Thermoplastic Materials Of a Compressor
Compressors are used on a broad spectrum across the entirety of the oil and gas industries, with them being utilized as an important piece of equipment in everything from oil refineries to the pipelines themselves. The problem with the functionality of compressors is that a lot of movement goes on within them, generating a large amount of heat. This means that choosing the right equipment and thermoplastic materials for the parts that are to go inside of the compressor is essential, otherwise, they will succumb to damage much quicker than expected.
What is thermoplastic?
A thermoplastic is a type of polymer plastic that reacts to heat by behaving more like a standard plastic would, it then returns to a very solid state once it has had the time that it needs to cool down. The phase that actually occurs once it has been warmed up involves it becoming a mouldable product that could be used to shape a component perfectly. So, the mouldable plastic is injected into a mould. This mould utilizes perfect geometry to ensure that the component will match the customer’s specific requirements.
Most of the time, thermoplastic materials are a type of synthetic resin. They are also relatively environmentally friendly when compared to other types of plastic, as they are recyclable. Inside of the thermoplastic, the polymers themselves are substances that are made up of a number of small molecules. These molecules repeat in a sequence over and over again. They form seamless chains that, in turn, create much larger molecules. The small molecules actually determine the structure of the final component.
Which compressor parts can be made out of thermoplastic materials?
There are a large number of different compressor parts from thermoplastic materials. Most of these perform much better than their steel counterparts in a variety of different sectors. Some of the parts that are available in thermoplastic include
Bullets are a type of valve that act as an immediate seal whenever there needs to be a direct release of pressure inside of a compressor. The quality of this seal is ridiculously important. If it does not function correctly, the whole operation could be at risk. Essentially, the valve has to be capable of opening whenever it is retracted, and sealing an opening whenever it is closed. This vital task needs to occur correctly time and time again, without the piece of hardware wearing away.
Poppets are rather important and unique, as they are fully customizable. The mould that is used to shape the thermoplastic materials can be designed in any necessary shape, using geometry to ensure that every angle is perfect. This process ensures that the perfect housing comes in the form of a thermoplastic, rather than a type of metal. They come in a range of different sizes and designs. Note that their core purpose is to lower valve temperatures and cope with pressure drops. This helps with the capacity levels within compressors.
Ported plates are one of the most recognizable pieces of hardware that can be found within a compressor. Specifically, they are a type of valve plate that has a series of holes running through it. These holes allow air to flow freely through the plate. The use of ported plates is prevalent in air-cooled compressors. These compressors are much more readily available than water-cooled compressors.
It is important to note that a good seal has the potential to make or break your operation, regardless of where in the compressor the seal is. Radius rings create seals around the pistons in compressors. This directly prevents any excess air loss. Thermoplastic materials are actually much better at this than steel materials are. This is because they have a stronger ability to press form.
Why should you choose thermoplastic over steel?
Thermoplastic materials and parts are commonly being utilized across the oil and gas industries, and for good reasons. Some of those reasons include:
The durability that thermoplastic can offer
High-quality thermoplastic parts are highly durable. For a start, their increased flexibility leads to a lower chance of the part weakening over time. The constant motion and strain on it weakens steel parts. Thermoplastic parts are also capable of tolerating extreme temperatures. You should remember that there will be no risk of corrosion while using thermoplastic parts, as they are not made of metal.
Thermoplastic parts can be tailored to meet your requirements
The process that occurs during the creation of thermoplastic compressor parts is unique. The mould that is used to shape the parts needs to be taken strongly into consideration. This mould can be shaped to meet your exact specification, down to the smallest angle. If there is a small flaw in the shape after the thermoplastic has been in the mould, then the thermoplastic can be melted down again and reused.
Thermoplastic materials are known for handling pressure well
A number of natural properties that are found within the polymers that the thermoplastics contain give the material an ability to handle a large amount of pressure. Under a large amount of pressure, metal will often begin to soften and permanently warp. Thermoplastics can withstand this, as they have the ability to retain their natural shape for a relatively long time period while withstanding pressure. Keep in mind that different types of thermoplastic handle pressure better than others.
All of this means that thermoplastic materials and parts are a fantastic option for people working within the oil and gas industries. They offer a range of benefits that their steel counterparts do not.
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