The General Idea of How Air Compressors Work
Air compressors take regular outside air and compress it down into a very small volume, thereby dramatically increasing the pressure. This high-pressure but low-volume air is then stored in a tank until needed, at which point it is released to whatever appliance or device you are trying to power, ranging from paint guns to drills and impact wrenches. To understand exactly how air compressors work, it’s important to understand what each of the major parts does.
Three of the most important parts in understanding how air compressors work are:
- The drive provides power to the entire air compressor and is necessary for the pump to function. Without power, you can’t take in new air and fill up the tank. However, the tank can usually hold a full load for a while without power and you can even release the compressed air for powering tools without running the drive. As far as the drive itself is concerned, there are both gas and electrical variants.
- The pump is what sucks in air and compresses it down to the right pressure. Pumps tend to come with one of two types of lubrication: oil-lubricated or oil-free. As the names suggest, the former makes extensive use of oil (and tends to be more durable and a little more maintenance-intensive), while the latter does not.
- The tank is where the pressurized air is held. Most tanks may look fairly small, but you have to remember that the compression dramatically affects how much air is actually being packed in there. Even at relatively low-pressure ratings, a tank can hold five times its own volume in regular outside air.
Air compressors can come with either one or two cylinders. The main difference in functionality is that a two-cylinder compressor effectively repeats the compression process twice in a row, resulting in an even higher pressure in the tank. Air is compressed by the first cylinder, then that compressed air is sent to the second cylinder and compressed further.
While this does result in a pressure that is otherwise unachievable, it also makes the air compressor more expensive and difficult to maintain. For this reason, two-cylinder air compressors are more often used commercially or for larger jobs. One-cylinder compressors are more common for home and personal use but are also used in industrial settings where extremely high pressure is simply not necessary.
electric motor. This makes it more stationary and doesn’t require any gas. This makes it more suitable for homes and more stationery. The other kind of motor is gas. Which is more powerful and is measured in horsepower just like cars. These are more industrial because of how portable they can be.
Now that you have learned a little about how air compressors work, you can have a better understanding of what you need to be looking for whenever you are in need of a new air compressor. Whether it is for your home or for a job you are performing you will now know what to look for.
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