The isentropic efficiency of positive-displacement compressors may be improved in order to follow an increasing demand for energy savings. This work analyzes the thermal effect of the lubricating oil presence in the air during compression with the scope of exploiting it as a thermal ballast to mitigate both the gas temperature rise and its compression work. The bibliographic review shows that other authors suggested that oil can have positive effects if properly injected. Here an energy balance analysis is executed with the scope of deriving relations for the gas-liquid compression in analogy with those typical for the gas-only compression and of confirming that ideally the liquid presence may have beneficial effects, making the gas-liquid compression even better than 1- and 2-time intercooled gas compressions. Given these positive results, a heat transfer analysis is conducted to model the thermal interaction between gas and oil droplets within a mid-size rotary vane air compressor. A droplet diameter of the order of 100 μm leads to large reductions of both temperature increase and compression work: air can exit the discharge port at a temperature as low as 60°C and compression work can be lowered by 23-28% with respect to conventional compressors. Finally, a test rig is constructed and operated to investigate a large-flow and large-angle oil nozzle taken from the market showing that, at the operating conditions of a compressor, oil breaks up into small droplets and undefined structures with large exchange surfaces.

Thermal effect of lubricating oil in positive-displacement air compressors

VALENTI, GIANLUCA;COLOMBO, LUIGI PIETRO MARIA;LUCCHINI, ANDREA;ARANEO, LUCIO TIZIANO
2013

Abstract

The isentropic efficiency of positive-displacement compressors may be improved in order to follow an increasing demand for energy savings. This work analyzes the thermal effect of the lubricating oil presence in the air during compression with the scope of exploiting it as a thermal ballast to mitigate both the gas temperature rise and its compression work. The bibliographic review shows that other authors suggested that oil can have positive effects if properly injected. Here an energy balance analysis is executed with the scope of deriving relations for the gas-liquid compression in analogy with those typical for the gas-only compression and of confirming that ideally the liquid presence may have beneficial effects, making the gas-liquid compression even better than 1- and 2-time intercooled gas compressions. Given these positive results, a heat transfer analysis is conducted to model the thermal interaction between gas and oil droplets within a mid-size rotary vane air compressor. A droplet diameter of the order of 100 μm leads to large reductions of both temperature increase and compression work: air can exit the discharge port at a temperature as low as 60°C and compression work can be lowered by 23-28% with respect to conventional compressors. Finally, a test rig is constructed and operated to investigate a large-flow and large-angle oil nozzle taken from the market showing that, at the operating conditions of a compressor, oil breaks up into small droplets and undefined structures with large exchange surfaces.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/686875
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