The Piston Compressor

Compressor Types Compressed Air Wiki Displacement Compressors Compressors

Whenever most people think about a compressor, they probably have a piston compressor in mind. You might already know there are two basic principles of air compression. One of those is the principle of displacement compression. There are a lot of compressor types that classify as a displacement compressor. The piston compressor is one of them, oil-lubricated or oil-free.


What are piston compressors?

an illustration about the types of compressors for the atlas copco wiki.

The piston compressor is the oldest and most common of all industrial compressors. It is available in single-acting or double-acting, oil-lubricated or oil-free variants, with various numbers of cylinders in different configurations. With the exception of very small compressors having vertical cylinders, the V-configuration is the most common for small compressors. On double-acting, large compressors the L-configuration with a vertical low pressure cylinder and horizontal high pressure cylinder offers immense benefits and has become the most common design.

Oil-lubricated compressors normally work with splash lubrication or pressure lubrication. Most compressors have self-acting valves. A self-acting valve opens and closes through the effect of pressure differences on both sides of the valve disk.

What are oil-free piston compressors?

Oil-free piston compressors have piston rings made of PTFE or carbon, and alternatively, the piston and cylinder wall can be profiled (toothed) as on labyrinth compressors. Larger machines are equipped with a crosshead and seals on the gudgeon pins, and a ventilated intermediate piece to prevent oil from being transferred from the crankcase and into the compression chamber. Smaller compressors often have a crankcase with bearings that are permanently sealed.

Related articles

an illustration about the types of compressors for the atlas copco wiki.

The Diaphragm Compressor

Learn more about air compression and the different types of displacement compressors we know today. Here we’re talking about diaphragm compressors.