How Air Compressor Works

air-compressorAir compressors are now common in every home and industrial area.  These are needed for refrigerators and air conditioners.  Other applications of the air compressors include manufacturing industries, jet engines and commercial business. The traditional air compressors were used since olden times. The basic principle of how air compressor works is by supplying compressed air in a specified area. The atmospheric air is compressed or compacted using specific mechanisms and later utilized as required. There are several types of air compressors available in the market. Among them, portable air compressors are more popular nowadays because of their compact size and portability. Each type of compressor may vary in the working:

Types of air compressors

  • Centrifugal Air Compressor
  • Reciprocating or Piston Air Compressor
  • Rotary Air Compressor

Centrifugal Air Compressor

These are used when high force of compressed air is required. These are also called dynamic compressors. To know how air compressor works, we have to know the two significant parts of it. They are the impeller and the diffuser. The impeller spins at a very high speed, which in turn increases the air speed. The air is intended towards the diffuser and it converts the air speed to force. The two main mechanisms involved here are the power source and the compressing mechanism. The usual power source is an electric motor and a piston is the compressing device. The piston compacts the atmospheric air due to the power from the electric motor.

Reciprocating or Piston Air Compressor

As the name indicates, it uses a piston for compressing the air. The air is then kept in a storage tank. There are two types of piston air compressors. They are primary-stage piston air compressors and twin piston stage compressors. This classification is based on the quantity of compression stages. The difference between the two types is in how air compressor works. In a single stage device, singular piston is used to compact the air, whereas in the double-stage device, twin pistons are used to compact the air.

Rotary Air Compressor

How air compressor works is the same as in the positive displacement type of reciprocating compressor. There are two helical mated bolts which rotate constantly in this compressor. In the reciprocating air compressor, pistons are used in place of these bolts.  The screws connected, rotate toward each other. This helps in compressing the air and pushing it towards the storage tank.

In all these compressors, what is done is that, the force of the atmospheric air is increased by reducing its volume. This is done using pistons or impellers. When this compressed air is utilized for doing different kinds of works, the pressure level falls. When the force thus drops, the force button gets switched on. Thus, the compressed air is let out to the atmosphere. This process is repeated again and again for the working of the air compressor.

It is always better to know the working of an instrument that we use. So, if you are a person who uses air compressors, check out and the above do details to know how air compressor works.