Inlet Temperature, Outlet Pressure and Storage

Part 1: Don’t let misapplied rules of thumb become your compressed air rules of dumb.

By Hank van Ormer

Will reducing the inlet air temperature to a compressor increase its efficiency? In a world of sound bites, people become obsessed with simple, easy answers. The oft-quoted rule about inlet air temperature goes something like this: Each 5°F reduction in inlet air temperature nets a 1% gain in efficiency. How many times have you heard statements like this? Others include:

• Install the air intake on the north side in the shade.
• Pre-cooling the inlet air always increases efficiency.

The unvarnished truth is this: The temperature rule holds true for some compressors, but not all compressors.

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