Compressed Air Fundamentals

SKU: C-365Duration: 26 Minutes

Pay-per-view (PPV) format perfect for individual users.

Get immediate access to this interactive eLearning course online. Must be used within 30 days, expires 48 hours after launch.

Language:  English

Great for in-person classroom training or as an alternative to DVD.

Includes printable documents and Convergence Video Player for Windows systems. Content expires after 1 year.

Language:  English

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Course Details


Training Time: 26 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on: Industry Standards and Best Practices

Languages: English

Prepare yourself and your team to work safely with and around compressed air systems. Use this course to get a better understanding of the benefits and uses of compressed air. This course discusses the types of compressors (reciprocating, rotary screw, and centrifugal), the relationship between pressure, temperature and volume, gauge vs. absolute pressure, and air quality considerations. Additional topics include air cooling and drying as well as managing airborne, oil, and moisture contamination.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the importance of a compressed air system
  • Describe the relationship between pressure, temperature and volume
  • Differentiate between gauge and absolute pressure
  • List the benefits and uses of compressed air
  • Identify the major types of compressors
  • List the three major types of contamination in pneumatic systems

Key Questions

The following key questions are answered in this module:

Why is compressed air used to control applications and as a source of mechanical power?
Compressed air contains and can transport energy, and it is therefore a versatile medium frequently used in control applications and as a source of mechanical power in manufacturing and industrial processes.

What is the "Combined Gas Law?"
The "Combined Gas Law" describes that for a given mass of air, as the volume of air is reduced through compression, its pressure and temperature increase in directly proportional increments. The pressure and temperature increases represent the energy which goes into compressing the air.

What is at the heart of any pneumatic system?
The heart of any pneumatic system is its compressor. A compressor is a device that increases the pressure of a gas by reducing its volume through the addition of mechanical energy; this also increases the temperature of the gas.

What is the best way to control mechanically generated heat that is caused by friction?
Heat generated by mechanical friction is controlled through proper lubrication and cooling systems integrated into the compressor. Lube oil coolers remove heat before it is transferred to the air.

What are the three major types of pneumatic system contaminates, and how are they prevented from entering the system?
The three major types of pneumatic system contamination are airborne solid particles, oil vapor and moisture. These airborne contaminants are prevented from entering the system by industrial filters at the intake port of the compressor.

Sample Video Transcript

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

Pressure is the force exerted by a gas against the inner surface of the container or vessel in which it is held. Pressure is usually expressed as a force per unit area or pounds per square inch or PSI. There are two ways of expressing a given pressure. Gauge pressure and absolute pressure. These two methods differ in how they account for atmospheric pressure. Although it may seem that there is no pressure in the air that surrounds us, in scientific terms, there actually is. As a result of being beneath the 18 mile thick layer of air which surrounds the earth, the atmospheric pressure at sea level is 14.7 PSI greater than the absolute zero pressure of deep space. In most situations, we only really care how much pressure exists in excess of atmospheric pressure. This is referred to as gauge pressure. Gauge pressure uses atmospheric pressure as its zero point.

Additional Resources

Use the additional resources and links below to learn more about this topic:

  • U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) –
  • OSHA Safety and Health Topics -
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) –
  • NIOSH Publications -
  • Compressed Air Challenge –
  • Compressed Air Challenge Library -

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