Diving air compressor

From Academic Kids

A Diving Air Compressor is a gas compressor, which can fill diving cylinders with high pressure air that is pure enough to be used as a breathing gas.

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Filling a cylinder from the panel


Modern diving compressors are often three stage-reciprocating air compressors that use ceramic lined cylinders with ‘O’ rings, not piston rings, requiring no lubrication. Oil in the compressed air may cause the diver medical or respiration problems. Compressor operators must only use lubricants specified by the compressor's manufacturer. There is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if any oil in the compressor partially burns.

The compression process helps remove water from the gas making it dry, which is good for preventing rust in diving cylinders but causes dehydration, a factor in decompression illness, in divers.

Air purity

In addition the compressed air output from the compressor must be filtered to make it fit for use as a breathing gas. The following filters remove:

Periodically the gas produced by a compressor must be tested to ensure it meets air purity standards. The following impurities are checked:

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Air bank

The bank

Often compressors are connected to a "bank" of large, high-pressure cylinders to store compressed gas, for use at peak times. As cheap and low-powered compressors are relatively slow at pumping gas, the bank can filled automatically during idle periods storing a large volume of pressurized air so that a batch of cylinders can be filled quickly one after the other without being delayed by the slow running compressor.

The "cascade system" is used to decant economically from banks of storage cylinders. This involves filling a diving cylinder by decanting from the bank cylinder with the lowest pressure that is higher than the diving cylinder's pressure and then from the next higher pressure bank cylinder in succession until the diving cylinder is full.

Filling heat

If diving cylinders are filled too quickly, the gas inside them becomes hot increasing in pressure, which results in a drop in pressure when the cylinder cools later. Cylinders are often filled at a rate of less than 1 bar per second to reduce this increase in temperature. In an attempt to cool the cylinder when filling, some people “wet fill”, immersing their cylinders in a cool water bath. This increases the risk internal cylinder corrosion due to moisture from damp components, entering the cylinder during filling.

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Gas blending panel

Gas blending

Compressors are often linked to a gas blending panel connected to a bank of oxygen and helium cylinders.

External links

The Case For Dry-Filling (http://www.naui.org/pdffiles/tankfill.pdf)


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