What's so Special about Air-Conditioning Compressors?
By: Thomas Yoon
What's the difference between an air-conditioning compressor and
an air compressor?
Obvious question? Or is there more to it than the different kind
of gas that the compressor handles?
Of course the refrigerant gas has something to do with the design
of the air-conditioning compressor. For one thing, the refrigerant
gas has a unique property of being a liquid at normal room
temperatures, and it can become a gas at a slightly higher
Furthermore, the lubricant oil can mix freely with the refrigerant
gas! And the lubricant have to be recovered and returned back to
A bit complicated isn't it?
The gas suction for the air-conditioning compressor is taken into
the lubricant portion of the compressor. This may be the crankshaft
housing, or similar. The body of the compressor is constructed in
such a way as to be able to suck the gas from there. Many
reciprocating compressors incorporate a safety head at the top
cylinder head. Any accidental liquid return will not be able to
damage the compressor.
Until next time…
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