Common Causes of Air Compressor Accidents – Reasons Well Explained!

How to protect air compressors - reasons of air compressors accidents

Compressors are essential power equipment for chemical and petrochemical production. From an energy point of view, a compressor is a machine that converts the power energy of the prime mover into gas pressure energy. With the development of science and technology, the application of pressure energy is becoming more and more extensive, making the compressor one of the indispensable key equipment in many sectors of the national economy. During the operation of the compressor, some failures and even accidents will inevitably occur. Today, the editor from Chengdu Pudding Mechatronic Co. will explain the reasons of the combustion and explosion accidents in compressors and compressor mechanical accidents.

Burning Explosion Accident

In chemical and petrochemical production, compressor combustion and explosion accidents are extremely dangerous, which not only seriously affects safe and stable production, and causes extremely serious economic losses, but also causes casualties and damage to buildings. Therefore, the combustion and explosion accident of the compressor has attracted people’s attention.

The compression medium of the compressor for petrochemical industry is mostly flammable and explosive gas, and it is very easy to leak under high pressure conditions. Flammable gas leaks through defective parts such as cylinder block connections, suction and exhaust valves, flanges, welds and seals of equipment and pipelines; compressor components are fatigued and fractured, and high-pressure gas rushes out to the workshop space; air enters the compressor The system forms an explosive mixture. At this time, if the operation, maintenance and repair are improper or unreasonable during operation, maintenance and repair, the mixture of flammable gas and air that reaches the explosive limit concentration will burn extremely violently when it encounters a fire source. It even caused an explosion.

For oxygen compressors, if flammable gas, grease, rust, paper scraps and other impurities and metal objects are mixed into the oxygen stream, when the lubricating fluid is suddenly interrupted or the supply is too insufficient, it will cause the cylinder to “dry grinding” and cause high temperature. Combustibles react quickly with oxygen under high pressure and high temperature to cause spontaneous combustion. Due to the accumulation of heat and the combustion-supporting of high-pressure oxygen, the combustion can be intensified, causing extremely serious cylinder combustion and explosion accidents.

Petrochemical compressors and air compressors mostly use mineral lubricating oil for cylinder lubrication, which is a combustible substance. When the temperature of the gas rises sharply and exceeds the flash point of the lubricating oil, intense oxidation will occur, and there will be a danger of combustion and explosion. In addition, the lubricating oil molecules that exist in suspension can easily react with oxygen in the air under high temperature and high pressure conditions, especially the oil film attached to the hot metal wall of the exhaust valve and exhaust pipe, and its oxidation is even more serious. Intensified, generating acid, asphalt and other compounds. They are combined with dust in the gas and metal particles generated by mechanical friction, and deposit in the cylinder head, piston ring groove, gas valve, exhaust pipe, buffer tank, oil-water separator and gas storage tank to form carbon deposits.

Carbon deposit is a kind of flammable material. It may cause spontaneous combustion and even explosion under conditions such as high temperature and overheating, accidental mechanical impact, airflow impact, electrical short circuit, external fire and static sparks. A large amount of CO is produced after the coke is burned. When the content of CO in the compressor system reaches 15% to 75%, an explosion will occur, releasing a large amount of heat at the moment of the explosion and generating a strong shock wave. Due to the rapid increase in gas pressure and temperature and the rapid expansion of combustion products, the shock wave propagates and spreads along the direction of the compressed gas flow at supersonic speeds, causing multiple continuous explosions.

During the compressor startup process, the compressor system was started without replacing the air in the compressor system with inert gas or the replacement was not complete (oxygen content exceeded 4% or residual combustibles and other impurities); due to lack of operating knowledge, the compressor was not turned on (Or ice machine) outlet valve and bypass valve cause overpressure; during operation, due to the malfunction of the compressor gas regulation system, the gas pressure is too high, etc., which will cause combustion and explosion accidents.

Chengdu Pudding Mechatronic Co. CPMC is an independent supplier of genuine/original parts, woodworking/industrial tools of blades, aftermarket and OEM compressor parts. We are not affiliated with most manufacturers mentioned in this web site (unless parts are notated as “OEM”). Original Equipment Manufacturer names are the trademarks of each manufacturer. On parts, filters, and lubricant products marked “equivalent” or “replacement,” OEM names and part numbers are for reference only. Working closely with China domestic and international top branded compressors, we are proud to trade a wide range of air compressors, woodworking tools and the related parts with VERY competitive prices.

Chengdu Pudding Mechatronic Co. CPMC will keep updating air Compressors industry news from domestic and abroad. Should have any questions on air products, please feel free to email to

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