how does an air compressor work

Compress That Air! How Does an Air Compressor Work?

Did you know that an air compressor can help you improve gas mileage in your car? How does an air compressor work to make that happen you ask?

Well, we’re happy to tell you! You see, air compressors are key to maintaining proper tire pressure. Having the right tire pressure helps you get better gas mileage.

But how does the air compressor get the air in your tires? Keep reading to learn how an air compressor works.

The Components

You’ll find that air compressors are relatively simple in design with three main components. There is a drive, a pump, and a storage tank.

The drive component is what powers the air compressor. This can be a gas, diesel, or electric motor. The site offers examples of air compressors with different types of drive components.

The pump takes the energy produced by the drive and uses it to draw the air in. Once the air is pulled in, it gets compressed and pumped to the storage tank.

The storage tank obviously is where the compressed air is held until you are ready to use it. There is a one-way valve that keeps the back pressure in check.

There is also an air flow buffer. This stops the compressor from constantly needing to run thereby causing less wear and overheating.

How Does an Air Compressor Work

The first step in air compressor operation is turning on the drive or engine. As the engine runs it powers a piston to move.

As the piston moves, an inlet valve draws air into the chamber. Then the piston compresses the air. This compressed air then leaves the chamber through the discharge valve.

The piston moving up and down the chamber creates a vacuum. The piston moving down the chamber creates pressure wich is what gives the air the strength to go through the discharge valve and hold the inlet valve shut.

As more air is pumped into the storage tank, the pressure builds. The air compressor will pump air into the tank until the pressure reaches a set amount.

At this point, the motor will shut off and the air compressor is ready for use with a pneumatic tool. When you use your tool, the compressed air is released through the hose.

One, Two, and Three Cylinder Drives

Some engines have more than one cylinder. This could mean that there are two strokes per revolution similar to how a car engine would work.

However, sometimes it means that one piston compresses the air into a chamber. Then a second piston compresses the air further.

Rotary Screw Compressors

Rotary screw compressors are for when the pistons just can’t keep up. You’ll find this style of compressor most often in industrial type settings.

Here there is an ongoing movement to generate the power instead of the pulsing of pistons. A pair of rotors works together to compress the air.

Know Your Compressor

How does an air compressor work? It works by harnessing engine power to compress air and store it in a tank.

Now you have the power of the air to power your pneumatic tools. What tool will you use? Fill your tires like we started out discussing? Or how about something more like a nail gun, drill, or saw?

Check out these 5 DIY projects you can do with your air compressor.