Reciprocating Compressor with an Intercooler

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This Demonstration illustrates the operation of a reciprocating compressor from a thermodynamics viewpoint. The compressor has an intercooler stage, receives air at atmospheric pressure, 273 K, and has a constant mass flow rate of 20 kg/min. Assume an ideal gas—air—with constant specific heat and compression processes that are isentropic. Vary the mass flow rate, required output pressure, input temperature, and efficiency to see the changes in temperature and required power.

Contributed by: Fredericka Brown and Sara McCaslin (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



The following equations were used for this Demonstration:

and .

Volumetric efficiency is the volume of gas drawn into the cylinder of the compressor divided by the displacement volume.

The original problem was taken from M. C. Potter and C. W. Somerton, Schaum's Outline of Theory and Problems of Thermodynamics for Engineers, New York: McGraw–Hill Press, 1995.

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