An air compressor is…

What is an air compressor used for?

List of applications…

What is the difference between an air tank and an air compressor?

Tank is just a tank, compressor fills the tank… tank often referred to as the receiver, compressor often referred to as the pump.

What are the three types of compressors?

The 3 most common air compressor types are:

  • Reciprocating air compressors
  • Rotary screw air compressors
  • Centrifugal air compressors

Rotary vane air compressors and axial flow air compressors are also other types of air compressor.

Reciprocating air compressors

Reciprocating air compressors are positive displacement piston type air compressors that suck in air into a chamber and compress it. Read more about reciprocating air compressors here.

Rotary Screw air compressors

Rotary screw air compressors work by generating compression continuously at the rotary screw drive air end of the compressor. Air enters the unit at the inlet port of one of the two large screws rotating against one another, also known as the rotors or rotary screws. This air then moves down the length of the screws and compresses the air towards the outlet due to the air gaps in the rotors getting smaller and smaller. Read more about rotary screw air compressors here.

Centrifugal air compressors

Centrifugal compressors draw air into the centre of their rotating impeller using its radial blades. The blades essentially produce a pressure variation very similar to an airfoil of a spinning propeller on an aircraft or wind turbine. The centrifugal compressors are built in stages, and each stage has a part to play in the overall pressure increase of the system. Read more about centrifugal air compressors here.

Rotary Vane air compressors

Typically an electric motor that rotates the rotary vane shaft, the vanes to draw in free air, and compress it as they rotate, generating compressed air power. Read more about rotary vane air compressors here.

Axial Flow air compressors

Axial compressors are typically made up of many alternating rows of rotating (rotors) and stationary (stators) blades. The blades are similar to that of an aircraft wing as they have small airfoil cross-sections. Jet engines are actually extremely large examples of axial flow air compressors – in their case using the compression to generate thrust. A bit more than your commercial variety axial flow air compressor!

Read more about axial flow air compressors here.