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Introduction to Refrigeration

1.1.

The Clausius Statement

Refrigeration and heat pumps are based on the Clausius Statement of the Second Low of thermodynamic (It is impossible to make a cyclic engine whose only effect is to transfer thermal energy from a colder body to a hotter body). Thermal power can be transferred spontaneously from hot reservoir to cold reservoir. However, it is impossible to reverse this process without any external power to support the process. Carnot Refrigeration/heat pump cycle represents the maximum possible performance, even though, the Carnot performance cannot be achieved in practice due to system irreversibility. Thus, any designer has to compare his system performance with Carnot cycle as the reference for Ideal Cycle.

1.2.

Carnot Refr. / H.P.

It is the idealized model for refrigeration and heat pump cycles. The cycle takes the reversed direction of the Carnot engine cycle (it will go anti-clock wise) and work is negative (input work). In Heat pump: useful heat is utilized at the hot reservoir for space heating purpose. In Refrigerator: useful heat is pulled-out from the cold reservoir for space cooling purpose. Since the coefficient of performance (COP) can only depend on the reservoir temperatures, the ratio of heats can only depend on those temperatures:

COP ( Rfr .) 

QC QC  W QH  QC

but for Carnot:

QC QH QC QH

TC  TH TC  TH

COP ( Rfr .) carnot 

TC TH  TC TH TH  TC

COP ( HP ) 

QH QH  but for Carnot: W QH  QC

COP ( HP ) carnot 

Carnot Ref. / H.P. cycle consists of four processes: 1→2: Isentropic compression 2→3: Isothermal / Isobaric heat rejection 3→4: Isentropic expansion 4→1: Isothermal / Isobaric heat gain

1.3.

Actual Refrigeration systems

The performance of the actual refrigeration systems are compared to the Ideal Carnot performance with compression refrigeration system has the highest COP followed by absorption systems then the Bell-Coleman air refrigeration. Actual cycles can be divided based on cooling principle to: Sensible heat (S.H.) cooling and Latent heat (L.H.) cooling.

that presents the temperature drop (as internal energy drop) as the result of gas expansion. From the first low of thermodynamic for closed system: Q = W–dU.3. the following two cooling methods are used: 1. Bell-Coleman cycle It is the reversed cycle of Brayton cycle of gas turbine power system. The Ideal Bell-Coleman Cycle contains: 1→2: Isentropic compression (compressor) 2→3: Isobaric heat rejection (Gas cooler) 3→4: Isentropic expansion (Turbine) 4→1: Isobaric heat gain (Refrigerator) . This cooling effect is based on gas expansion and the cold gas transfers cooling effect through sensible heat.Under the sensible heat cooling effect. and for adiabatic expander (turbine) with Q = 0 → W = –dU .1.

thus. 7. ambient temperature and pressure (point 1) are much lower than normal conditions. Low COP. Hot air (point 3) is cooled down via heat exchanger to point 4 and then expanded through a small air turbine down to comfort conditions (i. . thus. The aircraft ram (R) increases air pressure to point 2 where air at this point is used as cooling medium at the shell-side of the heat exchanger. Bell-Coleman system advantages and disadvantages compared to compression system: 1. Air is the refrigerant. A small amount of compressed air (pint 3) is bled-out to be used in the air-conditioning system. 5. it does not require separate compressor. 1 bar and 300K) at point 5 to be introduced to the passengers pressurized cabin. this system is not used for refrigeration application but for air conditioning. Main jet compressor of the aircraft is used. 2. for on-ground application. flammability hazards. Basic Aircraft Air conditioning system: In aircraft at high altitudes. However. Refrigerant (air) leakage does not arise serious problems. no toxicity. 6.e. Less maintenance requirement. Aircraft main jet compressor compresses air from point 2 to 3. 4. Lower weight for each Ton of refrigeration. COP is: 𝐶𝑂𝑃𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑎𝑙 = 𝑇1 < 𝐶𝑂𝑃𝐶𝑎𝑟𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑇1 − 𝑇2 Actual Bell-Coleman system: The actual system works efficiently as refrigerator/freezer system at high altitudes were atmospheric temperature can be low or negative. Lower volume for each Ton of refrigeration.COP of the polytropic Bell-Coleman cycle is: 𝑛 𝛾 − 1 𝑇2 − 𝑇3 𝐶𝑂𝑃 = 1⁄( )( )[ − 1] 𝑛 − 1 𝛾 𝑇1 − 𝑇4 For Ideal Bell-Coleman (compared to Carnot) with perfect inter-cooling (T1 = T3). 3.

2. from (b to c) temperature decreases.3. However. The adiabatic gas throttling doesn't cause any change in enthalpy. this system can keep food in the range or 5-10ºC. . Ice/water mixture is always at 0ºC and the latent heat of melting is used to remove the cooling load. the following Five cooling methods are used: 1. For actual gases. cooling medium (commonly water) is used to transfer cooling load from the storage house to the ice storage. One of the basic modern Ice refrigeration system is the direct contact system.3. is the oldest method of cooling since the Romanian empire. temperature may increase or decrease or remain constant after throttling. Mixing ice with salt lowering ice melting temperature. For large cooling loads and more efficient cooling. Ice / Dry ice system Using ice for keeping food. temperature increase. This system has higher initial and operation cost and occupies larger volume. the indirect cooling system is used. Air is circulated naturally since cold air at the top drops by its higher density and warmer air is pushed to the top. The term that indicates the magnitude and sign of the temperature change is known as Joule Thomson Coefficient presenting the change in temperature with respect to pressure at constant enthalpy. etc. If the throttling process on constant enthalpy line goes from point (a to b). as they used to refrigerate their food using ice brought from the Icy top of mountains. This process can be used for air conditioning but not for refrigeration. Maximum temperature occurs at point (b) where μ = 0 and the cooling effect starts when μ > 0. meat and fish. Gas throttling system It is one if the lowest COP and cooling capacity systems and it can be used to drop few temperature degrees for compressed gases without any moving mechanical parts using throttle. The resulting temperature will be quite high unless the starting temperature is low. and all shelves are contained in insulated cabinet.1. where ice is kept in upper tray and food is kept in lower tray.3. Under the Latent heat cooling effect.

b.4. This system has the advantage of :(i) Lower temperature. Dry Ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide (CO2) at –78ºC and it transfers from solid state directly to gaseous state. then chilled water is re-circulated to the air conditioning plant. Water in a container is subjected to the vacuum effect. The other system is the snow maker shown below to create snow using compressed air based on same principle. Steam / Gas Jet (evaporation systems) These systems use the steam or gas pressure to create vacuum through a venture-based vacuum generator.Different temperature levels can be set for different type of foods by adjusting water flow rate in the valves (a. 1. Compressed gas or air can work exactly as the steam-jet system but without the steam condenser.3. (iii) No contamination between food and non-pure ice. (ii) Better load and temperature control. etc. Lowering water pressure lowers the boiling temperature to room temperature and water starts to evaporate drawing out the cooling load with the Latent heat of evaporation. .). water is sprayed to the flash chamber under vacuum and some of water evaporates cooling the rest of water. In the steam jet system.

 Heat transfer (2-3 & 4-1) can be almost isothermal but in any heat exchanger. there will be temperature difference between the two heat transfer fluids (Th & Th'). Throttling is used but it increases entropy significantly. Moreover.3.5. Spray cooling system: It is similar to the previous system but with more efficient heat transfer since gas is sprayed directly to the food providing extreme contact surface area but with the risk of contamination. Thus. such system can be installed at lower costs in lorries carrying frozen foods. Liquid gas containers Containers with liquefied gases such as Nitrogen and Carbon dioxide can keep an insulated space at freezing temperatures as low as –30ºC and the warm gas can then be released into environment safely. the spray system has much lower system cost since no heat exchanger is required. liquid gas evaporates inside the cold plates and it is pushed by the high pressure inside container until it is released to the atmosphere outside the vehicle. –30ºC).g.1. thus. 1.  The use of expander (turbine) (3-4) is more efficient but usually not desirable due to its high cost.3. Plate cooling system: One of the designs is to cool the food indirectly via plate heat exchanger at the walls of the container. reducing the cycle efficiency.6. How close could compression system be to Carnot cycle? Carnot cycle cannot be applied in practice for the following reasons:  Two-phase (wet) compression (1-2) is not practical since it will damage the compressor. . The valve of the liquefied gas tank is controlled by a temperature sensor and releases the gas when temperature increases above set point (e. Compression system This system has the highest COP among refrigeration systems and the cooling effect is based on latent heat of the refrigerant agent.

Using flash tank. high amount of thermal power is required to separate the refrigerant from the absorbent. gas is absorbed by a suitable liquid absorber and the compressor is replaced by a pump to increase its pressure but with much lower required power. 2. Cooling capacity One of the main factors in the design of the refrigeration system is the cooling capacity and load. Ideal Compression cycle:  The area under 4-1 presents the cooling load and it is lower than Carnot cooling (d-a). Sub-cooling the condenser. Using turbo expander instead of throttling. The common standard to describe system capacity is Ton Refrigeration that is equivalent to the thermal power to be removed from one ton of ice (as Latent heat only) within 24 hours.  Reducing the net work by: A. however.5 kW .  The area 1-2s -3-4 presents the required net work and it is significantly higher than Carnot new work (a-b-c-d). How to increase compression cycle performance?  Elevating TL. This system will be discussed thoroughly in the following chapters. Using turbo expander instead of throttling. 3. Pumping power is negligible. Absorption system This system works on the exact same method of the compression system except for the gas compression.4. The gas compressor takes a considerable amount of power.  The area under 2s-3 presents the heat rejection and it is significantly higher than Carnot (b-c).  Increasing cooling load QL by: 1. thus. 1. pressure drop and heat losses causes a deviation in all the straight line processes.  lowering TH.7. Also. B. Using multistage compression with inter-cooling.3. 1Ton Refrigeration ≈ 3. 1.