How Do Car Air Conditioning Conpressors Work?
If you want to know how car air conditioning compressors work, you have to first understand how the entire air conditioning system works to keep you cool on those hot summer days. The typical air conditioning system is made up of several parts, which include the air conditioning compressor, the condenser, the evaporator, an expansion valve and a dryer. The more cold air that you demand, the harder the air conditioning system works.
- The air conditioning compressor is the heart of your air conditioning system. The compressor takes the refrigerant and pressurizes it so it will cool the air. The compressor is run by an engine belt and has an electronic clutch on the pulley that engages and disengages as your system works. The refrigerant is a fluid that is easily transformed to a gas and back into a liquid again. This transformation is what produces the cold air that you get inside your vehicle. The fluid arrives in the compressor as a cool, low pressure gas and the compressor compresses, or squeezes, the gas into a highly pressurized hot gas and then flows into the condenser.
The condenser allows the gas to cool and become a liquid form that is under very high pressure. As this super cool liquid is flowing through the evaporator, it passes through the expansion valve, thus regulating the amount of super cool fluid allowed into the evaporator. The evaporator is located near your vehicle's blower motor. As the motor blows air across the evaporator, air is cooled and pushed into your car.
The accumulator or dryer is a safety feature that is there to catch any of the liquid from making it back to your compressor and ruining it. The compressor is only made to compress gas; thus, any liquid refrigerant that might find its way into the compressor would damage it severely.
- Within the air conditioning compressor are a couple of chambers and pistons that work in a circular motion as the engine's belt turns the pulley. These chambers collect the low pressure gas refrigerant as they open up and squeeze the gas into a high pressure form as the piston makes the available space smaller. It is this function that allows the gas to accumulate heat from the surrounding area and be compressed into a liquid form as it leaves the compressor.