A picture of a man in a wheelchair, moving through a series of underground fountains

Strange uses of compressed air


If you work in engineering, manufacturing or a host of other industries, you probably have at least one air compressor on site. You may already have a service contract with Simm Engineering, or have taken advantage of our free Energy Audit offer to see how you can save on costs and energy bills.

But what about the less obvious uses of compressed air? We’ve done a little investigating and have come up with five you may not have thought about.

1. Scream if you want to go faster

Anyone who has visited a theme park will have almost certainly been on a ride powered by compressed air.

In April 2017, Morgan’s Wonderland, a Texas theme park created for people with disabilities, announced that visitors could use its newly designed motorised wheelchairs, which run on compressed air. Even better, they are waterproof, so wheelchair users can still enjoy the specially designed splash park.

2. Magic movie moments

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen the film Fight Club, look away now. On a DVD about the movie’s special effects, they give away a secret about how they simulated the blast from a gun through Edward Norton’s cheek using an air compressor.

It was an extremely effective special effect, although, according to the actor, a pretty painful experience!

3. Keep taking the pills

The pharmaceutical industry is a major user of compressed air, for applications such as moving product and creating air curtains to ensure an area is kept clean and free of contamination.

However, another use is to apply coatings on to pills and tablets. This can be to make them easier to swallow, mask an unpleasant taste and/or modify how the pill is absorbed into the body, as some coatings are designed to survive the acidic conditions of the stomach and break down in the intestines instead.

4. You know the drill…

Dental work can be a right pain in the mouth, but imagine what it was like before compressed air was harnessed to power the dentist’s tools.

Because air from a dental compressor ends up in the patient’s mouth, it’s vitally important that it’s clean. And because a dentist doesn’t want to get half way into a procedure and suffer a breakdown, it’s essential to keep dental air compressors serviced and well maintained.

5. Surfs up

Anyone into surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding or similar pursuits will almost certainly be using a board that has been decorated using an airbrush.

Airbrushes are, of course, powered by compressed air, and allow even amateur artists to add a creative touch to their boards before putting them through their paces.

For further information on our compressed air products and systems, contact Simm Engineering on 0114 244 0764; sales@simmengineeringgroup.co.uk.