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CHAPTER

5:
COMPOUND
REFRIGERATION SYSTEM

VAPOUR

COMPRESSION

5.2
Advantages of Compound (or Multi-stage) Vapour Compression with
Intercooler
Following are the main advantages of compound or multistage compression
over single stage compression:
1. The work done per kg of refrigerant is reduced in
compound compression with intercooler as compared to
single stage compression for the same delivery pressure.
2. It improves the volumetric efficiency for the given pressure ratio.
3. The sizes of the two cylinders (i.e., high pressure and low pressure)
may be adjusted to suit the volume and pressure of the refrigerant.
4. It reduces the leakage loss considerably.
5. It gives more uniform torque, and hence a smaller size flywheel is needed.
6. It provides effective lubrication because of lower temperature range.
7. It reduces the cost of compressor.
5.3

Types of Compound Vapour Compression with Intercooler

In compound compression vapour refrigeration systems, the superheated


vapour refrigerant leaving the first stage of compression is cooled by
suitable method before being fed to the- second stage of compression and
so on. Such type of cooling the refrigerant is called intercooling. Though
there are many types of compound compression with intercoolers, yet the
following are important from the subject point of view:
1. Two stage compression with liquid intercooler.
2. Two stage compression with water intercooler.
3. Two stage compression with water intercooler, liquid
subcooler and liquid flash chamber.
4. Two stage compression with water intercooler, liquid subcooler and flash
intercooler.
5. Three stage compression with flash chambers.
6. Three stage compression with water intercoolers.
7. Three stage compression with flash intercoolers.
The above mentioned types are now discussed, in detail, one by one by one in the
following pages.
5.4
Two Stage Compression with Liquid Intercooler
The arrangement of a two stage compression with liquid intercooler is
shown in Fig. 5.1
(a). The corresponding p-h diagram is shown in Fig. 5.1 (b).
The various points on the p-h diagram are plotted as discussed below :
1. First of all, draw a horizontal pressure line representing the
pE
evaporator pressure
(or suction pressure of low pressure

compressor) which intersects the -saturated vapour line at point


1. At this point, the saturated vapour is supplied to the low
pressure compressor.
Let, at point 1, the enthalpy of the saturated vapour is
h1
s
and entropy v 1 .
2. The saturated vapour refrigerant admitted at point 1 is compressed
isentropically in the low pressure compressor and delivers the
pE
refrigerant .in a superheated state. The pressure ris.es from
to
p2

. The curve 1-2 represents the isentropic compression in the 1ow

pressure compressor. In order to obtain point 2, draw a line from point 1,


sv 1
with entropy equal to
, along the constant entropy line intersecting
the intermediate pressure line
h2

p2

at point 2. Let enthalpy at this point is

2. The superheated vapour refrigerant.ieavinglhe low pressure tompressor


at point 2 is cooled (or desuperheated) at constant pressure Pi= p3 in a
liquid intercooler by the liquid refrigerant from the condenser:The
refrigerant leaving the liquid intercooler is in saturated vapour state.
The line 2-3 represents the cooling or desuperheating process. Let the
h
s
enthalpy and entropy.at point 3 is 3 and v 3 respectively.

4 The dry saturated vapour refrigerant is now supplied to high pressure


compressor where it is compressed isentropically from intermediate or
p2
pc
intercooler pressure
to condensor pressure
. The curve 3-4
represents the isentropic compression in the high pressure compressor. The
point 4 on the p-h diagram is obtained by drawing line of entropy equal to
sv 3
along the constant entropy line as shown in Fig. 5.1 (b). Let the
enthalpy of superheated vapour refrigerant at point 4 is

h4

5 The superheated vapour refrigerant leaving the high pressure compressor at


pc
point 4 is now passed through the condenser at constant pressure
as
shown by a horizontal line 4 5.The condensing process 4-5 changes the
state of refrigerant from superheated vapour to saturated liquid.
6 The high pressure saturated liquid refrigerant from the condensor is passed
to the intercooler where some of liquid refrigerant evaporates in
desuperheating the superheated vapour refrigerant from the low pressure
compressor. In order to make up for the liquid evaporated, i.e. to maintain a
E1
constant liquid level, an expansion valve
which acts as a float valve, is
provided.
7 The liquid refrigerant from the intercooler is first expanded in an expansion
E2
valve
and then evaporated in the evaporator to saturated vapour
condition, as shown in Fig. 5.l (b).
m1=
Let
Mass of refrigerant passing through the evaporator
(or low pressure compressor) in kg/min, and
m 2=

Mass of refrigerant passing through the condenser

(or high pressure compressor) in kg/min .

The high pressure compressor in a given system will compress the mass of
m
refrigerant from low pressure compressor ( 1 ) and the mass of liquid
evaporated in the liquid intercooler during cooling or desuperheating of
m3
superheated vapour refrigerant from low pressure compressor. If
is the
mass of liquid evaporated in the intercooler, then
m3=m2m1
The value of

m2

may be obtained by considering the thermal equilibrium

for the liquid intercooler as shown in Fig. 5.2, i.e.,

Heat taken by the liquid intercooler = Heat given by the liquid intercooler
or

Notes: 1. In case of ammonia, when liquid refrigerant is used for intercooling, the
total power requirement will decrease. It is due to the fact that the mass of liquid
evaporated during intercooling is extremely small because of its high latent heat of
vaporisation and the constant entropy lines of ammonia become very flat in the
superheat region. Thus the intercooling by liquid refrigerant is commonly used in multistage ammonia plants, because of less power requirement.
,.
2. In case of refrigerant R-12, when liquid refrigerant is used for
intercooling, the total power requirements may actually increase. It is due to the fact
that the latent heat of vaporisation is small and the constant entropy line of R-12 does
not change very much with the temperature. Thus in R-12 systems, the saving in
work by performing the compression close to the saturated vapour line does not
compensate for the increased mass flow rate through the high stage compressor.
Therefore, intercooling by liquid refrigerant in R-12 systems, is never employed.
5.5
Two Stage Compression with Water Intercooler and Liquid Subcooler
The arrangement of a two-stage compression with water intercooler and
liquid sub-cooler is shown in Fig.5.5 (a). The corresponding p-h diagram is shown
in Fig. 5.5 (b). The various processes in this system are as follows:
pE
1. The saturated vapour refrigerant at the evaporator pressure
is
admitted to low pressure compressor at point 1. In this compressor, the
refrigerant is compressed isentropically from the evaporator pressure
pE
p2
to the water intercooler pressure
, as shown by the curve
1-2 Fig. 5.5(b).
2 The refrigerant leaving the low pressure compressor at point 2 is in
superheated state. This superheated vapour refrigerant is now passed
through the water intercooler at constant pressure, in order to reduce the
degree of superheat. The line 2-3 represents the water intercooling or
desuperheating process.
3 The refrigerant leaving the water intercooler at point 3 (which is still in the
superheated state) is compressed isentropically in the high pressure
pc
compressor to the condenser pressure
. The curve 3-4 show s t h e
isentropic compression in high pressure compressor.
4 The discharge from the high pressure compressor is now passed through
the condenser which changes the state of refrigerant from superheated

vapour .to saturated liquid as shown by process 4-5.


5 The temperature of the saturated liquid refrigerant further reduced
by passing it through a liquid sub-cooler as shown by process 5-6.
6 The liquid refrigerant from the sub-cooler is now expanded in an
expansion valve (process 6-7) before being sent to the ev aporator for
evaporation (process 7-1).
It may be noted that water intercooling reduces the work to be done in
high pressure compressor. It also reduces the specific volume of the refrigerant
which requires a compressor of less capacity (or stroke volume). The complete
desuperheating of the vapour refrigerant is not possible in case of water
intercooling. It is due to the fact that temperature of the cooling water used in the
water intercooler is not available sufficiently low so as to desuperheat the vapour
completely.
Let

Q = Load on the evaporator in tonnes of refrigeration.

Mass of refrigerant passing through the evaporator ( or passing through the


L.P. compressor),
m=

210 Q 210 Q
=
kg /min
h1h 7 h 1hf 6

Since the mass of refrigerant passing through the compressors is same,


therefore, total work done in both the compression,

W = Work done in L.P. compressor + Work done in H.P. compressor


m ( h2h1 ) + m ( h 4h 3) =m[ ( h2h1 ) + ( h 4h 3) ]
Power required to drive the system,
P=

m[ ( h2h 1) + ( h4 h3 ) ]
kW
60

We know that refrigerating effect,


R E=m ( h1hf 6 ) =210 Q kJ /min
C.O.P. of the system

m ( h1hf 6 )
RE
210 Q
=
=
W [ ( h 2h1 ) + ( h 4h3 ) ] P x 60

5.6
Two Stage Compression with Water lntercooler, Liquid Sub-cooler
and Liquid Flash Chamber
The arrangement of a two stage compression with water intercooler,
liquid sub-cooler and liquid flash chamber is shown in Fig. 5.7 (a). The
corresponding p-h diagram is shown in Fig. 5.7 (b). The various processes,
in this system, are as follows:
pE
1. The saturated vapour refrigerant at the evaporator pressure
is
admitted to low pressure' compressor at point 1. In this compressor,
the refrigerant is compressed isentropically from evaporator pressure
pF
PE to water intercooler (or flash chamber) pressure
as shown by
the curve 1-2 in Fig. 5.7 (b).

2. The superheated vapour refrigerant leaving the low pressure


compressor at point 2 is now passed through the water intercooler at
pF
constant pressure
in order to reduce the degree of superheat (i.e.,
from temperature

t2

to

t3

). The line 2-3 represents the water

intercooling or de-superheating process.


3. The superheated vapour refrigerant leaving the water intercooler at
point 3 is mixed with the vapour refrigerant supplied by the flash
chamber at point 9. The condition of refrigerant after mixing is shown
by point 4 which is in superheated state. Let the temperature at this
t
point is 4 .
4. The superheated vapour refrigerant admitted at point 4 to the high
pressure compressor is compressed isentropically from the intercooler
pF
or flash chamber pressure
to condenser pressure pc as shown by
the curve 4-5. The temperature rises from

t4

to

t5

5. The superheated vapour leaving the high pressure compressor at pressure


pC
is passed through a condenser at constant pressure as shown by a
horizontal line 5-6. The condensing process 5-6 changes the state of
refrigerant from superheated vapour to saturated liquid.

6 The saturated liquid refrigerant from the condenser is now cooled in


t7
liquid sub-cooler to a temperature, say
.The line 6-7 represent a
sub-cooling process.
7 The liquid refrigerant leaving the sub-cooler at pressure
expanded in an expansion valve
chamber pressure

pF

E1

pc

is

to a pressure equal .to the flash

, as shown by vertical line 7-8. The expanded

refrigerant which is a mixture of vapour and liquid refrigerants is


admitted to a flash chamber at point 8. The flash chamber separates
the vapour and liquid refrigerants at pressure. The vapour refrigerant
from the flash chamber at point 9 is mixed with the refrigerant from the
water intercooler. The liquid refrigerant from the flash chamber at point
E2
10 is further expanded in an expansion valve
as shown by the
vertical line 10-11.
8 The liquid refrigerant leaving the expansion valve

E2

is evaporated in

the evaporator at the evaporator pressure PE (usually 2 b ar) as shown by


the horizontal line 11-1 in Fig. 5.7 (b).
m2=
Let
Mass of refrigerant passing through the
condenser (or high pressure compressor), and
m3=

Mass of vapour refrigerant formed in the flash

chamber.
Mass of refrigerant passing through the evaporator (or low pressure compressor),
m1=m2m3

If Q tonne of refrigeration is the load on the evaporator, then the mass of


refrigerant passing through evaporator,

Now let us consider the thermal equilibrium of the flash chamber . Since
the ash chamber is an insulated vessel, therefore there is no heat exchange
between the flash chamber and atmosphere. In other words, the heat taken and
given by the flash chamber are same. Mathematically,

The vapour refrigerant from the water intercooler (represented by point 3)


is mixed with vapour refrigerant m3 from the flash chamber (represented by
point 9) at the same pressure before entering the high pressure compressor. The
enthalpy of the mixed refrigerant (represented by point 4) may be calculated by
using the equation,

Two Stage Compression with Water Intercooler,-Liquid Sub-cooler


and Flash Intercooler

A two stage compression with water intercooler, liquid sub-cooler and flash intercooler is shown
in Fig. 5.9 (a). The corresponding .p-h diagram is shown in Fig. 5.9 (b).

(a) Two stage compression with water intercooler, liquid sub-cooler and flash
intercooler.

(b)

p-h diagram
Fig. 5.9

We have seen in the previous article that when the vapour refrigerant from the
low pressure compressor is passed through the water intercooler, its temperature does
not reduce the saturated vapour line or even very near to it, before admitting it to the
high pressure compressor [Refer point4 of Fig. 5.7 (b)]. In fact, with water cooling
there may be no saving of work in compression. But the improvement in performance
and the reduction in compression work may be achieved by using a flash chamber
as an intercooler as well as flash separator, as shown in Fig. 5.9 (a).The

corresponding p-h diagram is shown in F g. 5.9 (b). The various processes, in


this system, are as follows:
pE
1. The saturated vapour refrigerant at the evaporator pressure
is
admitted to the low pressure compressor at point 1. In this compressor,
the refrigerant is compressed isentropically from
evaporator pressure
pE
pE
to -the flash intercooler pressure
as shown by the curve 12 in Fig. 5.9 (b).
2. The superheated vapour refrigerant leaving the low pressure
compressor at point 2 is now passed through the water intercooler at
pF
constant pressure
in order to reduce the degree of superheat (i.e.
from temperature t2 to t3). The line 2-3 represents the water
intercooling or desuperheating process.
3. The superheated vapour refrigerant leaving the water intercooler at
point 3 is passed through a flash intercooler which cools the
superheated vapour refrigerant to saturated vapour refrigerant as
shown by the line 3-4. The cooling of superheated vapour refrigerant
is done by the evaporation of a part of the liquid refrigerant from the
flash intercooler placed at point 8.
4. The saturated vapour refrigerant leaving the flash intercooler enters
the high pressure compressor at point 4 where it is compressed
pF
isentropically from flash intercooler pressure
to condenser
pressure
5. The

pc

, as shown by the curve 4-5.

superheated

vapour refrigerant leaving the high pressure


pc
compressor at pressure
is passed through a condenser at constant

pressure. The condensing process as shown by line 5-6 changes the state
of refrigerant from superheated vapour to saturated liquid.
6. The saturated liquid refrigerant leaving the condenser a.t point 6 is
pc
now cooled at constant pressure
in the liquid s.ub-cooler to
a temperature

t7

as shown in Fig. 5.9 (b). The line 6-7 shows

the sub-cooling process.


7. The liquid refrigerant leaving the sub-cooler at point 7 is expanded in
E1
an expansion valve
to a pressure equal to the flash intercooler
pressure PF ,as shown by the vertical line 7-8. The expanded refrigerant
(which is a mixture of vapour and liquid refrigerant) is admitted to flash
intercooler at point 8 which also acts as a flash separator.
8. The liquid refrigerant leaving the flash intercooler at point 9 is passed
E2
through the second expansion valve
(process 9-10) and then
evaporated in the evaporator as shown by the horizontal line 10-1.
m1
Let
= Mass of the refrigerant passing through the
evaporator or low pressure compressor), and

m2

= Mass of the refrigerant passing through the

condenser (or high pressure compressor).


If Q tonne of refrigeration is the load on the evaporator, then the mass of
refrigerant passing through the evaporator is given by,

5.8

Three Stage Compression with Water lntercoolers

(a) Three stage compression with water intercoolers.

(b) p-h diagram


Fig. 5.11
The arrangement of a three stage compression with water intercoolers is
shown in Fig. 5.11(a). The corresponding p-h diagram is shown in Fig.5.ll
(b).The work done in the high pressure compressor may be greatly reduced with
such an arrangement. The water intercooling between the stages reduces the
degree of superheat of the refrigerant. It also reduces the specific volume of the
refrigerant which requires a compressor of less capacity (or stroke volume). We
see from p-h diagram that the water intercoolers reduce the temperature of
superheated vapour to its saturation value after each stage, as shown by points 3
and 5 in Fig. 5.l 1 (b). It may be noted that the complete desuperheating of the
vap0ur is not possible because the temperature of cooling water used in water
intercoolers is not available sufficiently low so as to desuperheat the vapour
completely.
We know that for a load of Q tonnes of refrigeration on the
evaporator, the mass of refrigerant circulating through the evaporator is given
by

5.9

Three Stage Compression with Flash Chambers


The arrangement of three compressors with multiple expansion valves
E1 , E 2 , E3 and two flash chambers F1 and F2 is shown in Fig. 5.13 (a).

The corresponding p-h diagram is shown in Fig. 5.13 (b)


Let m kg/min be the mass of refrigerant leaving the condenser at point 7.
E3
This refrigerant while passing through the expansion valve
reduces its
pressure from

pc

to

pF 2

. The refrigerant leaving the expansion valve

at point 8 is separated by the flash chamber

F2

. If

x8

E3

is the dryness fraction

of the refrigerant at point 8, then mass of saturated vapour refrigerant separated at


point 8 and delivered to high pressure compressor at point 5 will be
m5 = m x x 8 kg/min
Mass of saturated liquid refrigerant leaving the flash chamber
point 9,
m9=mm5 =mm x x 8=m ( 1x 8 ) kg/min

F2

at

(
This saturated liquid refrigerant (i.e.
through the second expansion valve
pF 2

to

pF 1

E2

m9

kg/min) is now passed

where its pressure reduces from

. The refrigerant leaving the expansion valve

by the flash chamber

F1

. If

x 10

m5=m x x 8

E2

is separated

is the dryness fraction of the refrigerant at

point 10, then mass of saturated vapour separated at point 10 and delivered to
intermediate pressure compressor at point 3 will be
m3=m9x 10=m ( 1x 8 ) x 10 kg /min
( m9=m ( 1x 8 )
Mass of saturated liquid refrigerant leaving the flash chamber
11,
m11=( m9m 3 )=m ( 1x 8 )m ( 1x 8 ) x 10 kg /min

F1

at point

This refrigerant mi i kg/min is passing through the expansion valve


where its pressure reduces from
expansion valve

E1

pF 1

to

pE

E1

. The refrigerant leaving the

at point 12 is passed through the evaporator and then to low

pressure compressor at point 1. Since same mass of refrigerant is supplied to


evaporator or low pressure compressor at point 1 as that of saturated liquid leaving the
F1
flash chamber
at point 11, therefore
Mass of refrigerant passing through the evaporator or low pressure
compressor,
m1=m11=m ( 1x 8 ) ( 1x 10 ) kg /min
(i)
If Q tonnes of refrigeration is the load on the evaporator, then mass of
refrigerant passing through the evaporator or low pressure compressor,
210 Q
210Q
m 1=
=
kg/min
h =h
( 12 f 11 )
h1h12 h1h f 11
(ii)

Notes: 1. By using multiple expansion valves in the above arrangement, the


refrigerant can be expanded close to the liquid line and by using the flash chamber,
the total work done per kg of refrigerant is reduced.
2. Thermodynamically, this arrangement leads to more C.O.P. as compared
to simple saturation cycle for the operating pressure range, because of decrease in
total compression work without affecting the refrigerating effect produced at the
evaporator.

5.10

Three Stage Comp on with Flash Intercoolers

We have already discussed that due to non-availability of c ling water at


tow temperature for intercooling, the superheated vapour at the end of each
stage cannot be completely desuperheated. This difficulty can be overcome
F1
F2
by adopting the flash intercoolers
and
between the stages as
shown in Fig. 5.15 (a). The p-h diagram for the arrangement is shown in Fig.
5.15 (b). The superheated vapour from low pressure compressor (as
represented by point 2 is cooled to saturated vapour in the flash intercooler F1
E2
by the liquid refrigerant from expansion valve
(as represented by point
9). The flash intercooling process for the first stage as represented by 2-3 is
pF 1
carried out at pressure
. Similarly, the superheated vapour from
intermediate pressure compressor (as represented by point 4) is cooled to

saturated vapour in the flash intercooler


expansion valve

E3

F2

by the liquid refrigerant from

(as represented by point 8). The flash intercooling

process for the second stage as represented by 4-5 is carried out at pressure
pF 2
.
If Q tonnes of refrigeration is the load on the evaporator, then the mass of
refrigerant passing through the evaporator or low pressure compressor at point
l,

The intermediate pressure compressor will compress the mass of refrigerant


m1
from the low pressure compressor (i.e.,
kg/min) and the mass of liquid
refrigerant evaporated in

the

flash intercooler

F1

during

cooling

or

desuperheating of superheated vapour refrigerant


from the low pressure
m2
compressor. If
is the mass of liquid refrigerant evaporated in the flash
intercooler

F2

, then

m3=m1+ m2

m2

The value of

may be obtained by considering the thermal

equilibrium of the flash intercooler

F1

Heat taken by the flash intercooler

, i.e.
F1

= Heat given by the flash intercooler

F1

m1 h 2+m2 h9=m3 h3

Or
m1 h 2+m2 h9=( m1 +m 2 ) h3

m 2=

m1 ( h2h3 ) m1 (h 2h3 )
=
kg /min
h3 h9
h 3h f 7

h9 =hf 7

Similarly, the high pressure compressor will compress the mass ofrefrigerant from the intermediate pressure compressor (i.e. m 3 kg/min) and the
F2
mass of liquid evaporated in the flash intercooler
during cooling or
desuperheating of superheated vapour refrigerant from the intermediate pressure
m4
compressor. If
kg/min is the mass of liquid refrigerant evaporated in the
flash intercooler

F2

, then

m5=m3 +m4

The value of

m4

may be obtained by considering the thermal equilibrium

of the flash intercooler

F2

, i.e.

Heat taken by the flash intercooler

F2

= Heat given by the flash intercooler

F2

m3 h 4 +m4 h8 =m5 h5

Or
m
( 3+m4 )h5
m3 h 4 +m4 h8 =

m 4=

h8=hf 7

m 3 (h 4h 5) m3 (h4 h5 )
=
kg /min
h5 h8
h5hf 7

5.11 Three Stage Compression with Multiple Expansion Valves and Flash
Intercoolers
In the previous article of three stage compression with flash intercoolers, a
single expansion valve was used along the flow line to evaporator. But in this
arrangement, multi-expansion valves are used to increase the coefficient of
performance of the system as shown in Fig. 5.17 (a).

If Q tonnes of refrigeration is the load on the evaporator, then the mass of


refrigerant passing through the evaporator or low pressure compressor,
m 1=

210 Q
210Q
=
kg/min
h1h12 h1h f 11

h12=h f 11

From Fig. 5.17 (a), we see that the superheated vapour refrigerant discharged
F1
from the low pressure compressor is brought into the flash intercooler
where it is desuperheated by the liquid refrigerant received from the expansion
E1
valve
at point 1o. During the process of desuperheating, some of the liquid
refrigerant gets evaporated and supplied to the intermediate pressure
compressor. Thus the mass of vapour refrigerant passing through the
intermediate compressor (or second stage of compression),
m2 = Mass of vapour refrigerant from L.P. compressor
+ Mass of vapour refrigerant or

flash

resulting

from

expansion valve

E2

+ Mass of vapour

refrigerant resulting from evaporation in the flash


F1
intercooler
x10
h2h3
m
+
m
+m
(
)
1
1
1
=
1x 10
h3h10

x 10
h 2h3
m
[1+
+
]
1
=
1x 10 h3h10

where
E2

x 10

is the dryness fraction of refrigerant leaving the expansion valve

at point 10.

Similarly, the mass of vapour refrigerant passing through the high


pressure compression (or third stage of compression),
m3=
Mass of vapour refrigerant from I.P. compressor + Mass
of vapour refrigerant or flash resulting from expansion
E3
valve
+ Mass of vapour refrigerant resulting from
evaporation in the flash intercooler
m1 x 8
h4 h5
m
+
+
m
(
)
2
2
=
(1x 10)(1x 8 )
h5 h8
h4 h5
m1 x 8
m
[1+
]+
2
=
h5 h8 (1x 10 )(1x 8)

We know that work done in L.P. compressor,


W L=m1 (h 2h1 )
Work done in I.P. compressor,
W I =m 2 (h 4h3 )
Work done in H.P. compressor,
W H =m3 (h6 h5 )
And total work done in three compressors,
W =W L +W I + W H

F2

m1 ( h 2h1 ) +m2 ( h4 h3 ) +m3 ( h6 h5 )


Power required to drive the compressors,
P = W/60 kW
We know that refrigerating effect,
R E=m1 ( h1h f 11 ) =210 Q kJ /min
C.O.P. of the system

R E 210Q
=
W P x 60