EFFICIENCY AND USES OF COMPRESSED AIR ON A SHIPThe Competence of an air compressor on a ship depends on several factors. A compressor delivers extremely pressurized air which increases the temperature to exceptionally high levels. In order to get quality performance out of air compressors, it is essential to check and control the pressure and temperature within optimum range. We will learn as to what it takes for efficient running of an air compressor on a ship in this article.

Effective functioning of Air Compressor


An air compressor is to deliver air at high pressure. The temperature during the compression course is known as the compression temperature. The compression temperature that is created is sufficient to ignite vaporized oil if present in the system. Moreover, in the process, a lot of energy is also misused in the form of heat.

To avoid the loss of heat and overheating of internal parts, inter-coolers are fitted in the air compressor. With the help of inter-coolers, it is possible to approach the ideal isothermal compression to achieve maximum volumetric efficiency.

Sea water is usually used for the cooling purpose in air compressor. Sea water is spread in the system using an attached pump or by using main or auxiliary sea water circulating system. It is to note that sea water causes scale deposits in cooling passages. Sometimes, fresh water from a closed loop system is also used to prevent scale deposit problems.



Uses of Compressed Air on Ship


Compressed air is used for the following functions on a ship.

  • For starting of main engine, auxiliary engine, emergency generator and emergency fire pump.
  • For automation and control air for main and auxiliary engine.
  • For different application on the deck side and in engine room such as chipping, drilling, buffing, pressurized water jet cleaning etc. by use of pneumatic tools and machinery.
  • For overhauling machinery by use of pneumatic tools and hydraulic jack.
  • For pressure testing of different machinery parts, pipeline etc.
  • Compressed air is also used for ships whistle and fog horn.
  • It is used in life boat for heaving up the later, if air motor is attached as a heaving provision.
  • For supplying water to accommodation and various parts of the ship through hydrophone by keeping the later pressurized with air.
  • For conducting aerobic breakdowns of the on board sewage in sewage plant.
  • For pressurized spray painting.
  • Used in soot blowing of boiler and economizer.
  • Used in portable pneumatic pumps like Weldon pumps for oil, water and bilge transfer.
  • For general cleaning and services.

The above cited are the most common purposes for which compressed air is used. The application and uses may vary from ship to ship.