What is Air Compressor ? | Types & Working Principle in 3D Animation

A Frequently asked question – What is Air Compressor?  Air compressors compresses air and increases the air pressure and delivers to a storage (often called tank). Later on the compressed air stored at extremely high pressure is used to power several pneumatic tools. The widespread use of air compressor is noticeable from home to industry in different type of cases. To meet the user demand and to make the air more efficient, varied types of air compressor are built. Today we will learn on types of air compressor and how air compressor works including centrifugal compressor

How Air Compressor Works-The Basic Type

Main Components of Air Compressor:

There are mainly three parts of an air compressor: the electric motor, pump, and the receiver (tank). the receivers may be vertical or horizontal varying in size and capacity.

Electric Motor

The main purpose of an electric motor is to power the pump. the motor drives a pully through belts which transfer power from the motor to the pump pistons via a flywheel and crankshaft. The mechanism of flywheel is to cool the compressor pump.


The purpose of the pump is to compress the air and discharge it into the receiver. Two stage air compressors has at least two pump cylinders. By compressing the air twice first in a larger low-pressure cylinder then in a smaller high-pressure cylinder two stage compressor can produce pressure from 145 to 175 PSI.

Receiver (tank)

The receiver tank is stores the compressed air. A check valve at the receiver inlet prevents the compressed air in the receiver from flowing back into the compressor pump.

Read More: Air Compressor Maintenance Guide

Types of Air Compressor:

Fundamentally, air compressor can be classified into 3 types.

  1. According to the pressure delivered.
  2. According to the design and operational principle.
  3. According to air compression ratio.

Basing on the output pressure the air compressor is categorized into 3 types.

  1. A) Low pressure air compressor: This type of air compressor may discharge pressure up to 150 PSI.
  1. B) Medium pressure compressor: This type of compressor can deliver 150 PSI to 1000 PSI.
  1. C) High pressure air compressor: These giant types of compressor always produce pressure above 1000PSI.

If we classify air compressor according to the design principle and its operation, then air compressor can be divided into two types

2.A) Rotary-Screw Compressor

2.B) Turbo Compressor

The third fundamental classification of an air compressor is based on compression ratio. This category can also be classified into two types.

3. A) Positive Displacement air compressor

3. B) Roto-dynamic air compressor.

Last but not the least, positive displacement air compressor can be classified into three types: Piston type, rotary-screw type and Vane type.

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