Centrifugal n

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Compressors are often described as being either open, hermetic, or semi-hermetic, to describe how the compressor and motor drive is situated in relation to the gas or vapour being compressed. Theindustry name for a hermetic is hermetically sealed compressor, while a semi- is commonly called a semi-hermetic compressor.

In hermetic and most semi-hermetic compressors, the compressor and motordriving the compressor are integrated, and operate within the pressurized gas envelope of the system. The motor is designed to operate and be cooled by the gas or vapour being compressed.

Thedifference between the hermetic and semi-hermetic, is that the hermetic uses a one-piece welded steel casing that cannot be opened for repair; if the hermetic fails it is simply replaced with an entire newunit. A semi-hermetic uses a large cast metal shell with gasketed covers that can be opened to replace motor and pump components.

The primary advantage of a hermetic and semi-hermetic is that thereis no route for the gas to leak out of the system. Open compressors rely on either natural leather or synthetic rubber seals to retain the internal pressure, and these seals require a lubricant suchas oil to retain their sealing properties.

An open pressurized system such as an automobile air conditioner can leak its operating gases, if it is not operated frequently enough. Open systems relyon lubricant in the system to splash on pump components and seals. If it is not operated frequently enough, the lubricant on the seals slowly evaporates, and then the seals begin to leak until thesystem is no longer functional and must be recharged. By comparison, a hermetic system can sit unused for years, and can usually be started up again at any time without requiring maintenance orexperiencing any loss of system pressure.

The disadvantage of hermetic compressors is that the motor drive cannot be repaired or maintained, and the entire compressor must be removed if a motor fails. A...
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