Difference Between Rotary and Reciprocating Compressor

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The difference between rotary and reciprocating compressor can be done on the basis of maximum delivery pressure, free discharge rate, speed of compressor, supply of air, size of compressor, balancing, lubrication system, cleanliness of delivered air, efficiency calculation, suitability, maintenance, initial cost, space requirement for installation, working fluid and cycle of operation.

rotary compressor vs reciprocating compressor

Difference Between Rotary and Reciprocating Compressor in Tabular Form

S.no Basis Rotary Air Compressor Reciprocating Air Compressor
1. Maximum delivery pressure The maximum delivery pressure for rotary compressor is 10 bar only. The maximum delivery pressure is as high as 1000 bar.
2. Free air discharge rate The maximum free air discharge rate is as high as 3000 m3/min. The maximum free air discharge rate is about 300 m3/min.
3. Speed of compressor Speed is high. Speed is low.
4. Supply of air The supply of air is continuous. The supply of air is intermittent (i.e. not continuous).
5. Size of compressor Small for the given discharge. Large for the same discharge.
6. Balancing No balancing problem Balancing is a major problem
7. Lubrication system Simple lubrication system. Complicated lubrication system.
8. Cleanliness of delivered air The delivered air is more clean because if does not come in contact with the lubricating oil. The delivered air is less clean because it comes in contact with the lubricating oil.
9 Efficiency calculation Isentropic efficiency is used for all sorts of calculations. Isothermal efficiency is used for all sorts of calculation.
10 Suitability They are suitable for large discharge of air at low pressure. They are suitable for low discharge of air at high pressure.
11. maintenance Lower Higher
12. Initial cost Lower Higher
13. Space requirement for installation Less space is required. More space is required.
14. Working fluid Air or some other gases. Pressurized steam.
15. Cycle of operation Executes one step of Rankine cycle. Executes the whole Brayton cycle.

This is all about the difference between rotary and reciprocating compressor. If you find anything missing or incorrect then let me know through it by your comments.


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Pankaj Mishra

Pankaj Mishra is a blogger by passion and Mechanical Engineer by profession. He has completed his B.Tech degree in mechanical engineering in the year 2015. He loves to share his knowledge and help others.

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