Skip to main content

The Importance of the Compressor in Air Conditioning Systems and its Common Types

By: Agnes Perez

Haga Clic Aquí Para Leer en Español

The History of the Compressor

The history of the compressor dates to the beginning of air conditioning systems, being the most important component since then. We remember how we started with the Packard, a system where the evaporator was located at the rear of the car, and the lines crossed the entire vehicle to reach the belt-driven compressor and the condenser at the front of the vehicle. What a story! From those days to what currently exists in cars, a great journey has taken place, and we will detail and learn more about these advancements.

The Function of the Compressor

I always start by saying that the compressor is the heart of the air conditioning system, as it ensures that the refrigerant moves constantly through the evaporator, condenser, and other components. But what happens when the compressor is not functioning? This is where the system cannot circulate the refrigerant and, therefore, does not cool the cabin.

The main function of a compressor is to convert and move the refrigerant through the air system, allowing the air inside to cool effectively. It receives the refrigerant in a gaseous state at low pressure and raises its pressure to increase the temperature, converting it into a high-pressure hot gas. This flow is crucial as it allows the cold, low-pressure refrigerant to be compressed, increasing its pressure and temperature, and transforming it into a high-pressure hot gas. Once the refrigerant leaves the compressor, it heads to the condenser as a high-pressure hot gas.

Types of Compressors Used

Let’s learn a bit about the most common compressors. Today, there are several known types: the rotary vane, the scroll, and the variable displacement. Each has been revolutionary and operates differently. Let’s learn more about them.

Rotary Vane Compressor

The rotary vane compressor was one of the pioneers and stood out for moving the refrigerant in a centrifugal

manner. This type of compressor can rotate inside a cylindrical area, and during rotation, the centrifugal force extracts the vanes from the slots to create individual spaces. This allows for volume reduction and increased air pressure. It is important for this compressor to be lubricated with oil for proper functioning.

Variable Displacement Compressor

The variable displacement compressor has the particularity of adjusting the motor speed to meet system needs. It can operate at 100% capacity, but it can also fluctuate to lower levels. This has been a great relief for engine power, as compression only occurs when necessary. Thus, the engine does not require full power most of the time just to compress the refrigerant.

Scroll Compressor

Another great design is the scroll compressor. It features a spiral rotor design that generates a continuous movement of compressed

refrigerant in multiple stages, achieving compression through volume reduction. It is important to understand how the scroll works, as it is the precursor to the compressors used in today’s electric cars.

Electric Scroll Compressors

Today, electric compressors use the scroll system to compress refrigerant and are powered by a three-phase electric motor. This allows them to be operated by the voltage supplied by the vehicle’s battery, making them efficient and suitable for modern electric cars.

These types of compressors have evolved significantly, each contributing important advancements to automotive air conditioning technology.

Learn More

Auto Air Parts of Puerto Rico

Agnes Perez


About Section 609


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *