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Refrigeration Cycle Experiment

The objective of this laboratory exercise is to construct the Vapour Compression
Refrigeration Cycle (Mechanical Refrigeration Cycle) on the Pressure-Enthalpy
property diagram for a Refrigeration Cycle Demonstration Unit and assess its
thermal performance: the Coefficient of Performance ( COPREF ).
Students will identify the components of the mechanical refrigeration apparatus and
the thermodynamic processes occurring in these components and analyse these
processes in condenser, evaporator, compressor and throttle/expansion valve.
Students will measure temperatures and pressures of the liquid and gas phases of
the refrigerant at various locations (thermodynamic states) to construct the
refrigeration cycle.
2. THEORY: The Vapour Compression Cycle
The vapour compression cycle is the most commonly used refrigeration cycle
(mechanical refrigeration) and involves the same four processes as a heat engine
cycle but in the reverse order (i.e. evaporation compression condensation
expansion/throttling). A schematic representation of the main four components of
the system in this cycle is shown in Figure 1.

The work input to the vapour compression cycle drives a compressor which
maintains a low pressure in an evaporator and a higher pressure in the condenser.
The temperature at which a liquid will evaporate (or a vapour will condense) is
dependent on the pressure. Thus if a suitable fluid (refrigerant) is introduced, it will
evaporate at a low temperature in the low pressure evaporator (taking in heat) and
will condense at a higher temperature in the high pressure condenser (rejecting

The high pressure liquid formed in the condenser must then be returned to the
evaporator at a controlled rate through the expansion valve.
Some notes:
-Both refrigerators and heat pumps operate in the same way using a reversed heat
engine cycle.
- Refrigerators and heat pumps are devices that absorb heat at low temperatures
and reject heat at higher temperatures.
-Devices that are used to maintain temperature below ambient are known as
refrigerators (or air conditioners).
-Devices that are used to supply heat at higher temperatures than ambient are
known as heat pumps.
A typical refrigeration system has the following processes for the ideal vapour
compression cycle;
Table 1

Based on your data (Table-2), complete the calculations below.

1. Heat Transfer in Evaporator qe.
2. Heat Transfer in Condenser qc.
The refrigerant temperature measurements at critical locations of the
thermodynamic cycle,
T3-4 = evaporator temperature,
T1-2= condenser temperature,
T1 = compressor exit temperature)

3. Compressor
Absolute Pressure = Pressure Gauge Value + Local Atmospheric Pressure. Delivered
Pressure Ratio (Note: the pressure ratio should be the derived using Absolute
pressure not Gauge Pressure).

Isentropic efficiency of compressor:

4. Coefficient of Performance (COP)

COP for the refrigeration cycle:

(Refer to Figure-2) (5)

COP for a reversed Carnot refrigeration cycle:


Normal Operation
The refrigerant is R22. Pressure-Enthalpy diagram for R22 is given in Figure 4.
Experiment: Investigation of the Vapour Compression Refrigeration Cycle
i. The equipment is located in Laboratory 3 (Mechanical) on level 2 of PSB Academy
(Henderson Campus).
ii. There are a number temperature and pressure transducers installed at a various
points around the cycle.
iii. Their outputs are all connected to the instrument panel on the front of the rig,
which also contains all the necessary controls.
iv. Your first task is to identify the cycle components, locate the transducers,
selector switches of throttle type and sub-cool setting.
v. Set predetermined temperature setting, throttle type and sub-cool setting
(on/off). Consult your experiment supervisor before performing this task.

vi. Turn on the main switch and the compressor will start and notice the FC unit will
turn on automatically.
vii. Record the temperatures and pressures. Allow the unit to run for at least 15 - 20
minutes to reach approximate thermal equilibrium before any measurements are
recorded. The time taken to stabilise will depend upon the local ambient conditions.
viii. For the Test No 1, record all the system parameters in table 2 below.
ix. Based on your pressure and temperature measurements of the refrigerant, plot
the vapour compression cycle on the large P-h diagram next to the apparatus. You
may take a picture of it as a reference.

We set the temperature on 16 C and allow the unit to run at least 15 - 20 minutes.

We set the temperature on 19 C and allow the unit to run at least 15 - 20 minutes.

We set the temperature on 22 C and allow the unit to run at least 15 - 20 minutes.

Lab. Ambient Temperature 24 C

The processes which constitute the cycle are:

Process 1 - 2: Isontropic compression, S1 = S2
Process 2 3: Isothermal rejection of heat Tc= constant i.e. T2 = T3
Process 3 4: Isentropic expansion S3 = S4
Process 4 1: Isothermal addition of heat (heat absorption from the cold reservoir)
at Te

constant i.e. T1 = T4

Various components used in Lab

-low pressure gas is changed to high pressure gas
- if the warm air has been absorbed, the compressor turns warm air into liquid. Under high
pressure, it compresses the air into liquid..
-compressor compresses the refrigerant, which flows to the condenser, where it gets cooled.

-Condensers of air conditioner are heat exchanger device; it has a similar operation

principle to the evaporator.

- The condenser units take in high-pressure, high temperature refrigerant gas from the
compressor and turn it into high-pressure, high temperature liquid refrigerant.

- evaporator works at the opposite of the condenser, here refrigerant liquid is
converted to gas, absorbing heat from the air in the compartment.
- The evaporator coil works by drawing hot air over the coil, which is filled with
refrigerant, to cool the air.

Compare of vapor compression cycle with Carnot cycle

The vapour compression cycle is the most widely used refrigeration cycle in
practice. Carnot cycle is one whose efficiency cannot be exceeded when operating
between two given temperature. compressor compresses the refrigerant to a higher
pressure and
temperature from an evaporated vapour at low pressure from an evaporated vapour at
low pressure and temperature. The Carnot heat engine receives energy at a high of
temperature, converts a portion of the energy into work, and discharges the remainder to
a heat sink a low level of temperature.