To understand how a pneumatic motor works, it's important to first know what a pneumatic motor is. A pneumatic motor is a mechanism that takes compressed air and converts it into energy that is then used for mechanical work. The motors can be found in industrial applications, where piston actuators or a diaphragm produce linear motion. In addition to linear motion, pneumatic motors also are capable of producing rotary motion. This type of motion is produced by a piston air motor or an air motor that's similar to a vane. Each type of motor has a different function. For example, natural gas or diesel engines are started using the vane type of air motors that produce rotary motion.


Rotary pneumatic motors work when the energy from the compressed air is stored up and then routed to the motor chamber, which is sealed. The pressure gets blown out, and makes the rotor turn quickly. When the rotors begin to turn quickly, the motion is similar to that of a windmill. The engine's flywheel is turned by the air starter or the pinion gear when high torque levels are created by the reduction gears.


Pneumatic motors pop up in a variety of places and products. They can be found in tire shops where air guns are used. They are used in hand-held tools such as cutters, wrenches, ratchets, sanders, drills or grinders. The motors in hand-held tools are much smaller than those used for industrial purposes, however. Though the power of hand tools with pneumatic motors are relatively low, they are sometimes used instead of their electric counterparts because they are light and compact. In addition, they do not have to be charged like electric tools.