You are on page 1of 6


A refrigerant is a substance used in a heat cycle usually including, for enhanced efficiency, a reversible phase change from a liquid to a gas. Traditionally, fluorocarbons, especially chlorofluorocarbons, were used as refrigerants, but they are being phased out because of their ozone depletion effects. Other common refrigerants used in various applications are ammonia,sulfur dioxide,and non halogenated hydrocarbons such as methane

Natural refrigerants such as ammonia, carbon dioxide and non-halogenated hydrocarbons preserve the ozone layer and have no (ammonia) or only a low (carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons) global warming potential.[3] They are used in air-conditioning systems for buildings, in sport and leisure facilities, in the chemical/pharmaceutical industry, in the automotive industry and above all in the food industry (production, storage, retailing). New applications are opening up for natural refrigerants for example in vehicle air-conditioning. Emissions from automotive air-conditioning are a growing concern because of their impact on climate change. From 2011 on, the European Union will phase out refrigerants with a global warming potential (GWP) of more than 150 in automotive air conditioning (GWP = 100 year warming potential of one kilogram of a gas relative to one kilogram of CO 2). This will ban potent greenhouse gases such as the refrigerant HFC-134awhich has a GWP of 1410to promote safe and energy-efficient refrigerants. One of the most promising alternatives is the natural refrigerant CO2 (R-744). Carbon dioxide is non-flammable, non-ozone depleting, has a global warming potential of 1, but is toxic and potentially lethal in concentrations above 5% by volume. R-744 can be used as a working fluid in climate control systems for cars, residential air conditioning, hot water pumps, commercial refrigeration, and vending machines. R12 is compatible with mineral oil, while R134a is compatible with synthetic oil that contains esters. GM has announced that it will start using Hydrofluoro olefin, HFO-1234yf, in all of its brands by 2013.

This new refrigerant is not a blend and has a GWP rating of 4 due. The compounds instability lends greatly to its reputation as an earth-friendly coolant, and should also help to facilitate sales of both refills and replacement parts as well. Dimethyl ether (DME) is also gaining popularity as a refrigerant,[7] but like propane, it is also dangerously flammable. Some refrigerants are seeing rising use as recreational drugs, leading to an extremely dangerous phenomenon known as inhalant abuse.

Air has been used for residential, automobile, and turbine-powered aircraft air-conditioning and/or cooling. The reason why air is not more widely used as a general-purpose refrigerant is the mis perception that the use of air is too inefficient to be practical. Yet, with suitable compression and expansion technology, air can be a practical (albeit not the most efficient) refrigerant, free of the possibility of environmental contamination or damage, and almost completely harmless to plants and animals.

The simplest, and most popular refrigerant is water. With an excellent toxicity profile, extremely low cost, vast availability, and no need for disposal worry, anybody can build a water-based cooling system. The simplest cooling systems, known as swamp coolers in the south-west United States, do not even need power for a compressor, merely a blower fan evaporated water is simply vented to the living space, where it serves to increase humidity also. However, drawbacks are multiple and severe as well. The total cooling power of the units is limited by the fact that neither coolant nor air is recirculated. A swamp cooled home will have a constant supply of fresh, not too-dry air, but if the air outside is already humid, cooling power is severely limited. This is why such units are not found in areas of frequent and high humidity, such as the south-east United States. Furthermore, if the temperature outside is severely too hot, such as over 110 degrees F, the unit will not cool the air sufficiently for comfort even if the dew point outside is very low. While the vast majority of the green house effect is due to water vapor in the air, the amount of water added to the air by swamp coolers is insignificant compared to that which evaporates from the world's oceans, giving swamp coolers a very earth friendly profile.

Air conditioning is the removal of heat from indoor air for thermal comfort. In another sense, the term can refer to any form of cooling, heating, ventilation, or disinfection that modifies the condition of air.[1] An air conditioner (often referred to as AC or air con) is anappliance, system, or machine designed to change the air temperature and humidity within an area (used for cooling as well as heating depending on the air properties at a given time), typically using a refrigeration cycle but sometimes using evaporation, commonly for comfort cooling in buildings and motor vehicles.


Air-conditioning engineers broadly divide air-conditioning applications into what they call comfort and process applications. Comfort applications aim to provide a building indoor environment that remains relatively constant despite changes in external weather conditions or in internal heat loads. Air conditioning makes deep plan buildings feasible, for otherwise they would have to be built narrower or with light wells so that inner spaces received sufficient outdoor air via natural ventilation. Air conditioning also allows buildings to be taller, since wind speed increases significantly with altitude making natural ventilation impractical for very tall buildings Comfort applications are quite different for various building types and may be categorized as Low-Rise Residential buildings, including single family houses, duplexes, and small apartment buildings High-Rise Residential buildings, such as tall dormitories and apartment blocks Commercial buildings, which are built for commerce, including offices, malls, shopping centers, restaurants, etc. Institutional buildings, which includes government buildings, hospitals, schools, etc. Industrial spaces where thermal comfort of workers is desired. Sports Stadiums recently, stadiums have been built with air conditioning, such as the University of Phoenix Stadium and in Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The structural impact of an air conditioning unit will depend on the type and size of the unit. In addition to buildings, air conditioning can be used for many types of transportation motorcars, buses and other land vehicles, trains, ships, aircraft, and spacecraft.

Process applications aim to provide a suitable environment for a process being carried out, regardless of internal heat and humidity loads and external weather conditions. It is the needs of the process that determine conditions, not human preference. Process applications include these:

Hospital operating theatres, in which air is filtered to high levels to reduce infection risk and the humidity controlled to limit patient dehydration. Although temperatures are often in the comfort range, some specialist procedures, such as open heart surgery, require low temperatures (about 18 C, 64 F) and others, such as neonatal, relatively high temperatures (about 28 C, 82 F). Cleanrooms for the production of integrated circuits, pharmaceuticals, and the like, in which very high levels of air cleanliness and control of temperature and humidity are required for the success of the process. Facilities for breeding laboratory animals. Since many animals normally reproduce only in spring, holding them in rooms in which conditions mirror those of spring all year can cause them to reproduce year-round. Data centers Textile manufacturing Physical testing facilities Plants and farm growing areas Nuclear power facilities Chemical and biological laboratories Mining Industrial environments Food cooking and processing areas


In both comfort and process applications, the objective may be to not only control temperature, but also humidity, air quality, and air movement from space to space.