An air compressor is a machine or device that produces pressurized air by converting power into potential energy. It is normally driven by an electric motor or engine (diesel / gasoline, etc.) as prime mover. By history or comparison, the human lungs produce pressurized air by inhaling & blowing off exhaled air. But because the human lung is hardly adequate for continuous, heavy repetitive tasks thereby machines such as an air compressor are invented., there has been a strong demand for more robust air compressors. That was how different types of air compressors were invented. In 1500 B.C., bellows were invented as a hand-held air compressor that produced a blast of air which is ideal for achieving higher temperature fires. As years have gone by, bellows were replaced with a water wheel-driven blowing cylinder that John Smeaton invented.
Then Smeaton’s invention was replaced by John Wilkinson’s blasting machine in 1776, which became the archetype for later mechanical air compressors. It wasn’t only by 1800 that people used air compressors to transfer energy. And after that, more innovations in air compressors became apparent in the market and soon began integrating electricity and pneumatic energy.
Today, there are various types of air compressors out there. And nowadays, they have become smaller and less bulky, proving to be more helpful even in other tasks such as inflating a tire or unclogging your sink at home.
What is an Air Compressor?
An air compressor is a pneumatic device that converts power into energy stored in pressurized air using an electric motor, diesel, or gasoline engine. It also forces large amounts of air into a storage tank, which increases the air pressure. Once the tank’s pressure reaches its limit, the air compressor automatically shuts off. The compressed air is then held in the tank until it’s used.
Keep in mind not to confuse air compressors with a pump. Air compressors work for any gas or air. Pump, on the other hand, works on a liquid.
Air compressors have been used in various industries, such as construction, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). They give power to air tools, actuates cylinders, run machineries, and propel gas via their pipelines.
They also vary in different sizes and designs, depending on everyone’s needs.
What are the main components of an air compressor?
The basic components of the air compressor may also have a lot of resemblance with engines
used in automobiles. Still, these parts should not be confused with designated parts for
automobiles. The air compressor parts are exclusive and cannot be used for automobile
The basic components of an air compressor are the pump, electric motor, and receiver (tank). Keep in mind that the receiver may be vertical or horizontal, depending on its size and capacity.
Pump – Compresses the air and discharges it to the receiver. There is a minimum of 2 pump cylinders for two-stage air compressors. Two-stage compressors can produce pressures from 145 to 175 psi (pounds per square inch) by compressing the air twice (first in a larger, low pressure cylinder, then in a smaller high-pressure cylinder).
Electric motor – Gives power to the compressor pump. After that, the motor drives a pulley with two belts that help transfer power from motors to pump pistons via flywheel and crankshaft. The flywheel fan then helps the compressor pump cool down.
Receiver – Stores the compressed air. The check valve at the receiver’s inlet prevents the compressed air in the receiver from flowing back to the compressor pump.
How do Air Compressors work?
Air compressors are usually run as a stand-alone installation or complement for other tools. When not used properly, air compressors can become a pain in your household and the business. And worse, misuse of them can result in accidents. Their efficiency and high performance may also be affected by poor installation, maintenance, and handling.
This kind of situation happens a lot, especially to DIYers who don’t take the time to read the operating manual of their air compressors. So, it’s essential to note how an air compressor works to avoid mishaps in the future.
So how does an air compressor work?
Air compressors work by forcing air into a container and then pressurizing it. When air is finally forced through an opening in the tank, that’s where the pressure starts to build up. From there, the pressurized air can now be used to power a variety of tools. These tools include an air hammer, air drill, paint sprayer, cordless drill, impact wrench, and sander.
There are two methods of achieving air compression: positive and dynamic displacement. The process of each method varies, but both of their outcomes are similar.
Positive-displacement air compressors work by forcing the air in a chamber where the volume is being decreased to compress the air. This type of method requires equipment for industrial workloads, while others are better for hobbyists or private projects. The three main types of air compressors that use positive displacement are rotary screw, piston-type, and vane air compressors.
Dynamic displacement, on the other hand, includes centrifugal compressors and axial compressors. This kind of displacement utilizes a rotating blade (powered by an engine) to generate airflow. Once the air is restricted to create pressure, the kinetic energy is stored within the compressor.
Dynamic displacement compressors are mainly designed for large projects such as chemical plants or steel manufacturers. This one is an air compressor that you’ll be able to find at your local mechanic.