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INTRODUCTION:

The content of this paper includes the compressors history. Its definition, types, functions and various
applications are written in this paper. The compressors advantages and disadvantages is also discussed.


HISTORY:
The rst air compressors werent machines, but human lungs: Primitive people blew on cinders to create a re. We
now know that healthy lungs can exert pressure of 0.02 to 0.08 bars. As people began to melt metals such as gold, copper,
tin and lead, higher temperatures were needed, and a more powerful compressor was required. Egyptian and Sumerian
metallurgists used the wind, then blowpipes for their work. The rst mechanical compressor, the hand-operated bellows,
emerged soon after, and in 1500 B.C. the more efficient foot bellows came into use. The discovery of the elasticity of air is
attributed to Ctesibius, asis the invention of several devices using compressed air, including force pumps and an air-
powered catapult. Ctesibius writings have not survived, and his inventions are known only from references to them by
Vitruvius and Hero of Alexandria, but he laid the foundations for the engineering tradition that culminated in the works of
Hero of Alexandria and of Philo of Byzantium. In 1762, John Smeaton, the rst professional engineer, built a water wheel-
driven blowing cylinder that began to replace the bellows. Inventor John Wilkinson introduced an efficient blasting
machine in England in 1776; the machine was an early prototype for all mechanical compressors.


SCOPE:

Definition:
Compressors are machines that compress air or gas. It is a machine used to supply air or other gas at increased
pressure, e.g., to power a gas turbine. Compression is achieved through the reduction of the volume that the gas (or air)
occupies. As a side effect of the minimization of volume, the temperature of air or gas increases.


Types:

There are many compressor types. Different compressor types achieve different compression ratios. Moreover, the
horsepower that different compressors can achieve varies from 1 to 2 HP (Horsepower), up to a few thousand HP.
Some compressors require oil in order to operate while others do not.

Reciprocating or Piston compressors are the most common machines available on the market. They are positive
displacement compressors and can be found in ranges from fractional to very high horsepowers. Positive displacement air
compressors work by filling an air chamber with air and then reducing the chambers volume (Reciprocating, Rotary
Screw and Rotary Sliding Vane are all positive displacement compressors). Reciprocating compressors work in a very
similar manner as does as internal combustion engine but basically in a reverse process. They have cylinders, pistons,
crankshafts, valves and housing blocks.
Rotary Screw Compressors work on the principle of air filling the void between two helical mated screws and their
housing. As the two helical screws are turned, the volume is reduced resulting in an increase of air pressure. Most rotary
screw compressors inject oil into the bearing and compression area. The reasons are for cooling, lubrication and creating
a seal between screws and the housing wall to reduce internal leakage. After the compression cycle, the oil and air must
be separated before the air can be used by the air system.
Rotary Sliding Vane Compressors like Reciprocating and Rotary Screw compressors are positive displacement
compressors. The compressor pump consists primarily of a rotor, stator, and 8 blades. The slotted rotor is eccentrically
arranged within the stator providing a crescent shaped swept area between the intake and exhaust ports. As the rotor
turns a single revolution, compression is achieved as the volume goes from a maximum at the intake ports to a minimum
at the exhaust port. The vanes are forced outward from within the rotor slots and held against the stator wall by rotational
acceleration. Oil is injected into the air intake and along the stator walls to cool the air, lubricate the bearings and vanes,
and provide a seal between the vanes and the stator wall. After the compression cycle, the oil and air must be separated
before the air can be transferred to the air system.
Centrifugal Compressors are not positive displacement compressors like the Reciprocating, Screw or Vane Compressors.
They use very high speed spinning impellers (up to 60,000 rpm) to accelerate the air then diffuser to decelerate the air.
This process, called dynamic compression, uses velocity to cause an increase in pressure. In most Centrifugal
compressors, there are several of these impeller/diffuser combinations. Typically, these machines have intercoolers
between each stage to cool the air as well as remove 100% of the condensate to avoid impeller damage due to erosion.



Reciprocating compressors are positive displacement machines, meaning that they increase the pressure of the air by
reducing its volume. This means they are taking in successive volumes of air which is confined within a closed space and
elevating this air to a higher pressure. The reciprocating air compressor accomplishes this by a piston within a cylinder as the
compressing and displacing element. It is equipped with a crankshaft, which drives the pistons. They are commonly found in
versions that produce 5 to 30 HP. However, larger ones used for industrial purposes can produce up to 1,000 HP.
Reciprocating compressors are often some of the most critical and expensive systems at a production facility, and
deserve special attention. Gas transmission pipelines, petrochemical plants, refineries and many other industries all
depend on this type of equipment. Due to many factors, including but not limited to the quality of the initial
specification/design, adequacy of maintenance practices and operational factors, industrial facilities can expect widely
varying lifecycle costs and reliability from their own installations.
These compressors have pistons, and move in cylinders. Types of reciprocating compressors are:
Open Compressors: One extremity of the crankshaft is drawn out of the crankcase, due to which multiple drives can be
used with the compressor. A mechanical seal is used to check external seepage of refrigerant and oil, and escape of
air towards the inside. These compressors are driven by electric motors or internal combustion engines. With belt drive,
changes in speed are achieved by altering the dimensions of the pulleys, while with direct drive units the compressor is
planned to operate at the speed of motor.
Hermetic Compressors: These compressors are serviceable hermetic, in which motor and compressor are enclosed in
the same housing, while the welded hermetic type has the compressor and motor sealed in a welded steel shell.


Rotary screw compressor is a type of gas compressor which uses a rotary type positive displacement mechanism. They are
commonly used to replace piston compressors where large volumes of high pressure air are needed, either for large
industrial applications or to operate high-power air tools such as jackhammers. The gas compression process of a rotary
screw is a continuous sweeping motion, so there is very little pulsation or surging of flow, as occurs with piston compressors. It
uses two meshing helical screws, known as rotors, to compress the gas. In a dry running rotary screw compressor, timing
gears ensure that the male and female rotors maintain precise alignment. In an oil-flooded rotary screw compressor,
lubricating oil bridges the space between the rotors, both providing a hydraulic seal and transferring mechanical energy
between the driving and driven rotor. Gas enters at the suction side and moves through the threads as the screws rotate.
The meshing rotors force the gas through the compressor, and the gas exits at the end of the screws.
The effectiveness of this mechanism is dependent on precisely fitting clearances between the helical rotors, and between
the rotors and the chamber for sealing of the compression cavities.

Rotary screw compressors utilise two intermeshing helical rotors in a twin bore case. Air is compressed between one convex and one
concave rotor. Trapped volume of air is decreased and the pressure is increased.








Centrifugal compressors sometimes termed radial compressors are used for heavy industrial purposes. Centrifugal
compressors produce from ~100 HP up to a few thousand HP. They are usually stationary, and one of their applications is
small gas turbine engines. These compressors revolve at high speed, and refrigerant is compressed by the application of
centrifugal force. These compressors are normally used with refrigerants possessing higher specific volumes, which need
lower compression ratios. Multi-stage units can be used to attain greater discharge pressures, and the number of stages is
determined by the discharge temperature of the gas as it exits from the rotor. These compressors are utilized for water
chilling in air conditioning and for low temperature freezing purposes. This compressor uses the rotating action of an impeller
wheel to exert centrifugal force on refrigerant inside a round chamber (volute).


Centrifugal compressors meet various needs, and their main applications are in oil refineries, chemical plants, fertilizer plants, natural
gas plants, steel plants, etc.
Applications[edit]
Below, is a partial list of centrifugal compressor applications each with a brief description of some of the general
characteristics possessed by those compressors. To start this list two of the most well-known centrifugal compressor
applications are listed; gas turbines and turbochargers.
[5]



Figure 4.1 Jet engine cutaway showing the centrifugal compressor and other parts.


Figure 4.2 Jet engine cross section showing the centrifugal compressor and other parts.
In gas turbines and auxiliary power units.
[19]
Ref. Figures 4.14.2
In their simple form, modern gas turbines operate on the Brayton cycle. (ref Figure 5.1) Either or both axial and
centrifugal compressors are used to provide compression. The types of gas turbines that most often include
centrifugal compressors include turboshaft, turboprop, auxiliary power units, and micro-turbines. The industry
standards applied to all of the centrifugal compressors used in aircraft applications are set by the FAA and the
military to maximize both safety and durability under severe conditions. Centrifugal impellers used in gas turbines
are commonly made from titanium alloy forgings. Their flow-path blades are commonly flank milled or point milled
on 5-axis milling machines. When tolerances and clearances are the tightest, these designs are completed as hot
operational geometry and deflected back into the cold geometry as required for manufacturing. This need arises
from the impeller's deflections experienced from start-up to full speed/full temperature which can be 100 times
larger than the expected hot running clearance of the impeller.
In automotive engine and diesel engine turbochargers and superchargers.
[20]
Ref. Figure 1.1
Centrifugal compressors used in conjunction with reciprocating internal combustion engines are known as
turbochargers if driven by the engines exhaust gas and turbo-superchargers if mechanically driven by the engine.
Standards set by the industry for turbochargers may have been established by SAE.
[21]
Ideal gas properties often
work well for the design, test and analysis of turbocharger centrifugal compressor performance.
In pipeline compressors of natural gas to move the gas from the production site to the consumer.
[22]

Centrifugal compressors for such uses may be one- or multi-stage and driven by large gas turbines. Standards
set by the industry (ANSI/API, ASME) result in large thick casings to maximize safety. The impellers are often if
not always of the covered style which makes them look much like pump impellers. This type of compressor is also
often termed an API-style. The power needed to drive these compressors is most often in the thousands of
horsepower (HP). Use of real gas properties is needed to properly design, test and analyze the performance of
natural gas pipeline centrifugal compressors.
In oil refineries, natural gas processing, petrochemical and chemical plants.
[22]

Centrifugal compressors for such uses are often one-shaft multi-stage and driven by large steam or gas turbines.
Their casings are often termed horizontally split or barrel. Standards set by the industry (ANSI/API, ASME) for
these compressors result in large thick casings to maximize safety. The impellers are often if not always of the
covered style which makes them look much like pump impellers. This type of compressor is also often
termed API-style. The power needed to drive these compressors is most often in the thousands of HP. Use of real
gas properties is needed to properly design, test and analyze their performance.
Air-conditioning and refrigeration and HVAC: Centrifugal compressors quite often supply the
compression in water chillers cycles.
[23]

Because of the wide variety of vapor compression cycles (thermodynamic cycle, thermodynamics) and the wide
variety of workings gases (refrigerants), centrifugal compressors are used in a wide range of sizes and
configurations. Use of real gas properties is needed to properly design, test and analyze the performance of these
machines. Standards set by the industry for these compressors include ASHRAE, ASME & API.
In industry and manufacturing to supply compressed air for all types of pneumatic tools.
[24]

Centrifugal compressors for such uses are often multistage and driven by electric motors. Inter-cooling is often
needed between stages to control air temperature. Note that the road repair crew and the local automobile repair
garage find screw compressors better adapt to their needs. Standards set by the industry for these compressors
include ASME and government regulations that emphasize safety. Ideal gas relationships are often used to
properly design, test and analyze the performance of these machines. Carriers equation is often used to deal with
humidity.
In air separation plants to manufacture purified end product gases.
[24]

Centrifugal compressors for such uses are often multistage using inter-cooling to control air temperature.
Standards set by the industry for these compressors include ASME and government regulations that emphasize
safety. Ideal gas relationships are often used to properly design, test and analyze the performance of these
machines when the working gas is air or nitrogen. Other gases require real gas properties.
In oil field re-injection of high pressure natural gas to improve oil recovery.
[22]

Centrifugal compressors for such uses are often one-shaft multi-stage and driven by gas turbines. With discharge
pressures approaching 700 bar, casing are of the barrel style. Standards set by the industry (API, ASME) for
these compressors result in large thick casings to maximize safety. The impellers are often if not always of the
covered style which makes them look much like pump impellers. This type of compressor is also often
termed API-style. Use of real gas properties is needed to properly design, test and analyze their performance.

Pros and cons[edit]
Pros
Centrifugal compressors are used throughout industry because they have fewer rubbing parts, are
relatively energy efficient, and give higher airflow than a similarly sized reciprocating compressor or
positive-displacement compressor.
Cons
Their main drawback is that they cannot achieve the high compression ratio of reciprocating
compressors without multiple stages. There are few one-stage centrifugal compressors capable of
pressure ratios over 10:1, due to stress considerations which severely limit the compressor's safety,
durability and life expectancy.
Pros
Centrifugal compressors are often used in small gas turbine engines like APUs (auxiliary power units)
and smaller aircraft gas turbines. A significant reason for this is that with current technology, the
equivalent flow axial compressor will be less efficient due primarily to a combination of rotor and
variable stator tip-clearance losses. Further, they offer the advantages of simplicity of manufacture and
relatively low cost. This is due to requiring fewer stages to achieve the same pressure rise.
Cons
Centrifugal compressors are impractical, compared to axial compressors, for use in large gas
turbine engines propelling large aircraft, due to the resulting weight and stress, and to the frontal area
presented by the diffuser.



Axial-flow compressors are mostly used in large gas-turbine engines and are a pressure producing machine. It is a
rotating, airfoil-based compressor in which the working fluid principally flows parallel to the axis of rotation. This is in contrast
with other rotating compressors such as centrifugal compressors, axi-centrifugal compressors and mixed-flow compressors
where the air may enter axially but will have a significant radial component on exit. The energy level of air or gas flowing
through it is increased by the action of the rotor blades which exert a torque on the fluid which is supplied by an electric
motor or a steam or a gas turbine. Axial flow compressors produce a continuous decelerating flow of compressed gas, and
have the benefits of high efficiency and large mass flow rate, particularly in relation to their cross-section. They do, however,
require several rows of airfoils to achieve large pressure rises making them complex and expensive relative to other designs
(e.g. centrifugal compressors).
Axial compressors are widely used in gas turbines such as jet engines, high speed ship engines, and small scale power
stations. They are also used in industrial applications such as large volume air separation plants, blast furnace air,
fluid catalytic cracking air, and propane dehydrogenation. Axial compressors, known as superchargers, have also been
used to boost the power of automotive reciprocating engines. Due to high performance, high reliability and flexible
operation during the flight envelope, they are also used in aerospace engines. Axial compressors consist of rotating and
stationary components. A shaft drives a central drum, retained by bearings, which has a number of annular airfoil rows
attached usually in pairs, one rotating and one stationary attached to a stationary tubular casing. A pair of rotating and
stationary airfoils is called a stage. The rotating airfoils, also known as blades or rotors, accelerate the fluid. The stationary
airfoils, also known as stators or vanes, convert the increased rotational kinetic energy into static pressure
through diffusion and redirect the flow direction of the fluid, preparing it for the rotor blades of the next stage. The cross-
sectional area between rotor drum and casing is reduced in the flow direction to maintain an optimum Mach Number using
variable geometry as the fluid is compressed.




Some applications of Axial Compressors:
1. Blast furnaces
2. Air separation plants
3. Fluid catalytic cracking units
4. Nitric acid plants
5. Jet-engine test facilities

Advantages and Disadvantages:
Reciprocating Compressor
Advantages:
High power (more than 500 hp) and high pressure (more than 400 bar) compressed gas can be
produced.
Initial investment requirement is less.
Oil carryover problem is not present.
Disadvantages:
Reciprocation of the cylinder causes vibrations
Maintenance cost is high due to lots of moving parts
Rotary Compressor
Advantages:
Increased mass flow.
Reduced size and efficiency.
reduced first stage discharge temperature due to cooling effect of lubricant.
The suction and discharge ports are located on either side of vane and no necessity of suction and
discharge valves.
Vibrations are very less.
Small size compressor can produced high flow rate.
Disadvantages:
Not suitable for dirty environments.
Life expectancy is short.
Oil carryover problem is present.
Centrifugal Compressor
Advantages:
Provide oil-free compressed air.
Ability to produce oil-free air for sensitive applications such as the food and beverage industry.
Ability to produce high volumes of air.


Disadvantages:
The equipment is costly.
High speed requires quality bearing and sophisticated maintenance programs.
Axial Compressor
Advantages:
High peak efficiency.
Small frontal area forgiven airflow.
Straight-through flow, allowing high ram efficiency.
Increased pressure rise due to increased number of stages with negligible losses.
Disadvantages:
Good efficiency over narrow rotational speed range.
Difficulty of manufacture and high cost.
Relatively high weight.
High starting power requirements (this has been partially overcome by split compressors).