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Fig. 1: Commercial refrigeration

Refrigeration is a process of removing heat from a low-temperature reservoir and transferring it to a high-
temperature reservoir. The work of heat transfer is traditionally driven by mechanical means, but can also
be driven by heat, magnetism, electricity, laser, or other means. Refrigeration has many applications,
including, but not limited to: household refrigerators, industrial freezers, cryogenics, and air conditioning.
Heat pumps may use the heat output of the refrigeration process, and also may be designed to be
reversible, but are otherwise similar to air conditioning units.
Refrigeration has had a large impact on industry, lifestyle, agriculture, and settlement patterns. The idea
of preserving food dates back to at least the ancient Roman and Chinese empires. However, mechanical
refrigeration technology has rapidly evolved in the last century, from ice harvesting to temperature-
controlled rail cars. The introduction of refrigerated rail cars contributed to the westward expansion of the
United States, allowing settlement in areas that were not on main transport channels such as rivers,
harbors, or valley trails. Settlements were also developing in infertile parts of the country, filled with
newly discovered natural resources. These new settlement patterns sparked the building of large cities
which are able to thrive in areas that were otherwise thought to be inhospitable, such as Houston, Texas,
and Las Vegas, Nevada. In most developed countries, cities are heavily dependent upon refrigeration.

Earliest forms of cooling:

The seasonal harvesting of snow and ice is an ancient practice estimated to have begun earlier than 1000
B.C. A Chinese collection of lyrics from this time period known as the Shijing, describes religious
ceremonies for filling and emptying ice cellars. However, little is known about the construction of these
ice cellars or what the ice was used for. The next ancient society to harvest ice may have been the Jews
according to the book of Proverbs, which reads, As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a
faithful messenger to them who sent him. Historians have interpreted this to mean that the Jews used ice
to cool beverages rather than to preserve food. Other ancient cultures such as the Greeks and the Romans
dug large snow pits insulated with grass, chaff, or branches of trees as cold storage. Like the Jews, the
Greeks and Romans did not use ice and snow to preserve food, but primarily as a means to cool
beverages. The Egyptians also developed methods to cool beverages, but in lieu of using ice to cool
water, the Egyptians cooled water by putting boiling water in shallow earthen jars and placing them on
the roofs of their houses at night. Slaves would moisten the outside of the jars and the resulting
evaporation would cool the water. The ancient people of India used this same concept to produce ice. The
Persians stored ice in a pit called a Yakhchal and may have been the first group of people to use cold
storage to preserve food. In the Australian outback before a reliable electricity supply was available where
the weather could be hot and dry, many farmers used a Coolgardie safe.

Ice harvesting:

Fig. 2: Ice harvesting in Massachusetts, 1852

Before 1830, few Americans used ice to refrigerate foods due to a lack of ice-storehouses and iceboxes.
As these two things became more widely available, individuals used axes and saws to harvest ice for their
storehouses, as shown in Fig 2. This method proved to be difficult, dangerous, and certainly did not
resemble anything that could be duplicated on a commercial scale.
Despite the difficulties of harvesting ice, Frederic Tudor thought that he could capitalize on this new
commodity by harvesting ice in New England and shipping it to the Caribbean islands as well as the
southern states. In the beginning, Tudor lost thousands of dollars, but eventually turned a profit as he
constructed icehouses in Charleston, Virginia and in the Cuban port town of Havana. These icehouses as
well as better insulated ships helped reduce ice wastage from 66% to 8%. This efficiency gain influenced
Tudor to expand his ice market to other towns with icehouses such as New Orleans and Savannah. This
ice market further expanded as harvesting ice became faster and cheaper after one of Tudors suppliers,
Nathaniel Wyeth, invented a horse-drawn ice cutter in 1825. This invention as well as Tudors success
inspired others to get involved in the ice trade and the ice industry grew. O obtain their food for daily

Refrigeration research:
The history of artificial refrigeration began when Scottish professor William Cullen designed a small
refrigerating machine in 1755. Cullen used a pump to create a partial vacuum over a container of diethyl
ether, which then boiled, absorbing heat from the surrounding air. The experiment even created a small
amount of ice, but had no practical application at that time in 1758, Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley,
professor of chemistry, collaborated on a project investigating the principle of evaporation as a means to
rapidly cool an object at Cambridge University, England. They confirmed that the evaporation of highly
volatile liquids, such as alcohol and ether, could be used to drive down the temperature of an object past
the freezing point of water. They conducted their experiment with the bulb of a mercury thermometer as
their object and with a bellows used to quicken the evaporation; they lowered the temperature of the
thermometer bulb down to 7 F (14 C), while the ambient temperature was 65 F (18 C). They noted
that soon after they passed the freezing point of water (32 F), a thin film of ice formed on the surface of
the thermometer's bulb and that the ice mass was about a quarter inch thick when they stopped the
experiment upon reaching 7 F (14 C). Franklin wrote, "From this experiment, one may see the
possibility of freezing a man to death on a warm summer's day". In 1805, American inventor Oliver
Evans described a closed vapor-compression refrigeration cycle for the production of ice by ether under
In 1820 the English scientist Michael Faraday liquefied ammonia and other gases by using high pressures
and low temperatures, and in 1834, an American expatriate to Great Britain, Jacob Perkins, built the first
working vapor-compression refrigeration system in the world. It was a closed-cycle that could operate
continuously, as he described in his patent.

First practical vapor-compression

Refrigeration system
The first practical vapor-compression refrigeration system was built by James Harrison, a British
journalist who had immigrated to Australia. His 1856 patent was for a vapors-compression system using
ether, alcohol, or ammonia. He built a mechanical ice-making machine in 1851 on the banks of the
Barwon River at Rocky Point in Geelong, Victoria, and his first commercial ice-making machine
followed in 1854. Harrison also introduced commercial vapors-compression refrigeration to breweries
and meat-packing houses, and by 1861, a dozen of his systems were in operation. He later entered the
debate of how to compete against the American advantage of unrefrigerated beef sales to the United
Kingdom. In 1873 he prepared the sailing ship Norfolk for an experimental beef shipment to the United
Kingdom, which used a cold room system instead of a refrigeration system. The venture was a failure as
the ice was consumed faster than expected.

First gas absorption refrigeration system

The first gas absorption refrigeration system using gaseous ammonia dissolved in water (referred to as
"aqua ammonia") was developed by Ferdinand Carr of France in 1859 and patented in 1860. Carl von
Linde, an engineer specializing in steam locomotives and professor of engineering at the Technological
University of Munich in Germany, began researching refrigeration in the 1860s and 1870s in response to
demand from brewers for a technology that would allow year-round, large-scale production of lager; he
patented an improved method of liquefying gases in 1876.[12] His new process made possible using
gases such as ammonia, sulfur dioxide (SO2) and methyl chloride (CH3Cl) as refrigerants and they were
widely used for that purpose until the late 1920s.

Cyclic refrigeration
This consists of a refrigeration cycle, where heat is removed from a low-temperature space or source and
rejected to a high-temperature sink with the help of external work, and its inverse, the thermodynamic
power cycle. In the power cycle, heat is supplied from a high-temperature source to the engine, part of the
heat being used to produce work and the rest being rejected to a low-temperature sink. This satisfies the
second law of thermodynamics.
A refrigeration cycle describes the changes that take place in the refrigerant as it alternately absorbs and
rejects heat as it circulates through a refrigerator. It is also applied to heating, ventilation, and air
conditioning HVACR work, when describing the "process" of refrigerant flow through an HVACR unit,
whether it is a packaged or split system.
Heat naturally flows from hot to cold. Work is applied to cool a living space or storage volume by
pumping heat from a lower temperature heat source into a higher temperature heat sink. Insulation is used
to reduce the work and energy needed to achieve and maintain a lower temperature in the cooled space.
The operating principle of the refrigeration cycle was described mathematically by Sadi Carnot in 1824 as
a heat engine.

Vapor-compression cycle

The vapor-compression cycle is used in most household refrigerators as well as in many large commercial
and industrial refrigeration systems. Figure 1 provides a schematic diagram of the components of a typical
vapor-compression refrigeration system
The thermodynamics of the cycle can be analyzed on as shown in Figure 2. In this cycle, a circulating
refrigerant such as Freon enters the compressor as a vapor. From point 1 to point 2, the vapor is
compressed at constant entropy and exits the compressor as a vapor at a higher temperature, but still
below the vapor pressure at that temperature. From point 2 to point 3 and on to point 4, the vapor travels
through the condenser which cools the vapor until it starts condensing, and then condenses the vapor into
a liquid by removing additional heat at constant pressure and temperature. Between points 4 and 5, the
liquid refrigerant goes through the expansion valve (also called a throttle valve) where its pressure
abruptly decreases, causing flash evaporation and auto-refrigeration of, typically, less than half of the
That results in a mixture of liquid and vapor at a lower temperature and pressure as shown at point 5. The
cold liquid-vapor mixture then travels through the evaporator coil or tubes and is completely vaporized by
cooling the warm air (from the space being refrigerated) being blown by a fan across the evaporator coil
or tubes. The resulting refrigerant vapor returns to the compressor inlet at point 1 to complete the
thermodynamic cycle.

Thermal operating machine

The main inefficiency in a common thermal working machine is the expansion valve, which allows to
pass the refrigerant liquid from the low pressure blow pressure without using the potential energy
available. This patented and published invention in 2017 by Giuseppe Verde adopts a special technique
based on power regeneration for internal cycles, in order to reduce the consumption of electricity.
Innovation is therefore linked to the insertion of a heat exchanger for the recovery of energy and an
alternator within a conventional refrigeration system. Applying this device results in a high improvement
in energy efficiency and refrigeration. Both of these effects increase when the operating temperature and
the evaporation temperature decrease. In addition, an advantageous object of the present invention is the
insertion of an electric charge accumulator comprising an automatic timed control system for switching
off the electric circuit, which guarantees the possibility of economically benefiting the multi-hour tariff
electric energy.

Gas cycle
When the working fluid is a gas that is compressed and expanded but doesn't change phase, the
refrigeration cycle is called a gas cycle. Air is most often this working fluid. As there is no condensation
and evaporation intended in a gas cycle, components corresponding to the condenser and evaporator in a
vapor compression cycle are the hot and cold gas-to-gas heat exchangers in gas cycles.
The gas cycle is less efficient than the vapor compression cycle because the gas cycle works on the
reverse Brayton cycle instead of the reverse Rankine cycle. As such the working fluid does not receive
and reject heat at constant temperature. In the gas cycle, the refrigeration effect is equal to the product of
the specific heat of the gas and the rise in temperature of the gas in the low temperature side. Therefore,
for the same cooling load, a gas refrigeration cycle needs a large mass flow rate and is bulky.

Thermoelectric refrigeration
Thermoelectric cooling uses the Pelletier effect to create a heat flux between the junctions of two types of
material. This effect is commonly used in camping and portable coolers and for cooling electronic
components and small instruments.

Magnetic refrigeration
Magnetic refrigeration, or adiabatic demagnetization, is a cooling technology based on the magneto
caloric effect, an intrinsic property of magnetic solids. The refrigerant is often a paramagnetic salt, such
as cerium magnesium nitrate. The active magnetic dipoles in this case are those of the electron shells of
the paramagnetic atoms.
A strong magnetic field is applied to the refrigerant, forcing its various magnetic dipoles to align and
putting these degrees of freedom of the refrigerant into a state of lowered entropy. A heat sink then
absorbs the heat released by the refrigerant due to its loss of entropy. Thermal contact with the heat sink is
then broken so that the system is insulated, and the magnetic field is switched off. This increases the heat
capacity of the refrigerant, thus decreasing its temperature below the temperature of the heat sink.
Because few materials exhibit the needed properties at room temperature, applications have so far been
limited to cryogenics and research.

Fridge Gate
The Fridge Gate method is a theoretical application of using a single logic gate to drive a refrigerator in
the most energy efficient way possible without violating the laws of thermodynamics. It operates on the
fact that there are two energy states in which a particle can exist: the ground state and the excited state.
The excited state carries a little more energy than the ground state, small enough so that the transition
occurs with high probability. There are three components or particle types associated with the fridge gate.
The first is on the interior of the fridge, the second on the outside and the third is connected to a power
supply which heats up every so often that it can reach the E state and replenish the source. In the cooling
step on the inside of the fridge, the g state particle absorbs energy from ambient particles, cooling them,
and itself jumping to the e state. In the second step, on the outside of the fridge where the particles are
also at an e state, the particle falls to the g state, releasing energy and heating the outside particles. In the
third and final step, the power supply moves a particle at the e state, and when it falls to the g state it
induces an energy-neutral swap where the interior e particle is replaced by a new g particle, restarting the

Refrigerant development
A modern R-134a hermetic refrigeration compressor

The first air conditioners and refrigerators employed toxic or flammable gases, such as ammonia, methyl
chloride, or propane that could result in fatal accidents when they leaked. Thomas Medley, Jr. created the
first non-flammable, non-toxic chlorofluorocarbon gas, Freon, in 1928. The name is a trademark name
owned by DuPont for any chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), hydro chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), or hydro
fluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant. The refrigerant names include a number indicating the molecular
composition (e.g., R-11, R-12, R-22, and R-134A). The blend most used in direct-expansion home and
building comfort cooling is an HCFC known as chloride flour methane (R-22).
Dichlorodifluoromethane (R-12) was the most common blend used in automobiles in the US until 1994,
when most designs changed to R-134A due to the ozone-depleting potential of R-12. R-11 and R-12 are
no longer manufactured in the US for this type of application, so the only source for air-conditioning
repair purposes is the cleaned and purified gas recovered from other air conditioner systems. Several non-
ozone-depleting refrigerants have been developed as alternatives, including R-410A. It was first
commercially used by Carrier Corp. under the brand name Peron.

Air conditioning
Air conditioning units outside Building.
Air conditioning (often referred to as AC, A.C., or A/C) is the process of removing or adding heat from/to
a space, thus cooling or heating the space's average temperature.
Air conditioning can be used in both domestic and commercial environments. This process is most
commonly used to achieve a more comfortable interior environment, typically for humans or animals;
however, air conditioning is also used to cool/dehumidify rooms filled with heat-producing electronic
devices, such as computer servers, power amplifiers, and even to display and store artwork.
Air conditioners often use a fan to distribute the conditioned air to an occupied space such as a building or
a car to improve thermal comfort and indoor air quality. Electric refrigerant-based AC units range from
small units that can cool a small bedroom, which can be carried by a single adult, to massive units
installed on the roof of office towers that can cool an entire building. The cooling is typically achieved
through a refrigeration cycle, but sometimes evaporation or free cooling is used. Air conditioning systems
can also be made based on desiccants (chemicals which remove moisture from the air) and subterraneous
pipes that can distribute the heated refrigerant to the ground for cooling.

Evaporative cooling
Since prehistoric times, snow and ice were used for cooling. The business of harvesting ice during winter
and storing for use in summer became popular towards the late 17th century. This practice was replaced
by mechanical ice-making machines.
The basic concept behind air conditioning is said to have been applied in ancient Egypt, where reeds were
hung in windows and were moistened with trickling water. The evaporation of water cooled the air
blowing through the window. This process also made the air more humid, which can be beneficial in a dry
desert climate. In Ancient Rome, water from aqueducts was circulated through the walls of certain houses
to cool them. Other techniques in medieval Persia involved the use of cisterns and wind towers to cool
buildings during the hot season.
The 2nd-century Chinese mechanical engineer and inventor Ding Huan of the Han Dynasty invented a
rotary fan for air conditioning, with seven wheels 3 m (10 ft) in diameter and manually powered by
prisoners of the time.[5] In 747, Emperor Xuanzong (r. 712762) of the Tang Dynasty (618907) had the
Cool Hall (Liang Tian) built in the imperial palace, which the Tang Yulin describes as having water-
powered fan wheels for air conditioning as well as rising jet streams of water from fountains. During the
subsequent Song Dynasty (9601279), written sources mentioned the air conditioning rotary fan as even
more widely used.
Development of mechanical cooling
Three-quarters scale model of Gowri ice

Modern air conditioning emerged from advances in chemistry during the 19th century, and the first large-
scale electrical air conditioning was invented and used in 1902 by American inventor Willis Carrier. The
introduction of residential air conditioning in the 1920s helped enable the great migration to the Sun Belt
in the United States.
In 1758, Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley, a chemistry professor at Cambridge University, conducted
an experiment to explore the principle of evaporation as a means to rapidly cool an object. Franklin and
Hadley confirmed that evaporation of highly volatile liquids (such as alcohol and ether) could be used to
drive down the temperature of an object past the freezing point of water. They conducted their experiment
with the bulb of a mercury thermometer as their object and with a bellows used to speed up the
evaporation. They lowered the temperature of the thermometer bulb down to 14 C (7 F) while the
ambient temperature was 18 C (64 F). Franklin noted that, soon after they passed the freezing point of
water 0 C (32 F), a thin film of ice formed on the surface of the thermometer's bulb and that the ice
mass was about 6 mm (14 in) thick when they stopped the experiment upon reaching 14 C (7 F).
Franklin concluded: "From this experiment one may see the possibility of freezing a man to death on a
warm summer's day".

Electromechanical cooling
In 1902, the first modern electrical air conditioning unit was invented by Willis Carrier in Buffalo, New
York. After graduating from Cornell University, Carrier found a job at the Buffalo Forge Company.
While there, he began experimenting with air conditioning as a way to solve an application problem for
the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company in Brooklyn, New York. The first air
conditioner, designed and built in Buffalo by Carrier, began working on 17 July 1902.[citation needed].
Designed to improve manufacturing process control in a printing plant, Carrier's invention controlled not
only temperature but also humidity. Carrier used his knowledge of the heating of objects with steam and
reversed the process. Instead of sending air through hot coils, he sent it through cold coils (filled with cold
water). The air was cooled, and thereby the amount of moisture in the air could be controlled, which in
turn made the humidity in the room controllable. The controlled temperature and humidity helped
maintain consistent paper dimensions and ink alignment. Later, Carrier's technology was applied to
increase productivity in the workplace, and The Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America was
formed to meet rising demand. Over time, air conditioning came to be used to improve comfort in homes
and automobiles as well. Residential sales expanded dramatically in the 1950s.[citation needed].
In 1906, Stuart W. Cramer of Charlotte was exploring ways to add moisture to the air in his textile mill.
Cramer coined the term "air conditioning", using it in a patent claim he filed that year as an analogue to
"water conditioning", then a well-known process for making textiles easier to process. He combined
moisture with ventilation to "condition" and change the air in the factories, controlling the humidity so
necessary in textile plants. Willis Carrier adopted the term and incorporated it into the name of his

Refrigeration cycle

A simple stylized diagram of the refrigeration cycle:

1) Condensing coil
2) Expansion valve
3) Evaporator coil
4) Compressor
Capillary expansion valve connection to evaporator inlet. Notice frost formation
In the refrigeration cycle, heat is transported from a colder location to a hotter area. As heat would
naturally flow in the opposite direction, work is required to achieve this. A refrigerator is an example of
such a system, as it transports the heat out of the interior and into its environment. The refrigerant is used
as the medium which absorbs and removes heat from the space to be cooled and subsequently ejects that
heat elsewhere.
Circulating refrigerant vapor enters the compressor, where its pressure and temperature are increased. The
hot, compressed refrigerant vapor is now at a temperature and pressure at which it can be condensed and
is routed through a condenser. Here it is cooled by air flowing across the condenser coils and condensed
into a liquid. Thus, the circulating refrigerant removes heat from the system and the heat is carried away
by the air. The removal of this heat can be greatly augmented by pouring water over the condenser coils,
making it much cooler when it hits the expansion valve.
The condensed, pressurized, and still usually somewhat hot liquid refrigerant is next routed through an
expansion valve (often nothing more than a pinhole in the system's copper tubing) where it undergoes an
abrupt reduction in pressure. That pressure reduction results in flash evaporation of a part of the liquid
refrigerant, greatly lowering its temperature. Aircraft air conditioners use turbines for cooling, more
efficient but more complex. The cold refrigerant is then routed through the evaporator. A fan blows the
interior warm air (which is to be cooled) across the evaporator, causing the liquid part of the cold
refrigerant mixture to evaporate as well, further lowering the temperature. The warm air is therefore
cooled and is pumped by an exhaust fan/ blower into the room. To complete the refrigeration cycle, the
refrigerant vapor is routed back into the compressor. In order for the process to have any efficiency, the
cooling/evaporative portion of the system must be separated by some kind of physical barrier from the
heating/condensing portion, and each portion must have its own fan to circulate its own "kind" of air
(either the hot air or the cool air).

Heat pump unit

A heat pump is an air conditioner in which the refrigeration cycle can be reversed, producing heating
instead of cooling in the indoor environment. They are also commonly referred to as a "reverse cycle air
conditioner". The heat pump is significantly more energy efficient than electric resistance heating. Some
homeowners elect to have a heat pump system installed as a feature of a central air conditioner. When the
heat pump is in heating mode, the indoor evaporator coil switches roles and becomes the condenser coil,
producing heat. The outdoor condenser unit also switches roles to serve as the evaporator, and discharges
cold air (colder than the ambient outdoor air).
Air-source heat pumps are more popular in milder winter climates where the temperature is frequently in
the range of 4055 F (413 C), because heat pumps become inefficient in more extreme cold. This is
because ice forms on the outdoor unit's heat exchanger coil, which blocks air flow over the coil. To
compensate for this, the heat pump system must temporarily switch back into the regular air conditioning
mode to switch the outdoor evaporator coil back to being the condenser coil, so that it can heat up and
defrost. A heat pump system will therefore have a form of electric resistance heating in the indoor air path
that is activated only in this mode in order to compensate for the temporary indoor air cooling, which
would otherwise be uncomfortable in the winter.
Evaporative cooling
An evaporative cooler

An evaporative cooler in very dry climates, evaporative coolers, sometimes referred to as swamp coolers
or desert coolers, are popular for improving coolness during hot weather. An evaporative cooler is a
device that draws outside air through a wet pad, such as a large sponge soaked with water. The sensible
heat of the incoming air, as measured by a dry bulb thermometer, is reduced. The temperature of the
incoming air is reduced, but it is also more humid, so the total heat (sensible heat plus latent heat) is
unchanged. Some of the sensible heat of the entering air is converted to latent heat by the evaporation of
water in the wet cooler pads. If the entering air is dry enough, the results can be quite substantial.

Free cooling
Air conditioning can also be provided by a process called free cooling which uses pumps to circulate a
coolant (typically water or a glycol mix) from a cold source, which in turn acts as a heat sink for the
energy that is removed from the cooled space. Common storage media are deep aquifers or a natural
underground rock mass accessed via a cluster of small-diameter boreholes, equipped with heat exchanger.
Some systems with small storage capacity are hybrid systems, using free cooling early in the cooling
season, and later employing a heat pump to chill the circulation coming from the storage. The heat pump
is added because the temperature of the storage gradually increases during the cooling season, thereby
declining its effectiveness.

Typical portable dehumidifier
A specialized air conditioner that is used only for dehumidifying is called a dehumidifier. It also uses a
refrigeration cycle, but differs from a standard air conditioner in that both the evaporator and the
condenser are placed in the same air path. A standard air conditioner transfers heat energy out of the room
because its condenser coil releases heat outside. However, since all components of the dehumidifier are in
the same room, no heat energy is removed. Instead, the electric power consumed by the dehumidifier
remains in the room as heat, so the room is actually heated, just as by an electric heater that draws the
same amount of power.
In addition, if water is condensed in the room, the amount of heat previously needed to evaporate that
water also is re-released in the room (the latent heat of vaporization). The dehumidification process is the
inverse of adding water to the room with an evaporative cooler, and instead releases heat. Therefore, an
in-room dehumidifier always will warm the room and reduce the relative humidity indirectly, as well as
reducing the humidity directly by condensing and removing water.

Window unit and packaged terminal

Air conditioning window unit Parts of a window unit

Window unit air conditioners are installed in an open window. The interior air is cooled as a fan blows it
over the evaporator. On the exterior the heat drawn from the interior is dissipated into the environment as
a second fan blows outside air over the condenser. A large house or building may have several such units,
allowing each room to be cooled separately.
In 1971, General Electric introduced the first portable in-window air conditioner designed for
convenience and portability.
Packaged terminal air conditioner (PTAC) systems are also known as wall-split air conditioning systems.
They are ductless systems. PTACs, which are frequently used in hotels, have two separate units (terminal
packages), the evaporative unit on the interior and the condensing unit on the exterior, with an opening
passing through the wall and connecting them. This minimizes the interior system footprint and allows
each room to be adjusted independently. PTAC systems may be adapted to provide heating in cold
weather, either directly by using an electric strip, gas, or other heater, or by reversing the refrigerant flow
to heat the interior and draw heat from the exterior air, converting the air conditioner into a heat pump.
While room air conditioning provides maximum flexibility, when used to cool many rooms at a time it is
generally more expensive than central air conditioning.

Split systems
Outside part of a ductless split-type air conditioner

Split-system air conditioners come in two forms: mini-split and central systems. In both types, the inside-
environment (evaporative) heat exchanger is separated by some distance from the outside-environment
(condensing unit) heat exchange

Mini-split (ductless) system

Indoor part of a ductless split-type air conditioner

A mini-split system typically supplies air conditioned and heated air to a single or a few rooms of a
building. Multi-zone systems are a common application of ductless systems and allow up to 8 rooms
(zones) to be conditioned from a single outdoor unit. Multi-zone systems typically offer a variety of
indoor unit styles including wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, ceiling recessed, and horizontal ducted.
Mini-split systems typically produce 9,000 to 36,000 Btu (9,50038,000 kJ) per hour of cooling. Multi-
zone systems provide extended cooling and heating capacity up to 60,000 Btu's.
Advantages of the ductless system include smaller size and flexibility for zoning or heating and cooling
individual rooms. The inside wall space required is significantly reduced. Also, the compressor and heat
exchanger can be located farther away from the inside space, rather than merely on the other side of the
same unit as in a PTAC or window air conditioner. Flexible exterior hoses lead from the outside unit to
the interior one(s); these are often enclosed with metal to look like common drainpipes from the roof. In
addition, ductless systems offer higher efficiency, reaching above 30 SEER.

Central (ducted) air conditioning

Central (ducted) air conditioning offers whole-house or large-commercial-space cooling, and often offers
moderate multi-zone temperature control capability by the addition of air-louver-control boxes.
In central air conditioning, the inside heat-exchanger is typically placed inside the central furnace/AC unit
of the forced air heating system which is then used in the summer to distribute chilled air throughout a
residence or commercial building.

Portable split system

A portable system has an indoor unit on wheels connected to an outdoor unit via flexible pipes, similar to
a permanently fixed installed unit.

Portable hose system

Hose systems, which can be mono block or air-to-air, are vented to the outside via air ducts. The mono
block type collects the water in a bucket or tray and stops when full. The air-to-air type re-evaporates the
water and discharges it through the ducted hose and can run continuously.
A single-hose unit uses air from within the room to cool its condenser, and then vents it outside. This air
is replaced by hot air from outside or other rooms (due to the negative pressure inside the room), thus
reducing the unit's overall efficiency.
Modern units might have a coefficient of performance of approximately 3 (i.e., 1 kW of electricity will
produce 3 kW of cooling). A dual-hose unit draws air to cool its condenser from outside instead of from
inside the room, and thus is more effective than most single-hose units. These units create no negative
pressure in the room.

Portable evaporative system

Evaporative coolers, sometimes called "swamp coolers", do not have a compressor or condenser. Liquid
water is evaporated on the cooling fins, releasing the vapor into the cooled area. Evaporating water
absorbs a significant amount of heat, the latent heat of vaporization, cooling the air. Humans and animals
use the same mechanism to cool themselves by sweating.
Evaporative coolers have the advantage of needing no hoses to vent heat outside the cooled area, making
them truly portable. They are also very cheap to install and use less energy than refrigerates air

The working agent in a refrigerating system that absorbs carries or releases heat from the place to be
cooled or refrigerated can be termed as a refrigerant. This heat transfer generally takes place through
a phase change of the refrigerant. A more complete definition of a refrigerant could be given as
Refrigerant is the fluid used for heat transfer in a refrigerating system that absorbs heat during
evaporation from the region of low temperature and pressure, and releases heat during condensation
at a region of higher temperature and pressure.


Primary refrigerants are those which can be directly used for the purpose of refrigeration. If the
refrigerant is allowed to flow freely into the space to be refrigerated and there is no danger of
possible harm to human beings, then primary refrigerants are used. The refrigerants used in home
refrigerators like Freon-12 are primary refrigerants.
On the other hand, there may be certain situations in which we cannot allow the refrigerant to come
in direct contact with the items being refrigerated, and then the refrigerant used is termed as a
secondary refrigerant. As for example, we cannot allow a toxic refrigerant to be used for air
conditioning in residential buildings. There are some refrigerants which are highly inflammable and
so their direct use is forbidden for safety reasons. Again, it may so happen that if direct refrigeration,
such as in cooling a big cold storage, is allowed, then the amount of refrigerant required may be so
large that its cost becomes prohibitively high. These are some typical situations for which we favour
the use of secondary refrigerants. Water and brine solutions are common examples of secondary

Refrigerants can be broadly classified based on the following:
Working Principle
Under this heading, we have the primary or common refrigerants and the secondary refrigerants.
The primary refrigerants are those that pass through the processes of compression, cooling or
condensation, expansion and evaporation or warming up during cyclic processes. Ammonia, R12,
R22, carbon dioxide come under this class of refrigerants.
On the other hand, the medium which does not go through the cyclic processes in a refrigeration
system and is only used as a medium for heat transfer are referred to as secondary refrigerants.
Water, brine solutions of sodium chloride and calcium chloride come under this category.
Safety Considerations
Under this heading, we have the following three sub-divisions.
Safe refrigerants
These are the non-toxic, non-flammable refrigerants such as R11, R12, R13, R14, R21, R22, R113,
R114, methyl chloride, carbon dioxide, water etc.
Toxic and moderately flammable
Dichloroethylene methyl format, ethylchloride, sulphur dioxide, ammonia etc. come under this
Highly flammable refrigerants
The refrigerants under this category are butane, isobutene, propane, ethane, methane, ethylene etc.
Chemical Compositions
They are further sub-divided as 55 Refrigerants
Halocarbon compounds
These are obtained by replacing one or more hydrogen atoms in ethane or methane with halogens.
These are the mixtures of two or more refrigerants and behave as a compound.
Oxygen and Nitrogen Compounds
Refrigerants having either oxygen or nitrogen molecules in their structure, such as ammonia, are
grouped separately and have a separate nomenclature from the halogenated refrigerants.
Cyclic organic Compounds
The compounds coming under this class are R316, R317 and R318.
Inorganic Compounds
These are further divided into two categories: Cryogenic and Non-cryogenic.
Cryogenic fluids are those which are applied for achieving temperatures as low as 160 0C to 273
0C. Above this temperature range, we can use a multi-stage refrigeration system to realise the desired
temperature. But below 160 0C, this is not possible since the COP of the cycle becomes very low.
To attain temperatures below 160 0C, we use refrigerants such as nitrogen, oxygen, helium,
hydrogen etc. and for temperatures close to 273 0C, magnetic cooling is employed.
The inorganic compounds which are employed above the cryogenic temperature ranges come under
the remaining sub-division of inorganic refrigerants.
Unsaturated Compounds
Compounds such as ethylene, propylene etc. are grouped under this head and grouped under the 1000
series for convenience.
This group contains those compounds which cannot be grouped under the other components. They
are indicated by the 700 series with the last numbers being their molecular weight. Examples include
air, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide etc.
As we can see from the above sub-divisions, they are not mutually exclusive. A compound may
come under more than one sub-division. Hence, the importance of adopting the various naming
conventions to designate the different refrigerants cannot be underestimated.
Most refrigerants used today are substances obtained by chemical synthesis and consequently have ideal
properties for the specific purpose. Many of these, however, have negative effects on the environment, they
tend to destroy the ozone layer (i.e. have a high ODP, Ozone Depletion Potential) or directly contribute to the
greenhouse effect (i.e. have a high GWP, Global Warming Potential).

Refrigerant nomenclature:

CFC = chlorofluorocarbon, high ODP

HCFC = hydrochlorofluorocarbon, low ODP, high GWP

HFC = hydrofluorocarbon, zero ODP, high GWP

PFC = perfluorocarbons,

HFO = hydrofluoroolefin, zero ODP, low GWP

HC = hydrocarbons, zero ODP, negligible GWP

Ammonia, CO2 = zero ODP, zero or negligible GWP

Numbering and Nomenclature of Refrigerants

(i)For saturated hydrocarbons and their derivatives three digit number
First digit = C 1 = one less than the C atoms in the compound
Second digit = H + 1=one more than the H atoms in the compound
Third digit = Number of fluorine atoms
C2H2Cl2F2 = R-132
CH4 = R-50
(ii)For unsaturated hydrocarbons and their derivatives four digit number
First digit =1 (number of double or triple bonds)
Second digit = C-1 = one less than the C atoms in the compound
Third digit = H + 1=one more than the H atoms in the compound
Fourth digit = Number of fluorine atoms
C2Cl2F2 = R-1112
C2H2 = R-1130
(iii) Inorganic compounds700 + molecular weight
Water = R-718
Air = R-729
NH3 = R-717
These are numbered starting from R-500
First known azeotrope in refrigeration has been numbered as R-500.
Next known azeotrope as R-501 and so on.
Azeotrope B.P. Composition by MASS
FOR EXAMPLE: R-500 -33.3 R-12/R-152, 73.8/26.2
R-501 -45 R-22/R-12, 75/25
R-502 -46 R-22/R-115, 48.8/51.2
R-503 -88 R-23/R-13, 40.1/59.9
R-504 -57 R-32/R-115, 48.3/51.7
(v)Blends/Mixed refrigerants
For example: R-401A is HCFC blend of R-32 + R-152a + R-124

R-404A is HCFC blend of R-143a + R-125 + R-134a

By mass (52% + 44 % + 4 %)
Decoding the Number (Other than Halons)

Now that we understand that the prefix describes what kinds of atoms are in a particular molecule, the next step is to
calculate the number of each type of atom. The key to the code is to add 90 to the number; the result shows the
number of C, H, and F atoms. For HCFC-141b:

141 + 90 = 2 3 1
#C #H #F

One more piece of information is needed to decipher the number of Cl atoms. All of these chemicals are saturated;
that is, they contain only single bonds. The number of bonds available in a carbon-based molecule is 2C + 2. Thus,
for HCFC-141b, which has 2 carbon atoms, there are 6 bonds. Cl atoms occupy bonds remaining after the F and H
atoms. So HCFC-141b has 2C, 3H, 1F, and 2Cl:

HCFC-141b = C2H3FCl2

Notice that the HCFC designation (h ydro c hloro f luoro c arbon) is a good double-check on the decoding; this
molecule does, indeed, contain H, Cl, F, and C. The "b" at the end describes how these atoms are arranged; different
"isomers" contain the same atoms, but they are arranged differently. The letter designation for isomers is discussed

Let's look at another example: HFC-134a.

134 + 90 = 2 2 4
#C #H #F
Again, there are 6 bonds. But in this case, there are no bonds left over after F and H, so there are no chlorine atoms.
HFC-134a = C2H2F4

In this case, too, the prefix is accurate: this is an HFC (h ydro f luoro c arbon), so it contains only H, F, and C, but no

One final example: PFC-218.

218 + 90 = 3 0 8
#C #H #F

This time, there are 2 x 3 + 2 = 8 bonds. However, there are no bonds left over after F, so there are no chlorine
atoms or H atoms. Thus:
PFC-218 = C3F8

Once again, the prefix is accurate: this is a PFC (p er f luoro c arbon), so it contains only F, and C.

Note that at any molecule with only 1C (e.g., CFC-12) will have a 2-digit number, while those with 2C or 3C will
have a 3-digit number.
Decoding the Number (Halons)

Halon numbers directly show the number of C, F, Cl, and Br atoms. The numbering scheme above does not give a
direct number for the number of Cl atoms, but that can be calculated. Similarly, Halon numbers do not specify the
number of H atoms directly. Note that you don't need to add anything to decode the number:
Halon 1 2 1 1
#C #F #Cl #Br

For this molecule, there are 2 x 1 + 2 = 4 bonds, all of which are taken by Cl, F, and Br, leaving no room for any H
atoms. Thus:
Halon 1211 = CF2ClBr


Isomers of a given compound contain the same atoms but they are arranged differently. Isomers usually have
different properties; only one isomer may be useful. So far, we've deciphered the "HCFC" and the "141" of
something like HCFC-141b, and we now know the specific atoms in the molecule. The remaining piece of the
puzzle is determined the arrangement for a isomer. Since all the compounds under discussion are based on carbon
chains (1-3 carbon atoms attached in a line of single bonds: e.g., C - C - C), the naming system is based on how H,
F, Cl, and Br atoms are attached to that chain.

A single C atom can only bond with 4 other atoms in one way, so there are no isomers of those compounds. For two-
carbon molecules, a single lower-case letter following the number designates the isomer. For three-carbon
molecules, a lower-case two-letter code serves this purpose.

2-Carbon (Ethane-Derived) Chains

First, consider two-carbon molecules. For example, HCFC-141, HCFC-141a, and HCFC-141b all have the same
atoms (2C, 3H, 1F, and 2Cl), but they are organized differently. To determine the letter, total the atomic weights of
the atoms bonded to each of the carbon atoms. The arrangement that most evenly distributes atomic weights has no
letter. The next most even distribution is the "a" isomer, the next is "b," etc. until no more isomers are possible.

A common way of writing isomers' structure is to group atoms according to the carbon atom with which they bond.
Thus, the isomers of HCFC-141 are:

HCFC-141: CHFCl - CH2Cl (atomic weights on the 2 carbons = 37.5 and 55.5)
HCFC-141a: CHCl2 - CH2F (atomic weights on the 2 carbons = 21 and 72)
HCFC-141b: CFCl2 - CH3 (atomic weights on the 2 carbons = 3 and 90)

For HFC-134, the isomers are:

HFC-134: CHF2 - CHF2

HFC-134a: CF3 - CH2F

Another way of writing out chemical structures is to specify, for each of the Cl, F, and Br atoms, the ordinal number
of the carbon to which they are bonded and to use numerical prefixes (2=di, 3=tri, 4=tetra, 5=penta, etc.) to specify
the total number of each kind of atom. The suffix for the molecular name depends on the number of carbons.
Molecules with 1C end in "methane" (since there are no isomers of methane-derived molecules, they have no letter
designation), " 2C end in "ethane," and 3C end in "propane." It is assumed that any bonds not occupied by Cl, F, or
Br are occupied by H, so H atoms are not specified. So, the isomers of HCFC-141 can be written as:

HCFC-141: CHFCl - CH2Cl 1,2-dichloro-1-fluoroethane

HCFC-141a: CHCl2 - CH2F 1,1-dichloro-2-fluoroethane
HCFC-141b: CFCl2 - CH3 1,1-dichloro-1-fluoroethane

For HFC-134, the isomers are:

HFC-134: CHF2 - CHF2 1,1,2,2-tetrafluoroethane

HFC-134a: CF3 - CH2F 1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane

CFC-12 does not have any isomers, since it contains only 1C. In addition, there is no need to number the carbons.
Thus, its name is difluorodichloromethane.

3-Carbon (Propane-Derived) Chains

Molecules with 3C atoms are more complicated to name. The first letter designates the atoms attached to the middle
carbon atom, and the second letter designates decreasing symmetry in atomic weights of atoms attached to the
outside carbon atoms. Unlike 2C chains, however, the most symmetric distribution is the "a" isomer, instead of
omitting the letter entirely.

Atoms on Middle Carbon Code Letter

Cl2 a
Cl, F b
F2 c
Cl, H d
H, F e
H2 f

For example, HCFC-225ca is:

C3HF5Cl2 (3C = 8 bonds),

CF3 - CF2 - CHCl2, and

When no isomers are possible, no letters are used. For example, there is only one way to arrange 3C and 8F, so it is
written as PFC-218 and not PFC-218ca

Write halogen as prefix. For example, monochloromethane, dichlorofluoromethane
Write R as prefix. For example R-22, R-717
Written as CFC, HCFC, HFC, FC, PFC
Where PFC is per-fluorocarbons (Completely fluorinated), R-218C3F8
R for refrigerant
First digit = Number of double bonds (omitted if zero)
Second digit = carbon atoms 1 (omitted if zero)
Third digit = Hydrogen atoms + 1
Fourth digit =Fluorine atoms
A letter to identify isomers, the normal isomer in any number has the smallest mass difference on each
carbon atom and is without any suffix, and a, b, c are suffixed as the mass difference increases from normal.
For example C2H2F4 has two isomers CHF2 CHF 2 =R-134 and CH3CH2F = R-134a

Letters at the end

The last letter, if any, in the designation number means different things:

Lower-case letters describe the structure of the molecule. For example, R600 is butane and
R600a is isobutane. These two compounds have the same chemical formula, but different spatial
arrangements, and they therefore have slightly different properties.
Capital letters describe specific mixing proportions of different components. For example, R407
A-E are mixtures of the refrigerants R32, R125 and R134a. R407A has the following mixing
proportions: 20% R32, 40% R125 and 40% R134a, while R407C consists of 23% R32, 25%
R125 and 52% R134a.

Safety group classifications

This classification consist of two alphanumeric characters (e.g. A2); the capital letter corresponds to toxicity
and the digit to flammability.
2.1 Toxicity classification
Refrigerants are divided into two groups according to toxicity:
Class A signifies refrigerants for which toxicity has not been identified at concentrations less than or
equal to 400 ppm;
Class B signifies refrigerants for which there is evidence of toxicity at concentrations below 400 ppm.

2.2 Flammability classification

Refrigerants are divided into three groups according to flammability:
Class 1 indicates refrigerants that do not show flame propagation when tested in air at 21C and 101
Class 2 indicates refrigerants having a lower flammability limit of more than 0.10 kg/m at 21C and
101 kPa and a heat of combustion of less than 19 kJ/kg;
Class 3 indicates refrigerants that are highly flammable as defined by a lower flammability limit of
less than or equal to 0.10 kg/m at 21C and 101 kPa or a heat of combustion greater than or equal
to 19 kJ/kg.

2.3 Mixtures
Mixtures, whether zeotropic or azeotropic, with flammability and/or toxicity characteristics which may
change as the composition changes during fractionation, shall be assigned a safety group classification
based on the worst case of fractionation.
Example: R404A is classified A1

Ozone Depletion Potential, ODP

Refrigerants containing chlorine or bromine contribute to the breakdown of the ozone layer. The
reaction is as follows:

However, the CIO molecule is unstable. It breaks down and reacts with ozone molecules (in
accordance with the equation above) repeatedly until a more stable compound is created.

The ODP is the ratio of the impact on ozone of a chemical compared with the impact of a similar
mass of CFC-11 (R11). Thus, the ODP of CFC-11 is 1.0 by definition. Other CFCs and HCFCs
have ODPs ranging from 0.01 to 1.0. The halons have ODPs ranging up to 10. Carbon
tetrachloride has an ODP of 1.2, and methyl chloroform's ODP is 0.11. HFCs have zero ODP
because they do not contain chlorine.

Global Warming Potential, GWP

Due to their stability in the atmosphere, CFCs as well as HCFCs and HFCs are often very
effective greenhouse gases. The GWP factor is used to reflect their impact on global warming.

The GWP is the ratio of the warming caused by a substance to the warming caused by a similar
mass of carbon dioxide. Thus, the GWP of CO2 is 1.0 by definition. CFC-12 has a GWP of
8500, while CFC-11 has a GWP of 5000. Various HCFCs and HFCs have GWPs ranging from
93 to 12100. Water, a substitute in numerous end-uses, has a GWP of 0.

When using GWP values from different sources, it is important to consider that the values may
differ due to different integration times or calculation models.

Another measurement of the impact on global warming is the TEWI value (Total Environmental
Warming Impact). This includes not only the direct impact of any release of the refrigerant
(GWP), but also the impact during the generation and use of primary energy in the system.