It is shown that the dilatational terms that need to be modelled in compressible turbulence include not only the pressure-dilatation term but also another term - the compressible dissipation. The nature of the compressible velocity field, which generates these dilatational terms, is explored by asymptotic analysis of the compressible Navier-Stokes equations in the case of homogeneous turbulence. The lowest-order equations for the compressible field are solved and explicit expressions for some of the associated one-point moments are obtained. For low Mach numbers, the compressible mode has a fast timescale relative to the incompressible mode. Therefore, it is proposed that, in moderate Mach number homogeneous turbulence, the compressible component of the turbulence is in quasi-equilibrium with respect to the incompressible turbulence. A non-dimensional parameter which characterizes this equilibrium structure of the compressible mode is identified. Direct numerical simulations (DNS) of isotropic, compressible turbulence are performed, and their results are found to be in agreement with the theoretical analysis. A model for the compressible dissipation is proposed; the model is based on the asymptotic analysis and the direct numerical simulations. This model is calibrated with reference to the DNS results regarding the influence of compressibility on the decay rate of isotropic turbulence. An application of the proposed model to the compressible mixing layer has shown that the model is able to predict the dramatically reduced growth rate of the compressible mixing layer.