Air Compressors

An air compressor is a device that converts power (using an electric motor, diesel or gasoline engine, etc.) into potential energy stored in pressurized air (i.e., compressed air). By one of several methods, an air compressor forces more and more air into a storage tank, increasing the pressure. When tank pressure reaches its engineered upper limit the air compressor shuts off. The compressed air, then, is held in the tank until called into use.[1] The energy contained in the compressed air can be used for a variety of applications, utilizing the kinetic energy of the air as it is released and the tank depressurizes. When tank pressure reaches its lower limit, the air compressor turns on again and re-pressurizes the tank.

An air compressor must be differentiated from an air pump which merely pumps air from one context (often the surrounding environment) into another (such as an inflatable mattress, an aquarium, etc.). Air pumps do not contain an air tank for storing pressurized air and are generally much slower, quieter, and less expensive to own and operate than an air compressor.

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