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Oil drag loss in oil-flooded, twin-screw compressors

Abdan, S., Stosic, N. ORCID: 0000-0001-8034-4046, Kovacevic, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-8732-2242 , Smith, I. & Asati, N. (2022). Oil drag loss in oil-flooded, twin-screw compressors. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part E: Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering, doi: 10.1177/09544089221115493


Rotary twin screw compressors are widely used because of their high efficiency and reliability. Their most common mode of operation is as oil-flooded machines when delivering air and gases at moderate pressures and flow rates. In order to achieve the best performance, it is essential to be able to predict the optimum amount of oil, required for the oil injection process, accurately. Analytical procedures for the design and performance estimation of twin screw compressors are well developed and widely available, but the determination of oil drag losses, in oil-flooded machines is only guesstimated. This paper describes a more detailed and accurate procedure for estimating oil drag loss, using a combined Couette-Poiseuille flow model and gives the results of studies on three sizes of machines operating over a range of pressure ratios and speeds. To this end, a parametric analysis has been developed based on a combined Couette-Poiseuille flow model and has been used to estimate the individual effects of pressure ratio, the various clearances and the oil viscosity on the total drag loss, for different sizes of the compressor. It can be seen from the results that at pressure ratios of up to 8.5, the drag loss due to the discharge axial clearance gap is nearly 2/3rd of the total, while nearly 1/3rd is due to the radial clearance. At normal operating speeds, the loss due to the interlobe clearance is insignificant, but as the pressure ratio increases, this rises more rapidly than that due to the axial and radial losses. The gain in the drag loss due to greater oil viscosity becomes more significant as the compressor size is increased. In larger machines, when clearance values are increased, the radial and axial elements of the drag loss are reduced more rapidly than that due to the interlobe loss.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Publisher Keywords: Energy efficiency, oil drag, radial clearance, axial clearance, interlobe clearance, screw compressor
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

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