The Top 5 Uses of Reciprocating Compressor Valve Plates
Nearly all manufacturing facilities use compressor valve plates for some aspect of the creation of products.
In addition to the profusion of air compressors, many materials including raw and refined chemicals are passed through compressors daily.
There can be many reasons to compress a material.
A notable result of compression is a dramatic increase in temperature, which can result in change in the volume of a substance and change in the form of a substance between gaseous and liquid states.
5 Industries that Use Reciprocating Compressor Valve Plates
Compressors are essential for many processes within many industries.
5 industries that rely heavily on reciprocating compressor valve plates include:
- Natural gas industry
- Petrochemicals industry
- Hydrogen stations
- Refrigeration industry
- Petroleum refining industry
Some examples of processes within these industries which use compressors include the following:
- Refining of natural or synthetic materials
- Extraction of natural gases
- Distilling of gases and liquids
- Fueling energy cells and generators
- Compression and storage of gases
In all these cases, it is essential to have the right kinds of valve plates to ensure that the materials are compressed properly and that the valve plate can withstand the elements that it is constantly exposed to.
While you may be familiar with some of the most popular industries that make use of compressor valve plates, some may surprise you.
1. Natural Gas
Compressor valve plates are used in the natural gas industry to extract natural gases from the earth, refine the gases to remove impurities, and pack gases for transportation.
When natural gases are extracted from their natural habitat, they contain many impurities, including, but not limited to, hard substances such as dust and sand, liquids including water and other chemical substances, and unhelpful gases such as hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide.
While the natural gas is being processed, different compressors are used to purify the gas.
The compressors used to extract hard materials must necessarily have tough valve plates to withstand the impact of rough materials.
Additionally, many liquids and gases can be corrosive to standard metals, so valve plates must be designed to withstand the harmful effects of these materials.
When the gas is compressed, it also releases useless liquids and can then be packed into storage units and transported safely to industries that use it.
Processed natural gases are used for many applications both in industry and in residential sectors.
The most familiar uses include the burning of natural gas for energy, cooking, electricity, and heating.
Natural gas can also be processed and used to manufacture plastics, synthetic fabrics, and many other household products.
Chemicals that are derived from petroleum during the refining process are known as petrochemicals.
Raw petroleum is extracted and passed through compressors to begin the refining process.
The compressor increases the pressure on the raw materials, which causes some to separate as the temperature and condensation changes.
Extracting individual materials results in the separated raw materials.
Once petrochemicals are separated from each other, compressor valve plates are used to measure and store the correct amounts of olefins and aromatic petrochemicals so that they can be transported to a facility where they are processed and made into useful products.
Some of the most important petrochemicals produced in this way include ammonia, ethylene, methanol, urea, ethylene oxide, and ethylene glycol.
In this case, having quality compressor valve plates is critical to the processes of liquifying gases, loading and unloading, pressure boosting, and many other applications.
3. Hydrogen Stations
Compressed hydrogen stations coming into use as an energy source in many modern technologies and as a manufacturing component in many industries.
Hydrogen fuel cells have been shown to be cheaper and cleaner than many sources of energy.
Since hydrogen exhaust safely combines with oxygen in the air to create pure water vapor, it is a fuel source that is safe for the environment.
Hydrogen is highly combustible, which makes it great as a fuel source where high temperatures can be used to power generators as the hydrogen is compressed.
Hydrogen fuel cells have been successfully placed in rockets, airplanes, and land vehicles.
Additionally, hydrogen is used in many manufacturing industries because of its highly reactive properties.
Compressed hydrogen is used in the manufacturing of vehicles, electronics, metals, foods, pharmaceuticals, and many other industries.
When hydrogen is compressed, it can reach extremely high pressure. Therefore, the compressor valve plates need to be strong enough to withstand this.
A basic rule of physics is that increasing pressure on a given material will increase the temperature.
This has been exploited in refrigeration for many years since it was discovered that when compressing a given gas, usually referred to as a refrigerant, it will transform into a hot liquid.
If it is then decompressed, it will cool rapidly, resulting in a refrigerator effect.
In the case of refrigeration, compressor plate valves often are not exposed to corrosive materials or extreme temperatures, which is part of the reason many refrigeration compressors last for many years.
Many industries rely on refrigeration, whether to keep foods fresh, to store materials that would be reactive at higher temperatures, or to maintain a reasonable temperature in a building.
Not all industries that require refrigeration use compressor systems, but it remains a popular use of compressor valve plates.
5. Petroleum Refining
In refining petroleum, compressors are used to distill the product and to create pressure during refining.
Increasing the pressure on gases and liquids results in a change of the energy makeup of those molecules. During refining, different molecules react differently at differing pressures.
If one sort of molecule needs to be extracted, adding pressure can transform that molecule into liquid form while other molecules remain in gaseous form.
When petroleum is being refined, it comes to the refinery with many undesirable chemical components mixed in.
Distilling the product by increasing the pressure to allow certain elements to condense purifies the petroleum. Additionally, pressure is used in the processing of petroleum to pack and store the product.
In this case, the valve plates need to be able to withstand very high pressures without leaking and also need to be able to withstand potentially corrosive gases that pass through them.
Many industries including those that process raw materials, those that refine materials, those that store materials, those that transport materials, and those that manufacture many kinds of goods make daily use of compressors.
The use for compressor valve plates is therefore varied, but essential to the continuation of modern industry.
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