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UNIT – IV

AIR COMPRESSORS
4.1. INTRODUCTION
An air compressor is a machine to compress the air to raise its pressure. The air
compressor sucks air from the atmosphere, compresses it and then deliver the same under
a high pressure to a storage vessel; it may be conveyed by the pipe line to the place where
the supply of air compressed air is required. Since the compression of air requires some
work to be done on it, therefore the compressor must be driven by some prime mover.
The compressed air is used for many purposes such as for operating pneumatic
drills, riveters, road drills, paint spraying, in starting and supercharging of internal
combustion engines, in gas turbine plants, Jet engines and air motors, etc. It is also
utilized in the operation of lifts, rams, pumps and variety of devices. In industry,
compressed air is used for producing blast of air in blast furnaces and Bessemer
converters.

4.2. CLASSIFICATION OF AIR COMPRESSORS


The air compressor may be classified into
(i) According to working
(a) Reciprocating compressors
(b) Rotary compressors
(ii) According to the action
(a) Single acting compressors
(b) Double acting compressors
(iii) According to number of stages
(a) Single stage compressors
(b) Multi stage compressors
(c)
4.3. TECHNICAL TERMS
(i) Inlet pressure :
It is the absolute pressure of air at the inlet of a compressor.
(ii) Discharge Pressure :
It is the absolute pressure of air at the outlet of a compressor.

(iii) Pressure Ratio :


It is the ratio of discharge pressure to the inlet pressure .Since the discharge
pressure is always more than the inlet pressure , therefore the value of
compression ratio is more than unity.
(iv) Compressor Capacity :
It is the volume of air delivered by the compressor and it expressed in m3/min
or m3/sec.
(v) Free air delivery :
It is the actual volume delivered by the compressor when reduced to the
normal temperature and pressure condition. The capacity of compressor is
generally given in the terms of free air delivery .
(vi) Swept Volume:
It is the volume of air sucked by the compressor during its suction stroke.
Mathematically, the swept volume or displacement of a single acting air
compressor is given by,
Π
Vs = × D2 × L
4
D = Diameter of cylinder bore, and
L = Length of piston stroke.
vii. Mean effective pressure :
Air pressure on the compressor piston keeps on changing with the movement
of the piston in the cylinder. The mean effective pressure of the compressor is
equal to the ratio of working done per cycle to the stroke volume.

4.4. WORKING OF SINGLE STAGE AIR COMPRESSOR


A Single stage reciprocating air compressor, in its simplest form, consists of a cylinder,
piston, inlet and discharge valves.

4.4.1. WORK / KG OF AIR WITHOUT CLEARANCE VOLUME:

P
3 2
P2
Pvn = C

4
P1 1

V2 V1 V

4 – 1 Suction: Inlet valve is opened at pressure P1


1 – 2 Polytropic Compression Pvn = C
2 – 3 Delivery at pressure P2 Outlet valve is opened

Work done / cycle = Area 41234


= Area under 2 - 3 + Area under 1 - 2 – Area under 1 - 4
= P2V2+ P2V2
2 2 − PV
PV
2 2 + − PV
1 1
= PV
n −1
1 1

 1 
= ( PV 1 1 ) 1 +
2 2 − PV
 n − 1 
 n −1 + 1
= ( PV 1 1) 
2 2 − PV
 n − 1 
n  PV 
= 1 1
PV 2 2
− 1
n −1  PV
1 1 
n  mRT2 
Work Done / Cycle = 1 1
PV − 1
n −1  mRT1 
 n −1

n   
P2 n 
Work Done / Cycle = 1 1 
PV
  − 1 ----------------------- (1)
n −1
 1 
P

 n −1

 
mRT1   − 1

n P2
n
=
n −1  P1  
 
 n −1

 
RT1   − 1

n P2 n
Work Done / kg of air = ----------------------- (2)
n −1  P1  
 

4.4.2. WORK DONE/Kg OF AIR WITH CLEARANCE VOLUME:

P
3 2
5

6 1
4 Va

VC VS
4 – 1 Suction
1 – 2 Polytropic Compression
2 – 3 Delivery
3 – 4 Polytropic Expansion of Clearance Volume

Work done / cycle = Area 41234


= Area 61256 – Area 64356
 n −1
  n −1

n   P2  n
 n   
P3 n 
= 1 1 
PV
  − 1 - 4 4 
PV
  − 1
n −1  P1  n −1  P4 
   
But P3 = P2 , P4 = P1
 n −1

n  P2  n 
Work done / cycle =   − 1 ( PV 4 4)
1 1 − PV
n − 1  P1 
 
 n −1


n  P2 n  
=
   − 1 P1 (V1 − V4 )
n − 1  P1 
 
 n −1

  
− 1
n P n

1 a 
 P1 
2
Work done / cycle = PV ----------------- (3)
n −1 
 
Where Va = (V1 − V4 ) = Free air delivered

 n −1

 
ma RT1   − 1

n P 2
n
Work done / cycle =
n −1  P1  
 
 n −1

 
RT1   − 1

n P2 n
Work done / kg of air = ------------------- (4)
n −1  P1  
 
Equation (4) is same as Equation (2), (i.e) the clearance will not affect the work of compression
per kg of air.
Vc
Clearance = K = Χ100
Vs

4.5. VOLUMETRIC EFFICIENCY:

P
3 2
5

6 1
4 Va

VC VS

It is the ratio of the actual volume of free air delivered to the displacement
volume.
Va
(i.e) ηvol =
Vs

=
V1 − V4 (V + V ) − V4
= s c
Vs Vs
V − (V4 − Vc )
= s
Vs
V − V 
= 1−  4 c 
 Vs 
  V4   
Vc   − 1 
  Vc   
= 1−   
 Vs 
 
 

  1

  V4     P 
V  3 − 1  n

Vc   − 1   c  P4  
  V3       
= 1−    = 1−  
 Vs   Vs 
   
   
 
1
 
V4  P4  n 
3 3 = PV
PV n
4 4
n
= 
V3  P3 
  1

 
V  2 n − 1 
P
 c  P1  
   
ηvol = 1 −   ∴ P3 = P2 ; P4 = P1
 Vs 
 
 
 

 1

Vc  P2  n 
= 1−   − 1
Vs  P1 
 
 1

 
= 1 − K   − 1
 P n
ηvol 2
 P1  
 
Vc
Where K = = Clearance Ratio
Vs
4.6. ISOTHERMAL EFFICIENCY: PV = C

P 2’
3 2
P2
PVn =C

PV =C

P1 4 1

V2 V1 V

Isothermal Work done / cycle = Area 412134


= Area under 321 + Area under 211 – Area under 41
 V1 
2 2 + PV − PV
1 1
= PV 2 2 log e  1  1 1
 2 
V
 V1 
= 1 1 log e 
PV 1 
 V2 
Q PV
2 2 = PV
1 1
1 1 ,12 Isothermal process 

V  P 
= mRT1 log e  11  = mRT1 log e  2 
 V2   P1 
P 
(i.e) Work done / cycle = mRT1 log e  2 
 P1 
P 
Work done / kg = RT1 log e  2 
 P1 
P 
RT1 log e  2 
η Iso =
IsothermalWorkdone
=  P1 
ActualWorkdone  n −1

 
RT1   − 1

n P2
n

n −1  P1  
 
P 
log e  2 
η Iso =  P1 
 n −1

n  P2  n 
  − 1
n − 1  P1 
 

4.7. MULTI STAGE COMPRESSORS:

A single stage air compressor suffers the following drawbacks :

(i) The size of the cylinder will be too large .


(ii) Due to compression , there is a rise in temperature of the air
.It is
difficult to reject heat from the air in the small time available
during compression.
(iii) The temperature of air, at the end of compression ,is too high.
It
may heat up the cylinder head or burn the lubricating oil.
In order to over come the above mentioned difficulties, two or more cylinders
are provided in series with intercooling arrangement between them. Such an arrangement
is known as multistage compression.

4.7.1. Advantages of Multi Stage Compression

Following are the main advantages of multistage compression over single stage
compression:

(i) The work done per Kg of air is reduced in Multistage compression with
intercooling as compared to single stage compression for the same
delivery
pressure.
(ii) It improves the volumetric efficiency for the given pressure ratio.
(iii) The size of the cylinders may be adjusted to suit the volume and pressure
of
the air.
(iv) It reduces the leakage loss considerably.
(v) It gives more uniform torque, and hence a smaller size flywheel is
required.
(vi) It provides effective lubrication because of lower temperature range.
(vii) It reduces the cost of compressor.
 1

 
= 1 − K   − 1
 P n
ηVol 2
 P1  
 
P 
For fixed clearance and η the ηVol decreases with increase in  2  (i.e) Pressure Ratio.
 P1 
ie
V 
ηVol =  a 
 Vs 
P 
ie  2  increases ηVol decrease.
 P1 
This means thatVa decreases withincreas in pressure ratio

4.8. CONDITION FOR MINIMUM WORK IN


MULTISTAGE COMPRESSORS:

Consider a two stage air compressor with different ‘n’ and imperfect inter cooling.

 n1 −1
   n2 −1

 n1         
− 1
P n1 n P n2
WD/Kg =  −1 + 
 n1 − 1  1  P1   n2 − 1  3  P2 
2 2 3
RT RT
     
   
   
P3 and P1 are fixed. Hence P2 should be determined for maximum work requirement.
dw
The Condition for maximum work is =0
dP2

4
P3

2
P2
3

P1 1

  n1 −1
  n2 −1

d  n1   P  n1
 n   P  n2
 
i.e.  RT1   − 1 +
2 2
RT3   3
−1  = 0 -------------- (1)
 P  n −1  P 
dP2  n1 − 1  1   2  2   

n1 − 1 n2 − 1
Let =x =y
n1 n2

d  1  P  x  1  P  y  
 RT1   − 1 + RT3   − 1  = 0
2 3

 1    2   
dP2  x P y P

 1  P2   1  P  y  
x
d
 T1   − 1 + T3   − 1  = 0
3

 1    2   
dP2  x P y P
 1 xP2 x −1 1 − y −1 
 T1 x
+ T3 P3 y (− y ) P2( )  = 0
x P1 y 

P2 x −1 P3 y
T1 x − T3 ( y +1) = 0
P1 P2

P2 x −1 P3 y
T1 = T
P2 ( )
3 y +1
P1 x

T3 y y
P2 x −1 P2( y +1) = P3 P1
T1

T3 x y
P2( x + y ) = P1 P3
T1

1
 T  x+ y
∴ P2 =  3  ( P1 x P3 y ) x + y
1
------
 T1 

(2)

n1 = n2; x=y

1
 T 2x
(2) ⇒∴ P2 =  3  ( P1 x P3 x ) 2 x
1

 T1 

1
 T  2x 1
P2 =  3  ( PP
1 3 ) 2

 T1 

1
If T3 = T1; (Perfect Inter cooling) P2 = ( PP
1 3) =
2 P1 P3 ---------------- (3)
This is the condition for minimum work required to run the compressor.

P2 2 = P1 P3
P2 P3
(i.e.) = = C (Pressure Ratio is constant)
P1 P2

P2 P3 P4 P P
If there are N stages, = = = ........ N = N +1 = C --------------- (4)
P1 P2 P3 PN −1 PN
From (4) We get PN +1 = PN C

PN +1 = PN −1C = PN −1C 2 = PN −2C 3 = ........ = PC


1
N

1
PN +1  P N
i.e. = CN ∴ C =  N +1 
P1  P1 
1
P2  PN +1  N
=  --------------------- (5)
P1  P1 

4.8.1. Minimum Work Required with Perfect Inter Cooling and Same Index of
Compression:

 n1 −1
   n2 −1

 n1         
− 1
P n1 n P n2
WD/Kg =  −1 + 
 n − 1  1  P   n − 1  3  P 
2 2 3
RT RT
 1   2 
 1   2 
   

 n −1
  n −1

 n    P  n
  n    P  n

 RT1   − 1 +   RT1   − 1
2 2
=
 n − 1   1
P  n − 1   1
P
   
 P2 P3 
Qn1 = n2 and T3 = T1 ; = 
 P1 P2 

 n −1

 
WD = 2  n  RT  P2  − 1
n

  1 
--------------- (6)
kg  n −1 
 1 
P

 n −1

 n    P  n

There are n stages, minimum WD =N  RT1   − 1
2
--------------- (7)
kg  n − 1   1
P
 
1
P  P N
But we know that 2 =  N +1  from (5)
P1  P1 
 n −1

 n  
 N +1 
− 1
P Nn
∴(7) ⇒ WD = N   RT1  P1 
-------------- (8)
kg  n −1  
 

4.9. INDICATED POWER OF COMPRESSION:

Pm LAN
I .P. =
60
Where, Pm = Mean Effective Pressure in N/m2
L = Stroke in m
π D2
A = Area of the piston in m2
4
N = speed in rpm
P LAN
For double acting I .P. = 2 m
60
 n −1

  
− 1
n P n
WD =
cycle n − 1 1 a  P 
2
PV

 1  
 n −1

n   P2 n  
Pm × Vs = PV 1 a   − 1
n −1 
 1 
P

 n −1

n Va  P2  n 
Pm = P1   − 1
n − 1 Vs  P1 
 
 n −1

 P2  n
P1ηvol   − 1

n
Pm =
n −1  P1  
 
a
Pm = × S
l
Where, a = area of the indicator diagram
l = length of the indicator diagram
S = Spring constant
Indicated power can also be calculated using the relation
 n −1

n   P2  n  RPM
I .P = 1 a 
PV  − 1
n −1 
 1 
P 60

For multi stage compression with N stages
 n −1

  
− 1
n P Nn
RPM
I .P = N 1 a 
PV N +1

n −1  P1   60
 
4.10. MECHANICAL EFFICIENCY:

I .P I .P
ηM = =
B.P ShaftWork

4.11. EFFECTIVENESS OF INTER COOLER:

T2

TW2 T3

TW1

T3
T2

Tw1
Tw2

Counter flow Water cooled heat exchanger

Actual drop in temperature


ε=
Maximum Possible drop in temperature of air

T2 − T3
ε=
T2 − T1

T3 = T1 (Perfect Inter cooling)


ε = 1 ; Effectiveness is unity.

4.12 ROTARY AIR COMPRESSOR:


In a rotary air compressor the air is entrapped between two sets of engaging surface and
the pressure of the air is increased by squeezing action of back flow of air.

4.12.1 COMPARISION OF RECIPROCATING AND ROTARY AIR


COMPRESSORS

Following are the main points of comparison of reciprocating and rotary air compressor:

Rotary Air Compressors


S.No Reciprocating Air Compressor

1. The maximum delivery pressure may be as The maximum delivery pressure


high as 1000 bar. is10 bar only.

2. The maximum free air discharge is about The maximum free air discharge is
300 m3/min. as high as 3000 m3/min.

3. They are suitable for low discharge of air at They are suitable for large
very high pressure . discharge of air at low pressure .

4. The speed of air compressor is low. The speed of air compressor is


high.
5. The air supply is intermittent.
The air supply is continuous.
6. The size of air compressor is large for the
given discharge. The size of air compressor is small
for the given discharge.
7. The balancing is a major problem.
There is no balancing problem.
8. The lubricating system is complicated.
The lubricating system is simple.
9. The air delivered is less clean ,as it comes in
contact with the lubricating oil. The air delivered is more clean ,as
it does not comes in contact with
the lubricating oil.
10. Isothermal Efficiency is used for all sorts of
calculation. Isentropic Efficiency is used for
all sorts of calculation.

4.12.2 TYPES OF ROTARY AIR COMPRESSORS

Though there are many types of rotary air compressors, yet the following are
important types:

(i) Roots blower compressor


(ii) Vane blower compressor
(iii) Centrifugal blower compressor
(iv) Axial flow compressor

The first two compressors are popularly known as Positive displacement compressor,
whereas the last two as Non- Positive displacement compressor.

(i) ROOTS BLOWER COMPRESSOR

(ii) VANE BLOWER COMPRESSOR

(iii) CENTRIFUGAL COMPRESSOR


(iv) AXIAL FLOW COMPRESSOR
4.13 COMPARISION OF CENTRIFUGAL AND AXIAL FLOW AIR
COMPRESSORS

Following are the main points of comparison of the centrifugal and axial flow air compressors:

S. Centrifugal Compressors Axial Flow Compressors


No.
1. The flow of air is perpendicular to the axis The flow of air is parallel to the axis of
of compressor compressor

2. It has low manufacturing and running It has high manufacturing and running
cost. cost.
3.
It requires low starting torque. It requires high starting torque.
4.
It is not suitable for multi- staging It is suitable for multi- staging
5.
It requires large frontal area for a given It requires less frontal area for a given
rate of flow. rate of flow. It makes the compressor
suitable for air crafts.