit off track from the topic because you are here to know how do air compressors work. Well, without any due let’s get started.
- 1 What is the basic functionality?
- 2 Conclusion
What is the basic functionality?
The function of an Air compressor is dependent on a very simple principle. Generally, in air compressors the following things happen:
- The compressor pulls inside the atmospheric air.
- Then reducing the volume of the air, the air is compressed.
- Later the compressor increases the pressure of the compressed air.
So, this is the short cut detail of the functionality of air compressors that occurs in general. For more details about its mechanism and working process, keep reading.
What is the basic piston functionality?
As we saw earlier that in an air compressor, the atmospheric air is compressed by reducing its volume and increasing its pressure. So, this process is attained with the help of a reciprocating piston.
So, what is the reciprocating piston?
Let me tell you in short, it is also known as a reciprocating engine. It converts pressure into rotating motion. It is the vital component of a heat engine, which transforms heat energy into mechanical energy and vice-versa.
How does reciprocating piston works?
Every reciprocating piston compressors have some following parts:
- Connecting rod
- Valve head
We need the power to generate the entire mechanism process. Air compressor comes in three types: oil, gas and electric. So, it is powered depending on the model. Almost all compressors have a tank to store the compressed air for keeping the air pressure within a specific range when powering other pneumatic tools.
However, let’s get back to the mechanism. In every compressor cylinder, there is a valve head at the top of it. It consists of both the inlet and discharge valve which are typically metal flaps. These valves open and close and are situated on top of the valve plate. Above the piston, a vacuum is created due to its back and forth movement.
Now, here’s the fun part comes. The inlet valve gets opened by the atmospheric pressure due to the difference in pressure inside the cylinder to the outside. Then the air enters into the vacuum section where it will be compressed by the piston. Next, the air will go up. Therefore, the inlet valve will shut down and the discharge valve will be opened. Later on, the compressed air is stored inside the tank following the increase in pressure. However, there is also dual-piston to do the same work.
What is the mechanism of dual-piston?
It is quite like a reciprocating piston but there are some changes in its approach.
Dual pistons are also very common and available. They act similarly as a single-piston but the variation is that in per revolution they have two strokes instead of one. The standard difference of a dual-piston compressor is the two-stage compressor that utilizes one piston for pumping air into the second cylinder. Thus, it creates greater pressure.
What are the use of Pressure Switches and Air regulator?
Each compressor has a switch that cuts off the power to the motor when the pressure inside the tank exceeds the limit above 125 PSI. This switch is kept in a compressor for safety so that the pressure in the tank remains within the desired limit and prevent the risk of explosion. In case the switch doesn’t cut off the power, there are safety valve and unloader valve present. They are there to reduce pressure inside the tank when the compressor is not being used.
To adjust the pressure according to the pneumatic tool connected to the compressor, there is a regulator and a meter. These measures the pressure in the tank and air-line commonly.
What are the functions of Oil-free and Oil Bath compressors?
You may come across the terms like “Oil-lubricated” or “Oil-free pump” when buying a compressor. One of the important things that you should know about a compressor is the way of its lubrication. Oil-lubricated pumps provide an oil bath to lubricate the walls and bearing inside the cylinder. It is done to keep the oil and air separate with the help of the piston rings. Yet, it is not so reliable because it has a chance of oil and air mixture which can mess up the project sometimes.
Some heavy-duty compressors use an oil bath to lubricate the system which lasts up to 15,000 hours.
On the other hand, some compressors have Oil-free pumps. They don’t need precautions like Oil-lubricated pumps as they have permanent bearings instead of an oil bath.
How costly are air compressors?
Air compressor costs can start from around $400 and can go as high as $3000.
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Air compressor is getting demanding day after day due to its immense power delivery. They are specifically designed in a way to operate the task anywhere from inflating tires and toys to power up heavy-duty constructions. It is not only used by professionals but also used with various pneumatic tools like sanding tools, wrenches, staplers, nail guns, drills, etc. So, to enjoy its multi-purpose functionality one must know how do air compressors work.