Fans, Blowers, and Compressors: What are Their Differences?

Within the realm of mechanical engineering, turbomachinery refers to any equipment that is capable of transferring energy between a rotor and a fluid. Extracting or adding energy, turbomachinery will typically take advantage of a fluid such as a liquid or gas. Fans, blowers, and compressors are all common types of turbomachinery, and it is important to understand their distinctions as they perform different roles in similar applications.

A fan is a type of apparatus that will feature a set of blades that rotate, allowing for a current of air to be produced for the means of cooling a space or achieving ventilation. Typically, fans will exhibit pressure ratios reaching up to 1.11, a pressure ratio being defined as the ratio of fan discharge pressure to fan inlet pressure. As compared to other examples of turbomachinery, the pressure ratio of fans is quite low as the device only needs to overcome its own losses that are caused by its accompanying blades, fan cage, and downstream mixing losses. Most of the time, fans are used to direct large amounts of a gas where major increases in pressure are not crucial or necessary.

A blower, or centrifugal fan, is a type of device that is capable of directing and imparting air and other various gasses at an angle. As compared to a typical fan, a blower will feature ducted housing that moves output air in a particular direction or across a heat sink. Centrifugal fans are often employed within ducted applications, allowing for air to be drawn through ductwork or pushed through assemblies. Blowers have pressure rises that slightly exceed fans, sitting around 1.2. While not much higher, this increase in pressure allows for blower equipment to excel in situations where resistance is higher than what a fan could handle. To create more velocity, blowers rely on their heating element and nozzle that help increase flow. Generally, a blower can be understood as an equipment piece that directs a decent amount of air across a moderate system resistance.

For instances in which a pressure rise of 1.2 or lower is insufficient, a compressor can be utilized. Compressors are devices that are specifically designed for the pressurization of gas, rather than for directing it. A common example of a compressor is one found within an aircraft, ensuring that atmospheric air is compressed to a value that is sufficient for optimal fuel-and-air combustion to generate propulsion. In some applications, there may be a significant amount of system losses; thus, it necessitates the use of a compressor to maintain operations. When compared to an air furnace blower or cooling fan, a compressor exhibits a low volumetric flow rate. Nevertheless, they can have large flow rates if they are designed with such abilities in mind, and thus pressure ratios that surpass 1.2 are not entirely rare. As a result, compressors can be procured across a wide range of flow rates to accommodate many different needs.

At Parts Circuit, we are a leading distributor of turbomachinery equipment. As such, customers can procure fans, blowers, compressors, pumps, nozzles, impellers, and other turbomachinery equipment that serves various military and civilian applications. With AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation, we guarantee top-quality items on every order for the benefit of our customers. Furthermore, we guarantee expedited shipping for domestic and international orders to meet any time constraint. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our offered services, we invite you to get in touch with one of our representatives through phone or email. As we are available 24/7x365, we look forward to fulfilling all your part needs at Parts Circuit!


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