At Complete Compressed Air Systems we use a raft of different terms when describing compressed air systems and accessories. Although first nature to us, we understand our terminology may not be easy to follow. So, we have created this comprehensive glossary to translate our everyday jargon.

Absolute Pressure – The measure of pressure compared to the zero pressure of an empty space

Absolute Temperature – The temperature of air or gas measured from absolute zero. It is also known as the Kelvin temperature Centigrade plus 273 or Rankine temperature (Fahrenheit plus 459.6)

Absorption – The process by which a hygroscopic desiccant becomes liquid by absorbing the condensed moisture

Actual Capacity – Amount of gas actually compressed and delivered to a discharge system

Adsorption – The process by which a highly porous surface attracts moisture from compressed air and removes it

Air Receiver – Acts as a temporary storage vessel for pressurised gases to accommodate the peaks in demand on a compressed air system and ensure efficiency

Aftercooler – A heat exchanging devise that cools discharged air after is has been compressed

Atmospheric Pressure – The measurement of ambient pressure based on a specific location and latitude

Brake Horsepower – The input required at an air compressor’s input shaft to achieve a specific speeds, capacity and pressure condition

Capacity – The capacity of airflow that is delivered under specific conditions

Check Valve – Permits the flow of air in only one direction

Compression Ratio – A ratio that shows the comparison between absolute discharge pressure and absolute inlet pressure

Cut-In Pressure – The minimum discharge pressure that switches the compressor from unload to load

Cut-Out Pressure – The maximum discharge pressure that switches the compressor from load to unload

Desiccant – A hygroscopic substance used as a drying agent

Dew Point – the atmospheric temperature at which point water droplets begin to condense and form dew

Discharge Pressure – The total air pressure produced at a particular point in a compressed air system under specific conditions

Droop – The pressure drop at a pressure regulator’s outlet

Efficiency – The amount of useful work performed by a compressed air system as a ratio of the total energy expended

Filters – Devices that are used in a compressed air system to remove particulates from the surrounding air

Full-load – The full speed operation of an air compressor with a fully-open valve inlet and discharge delivering maximum air flow

Inlet Pressure – the actual pressure at a compressed air system’s inlet valve

Intake Pressure – the actual pressure at the point of connection of a compressed air system’s inlet valve

Leak – An unintentional loss of compressed air

Load Factor – The ratio between average compressor load and maximum compressor load over a specific amount of time

Piston Displacement – The volume of air removed by a piston

Pneumatic Tools – Special tools that are operated by a compressed air system

Pressure Drop – Pressure loss in a compressed air system which is caused by restriction or friction

Reciprocating Air Compressor – Air compressor which uses a piston as its compressing element

Rotor – An air compressor’s rotating element

Seals – Devices used to separate and minimise leakage when there’s areas of varying pressure

Speed – the number of revolutions per minute of an air compressor’s rotor or compressor drive shaft

Surge – When reduced flow rates lead to a flow reversal and unstable operation of a centrifugal air compressor

Total Pressure – The pressure that is produced by stopping moving streams of gases or liquids

Vacuum Pumps – Air compressors which operate with an intake below atmospheric pressure and then discharge to that pressure or higher

Water-Cooled Compressor – An air compressor which uses liquid coolant to reduce the temperature of the compressed air and any other substances the compression processes