Flow Visualization and Experimental Measurement of Compressor Oil Separator

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents basic separation mechanisms with coalescing/impinging separators studied as the add-on to current popular centrifugal designs. The coalescence and impingement of oil on wire mesh and wave-plates are visualized and tested to investigate the impact of geometry and flow conditions on oil separation efficiency. Re-entrainment phenomenon is explained based on the mass balance. Oil mist flow at the swashplate reciprocating compressor discharge is quantified by video processing method to provide detailed information of the oil droplets. The physics behind oil separator is illustrated by visualization and measurement in this study, which gives useful guidelines for oil separator design and operation. The flow visualization shows the details of oil passing through different oil separation structures. Videos are quantified to provide information like droplet size distribution and liquid volume fraction. Experimental measurement shows that effective separation efficiency decreases when vapor velocity goes up. This is because higher vapor velocity brings higher liquid volume fraction and smaller droplets and higher vapor velocity will makes more trapped oil re-entrained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSAE International Journal of Passenger Cars - Mechanical Systems
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018


  • Compressor
  • Flow visualization
  • Oil
  • Separation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanical Engineering


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