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Centrifugal Compressors Explained In Detail

Compressors are designed to compress a gaseous substance. Process compressors are used to compress a variety of gasses under several conditions. A centrifugal compressor is a type of dynamic turbo machinery that adds kinetic energy through an impeller to increase the pressure of a gas. Centrifugal compressors are widely used in the chemical and petrochemical sectors due to their smooth operation, great tolerance to process variations, and higher reliability. Small gas turbines also use them.

Benefits of using Centrifugal Compressors ?

There are various benefits of of being it centrifugal like

  • It is a mature technology
  • Suitable for large capacities
  • Power Range from 0.4 to 40 MW
  • Small footprint
  • High Availability (99%)
  • Less Maintenance

Basic types of compressors

Compressors are classified into the following types:

  • Positive Displacement Compressors
  • Reciprocating compressor
  • Screw Compressors
  • Centrifugal compressors
  • Pipeline compressors

Applications of Centrifugal Compressors

Centrifugal compressors are widely used in: 

  • Refineries
  • Gas field operations- Natural Gas Compression & Transportation Services, lifting, reinjection, gathering, transmission, storage
  • Oil Exploration – Gas Reinjection, Gas lift, etc.
  • Gas Liquefaction
  • Air Compression service
  • Refrigerant compression service
  • Refueling applications
  • Chemical Industries – Fertilizers, Pesticides, Detergents, Pharmaceuticals, Paints, Adhesives, Organic and Inorganic chemicals, Explosives, Solvents

Functions of a Centrifugal Compressor

In the previously mentioned industries, centrifugal compressors are used for the following purposes:

  • adjusting the required gas flow pressure levels for processing
  • Creating pressure differences to overcome system resistances, allowing gas flow through reactors, heat exchangers, pipes, and so on. 
  • Refrigerated gas flow cooling and liquefaction
  • providing compressed air or gas for combustion
  • Pipelines are used to transport process gases.
  • Supply compressed air for pneumatic tool operation.
  • Transferring process fluid through a specific process.

Parts of a centrifugal Compressor

  • Outer casing
  • Stator parts called ‘Diaphragm bundle’
  • Rotor
  • Impellers
  • Balance drum
  • Thrust collar
  • Hub
  • Journal Bearing
  • Thrust Bearing
  • Labyrinth Seals
  • Oil film end seals

Types of Centrifugal Compressors

Centrifugal compressors are classified into three types based on the number of impellers and casing design:

  1. Integral Gear Type
  • Single Stage
  • Multistage

     2. Horizontal Split Casings

  • Single Stage (Double Suction)
  • Multistage

     3. Barrel Type Compressors

  • Pipeline
  • Multistage

Type of Compressor Drives

The many types of compressor drives are as follows:

  • Electric Motor Drives
  • AC Squirrel cage Induction Motor
  • Synchronous AC Motor
  • Gas Turbines
  • Steam turbines
  • Variable Speed drives
  • Variable Frequency Drive
  • Variable speed (Hydraulic Coupling) drives

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