How Does An Air Compressor Work?

By CarsFellow 8 Min Read

As you know that the air compressor is one of the most important and needed pieces of equipment which further helps you to achieve your tasks easily. Starting from kiddie inflating pools to go straight with powering the paint sprayers, or much more, an air compressor can really be a very handy gadget for your everyday use.

But, have you ever wondered how does an air compressor work? If you don’t, then here you are at the right place. In this article, we are going to show you the possible features and how it works so that you can know the basics of this equipment, which will definitely help you to identify the right sort of compressor for your items easily.

What is an Air Compressor?

Well, as we already told you above, the air compressor is a piece of equipment or a type of device that will usually “compress” or even “compacts” the air overall.

Whereas, the air compressor is actually a very simple kind machine that also comes up with such components or parts that are given below:

  • Drive: this will simply generate the actual power by which the others part will act perfectly according to the power. However, you may also find some air compressors which are here even to draw their power through a gas engine.
  • Pump: well, this is considered as a soul or heart of the compressor. Therefore, the pump is actually a compressor itself, it will be using the overall power through the electrical motor or even through gas engines, and then it draws air and further compress it.
  • Tank: this is basically a storage for the compressed air. The overall compressed air will eventually stay here inside the tank until its need.

How Does an Air Compressor Work

How Does an Air Compressor Work

So, let’s start with the basic working guide here. As you can already know the purpose of an air compressor, it will become easier for you to learn how does an air compressor works.

Here in this article, we will be discussing the piston type of air compressors, because, such type of air compressors are more common and famous as compared to the other system.

This piston type of air compressors more likely to work in your vehicle’s engine. Therefore, the crankshaft pump, a piston, a cylinder, and as well as a connecting rod, and of course, a valve head.

Air compressors normally work simply: when there is an air that gets compressed, the actual volume will definitely go down and as well as, the pressure goes to up.

The piston would be how this compression happens, plus basically, the air compressor will own a reciprocating piston. Though, you may find some rotating impellers inside the air compressor for several types for sure. Reciprocating pistons normally consist of crankshafts, pistons, connecting rods, cylinders, and as well as valve heads.

A power source is really necessary to get further the desired unit to function. Therefore, the power source is normally electric or maybe gas. As we already told you above, that there would be a tank as well which further store air inside the unit.

Furthermore, at the peak of per cylinder, you can be able to see the valve head that would be containing the inlet and as well as the discharge valve. Although, these are typically metal flaps that are going to be open and close actually depending on the type of movement, which is necessary.

Thus, when the piston starts to moves inside the cylinder, there will be more vacuums starting to create.

The overall difference in the pressure among what is actually within the cylinder and also what is above the outside is that usually allows atmospheric pressure so that it can get to the inlet vale to further come open.

Then, air starts to come within the vacuum space area and as well as gets compressed through the piston, which starts to goes up now. After that, the inlet value begins to closes, and the discharge valve will start to open instead. Then, the overall compressed air is stored inside the tank, which will help to increases air pressure into the machine.

And that’s how the air compressor starts to work ahead after going through with such processes.

Inspecting The Tire Pressure

Centrifugal Variety of An Air Compressor

What we showed you above is the actual work of a reciprocating type of air compressor. However, there would be another type, which is “Centrifugal” that also works but in a few different ways.

This type of air compressor actually utilizing an impeller encased within an involute installation. The outside air will gently enter the air compressor’s center, then starts spinning the impeller.

So, when the impeller starts to rotate, it will increase the air pressure whereas, it will also be forcing towards the discharge outlet. The casing size of the air compressor starts to decreases against the outlet.

Then, compression happens as the air starts to leaves the compressor housing. However, you may find a big advantage of having such type of compressor is that it won’t require any pressure switch to turn further on/off the motor.

It will provide a constant amount of compressed air output. Thus, the air compressors work like making a drawing in air through the environment of the outside.


How does an air compressor work? This question comes to our mind whenever we see a working compressor right in front of our eyes, right? That’s why we have come up with the idea of showing you the complete details of an air compressor working process. We hope you get the idea of how does such compressors operate throughout the time.

The air inside the compressors eventually applies a constant pressure by which it ends to start working all the time. You may find air compressors every other item like they can operate toys; they can operate your cars, inflatable items, and much more.

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