How Does An Air Compressor Work – Step by Step Formula

Latest Update On: December 22, 2020 | Author:

The basic principle of an air compressor is it takes in air from the earth at the atmospheric pressure and compresses it to a higher pressure. The high-pressure air we get out the nozzle of the compressor hose is the ultimate output of the air compressor. So, the whole process starts with an air inlet valve and ends with the outlet hose that the compressor pushes the air out.How Does An Air Compressor Work

Between these two parts of the process, there is a whole lot of action going on. That’s where the big question lies, how does an air compressor work? In this article, I will get you through the work process of the air compressors and help you understand how one works. Stick to the article if you’ve been looking for an easy answer to your curiosity about air compressors.

What Are Air Compressors Used For?

Air compressors, either it’s a gas-powered or an electric one, work for a wide variety of applications. Here are some common applicable places for air compressors:

Pneumatic Devices:

You can use an air compressor for any Pneumatic Devices, especially in crafting and carpentry. Tools like a nail gun, debris cleaner, Hot melt dispenser, and many other home working tools need an air compressor as the power source.

Auto industry:

Air compressors are the single most crucial tool that the auto industry needs. Especially when you are planning on painting a car body surface, an air compressor is a must-have tool. It helps you use paint sprayers and paint with high efficiency in less time.

Home repair projects:

If you’re a DIYer or hobbyist woodworker, getting an air compressor will help you endlessly. It helps you repair various tools in your home and get things done easily and compactly. Air ratchet tools help you with rusty metal jobs and woodworking as well.

What Type Of Air Compressor Do I Need?

Choosing the right air compressor has two steps to check:

  1. Determining the application of the compressor,
  2. Determining how much power you need in the compressor.

Once you determine the type of work you’re going to do using the compressor, you have two options to go with. You can opt-out for a portable compressor if you’re going to move around with it or take it with you in the back of your truck. Also, you can go for a stationary one if you’re working in a home shop or you have big projects to do with it.

To determine how much power you need, you have to measure the amount of work. If you want to have an all-in-one solution, you must go for a high-end air compressor with Higher CFM at higher PSI. There are more go into the checklist, such as Oil-lubricated, Oil-free, Tank size, Gas or electric-powered, and so on. Make sure you get through this air compressor buying guide to get detailed knowledge about the process.

How Does An Air Compressor Work?

Air compressors undoubtedly come with high efficiency and a high level of productivity for sure. But why are there so many types of compressors for different applications? How does an air compressor work in the first place? Let’s find out!

Understand the power system

First off, there are two main types of air compressors in terms of the working mechanism. One works with a reciprocating piston engine that takes in the air with regular pressure and compresses it to high pressure before pushing out. The other type works with a rotating mechanism where the motor rotates and sucks air and pushes it out with high speed through a small outlet. The Piston system has three types of air compressors, Single acting, double acting, and Diaphragm.

How Does A Single Piston Compressor Work?

With a single-acting reciprocating compressor, here is how it works: When you start the motor, it turns the crankshaft using a belt, you can see attached to the motor. As the crankshaft of the piston turns, it rotates the piston within the cylindrical housing on top of the tank. It’s a single piston and has to open, one as the inlet and the other as the outlet.

The piston reciprocates and sucks atmospheric air to the cylindrical housing with the inlet valve. When the piston goes back and compresses the air inside, it pushes it out with the outlet working as the compression valve. That’s how we get a high-pressure airflow through the hose attached to the outlet.

How Does A Double Piston Compressor Work?

With a single-stage compressor, the air heats up high because of the compression, yet produces a low pressure. To reduce that problem, the double piston compressor comes in. It takes in the atmospheric air with the first piston then transfers it to the second piston. Within this travel time, the air cools down and goes inside the second stage. It also allows water-cooling to avoid the heating issue and uses a tank for a pulse compression system.

How Does The Oil-free Diaphragm Compressor Work?

The Diaphragm compressor also belongs to the piston compressing method, and here is how it works: The whole suction chamber with a piston within is sealed with a diaphragm. The Diaphragm doesn’t allow the air to come into contact with the oil-lubricated piston. That makes it an oil-free compressor and less of a headache. However, the weak point of this process is the diaphragm membrane itself as it’s limitedly elastic. The rest of the process is pretty similar to the single or double stage piston compressor.

How Does A Rotary Compressor Works?

You might also know it as the Vane compressor; here is how they work: The compressor has a cylindrical housing with adjustable rotary vanes. They rotate with an offset driveshaft inside that contacts the housing, trapping the air inside. It has two valves as well, one for intake and one as the outlet.

When the vanes rotate, The larger sized vane chamber takes in a high amount of atmospheric air. Then it rotates towards the other side of the housing where the air outlet is placed. Within this journey, the air gets compressed as the vane housing gets smaller. Once it reaches the outlet, the pressure goes higher, and you get high pressure, compressed air out of the hose attached to the outlet.

How To Reduce Air Compressor Noise?

If you have a requirement of a silent operation with your air compressor, there are two ways you can reduce the noise.

First, if you already have an air compressor with disturbing noise, you can do several things to reduce it. You can install an Intake Silencer, which is a combination of the air filter and silencing devices. Or you can Isolate the Compressor Using a Rubber base, so the compressor can move without making noise, contacting a hard surface. Or you can maintain a distance from the compressor itself. Using a soundproof box or a sound blanket also might help.

Secondly, if you don’t have a compressor and are planning on getting one, you can go for a compressor that produces less noise in the first place. You can visit this extensive review article on the best air compressor under 500 from here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that you might have about air compressors:

What is the working principle of an air compressor?

The working principle of an air compressor is taking in the air at the atmospheric pressure and compresses it to a higher pressure and pushing it out.

How does a regulator on an air compressor work?

A regulator in the air compressor controls and lowers the downstream air pressure to the tool you’re using.

How do air compressor valves work?

Typically there are two valves, one for the intake of the regular air and the other as the outlet to push the air out at high pressure.

Final Thought

Air compressors come in a wide range of types for different types of applications. Not every air compressor will be able to meet your demands in different kinds of jobs. Depending on the amount of pressure and what kind of work you want to do with it, choose the correct air compressor. The type of compressor you’re choosing has a significant impact on the noise from the air compressor. I hope, after reading this article on how does an air compressor works, you’ve got a clear idea of which one you should go with.

Jim Smith

Hello, this is Jim Smith. I am the owner of this website “power tool wiki” that will inform you about all the latest power tool machines like an air compressor, it’s related accessories and use and maintenance information. As a technical expert on this air compressor machine, I have a complete idea about its function and features. Not just because of a technician I know about this machine, I have been researching this machine for the last few years.

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