What is the Pressure and Volume Drop?

Choosing the right compressor is just the first step for building the compressor station. An equally important step is the right choice of compressed air distributors, which should be designed so that the pressure and volume drop is as low as possible.

What is the pressure drop?

Pressure drop is usually defines as the pressure drop in the distribution grid between the compressor and the appliance. The main factor that affects the amount of pressure drop is the gauge of the pipe. The smaller the pipe gauge, the greater the friction is and the greater the pressure drop is. The size of the pressure drop should be taken into consideration when designing a pipeline dimension. It is important to find balance between piping gauge so that pressure drop is minimal.

What causes volume drop?

Volume drop or loss of leakage in the distribution grid are often a cause of higher costs on the production of compressed air. The main source of this loss could be badly made welded or pressed joints, selection of poor quality fittings with poor quality gaskets. The amount of volume drop should be within a maximum of 10% of the compressor station performance. In case of higher loss, it is necessary to find its source and try to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

What does reducing the pressure and volume drop do?

Reducing pressure and volume drop can bring financial savings to your compressed air system. Considering the fact that up to 30% of the cost to generate compressed air in a system can be attributed to leakage means higher electricity costs, it is necessary to be careful when considering the choice of not only the pipeline dimension but also of the material and overall design of the distribution grid.

See below table for typical leakage costs 

Hole Diameter (mm)

Air Leakage @ 7Bar(g)

Power to Air Leaks(kW)¹

Cost of Leak (£/Year)²


Cubic feet minute

48 hrs/week³

120 hrs/week³


























¹ Based on 300W/litre  ²Based on 15p/kWh  ³Based on 50 weeks operation per year operation


Source The Carbon Trust