Operation

The liquid piston compressor is a unique type of rotary compressor in that it performs its compression by use of a liquid ring acting as a piston, Refer to Figure 1-9 for a cross section of this compressor. As with the sliding vane compressor, the single rotor is located eccentrically inside a cylinder or stator. Extending from the rotor is a series of vanes in a purely radial or radial with forward curved tip orientation. Gas inlet and outlet passages are located on the rotor. A liquid compressant partially fills the rotor and cylinder and orients itself in a ring-like manner as the rotor turns. Because of the eccentricity, the ring moves in an oscillatory manner. The center of the ring communicates with the inlet and outlet ports and forms the gas pocket. As the rotor turns, and the pocket is moving away from the rotor, the gas enters through the inlet and fills the pocket. As the rotor turns, it carries the gas pocket with it. Further turning takes the liquid ring from the maximum clearance area toward the minimum side. The ring seals off' the inlet port and traps the pocket of gas. As the liquid ring is taken into the minimum clearance area, the pocket is compressed. When the ring uncovers the discharge port, the compressed pocket of gas is discharged.

Performance

Efficiency of the liquid piston is about 50%, which is not very good compared to the other rotary compressors. But because liquid is integral to the liquid piston compressor, taking in liquid with the gas stream does not affect its operation as it would in other types of compressors. Because of significant differences in the construction of the various competitive models of this compressor, no universal sizing data are available. The process engineer will therefore have to rely on catalog data for sizing estimates. The liquid ring compressor is most often used in vacuum service; although, it can also act as a positive pressure compressor. The liquid piston machine can be staged when the application requires more differential pressure than can be generated by a single stage. The liquid piston compressor can be used to compress air to 100 psig. Vacuums of 26 in hg are possible. Flow capacity ranges from 2 cfm to 16,000 cfm.

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