Compressors are mechanical devices that provide air or gas at pressures higher or lower than normal atmospheric levels or from the level the gas or the air is taken in. This process can be achieved with the use of an electric or gas/diesel powered pump or drive.
Compressors are widely used in many industrial applications. Compressors normally use technology based on the principles of positive displacement (piston, rotary vane, etc.) and non positive displacement (centrifugal, axial, etc). Some compressors such as air compressors are equipped with storage devices to store the compressed air. Most compressors discharge the compressed gas or air through an outlet valve.
Although compressors are used in many different industrial sectors there are everyday types of compressors which are used in car and home air conditioning systems. They are also used in air pumps to fill your tires with at gas stations as well as in domestic and commercial refrigeration units. Air compressors may also be used to pressurize liquid dispensing systems such as fire (water) sprinklers, high-pressure vehicle washers, and hydraulic industrial cutting machines.
Compressed air is basically used in some form in almost every industrial environment. Industries such as fishing, farming, car manufacturing and advanced aeronautics all use compressed air and the air compressors that manufacture it.
There are various types of compressors such as centrifugal compressors, rotary screw compressors, and reciprocating compressors. Centrifugal compressors have a bladed rotor which is used to accelerate and pressurize the air or gas. When the rotor spins it forces the liquid or gas to the outer part of the chamber by centrifugal force. Rotary screw compressors have two helical rotors which are used to force the liquid or gas into a chamber where the volume steadily decreases. This raises the pressure of the liquid or gas. Rotary screw compressors can be oil-lubricated or non-lubricated.
A reciprocating compressor has one or more pistons that move within a sealed cylinder to raise the pressure of the liquid or gas. When the piston(s) moves upward the pressure of the liquid or gas is raised correspondingly. Since significant heat is created in this method the cylinder(s) may use an air-cooled or water-cooled jacket. Multiple stage reciprocating compressors work by compressing the liquid or gas with one piston, cooling it and then compressing it more with a second piston. These compressors will give you higher compression without putting too much stress on the single compressing piston.
Depending upon the purpose, an appropriate compressor must be used. High-end compressors can be prone to breakdown. The vanes or the blades of a compressor are normally made from stainless steel or titanium based alloys. The casing is also made of sturdy materials.