Single Stage Compressor – Working, Components, and Applications

Compressors are most widesly used all over the world for different purposes. There are multiple types of the compressors and single stage compressor compressor is one of them. According to the number of cylinders, the reciprocating compressor is divided into two main types:

  1. Single-stage reciprocating compressor
  2. Two-stage reciprocating compressor

In the previous article, we discussed two-stage compressor. Therefore, In this article, we will only examine the different aspects of the single-stage air compressors. 

What is a Single Stage Commpressor?

A single-stage reciprocating compressor is a type of compressor in which the gas or air is compressed in a single stage. This compressor uses a single cylinder and a piston for the compression of air.  And also, the air is compressed only one time. The body of this compressor sets according to the arrangement of the piston and cylinder.

The single-stage piston compressor is operated by a pressure measuring valve and a piston. The compression process is done through the piston. This piston reciprocates inside the compression cylinder. A connecting rod and a crankshaft control the motion of the piston. A best appropriate flywheel installs for controlling the torque generated due to the crankshaft movement. In these compressors, the crankshaft drives through the engine output shaft or electric motor.

single stage compressor

It has only one cylinder that uses a single stroke of the piston to compress the air. The cylinder connects with a power source that delivers the force required for the compression process.

The major difference between a single-stage compressor and a multistage compressor is that a multistage compressor completes the compression process in more than one stage, while a single stage compressor completes the compression process in just one stage. But this compressor is less efficient than a multistage compressor.

Two-stage air compressors create superb aerodynamics and are suitable for large industries and continuous functions. Thus, due to the high price of two-stage compressors, they are not best for small pressure requirement applications. These compressors are best suitable for workshops and factories than for home use. In contrast, a single-stage air compressor powers different pneumatic tools at pressures up to 100psi. It is a right choice for gas stations and different manufacturing plants. This type of reciprocating compressor mostly uses in auto-shops.

Single Stage Compressor Working Principle

In a single-stage reciprocating compressor, all the compression process takes place in only one cylinder. Two valves connect with the cylinder, one is an inlet or suction valve, and the other is an outlet or delivery valve. The opening and closing of a spring or plate valve vary on the pressure difference. When mechanical valves use for suction and discharge, their function controls through cams.  

single stage compressor working principle

During the single stage compressor working, as the piston reaches at TDC, the volume of air in the cylinder becomes zero. In this position, just ignore the clearance volume. As the piston moves downward, the cylinder internal pressure becomes lower than the atmospheric pressure. Due to this pressure difference, the suction valve opens and suction stroke starts. At this stage, the compressor sucks air inside the cylinder through the suction valve.

When the piston reaches at BDC, the crankcase movement helps the piston to move upward and compresses the air. During this compression process, there is a point where the cylinder’s internal pressure becomes higher than the external air pressure, and at this stage, the inlet valve closes.

An outlet connects with a storage tank. As the compressed air pressure becomes higher than the storage tank pressure, the outlet valve opens, and compressed air is released. Therefore, this piston stroke is known as s “Delivery Stroke”. This is a compression stroke of the single-stage air compressor. At the end of this stroke, the outlet valve opens, and the compressed air transfers to the to the receiver.

The piston moves at a very high speed inside the cylinder and continuously exerts a force on the cylinder. Due to this reason, the compressor life reduces.  To avoid this, a slight curvature provides at the top of the cylinder.

Single Stage Compressor Components

single stage compressor

1) Inlet Valve and Discharge Valve:

The inlet valve also called a suction valve. It uses for sucking the air into the compression chamber. When the piston moves downward, then the suction valve opens because the internal cylinder pressure becomes low than the external pressure.

The discharge valve uses for discharging the compressed air into the receiver or storage tank. This valve opens when the internal cylinder pressure becomes high than external pressure. The discharge valve also knows as the outlet or delivery valve.

These components directly connect with the cylinder. The function of inlet and outlet valves control through cams.

2) Piston:

This part of the compressor uses for the compression of air. It moves forward and backward in the cylinder. It sucks air when it moves backward and compresses air when it moves forward.

3) Connecting Rod:

This compressor component uses for controlling the movement of the piston. The connecting rod connects the piston and the crankshaft.

4) Crankshaft:

It uses to rotate the piston for air compression. The crankshaft directly connects with the electric motor.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Single-stage Piston Compressor:

A single stage compressor has the following advantages and disadvantages: 

Advantages of Single-stage Compressors

  1. In this reciprocating compressor, the air compression completes in a single stage.
  2. It uses only one cylinder for compression.
  3. It is easy to maintain.
  4. The pistons have the same physical dimension.
  5. This positive compressor requires less energy to run as compared to a double-stage compressor.
  6. It has less cost.
  7. It uses only one piston for pumping the air.
  8. These compressors provide power to pneumatic tools such as air mailers, ratchet wrenches, and spray guns.
  9. It generates less heat by utilizing more air.

Disadvantages of Single-stage Reciprocating Compressors

  1. It produces less energy as compared to a double-stage compressor.
  2. It is less efficient.
  3. These compressors can’t use in heavy-duty industries.
  4. It has limited power (15KW).

Applications of Single-stage air Compressor

  1. It uses in workshops
  2. Single-stage air compressor uses in auto shops.
  3. They can use in gas stations and various manufacturing plants.
  4. Uses Circuit Breaking.
  5. Uses for chemical industries.
  6. These compressors use in the borewell.
  7. It uses for low flow rate and high-pressure places.
  8. These compressors also use for liquid transfer applications
  9. They also use for pneumatic tools
  10. Use for spray painting applications.

In this article, we have deeply examined the single-stage compressor and its various aspects. So, I try my best to cover this topic satisfactorily but if you have any confusion, then let me know your problem in the comment section. I will try my best to get you back with a precise answer.

See More:

  1. What are different types of Compressors?
  2. How does a Reciprocating Compressor work?
  3. How does a Two-stage Compressor work?
  4. How does a Single Acting Compressor work?

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