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2009GMC Paper

Efficient Bottle-Less Compressor Pulsation Control: Experimental Test Results

W. Norman Shade, PE & John J. Bazaar - ACI Services, Inc./Glen F. Chatfield, John G. Crandall & Dale K. Wells - Optimum Power Technology

Traditional compressor pulsation attenuation systems are carefully designed combinations of primary and/or secondary volume bottles, often with complex internal choke tubes, baffles, and chambers, as well as various orifice plates installed at specific locations in the system piping. These devices accomplish pulsation control by adding resistance, or damping, to the system; they result in additional system pressure losses upstream and downstream of the compressor cylinders. These pressure losses reduce the overall system efficiency, but the trade-offs are tolerable for most compressor applications. However, for common pipeline transmission applications having low pressure ratios (in the range of about 1.1 to 1.6), system pressure losses can noticeably degrade the overall operating efficiency, especially with the use of higher speed (>600rpm) compressors. Previous GMC papers have reported the results of computer model simulation studies and lab testing of low-pressure reciprocating air compressors with tuned pulsation attenuation networks (PANs). Both the simulations and lab tests showed that properly configured multiple tuned pulsation attenuation networks are effective means of controlling compressor pulsations with little or no resultant system pressure losses. Continuing research has explored additional PAN geometries that completely eliminate the need for traditional pulsation bottles, choke tubes and orifices with the potential for reduced system cost as well as reduced system pressure losses. This paper reports the results of further laboratory testing as well as the first field testing of a discharge PAN system containing no pulsation bottles and no orifices applied to a 750 to 1000 rpm, 6-inch stroke reciprocating compressor. Field test results are compared with predictions for both the PAN system and the original two-bottle system showing the pulsation reduction and system pressure drop.

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