A scroll compressor is a device used mainly for compressing air. It is used in air conditioning devices, as a vacuum pump. A scroll compressor is the most important of any vapor compression refrigeration system. The function of a compressor is to continuously draw the refrigerant vapor from the evaporator, so that a low pressure and low temperature can be maintained in the evaporator at which the refrigerant can boil extracting heat from the refrigerated space.  A scroll compressor is used in residential central heat pump and air conditioning systems because it can operate in reverse is known as a scroll expander, and can be used to generate mechanical work from the expansion of a fluid, compressed air or gas. The compressor then has to raise the pressure of the refrigerant to a level at which it can condense by rejecting heat to the cooling medium in the condenser. A scroll compressor uses two interleaving scrolls to pump or compress fluids such as gases and liquids.

Working of scroll compressor:

One scroll is moving, whereas the second one is fixed which is attached to the compressor body. The first scroll orbits in a path defined by its mating fixed scroll. The orbiting scroll is connected to the compressor’s crankshaft. As a result of the scroll’s movement, gas pockets are formed between the two scrolls. At the outer part of the scrolls, the pockets suck in gas and then move towards the center of the scroll, where the compressed gas is discharged. As the gas moves into the continuously smaller internal pockets, both its temperature and pressure are increased. Thus a desirable discharge pressure is achieved by the motion of the compressor scrolls.

Advantages of scroll compressors:

  • The absence of pistons for gas compression enables scroll compressors to reach 100% volumetric efficiency, leading to reduced energy costs.
  • Their weight and footprint are considerably smaller compared to other bulkier types of compressors in use nowadays.
  • Gas pulsation is also minimized, if not eliminated and consequently, they can operate with less vibration.
  • Furthermore, due to the absence of several moving parts, scroll compressors are considerably quieter in operation compared to other types of compressors, like for example reciprocating type ones.

Applications of scroll compressors:

Since their introduction, scroll compressors have been successfully used in applications involving food and fruit refrigeration, truck transportation, marine containers as well as residential and small to medium scale commercial air-conditioning applications.

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