Types of Rotary Compressors

A rotary compressor is a functional machine that compresses air using rotary movement or motion. They are designed to be compact and lightweight, and are more cost-effective than reciprocating compressors. They are typically durable and easy to operate and maintain. There are three main types of rotary compressors: slide vane, lobe and liquid seal ring, all of which have their own variations and design facets to suit different purposes.

Slide Vane Rotary Compressor

There are three main types of rotary compressors, each with variable properties.

The slide vane rotary compressor -- usually referred to as a rotary vane compressor -- is one of the more common rotary compressor designs in non-industrial sectors. It functions as air enters through a compartment of the vane housing at a pressurized rate, which drives the mechanism into a rotary movement. This causes the vane housing shaft to turn and its individual vanes to slide in or out, while ensuring they are in contact with the cylinder perimeter to create an air-tight seal. This tool requires compressed air as its function drive, and is favored more for home or smaller-scale use rather than for industrial needs. As they are best suited to low- to moderate-pressure applications, they are generally long-lasting and durable models.

Rotary Lobe Compressor

Rotary lobe compressors are suitable for industrial uses.

The rotary lobe compressor combines two separate lobe design rotors within a single encasement. These are gear-driven, non-contact rotors that reduce the cavity size created by the lobes as they rotate. This affects the compression of the enclosed vapor, a process which continues until the pressurized vapor is dispersed through the exit portal. Rotary lobe compressors are typically used for industrial and municipal purposes, and are also utilized in the chemical and food processing industries.

Liquid Seal Ring Compressor

The liquid seal ring compressor is a vane compressor design that disperses fluid from an inclined and open impeller. While the impeller rotates, centrifugal force causes the liquid to gather at the outer edge of the cavity and form an air-tight seal. This compressor operates free of dust and oil, and is one of least cost-effective rotary compressors to operate and maintain. Liquid seal ring compressors can be single or multi-stage systems, depending on the application required. Typically, this type of compressor is utilized in specialized processes and for work involving corrosive and dangerous gases, and is a common feature in nuclear power plant operations.

About the Author

Lewis R. Humphries writes fiction for Academia Research, Words of Worth and various other clients. He also has a bachelor's degree in political science and is awaiting his first published poetry collection through Forward Press.