You are on page 1of 24

VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3 HVAC&R RESEARCH JULY 2004

307
Modeling of Hermetic Scroll Compressors:
Model Validation and Application
Yu Chen Eckhard A. Groll, Ph.D. James E. Braun, Ph.D., P.E.
Member ASHRAE Member ASHRAE
A detailed model for hermetic scroll compressors was presented in a companion paper. The cur-
rent paper presents validation results for this model based upon detailed experimental measure-
ments and application of the model to study the impact of design changes. The experimental
study included a range of operating conditions that were controlled using a hot gas bypass com-
pressor load stand. The model was validated in terms of overall performance predictions
(refrigerant mass flow rate, discharge temperature, and compressor power consumption) and
predictions of internal measurements (refrigerant pressures within the scrolls as a function of
orbiting angle, temperatures along the scroll wraps, and temperatures at various points within
the shell). The model performed very well in terms of predicting overall performance and was
adequate in predicting the internal measurements. The parametric modeling study identifies
some areas for potential improvement. Most significantly, a relative improvement of about 5%
in overall compressor efficiency can be achieved through small changes in the scroll geometry.
INTRODUCTION
The first comprehensive compressor model of a hermetic scroll compressor was presented by
Chen et al. (2002a, 2002b). This model was validated using overall performance measurements
for an R-22 compressor. A companion paper describes significant improvements to the original
model. As a result of these improvements and application to a new R-410A compressor, it was
necessary to provide additional validation of the model. Furthermore, there was a need to pro-
vide more detailed validation of the model, including its ability to predict the proper refrigerant
pressures within the scrolls as a function of orbiting angle, the temperature distribution within
the scroll wraps, and temperatures within the shell. The current paper addresses these validation
issues. In addition, the validated model was used to perform a parametric study on the effect of
important design parameters on system performance, including the effect of radial and flank
leakage areas, heat transfer between the refrigerant, and scroll geometry. More details on the
experimental methods, model validation, and parametric study can be found in Chen (2000).
OVERALL COMPRESSOR MEASUREMENTS
A hot gas bypass load stand was used to control operating conditions for testing the compres-
sor described in Chen et al. (2004). In the hot gas bypass load stand, the discharged refrigerant
flow is split, and one part of this flow bypasses the condenser and is directly expanded back to
the suction side of the compressor, whereas the other portion of the flow undergoes a phase
change in the condenser and is expanded and then mixed with the bypassed flow before it is
returned to the compressor. The advantage of this type of load stand is that no evaporator and a
smaller condenser are needed. It provides a relatively easy way to control the external compres-
sor operating conditions while maintaining extremely stable steady-state characteristics.
A schematic of the hot gas bypass load stand is shown in Figure 1. The different states that the
refrigerant assumes during one cycle can best be shown by means of the schematic and P-h dia-
gram given in Figure 2. At point 1, the superheated refrigerant is drawn into the compressor and
Yu Chen is with United Technologies Research Center, East Hartford, Conn. Eckhard A. Groll is an associate professor
and James E. Braun is a professor at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. Part I of this article appeared in the
April 2004 issue of HVAC&R Research, Volume 10, Issue 2.
308 HVAC&R RESEARCH
compressed to discharge pressure and temperature at point 2. After being discharged, the refrig-
erant goes through an expansion valve (EEV) to point 2', and then the flow is divided into two
streams. One part of the flow is directly expanded to point 5, where it is still in the superheated
region at suction pressure, whereas the other flow is condensed and subcooled in a condenser to
point 3. From point 3, the subcooled refrigerant expands through an expansion valve into the
two-phase region at suction pressure at point 4. If the appropriate ratio of mass flow rates
between the bypassed refrigerant flow and the condensed flow is found, the two flows at points
4 and 5 can be mixed together and returned to the superheated state at point 1. However, at
start-up, if the mixing state, defined as point 6, of the bypassed flow and the two-phase flow
from the condenser are below the saturation temperature of the actual pressure, a heater is
Figure 1. Hot gas bypass load stand.
Figure 2. Pressure and enthalpy for the load stand.
VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, JULY 2004 309
needed to add extra heat to the flow to prevent liquid going into the compressor. An additional
electronic expansion valve was installed on the discharge of the compressor to accurately con-
trol the discharge pressure. Pressure transducers and temperature thermocouples were installed
on the suction and discharge of the compressor to measure the suction pressure, suction temper-
ature, discharge pressure, and discharge temperature. A mass flow meter was installed behind
the oil separator to measure the mass flow rate of the refrigerant. Details about the pressure,
temperature, and mass flow instrumentation are described by Chen (2000).
The operating conditions chosen for the design of the load stand are listed in Table 1.
DETAILED COMPRESSOR MEASUREMENTS
Definition of Various Compressor Chambers
As shown in Figure 3, different compressor chambers are referred to by numbers (see Chen et
al. [2002a]). The suction chamber with its suction port located directly next to the suction line
inlet is labeled chamber 1; the suction chamber connected via the channel line is called chamber
2. Chamber 3 is the compression chamber that developed from chamber 1 and chamber 4 is the
one that developed from chamber 2. As the compression chambers open up to the discharge
region, chamber 3 becomes chamber 5 and chamber 4 becomes chamber 6. The innermost por-
tion is labeled chamber 7. If the pressures in chamber 5 and chamber 7 have equalized, both
chambers are treated as one control volume, chamber 8, and if the pressures in chamber 6 and
chamber 7 have equalized, the control volume will be labeled chamber 9. In the case where the
pressures in all three chambers of 5, 6, and 7 have equalized, the entire control volume will be
treated as chamber 10.
Table 1. Operating Conditions of the Compressor Load Stand
Parameters Operating Conditions
Evaporating temperature 25C ~ 15C
Condensing temperature 25C ~ 65C
Subcooling 10C
Superheat 10C
Figure 3. Definition of various compressor chambers.
310 HVAC&R RESEARCH
Pressure Measurements
Dynamic pressure transducers were used to measure the instantaneous pressures of the refrig-
erant in each compressor chamber. Since the orbiting scroll rotates at a working speed of
roughly 3600 rpm and the size of the scrolls for the currently investigated compressor is rela-
tively small (scroll outside radius is 36.8 mm), pressure transducers that have fast response and
small size had to be used. Specifications of the pressure transducers chosen for this study are
given in Table 2.
Since the output voltage of the sensor is proportional to the pressure that the sensor measures,
pressure can be determined by measuring voltage. Certificate calibration of the sensor was sup-
plied by the manufacturer.
Six pressure transducers were used and their locations were identified so that each pressure
sensor is associated with a certain compressor chamber and capable of keeping track of the pres-
sure of the refrigerant in that specific compressor chamber for most of one revolution of the
scroll. Table 3 lists the positions of the pressure transducers and the index number of the com-
pressor chambers associated with each of the pressure transducers. The values of X and Y are the
coordinates of the pressure transducers relative to the center of the scroll.
Figure 4 shows the position of the pressure transducers. Sensors 1 to 6 are labeled as P1, P2
to P6. The dotted line shows the location and the shape of the discharge valve. Since this dis-
charge valve is very delicate, pressure transducers 5 and 6 had to be located at the edge of the
valve. Pressure transducers 5 and 6 were originally expected to measure the pressure of cham-
bers 5 and 6, respectively, for one entire revolution. The relocation meant that sensor 5 could
only measure the pressure of chamber 5 for orbiting angles between about 0 and 270, and sen-
sor 6 could measure the pressure of chamber 6 between 0 and 280. However, since chambers 5
and 6 do not exist after an orbiting angle of 180, the relocation of sensors 5 and 6 did not result
in any lost information. It was found that chamber 7 is directly connected to the discharge port;
therefore, no sensors could be installed in the chamber to measure the pressure of chamber 7.
Table 2. Specifications of the Dynamic Pressure Transducers
Natural resonant frequency 500 kHz
Maximum pressure 6895 kPa
Operating temperature 73C ~ 135C
Input current 2 mA ~ 20 mA
Table 3. Position of the Pressure Transducers
Pressure
Transducer
No.
Involute Angle
Relative to the
Fixed
Scroll (degree)
Close to
Inner /
Outer
Scroll Wrap
X
(mm)
Y
(mm)
Chambers that
the Pressure
Transducers Measure
1 766.35 Outer 19.8022 16.2502 Chamber 1
2 966.35 Inner 27.5247 9.9682 Chamber 2
3 426.35 Outer 13.7843 3.9513 Chamber 3
4 621.35 Inner 17.7975 0.7753 Chamber 4
5 156.35 Outer 0.3411 5.5401 Chamber 5/8 (0270)
Chamber 3 (270360)
6 326.35 Inner 2.7756 7.6166 Chamber 6/9 (0270)
Chamber 4 (270360)
VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, JULY 2004 311
The pressure transducers could not always measure refrigerant pressure throughout one revo-
lution of the orbiting scroll. There is a certain period of time during each revolution where the
pressure transducer is not in equilibrium with the refrigerant. This is due to the following two
reasons. First, whenever the orbiting scroll passes the pressure transducer, the sensor is covered
by the orbiting scroll and does not contact the refrigerant. Second, after the orbiting scroll passes
the pressure transducer, the sensor suddenly contacts the refrigerant that has much lower pres-
sure than the refrigerant that the sensor contacted before the orbiting scroll passed it. The refrig-
erant trapped in the volume between the sensor and the orbiting scroll needs some time to
expand before equilibrium is achieved.
Orbiting Angle Measurements
The orbiting angle of the rotating scroll needs to be measured simultaneously with the instan-
taneous pressure so that the pressure of the refrigerant in each chamber can be plotted as a func-
tion of the orbiting angle. It was found that the distance d
fixed_orbiting
between the fixed scroll
and the orbiting scroll at the beginning of the suction chamber has the following relation with
the orbiting angle:
(1)
Therefore, the orbiting angle can be determined from a distance measurement.
A photoelectric sensor was mounted to measure distance (see Figure 4) to the orbiting scroll.
The optical sensor emits light to the orbiting scroll. Since the intensity of the light reflected by
the orbiting scroll is a function of the distance, the distance was determined by measuring the
intensity of the light using a light detector. It was found that the oil in the refrigerant influences
the intensity of the reflected light. Since the concentration of oil in the refrigerant could not be
determined, the exact relation between the intensity of the light and the distance could not be
obtained. However, it was found that whenever the orbiting scroll is closest to the fixed scroll,
the intensity of the reflected light is the highest. Therefore, when the voltage output of the light
detector reaches a maximum, the distance between the orbiting scroll and the fixed scroll
becomes the smallest, which corresponds to an orbiting angle of zero. Since Ishii et al. (1988)
reported that angular speed fluctuation of the orbiting scroll is very small (below 0.5%), the
Figure 4. Positions of the pressure transducers (p1 to p6), optical sensor, and thermocou-
ples (t1 to t6).
d
fixed_orbiting
r
o
1 cos ( ) =
312 HVAC&R RESEARCH
angular velocity was assumed to be constant during one revolution of the orbiting scroll. The
measured voltage of the light detector changes with a period of 2. Thus, orbiting angles 0 and
2 correspond to the two peaks of the voltage output, and the angles in between 0 and 2 were
distributed evenly due to the assumption of the constant angular speed.
Temperature Measurements
In order to calculate the heat transfer between the refrigerant and the compressor scrolls, tem-
peratures of the scrolls need to be known. Six thermocouples were used to measure the tempera-
ture distribution along the fixed scroll wrap. The locations of thermocouples were chosen so that
the length of the scroll between each two thermocouples was equal (see Figure 4). The thermo-
couples were submerged into the fixed scroll so that the tip of the thermocouple was at one half
of the height of the scroll wrap. Positions of the thermocouples are given in Table 4. The values
of X and Y are the coordinates of the thermocouples relative to the center of the scroll.
In addition, to validate the temperature prediction of the overall compressor model, thermo-
couples were used to measure the temperatures of the suction pipe, the motor windings, the
lubricating oil, and the compressor shell. Type-T thermocouples were used due to their high
accuracy (0.1C).
New Compressor Shell
Figure 5 is a photo of the head of the compressor showing the installation of the pressure
transducers, the photoelectric sensor, and the thermocouples. Part of the original compressor
shell needed to be removed in order to mount the pressure transducers and thermocouples. A
new larger pressure-tight shell was built to accommodate the mounted sensors (see Figure 6).
Wires of the pressure transducers and thermocouples come out of the compressor through the
pressure-sealed pass-throughs mounted on the flange of the compressor. The new shell of the
compressor was significantly larger than the original shell. In order to minimize the influence of
the new shell, an iron rod was installed behind the original compressor to reduce the volume
between the original compressor and the new shell, as shown in Figure 6.
VALIDATION OF OVERALL PERFORMANCE PREDICTIONS
Measurements of mass flow rate, power input, and discharge temperature were first per-
formed for the scroll compressor in its original shell. The measurements were taken for fifteen
different operating conditions, as given in Table 5, labeled OP1 to OP15. All measurements
were taken for a driving frequency of 60 Hz and a superheat of 10C. The operating pressures
and temperatures fluctuated around their setpoints, with fluctuations of 5 kPa for the pressures
and 1C for the suction temperatures. These fluctuations led to fluctuations in mass flow rate of
1 kg/h, discharge temperature of 1C, and power input of 20 W.
Table 4. Positions of the Thermocouples
Thermocouple
No.
Involute
Angle Relative
to Fixed Scroll
Position Relative
To Inner / Outer
Scroll Wrap
X
(mm)
Y
(mm)
Length from
Thermocouple to
the Center
(mm)
1 639.7652 Middle 3.5747 8.8865 35.3698
2 479.3371 Middle 10.6150 10.3949 99.8620
3 336.0976 Middle 19.4998 1.9962 181.6094
4 239.2380 Middle 4.7107 22.3256 249.8076
5 154.5168 Middle 25.4869 2.7271 318.0058
6 78.2666 Middle 3.9336 27.8916 386.2039
VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, JULY 2004 313

Table 5. The Fifteen Operating Points
Parameters of
the Operating
Points
T
cond
= 25C
P
cond
=
1646 kPa
T
cond
= 30C
P
cond
=
1876 kPa
T
cond
= 35C
P
cond
=
2131 kPa
T
cond
= 40
P
cond
=
2410 kPa
T
cond
= 45C
P
cond
=
2718 kPa
T
evap
= 10C
P
evap
= 572 kPa
OP1 OP2 OP3 OP4 OP5
T
evap
= 0C
P
evap
= 796 kPa
OP6 OP7 OP8 OP9 OP10
T
evap
= 10C
P
evap
= 1081 kPa
OP11 OP12 OP13 OP14 OP15
Figure 5. Photo of the pressure transducers, optical sensor, and thermocouples installation.
Figure 6. New shell of the scroll compressor.
314 HVAC&R RESEARCH
Mass flow rate, discharge temperature, and power input of the compressor were calculated for
the fifteen operating points using the model described by Chen et al. (2002a, 2002b, 2003).
Some empirical factors were tuned using the measurements, including a mass flow factor for
calculating the suction, discharge, and leakage flows and frictional coefficients for calculating
frictional forces and torques. The flow factor was tuned using the measured mass flow rate. The
frictional coefficients were assumed to be the same, and a single value was tuned using the mea-
sured power. The tuned value of the flow factor was 0.625, and the tuned value of the frictional
coefficient was 0.0324. The mass flow factor of 0.625 is used as a universal value for all of the
operating conditions and all of the calculations for suction, discharge, and leakage flows. Since
the refrigerant flow was simulated as an isentropic flow corrected by a flow factor, this empiri-
cal factor needs to be found based on test data. Thermal resistances for heat transfer within the
shell were determined from internal temperature measurements, as described by Chen et al.
(2003).
Comparisons of the measured and calculated data are presented in Table 6 and Figures 7, 8,
and 9. As shown in Figures 7 and 8, the compressor model predicts mass flow rate and discharge
Table 6. Comparison of the Measured and the Calculated Data
Evaporating
Temperature
Properties Condensing Temperature T
cond
25 (C) 30 (C) 35 (C) 40 (C) 45 (C)
T
evap
= 10C
(kg/h) Measured 36.98 36.99 36.07 35.55 34.18
Modeling 34.99 34.79 34.16 33.51 32.83
Error (%) 5.4 6.0 5.3 5.7 4.0
T
gas
(C) Measured 61.3 66.86 72.54 80.06 88.11
Modeling 60.65 66.23 72.76 79.33 86.14
Difference 0.65 0.63 0.22 0.73 1.97
P (W) Measured 670.74 735.79 798.12 879.21 970.14
Modeling 670.44 738.56 811.56 886.27 963.59
Error (%) 0.0 0.4 1.7 0.8 0.7
T
evap
= 0C
(kg/h) Measured 50.35 50.37 49.82 48.55 46.94
Modeling 48.58 48.42 48.54 48.90 48.10
Error (%) 3.5 3.9 2.6 0.7 2.5
T
gas
(C) Measured 55.55 60.24 65.63 73.13 80.35
Modeling 55.13 61.23 66.99 72.94 79.85
Difference 0.42 0.99 1.36 0.19 0.50
P (W) Measured 654.09 719.05 778.12 896.83 1015.11
Modeling 649.00 727.38 814.46 901.03 996.00
Error (%) 0.8 1.2 4.7 0.5 1.9
T
evap
= 10C
(kg/h) Measured 67.52 66.95 65.75 64.43 63.34
Modeling 68.20 67.26 66.51 66.19 66.13
Error (%) 1.0 0.5 1.2 2.7 4.4
T
gas
(C) Measured 48.15 54.08 61.14 67.54 73.73
Modeling 48.27 54.84 61.56 68.21 74.41
Difference 0.12 0.76 0.42 0.67 0.68
P (W) Measured 546.72 645.66 756.90 838.84 944.21
Modeling 553.82 662.19 773.56 875.11 983.08
Error (%) 1.3 2.6 2.2 4.3 4.1
m

VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, JULY 2004 315


Figure 7. Validation of the mass flow rate.
Figure 8. Validation of the discharge temperature.
Figure 9. Validation of the power input.
316 HVAC&R RESEARCH
temperature very well. Table 6 gives errors in the predictions of the mass flow rate and dis-
charge temperature. For the fifteen operating points, the maximum relative error was 5.95% for
mass flow rate, and the maximum absolute difference in the prediction of the discharge temper-
ature was 1.97C.
Figure 9 shows similar validation results for compressor power input. It can be seen from the
experimental data that the power inputs at evaporating temperatures of 10C and 0C cross at a
condensing temperature between 35C and 40C. Therefore, power input decreases with
increasing evaporating temperature when the condensing temperature is lower than 35C and
increases with increasing evaporating temperature when the condensing temperature is higher
than 35C. This is because the power input is the product of the mass flow rate and the compres-
sion work per unit mass flow rate. When the evaporating temperature increases, the mass flow
rate increases (see Figure 7), while the compression work per unit mass flow rate decreases. The
tendency of the variation of power input with the evaporating temperature depends on which
factor dominates. It can be seen that the curves of the predicted power for the evaporating tem-
perature of 10C and 0C also cross approximately at a condensing temperature of 35C. Table
6 indicates that the maximum relative error in the prediction of the power input was 4.67%.
DETAILED MODEL VALIDATION
Internal measurements of the instantaneous pressures of the refrigerant during compression,
temperatures along the scroll wrap, and temperatures of the various compressor elements were
performed for three different operating conditions as listed in Table 7, labeled OP1 to OP3. All
three measurements were taken at a driving frequency of 60 Hz and a superheat of 10C. The
three operating points 1, 2, and 3 for the detailed compressor measurements had the same work-
ing conditions as the operating points 3, 8, and 13 of the overall compressor measurements,
respectively (see Table 5).
Validation of Overall Performance and
Temperatures of the Compressor Elements
The mass flow rates, discharge temperatures, and power inputs for the compressor installed in
the larger shell were measured and compared to the values obtained for the original compressor
(OP 3, 8, and 13 of Table 5). The performance of the modified compressor was found to be sig-
nificantly different from that of the original compressor at the same working conditions. Table 8
gives comparisons in overall performance for the original and modified compressors.
From Table 8, it can be seen that the mass flow rates of the modified compressor were smaller
than those of the original compressor. However, the power consumption of the modified com-
pressor was larger, and the discharge temperatures were almost equal. This occurred because
when the pressure transducers and thermocouples were mounted on the compressor for the
detailed measurements, the compressor scrolls were physically altered. Thus, leakage gaps
between the orbiting and fixed scrolls were larger for the modified compressor, which influ-
enced the mass flow rate of the compressor. Since there was more refrigerant leaking from the
high-pressure compressor chamber to the low-pressure chamber in the modified compressor, the
efficiency of the modified compressor was much lower than the original compressor, which
caused the power input of the modified compressor to be larger. To represent the increased leak-
Table 7. The Three Operating Points for the Detailed Measurements
Parameters of the
operating points
T
evap
= 10C
P
evap
= 572 kPa
T
evap
= 0C
P
evap
= 796 kPa
T
evap
= 10C
P
evap
= 1081 kPa
T
cond
= 35C
P
cond
= 2131 kPa
OP1 OP2 OP3
VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, JULY 2004 317
age of the modified compressor, leakage gaps were increased for the modified compressor
model. It was found that when the leakage gaps were enlarged by 1.9 times, the measured data
and the calculated data agreed very well. Since the modified compressor has a larger compressor
shell, heat transfer between the compressor shell and the ambient was expected to be larger for
the modified compressor than for the original one. It was found that when the thermal resistance
between the shell and the ambient was decreased by 0.656 times, the predicted temperatures
agreed well with the measured data.
Table 9 shows overall performance comparisons for the model and measurements applied to
the modified compressor. The maximum relative error for the mass flow rate and power predic-
tions were 4.73% and 4.05%, respectively. The maximum absolute difference for the tempera-
ture prediction of the discharge gas and the various compressor elements was 4.58C.
Validation of Instantaneous Pressure of the Refrigerant
The six dynamic pressure transducers and photoelectric sensor were used to determine plots
of refrigerant pressure as a function of the orbiting angle. In addition, instantaneous pressures of
the refrigerant were calculated using the compressor model and superimposed on these plots.
These plots were developed by following refrigerant from its entrance into the suction chambers
1 or 2, as it is being compressed in chambers 3 and 5 or 4 and 6, and until it is discharged
through chamber 7. Figures 10, 12, and 14 show refrigerant pressure as a function of orbiting
Table 8. Comparison of the Performance Between the Original and Modified Compressors
Operating Point (kg/h) P (W) T
gas
(C)
OP1 Original 36.07 798.12 72.54
Modified 28.49 914.45 73.30
Difference 21.01% 14.58% 0.76
OP2 Original 49.82 778.12 63.82
Modified 43.62 881.75 65.63
Difference 12.44% 13.32% 1.81
OP3 Original 65.75 740.90 61.14
Modified 58.19 787.12 61.67
Difference 11.50% 6.24% 0.53
Table 9. Validation of the Overall Performance and Temperatures of the Various Elements
Operating
Point (kg/h)
P
(W)
T
gas
(C)
T
pipe

(C)
T
scrolls
(C)
T
motor
(C)
T
shell
(C)
T
oil
(C)
OP1 Measured 28.49 914.45 73.3 59.14 85.81 95.67 65.85 77.20
Modeling 29.05 883.05 72.17 58.02 81.23 90.60 63.94 74.96
Difference
*
1.97% 3.43% 1.13 1.12 4.58 5.07 1.91 2.24
OP2 Measured 42.82 869.03 63.82 48.94 69.31 81.11 56.80 65.21
Modeling 42.48 872.35 66.59 51.94 70.31 84.80 59.07 70.02
Difference
*
0.79% 0.38% 2.77 3.00 1.00 3.69 2.27 4.81
OP3 Measured 58.19 787.12 61.67 48.13 62.16 76.75 55.80 63.81
Modeling 60.94 818.97 60.65 47.24 63.01 77.75 54.33 65.17
Difference
*
4.73% 4.05% 1.02 0.89 0.85 1.00 1.47 1.36
* Note: Differences between measured and calculated data are presented using relative errors for mass flow rate and
power input and absolute differences for temperatures.
m

318 HVAC&R RESEARCH


angle for refrigerant entering the scroll from the suction side of chamber 1 at the operating
points 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Similarly, Figures 11, 13, and 15 show the pressure of the refrig-
erant entering from chamber 2 for the same operating points. The vertical divider on the chart
indicates that the refrigerant is in different (suction, compression, and discharge) chambers.
From Figures 10, 12, and 14, it can be seen that from an orbiting angle of 0 to 360, initially
the pressure in suction chamber 1 is slightly lower than the suction line pressure, and just before
the suction chamber is fully closed, the pressure in the suction chamber rises due to the decrease
of suction pocket volume and flow resistance at the small suction port. It can be seen that refrig-
erant stays in compression chamber 3 until chamber 3 becomes chamber 5 at an orbiting angle
of 700.4. Chamber 5 becomes chamber 7 after one revolution of the orbiting scroll at an orbit-
ing angle of 1060.4. At this orbiting angle, chamber 5 is open to the new chamber 7. Since the
pressure of chamber 5 is lower than chamber 7, the pressure of chamber 7 decreases. Due to the
decrease in volume of chamber 7 afterward, the pressure of chamber 7 goes up again and is fully
discharged after an orbiting angle of 1201.
From Figures 11, 13, and 15, it can be seen that the pressure of the refrigerant entering the
scroll from chamber 2 has a similar profile. It should be noted that the refrigerant in chamber 2
starts to be compressed at an orbiting angle of 180 because chamber 2 is almost closed from
this angle due to the suction channel.
It can be seen from Figures 10 to 15 that the curves for the measured pressure of the refriger-
ant are not continuous. This is because the pressure transducer is not always in contact and equi-
librium with refrigerant in the scroll. For example, sensor 3 ideally can measure the pressure of
chamber 3 for one whole revolution. However, due to the blind area of sensor 3, it can only mea-
sure the pressure of chamber 3 from an orbiting angle of 60 to 360 (see Figure 11).
Comparing the measured data with model predictions, it was found that the model predicts
the tendency of pressure changes very well. However, it did tend to underestimate the slope of
the pressure change in the compression chambers.
The measured pressure of the refrigerant in the discharge chamber fluctuates when the pres-
sure drops below the discharge pressure. This is because when the pressure is below the dis-
charge pressure, the discharge valve suddenly closes. Due to the inertia of the refrigerant,
refrigerant at the back of the discharge chamber pushes the refrigerant at the front, which causes
the pressure of the refrigerant at the front to be higher than the pressure at the back. Due to the
unbalanced pressure inside the discharge chamber, pressure fluctuation happens. The measured
pressure falls below the simulation line due to the pressure fluctuation and mixing of the refrig-
erant in chambers 7 and 5 when chamber 7 opens to chamber 5. Since the discharge valve model
was developed based on a spring analysis neglecting the dynamics of valve motion, this pressure
fluctuation could not be predicted. A better model for the discharge process should be developed
in the future.
Validation of the Temperature Distribution of the Scroll
Figure 16 shows measured and model predictions of temperatures along the scroll wraps for
the three operating conditions. OP1 to OP3 in Figure 16 have the same discharge (condensing)
pressure but different suction (evaporating) pressures. OP1 has the lowest suction pressure but
the highest pressure ratio. Therefore, OP1 has the highest discharge temperature. The tempera-
ture of the scroll generally decreased from the center of the scroll to the end. However, the tem-
perature of the scroll at the orbiting angle of 900 was higher than the temperature at 800. This
is because the fixed scroll contacts the suction inlet at an orbiting angle of 800, where the tem-
perature of the refrigerant is the lowest. This effect is relatively small and the temperature varia-
tion is nearly linear with scroll length. The calculated temperature agrees with the tendency of
the measured temperature change well and is close to the measured data.
VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, JULY 2004 319
Figure 12. Pressure for OP2 from the suction side of chamber 1.
Figure 11. Pressure for OP1 from the suction side of chamber 2.
Figure 10. Pressure for OP1 from the suction side of chamber 1.
320 HVAC&R RESEARCH
Figure 13. Pressure for OP2 from the suction side of chamber 2.
Figure 14. Pressure for OP3 from the suction side of chamber 1.
Figure 15. Pressure for OP3 from the suction side of chamber 2.
VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, JULY 2004 321
PARAMETRIC STUDIES
This section presents results obtained with the model for different design parameters. Mass
flow rate, power consumption, and compressor efficiency are presented as a function of parame-
ters related to leakage areas, heat transfer to the scrolls, and scroll geometry. For the purpose of
comparing performance, an overall compressor efficiency is defined as the ideal (isentropic)
power over the compressor power input.
(2)
where

overall
= overall compressor efficiency
= isentropic compression power, which can be calculated by
(3)
where
= specific heat ratio of the refrigerant

suc
= suction density of the refrigerant
P
suc
= suction pressure of the refrigerant
P
dis
= discharge pressure of the refrigerant
= mass flow rate of the refrigerant
The simulations were performed for an operating point that is defined by an evaporating tem-
perature of 0C (corresponding to suction pressure of 796.4 kPa), condensing temperature of
35C (corresponding to discharge pressure of 2131 kPa), and 10C suction superheat. This is the
same working condition as operating point 8 given in Table 5.
Figure 16. Temperature distribution along the compressor fixed scroll.

overall
W

isentropic
P
--------------------------- =
W

isentropic
W

isentropic

1
------------
P
suc

suc
----------
P
suc
P
dis
----------


1

------------
1 m

=
m

322 HVAC&R RESEARCH


Influence of Leakage Gap Size
In order to investigate the sensitivity of compressor performance to leakage, computer simu-
lations for different radial and flank leakage gap sizes were performed. Each gap size was deter-
mined by scaling the correlation for the gap size provided by the manufacturer. The radial
leakage gap
r
and the flank leakage gap
f
, calculated using the manufacturer-provided correla-
tions, were used as the standard radial and flank leakage gaps to evaluate the variations of radial
and flank gaps, respectively. The radial and flank leakage gaps were varied from 0 to 8 times the
standard gaps.
The calculated mass flow rate as a function of the relative gap size is shown in Figures 17 and
18. For this compressor, the mass flow rate decreases linearly with increasing radial or flank
leakage gap size. The mass flow rate decreases from 52.96 kg/h at no radial leakage to 13.55
kg/h for a radial leakage gap at eight times the standard radial gap, corresponding to a loss of
volumetric efficiency of 74.41%. The mass flow rate decreases from 49.75 kg/h at no flank leak-
age to 39.48 kg/h for a flank leakage gap eight times the standard gap, corresponding to a loss of
Figure 17. Mass flow rate vs. leakage gap size.
Figure 18. Power input vs. leakage gap size.
VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, JULY 2004 323
volumetric efficiency of 20.64%. More importantly, reducing the radial or flank leakage gap
sizes to zero from the current design does not improve the mass flow significantly.
The calculated power input as a function of leakage gap sizes is shown in Figure 18. Increas-
ing the radial or flank leakage gap results in more refrigerant flowing back from the high-pres-
sure chambers to the low-pressure chambers. This causes more refrigerant to be recompressed.
Therefore, more power input is required to compress the refrigerant from suction to discharge
pressures as the radial or flank gap size increases.
Overall compressor efficiency as a function of leakage gap was calculated using Equations 2
and 3 and is shown in Figure 19. It can be seen that with a factor of eight increase in the radial
and flank leakage gap sizes, the compressor efficiency decreases from 55.55% to 12.80% and
from 51.48% to 39.13%, respectively.
Compressor discharge temperature is shown in Figure 20 as a function of the leakage gap
sizes. Increasing the radial or flank leakage gap results in more refrigerant being recompressed
and reheated and, therefore, results in an increase of the discharge temperature. In addition, the
mass flow rate decreases more dramatically with increasing radial leakage gap than with
Figure 19. Overall compressor efficiency vs. leakage gap size.
Figure 20. Discharge temperature vs. leakage gap size.
324 HVAC&R RESEARCH
increasing flank leakage gap. Therefore, the energy dissipated per unit mass flow rate in the
motor, which heats the gas after it is discharged from the pump assembly, also increases more
with increasing radial leakage gap size. This causes the discharge temperature to increase more
for increasing radial leakage.
It can be concluded that the compressor performance is more sensitive to the radial leakage
gap than to the flank leakage gap. By decreasing the radial and flank leakage gaps, the perfor-
mance can be improved. On the other hand, considering the manufacturer-specified gap size
(value = 1), a further reduction in the gap size does not significantly increase the compressor
performance.
Influence of Heat Transfer Coefficient
In order to investigate the sensitivity of compressor performance to heat transfer, computer
simulations were performed with different heat transfer coefficients. For this purpose, a coeffi-
cient varying from 0 to 8 was multiplied by the standard heat transfer coefficient h
c
, which was
calculated using a correlation for a spiral heat exchanger (see Chen et al. 2002a).
In Figure 21, the calculated mass flow rate is shown as a function of the relative heat transfer
coefficient. It decreases from a mass flow rate of 52.21 kg/h with no heat transfer to 41.36 kg/h
at eight times the standard heat transfer coefficient h
c
, which corresponds to a loss of volumetric
efficiency of 20.78%. The mass flow rate decreases because with an increase in heat transfer
coefficient, the refrigerant in the two suction chambers is heated more by the scroll wraps/plates,
which causes the density of the suction refrigerant to be less. Note that reducing the heat transfer
(from 1 = current situation to 0 = no heat transfer) increases the mass flow rate from 48.54 kg/h
to 52.21 kg/h.
The calculated power input as a function of the heat transfer coefficient multiplier is shown in
Figure 22. When the heat transfer coefficient becomes larger than the standard heat transfer
coefficient, less power input is required to compress the refrigerant from suction to discharge
pressures. At first glance this might appear to be advantageous, since it is desirable to run the
compressor with as little power input as possible. However, since the mass flow rate decreases,
the cooling effect that can be achieved decreases as well. Since the decrease of the mass flow
rate is larger than that of the power input, the overall compressor efficiency decreases, as shown
in Figure 23. Also, note the decrease in power input and improvement in the overall compressor
Figure 21. Mass flow rate vs. heat transfer coefficient.
VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, JULY 2004 325
efficiency if the heat transfer coefficient is reduced. By decreasing the heat transfer between the
compressor scrolls and the refrigerant, the compressor performance can be improved.
The calculated discharge temperature as a function of the heat transfer coefficient multiplier
is shown in Figure 24. It was found that the temperature of the scroll wrap is always higher than
that of the refrigerant in the suction and compression chambers over a full rotation. The temper-
ature of the scroll wrap is lower than that of the refrigerant in the discharge chamber. Therefore,
with increasing heat transfer coefficient, the refrigerant in the suction and compression cham-
bers is heated more, which causes the mass flow rate to become less. At the same time, the
refrigerant in the discharge chamber is cooled more. Since the heating effect is stronger than the
cooling effect for the refrigerant, the discharge temperature of the refrigerant increases with an
increase of heat transfer coefficient.
It can be concluded that both volumetric and overall compressor efficiency decrease with
increasing heat transfer coefficient between the refrigerant and scroll wraps. Furthermore, per-
formance is sensitive to heat transfer coefficient. Therefore, there is some potential for improv-
ing compressor performance by reducing heat transfer.
Figure 22. Power input vs. heat transfer coefficient.
Figure 23. Overall compressor efficiency vs. heat transfer coefficient.
326 HVAC&R RESEARCH
Influence of Scroll Geometry
For given compression volumes, the geometry of the scrolls influences overall performance
through impacts on friction, leakage, and heat transfer. Six different shapes were investigated,
each having the same volumes for suction and compression chambers. The radius of the invo-
lutes basic circle was varied from 0.5 to 2 times the original design radius r
b
, while the scroll
height was varied to keep constant volumes. As the dimension of the basic circle of the scroll
changed, the dimension for the crankshaft system and the Oldham ring was changed correspond-
ingly.
In Figure 25, the calculated mass flow rate is shown as a function of the radius of the basic
circle. It can be seen that the mass flow rate is 46.07 kg/h at 0.5 times the original radius r
b
,
reaches a maximum of 48.77 kg/h at 1.25 times the original radius, and then decreases to
Figure 24. Discharge temperature vs. heat transfer coefficient.
Figure 25. Mass flow rate vs. radius of the basic circle.
VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, JULY 2004 327
45.97 kg/h when the radius increases to two times the original radius. There are three factors
influencing the mass flow rate:
When the radius of the basic circle becomes smaller, the area of the passage of the radial leak-
age flow decreases since the length of the scroll becomes shorter and the radial leakage gap
stays constant. This tends to cause the mass flow rate to increase. However, since the height of
scroll becomes larger, the area of the passage of the flank leakage flow increases, which
causes the mass flow to decrease. Since the mass flow is more sensitive to radial leakage,
mass flow of the refrigerant is expected to increase due to the decreased radial leakage.
To keep the compressor volume constant, when the radius of the basic circle decreases by
half, the height of the scroll increases by four times. Therefore, the area of the scroll exposed
to refrigerant becomes larger, which causes more heat transfer from the scroll to the refriger-
ant. The mass flow rate decreases due to an increase in heat transfer.
When the radius of the basic circle becomes larger, the frictional losses increase. The energy
dissipated in the compressor due to frictional losses heats the compressor elements, such as
the suction pipe and the scrolls, which also increases heat transfer to the refrigerant and con-
sequently decreases the mass flow rate.
The variation of the mass flow rate with respect to the radius of the basic circle is the result of
the interaction of these three factors. It was found that the mass flow rate can be slightly
improved if the current radius (value = 1) is increased 1.25 times.
In Figure 26, the calculated power input is plotted as a function of the radius of the basic cir-
cle. When the radius of the basic circle increases, the power input of the compressor increases
dramatically. This is because when the radius of the basic circle of the scroll increases, the
dimension of the crankshaft system and the Oldham ring also increases, which causes the shaft
torque to be much larger. The power input to the compressor is very sensitive to the dimension
of the scroll.
The calculated overall compressor efficiency is shown in Figure 27. The compressor has the
best overall efficiency with a radius of the basic circle of 0.75 times the original radius. There-
fore, by slightly decreasing the dimension of the scroll, compressor performance can be
improved.
The discharge temperature as a function of radius of the basic circle is shown in Figure 28.
Since power consumption of the compressor increases with an increase in radius, the energy dis-
sipated within the compressor also increases. Therefore, the discharge temperature of the refrig-
erant increases with radius above the original and the minimum discharge temperature occurs at
the point of maximum overall efficiency (at a radius of 0.75 times the original).
For the current design of the compressor (value = 1), the mass flow rate of refrigerant and
overall compressor efficiency are very close to the maximum values that can be achieved by
varying the radius. Therefore, the current design is relatively optimal.
CONCLUSIONS
This paper presents validation results for a model of a hermetic scroll compressor presented
by Chen et al. (2003). An earlier version of the model (Chen et al. 2002a, 2002b) that did not
include a detailed frictional loss model had been validated in terms of overall performance pre-
dictions for a single R-22 scroll compressor. The current paper presents validation results for the
improved model applied to a new R-410A compressor and includes validation of both overall
performance predictions and predictions of internal states of the refrigerant, oil, and other mate-
rials. The model does an excellent job of predicting overall performance and predicts the proper
trends with respect to internal states.
The real value of a physical model is in understanding the important loss mechanisms and the
opportunities for design improvements. In order to illustrate this value, the compressor model
328 HVAC&R RESEARCH
Figure 28. Discharge temperature vs. radius.
Figure 27. Overall compressor efficiency vs. radius.
Figure 26. Power input vs. radius of the basic circle.
VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, JULY 2004 329
was used to study the influence of different parameters on the performance of the R-410A com-
pressor used for validation. The results indicate that the current design is quite good, but there
are some opportunities for improvement. In particular, the scroll geometry could be modified
slightly to yield either better volumetric efficiency or overall efficiency. Although the perfor-
mance was found to be very sensitive to the leakage flow area, the current design has relatively
small leakage gaps and performs well. The performance is sensitive to heat transfer between the
refrigerant and scroll wraps. It was found that both the volumetric and overall compressor effi-
ciencies decrease as the heat transfer between the scroll sand refrigerant increases. This is
because the temperatures of the scrolls are always higher than the refrigerant throughout the suc-
tion and compression chambers, and heating of the gas decreases the mass flow rate of the
refrigerant. There is a significant opportunity for improving compressor performance if heat
transfer could be reduced.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The authors would like to express sincere thanks to Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. for
their financial support in carrying out this work and their permission to publish this work.
NOMENCLATURE
d
fixed_orbiting
= distance between the fixed scroll
and the orbiting scroll at the
beginning of the suction cham-
ber
h
c
= convective heat transfer coeffi-
cient
= mass flow rate of the refrigerant
P = power input to the motor/com-
pressor
P
cond
= condensing pressure of the
refrigerant
P
dis
= discharge pressure of the refrig-
erant
P
evap
= evaporating pressure of the
refrigerant
P
suc
= suction pressure of the refriger-
ant
r
b
= radius of the basic circle of the
scroll
r
o
= rotating radius of the orbiting
scroll
T
cond
= condensing temperature of the
refrigerant
T
evap
= evaporating temperature of the
refrigerant
T
gas
= temperature of the refrigerant
discharged from the compressor
T
motor
= temperature of the motor rotor
T
oil
= temperature of the compressor
oil
T
pipe
= temperature of the suction pipe
T
scrolls
= average temperature of the
scrolls
T
shell
= temperature of the compressor
shell
= isentropic compression power
= orbiting angle

r
= radial leakage gap

f
= flank leakage gap
= specific heat ratio of the refriger-
ant

suc
= suction density of the refrigerant

overall
= overall compressor efficiency
REFERENCES
Chen, Y. 2000. Mathematical modeling of scroll compressors. Ph.D. thesis, Ray W. Herrick Laboratories,
Purdue University.
Chen, Y., E.A. Groll, and J.E. Braun. 2004. Modeling of hermetic scroll compressors: Model development.
International Journal of Heating, Ventilating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigerating Research 10(2):
129-152.
Chen, Y., N.P. Halm, E.A. Groll, and J.E. Braun. 2002a. Mathematical modeling of scroll compressors,
Part I: Compression process modeling. Intl J. Refrig. 25(7): 731-750.
Chen, Y., N.P. Halm, J.E. Braun, and E.A. Groll. 2002b. Mathematical modeling of scroll compressors,
Part II: Overall scroll compressor modeling. Intl J. Refrig. 25(7): 751-764.
Ishii, N., et al. 1988. Dynamic behavior of a scroll compressor. Proceedings of International Compressor
Engineering Conference at Purdue.
m

isentropic