What is an air chamber used for?

An air chamber is a pulsation damping device. It reduces the pulsation of a reciprocating pump and contributes to a stable liquid flow by utilizing the compressibility of the air in the chamber. An air chamber can mitigate the various problems caused by pulsation, such as pipe vibration and supercharging phenomenon. Water hammer, also called hydraulic shock, is “a concussion sound when moving water against the sides of a pipe or container,” (Illinois State Plumbing Code).

Water hammer is the result of a rapid deceleration of water flow in an enclosed space, such as a pipe. There are a few ways to solve this problem, which require simple parts and technical knowledge. A water hammer suppressor, for example, is a device used to absorb pressure increase when the flow of water suddenly stops. A device called an air chamber may be required instead of a mechanical water hammer suppressor.

An air chamber is an extension of the water supply pipe near the pipe fitting that provides the air cushion to absorb hydraulic shock. If you look at the image below, the pink lines you see are the actual “air chambers”, while the other lines are the hot and cold water supply, and the drain and vent pipes. In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, air pressure increases two to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, the lungs can accumulate much more oxygen than would be possible to breathe pure oxygen at normal air pressure.

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