How Air Compressor Works with Piston

While you can easily find a large variety of them these days, things were not as good in the past when air compressors were seldom seen in homes, factories, and workplaces. In fact, air tools used in shops were powered by a large and expensive centralized system of belts, wheels, and shafts.

Because of their complexity, size, and maintenance cost, no one would have thought to acquire those power generation systems. However, things have gone smarter, simpler, and easier. Air compressors can be found in many places, like factories, tire shops, workshops, even homes.

There are quite a few professions in which air compressors have been treated as a basic necessity. You need it for power tools such as grinders, staplers, spray guns, nail guns, impact wrenches, sanders, painting tools and more.

Unlike the past, these handy machines are available in hardware stores, web stores, and home depots everywhere around the world. They’ve gone better in terms of size, functionality, less maintenance, environment friendliness, portability, and energy-saving.

So, if you’re interested in buying the best air compressor for your home or workplace, you should start by knowing how this system works. This article will help you realize what kind of air compressor suits your purpose.

Basic Piston Phenomenon

The function of an air compressor is based on a simple principle. The air compression takes place when the air is pressurized and its volume decreases. If you’re aware of the air compressor mechanism, you must have agreed to the fact that air compressors consist of either rotating impellers or reciprocating piston.

Although, there are air compressors that use rotating impellers to create air pressure, yet most commonly used air compressors utilize reciprocating piston to achieve this phenomenon. To understand the functionality of compression with a reciprocating piston, you need to know how the internal combustion engine works. Both have many things in common.

Components of Air Compressor with Piston

The compressor with reciprocating piston consists of the following:

  • Crankshaft
  • A piston
  • Cylinder
  • Connecting rod
  • A valve head

Modern-day air compressors generally consist of air tanks for storing compressed air. This is to maintain and control air pressure at a certain level while you power various air tools.

Every compressor cylinder has a valve head at its top that comprises of the suction valve and discharge valve. These valves are located on top of the metal plate and are basically metal flaps.

Mechanism of Air Compressor with Piston

Basic air compressors work with the help of external power; gas or electricity. It depends upon the model you have; whether it works on electricity or gas.

  • Inside the cylinder, as the piston moves down, it creates a vacuum in the space above it. This creates a difference between the pressure inside and outside the cylinder and opens the suction valve.
  • The air enters the vacuum space and gets compressed by the piston coming back upwards. The compressed air then forces its way through to the discharge valve and moves to the air tank. As a result the pressure inside the tank increases.

Mechanics of Dual-Piston Compressor

The rule varies from machine to machine but the basic principle remains the same. Dual-piston compressors are quite common these days, and they have the same functionality as those with single-piston.

The only difference between single-piston and dual-piston compressors is, dual-piston compressors have two strokes per revolution. In general, dual-piston compressors use two-stage compression in which one piston is responsible to compress air and move it to the second cylinder with relatively greater pressure.

But there is always a threat of tank explosion, so dual-piston compressors have a special switch that disconnects the power supply as soon as the internal pressure attains the maximum limit (around 130psi). You can calibrate the air pressure of your compressor with that of the air tool attached with the help of the regulator and gauges attached to it.

The regulator and additional gauges help you measure the pressure in the line and inside the tank. If the switch doesn’t go off automatically, you can release the safety valve to reduce the pressure manually.

Along with the safety valve, you can also see the unloader valve. You can use the unloader valve to release air when the compressor is not in use.

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source: www.popularmechanics.com

Lubrication

You also need to realize how important it is to lubricate your air compressor. To do that, you need to understand how to lubricate your compressor.

There are two kinds of compressors based on lubrication, discussed below:

  1. Oil-lubricated pump: they have an oil bath that is responsible to lubricate the bearings and internal walls of the cylinder. Piston rings help prevent air from mixing with oil to large extent, but there’s always a risk of air-oil mixture that may cause performance issues.

Oil-lubricated compressors can be used with power tools that need lubrication anyway, on places where small oil spots can be compromised.

  1. Oil-free pump: they consist of permanently lubricated bearings, unlike those in oil-lubricated pumps. Therefore, they require minimal maintenance and lubrication.

If you’re using power tools for woodworking, painting, or finishing, you may want to use oil-free compressors, in order to avoid oil stains.

Finally

An air compressor is a handy device that uses compressed air to power your tools in the absence of power sources like gas or electricity. While our air compressor reviews will surely help you with the best product, you also need to learn how to maintain these gadgets. Therefore, it is advisable to learn how an air compressor works and how you can maintain it by using the manufacturer’s manual to good effect.

 

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