September 2008

Engineering Case Histories

Case 46: Rotary screw compressor failure

Most complex equipment can be simplified

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

Most equipment problems have to be simplified to obtain a practical solution. The results are usually easier to explain to the equipment owners and operators. Here a rotary screw compressor is analyzed using an inexpensive but powerful finite-element program.  Fig. 1    Rotary compressor screws experienced a brief rotor rub. Fig. 1 shows the counter-rotating screws which, under normal operation, were exposed to a gas discharge temperature of 300°F (149°C). A process upset coupled with control problems allowed it to rise to 500°F (260°C) for two minutes before being brought back to normal. Measured vibration values had not c

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