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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

INTRODUCTION

In a Refrigeration or Air Conditioning system, either domestic or


used in Marine applications, heat is taken from one area and
released in another. As the heat is removed, the area becomes
cooler.

Refrigeration units are used on board the vessel to:

• Preserve food supplies


• Transport perishable food (commissary supply)
• Cool accommodation spaces (air conditioning)
• Remove moisture from air systems (refrigerated dryers)

This module will explain the basic principles of refrigeration and


is divided into the following sections:

• Heat Transfer
• Changes in State (Condition)
• Terminology
• Pressure-Temperature Relationship
• Main Components

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

HEAT TRANSFER

The transfer of heat can only take place between two objects if
there is a difference in temperature between them.

In all cases, the heat will travel from the warmer object to the
cooler one.

The transfer of heat can happen in any, or all, of three ways:

• Convection
• Conduction
• Radiation

CONVECTION

The physical movement of a fluid (liquid or gas) causes this


type of heat transfer. As fluids become cool, their density
increases. As they warm up, their density decreases.

Cooler fluids will tend to sink and push the warmer, lighter
fluids up. This unequal heating of a fluid causes current within
the fluid called CONVECTION currents. See Figure 1.

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

CONVECTION
HEAT
SOURCE
WATER AT 21 C0 IRON BAR AT
1000C

CONVECTION
Figure 1 CURRENTS

BAR GETS HOT

CONDUCTION RADIATION
WATER TEMPERATURE 1000C

HEAT SOURCE

Figure 2

Figure 1 also shows the principles of CONDUCTION and


RADIATION.

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

CONDUCTION

Conduction is the transfer of heat between two objects that are


in direct contact with each other.

By heating a cup of water and placing an iron bar in the water,


the bar will become hot due to the transfer of heat from the
water to the bar.

RADIATION

Radiation is the heat that can be felt without touching the


object. The heat from the sun can be felt even though there is
no air in space to conduct the heat.

Radiation of heat is very closely linked to conduction and can


be ignored when discussing refrigeration circuits.

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

HEAT TRANSFER IN A REFRIGERATION SYSTEM

A refrigeration system can be looked upon as a heat-transfer


unit, where the heat is absorbed (taken in) in one component in
the circuit and released in another.

HEAT OUT
HEAT IN

EVAPORATOR CONDENSER

Figure 3

The refrigerant absorbs the heat as it passes through the


evaporator and releases the heat as it passes through the
condenser.

The fluid circulating between the EVAPORATOR and the


CONDENSER is called a REFRIGERANT.

The manufacturer chooses the type of refrigerant. All the major


components in the circuit are designed to use that particular
refrigerant.

Common refrigerants in use today are C.F.C. gases and are


commonly known by their trade name of FREON.

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

In the evaporator, heat is absorbed by the refrigerant as it


passes through the tubes whilst the fan passes the room’s
relatively warmer air over the tubes.

The heat passes from the moving air through the tube wall and
into the refrigerant. See Figure 4.

WARMER FREON
OUT

COLD FREON
IN

HEAT TRANSFER FROM


AIR PASSING OVER TUBE

Figure 4

In the condenser, the heat absorbed by the refrigerant is


released to the cooling medium – usually seawater, but may also
be air.

Figure 5 shows a tube in the condenser where the seawater


flows through the tube and the refrigerant passes over the tube.

The Freon enters the condenser as a vapor where it gives up


heat and turns to liquid.

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

SEA WATER OUT

FREON VAPOR

SEA WATER IN

Figure 5

FACTORS AFFECTING HEAT TRANSFER

There are several things that affect how well the heat is
transferred between the refrigerant and the seawater in the
condenser and the refrigerant and the air in the evaporator.

1. Temperature Difference

The rate at which the heat is transferred depends on the


difference in the temperatures of the two fluids. The larger the
difference, the quicker the heat transfers.

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

2. Surface Area

The larger the surface area available for heat transfer is, the
quicker the transfer can take place.

Many evaporators and condenser use “fins” on their tubes in


order to increase the surface available. See Figure 6.

The radiator on your car will also be “finned” for the same
reason

FINS TO INCREASE
SURFACE AREA

Figure 6

3. Flow Rate

The faster the flow, the quicker the heat can be transferred.
For example, by standing in front of a moving fan, you will feel
cooler because there is more cooling effect due to the increased
flow of air across your body.

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

4. Thermal Conductivity

The rate of heat transfer depends also on how well the heat can
pass through the material. Copper and Aluminum are good
conductors of heat.

Some materials that do not conduct heat well are used as


insulators (heat barriers). Fiberglass, dirt and scale are good
insulators.

5. Thickness of Material

Thin materials conduct heat better than thick materials.

CHANGES IN STATE

Substances can exist either in a solid state, liquid state or


gaseous state.

Heat Transfer Effect

By applying heat to a substance, two things can happen:

• Its temperature can increase


• Its state can change

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

When the transfer of heat causes a temperature change, the


heat is called SENSIBLE HEAT. The temperature change can
be “sensed” by a thermometer.

When the transfer of heat causes a change of state, the heat is


called LATENT HEAT. There will be no change in the
thermometer reading.

Figure 7 shows what happens to ice in a container as heat is


applied.
TEMPERATURE

D
1000C

B
00C
A
Figure 7

HEAT ADDED

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

See Figure 7.
At position:

A The container of ice is being heated. The heat added is


SENSIBLE HEAT as there is a rise in temperature up to 00C

B Adding more heat results in a change in state (the ice is


melting). This is LATENT HEAT.

C The addition of more heat now raises the temperature of


the water up to 1000C. This is SENSIBLE HEAT.

D At this boiling point, more heat added will cause the water
to turn into steam (a change of state). This is LATENT
HEAT.

E Extra heat added will cause the steam temperature to rise.


This is SENSIBLE HEAT.

DURING A CHANGE OF STATE, THERE IS NO


INCREASE IN TEMPERATURE.

A LARGE AMOUNT OF HEAT IS REQUIRED TO


CAUSE A CHANGE OF STATE.

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TITLE:T E R MR
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In heat transfer systems there are some terms that are used to
describe the fluid at different points in the chart shown below.

• When a fluid is at its boiling point, this is called its


SATURATION TEMPERATURE.

• If the fluid is below its Saturation Temperature, it is said to


be SUB-COOLED.

• If the fluid is above its Saturation Temperature, it is said


to be SUPER-HEATED.
TEMPERATURE

SATURATION SUPER-HEATED
TEMPERATURE

SUB-COOLED

Figure 8
HEAT ADDED

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TITLE:P R E S R
SeUfRr iEg e–r aTtE
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The pressure acting on a fluid affects the temperature at which


it changes state (Saturation Temperature).

The HIGHER the pressure acting on


the fluid, the HIGHER the saturation
temperature is.

The LOWER the pressure acting on the


fluid, the LOWER the saturation
temperature is.
TEMPERATURE

HIGH PRESSURE
TS

LOW PRESSURE
TS

Figure 9

HEAT ADDED

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TITLE:F i g u r eR e9f r i gs e
h roawt si o nt hBea sei cf f ePcr ti n ct h
i pal te s a n increase or decrease in
pressure has on the Saturation Temperature (TS) of a fluid.

For the refrigerant to be able to transfer heat from one


component of the system to another component (Evaporator to
the Condenser), the following points should be understood:

• The refrigerant must be colder than the space being


cooled in order for it to accept heat from the room.

• The refrigerant must be warmer than the cooling medium


in the condenser for it to be able release the absorbed
heat.

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TITLE:
TEMPERATURE Refrigeration Basic Principles

TS
S E A WAT E R

HEAT TRANSFER T E M P E R AT U R E

COMPONENT
COMPONENT
TO INCREASE
TO DECREASE
PRESSURE
PRESSURE

HEAT TRANSFER
ROOM
T E M P E R AT U R E
TS

Figure 10
HEAT ADDED

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heat from the cold room its temperature must be less than the
cold room temperature.

For the refrigerant to release this heat in the condenser, it must


be hotter than the seawater.

For these reasons, there is a component in the refrigeration


circuit, which will lower the pressure of the refrigerant to give a
saturation temperature that is lower than the temperature
required in the room. There is also a component that will raise
the pressure of the refrigerant to give a saturation temperature
above the temperature of the seawater.

MAIN COMPONENTS

Compressor

A compressor raises the pressure of the vapor entering it. Its


purpose is to raise the pressure to a point where the saturation
temperature is above the temperature of the cooling medium in
the condenser (seawater or air-cooled).
The compressor outlet is a high pressure, superheated vapor.

Condenser

After leaving the compressor, the refrigerant passes to the


condenser.

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

• Releases SENSIBLE heat to cool the refrigerant to the


saturation temperature.

• Releases LATENT heat and changes the state of the


refrigerant from a vapor to a liquid.

• Releases SENSIBLE heat turning the refrigerant to a SUB-


COOLED liquid.
TEMPERATURE

SUPERHEATED

REFRIGERANT CONDENSING
TS

S E A WAT E R
HEAT TRANSFER T E M P E R AT U R E

SUB-COOLED COMPRESSOR

ROOM
T E M P E R AT U R E
TS

Figure 11

HEAT ADDED

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

The refrigerant is then passed through an EXPANSION DEVICE,


which will lower the pressure in the system thus lowering the
saturation temperature of the refrigerant.

The refrigerant leaves the expansion device as a very cold, low-


pressure mixture of liquid and vapor.

The flow through the expansion device is carefully controlled to


ensure that there will be no liquid returned to the compressor.

Evaporator

In the evaporator, the refrigerant:

• Absorbs LATENT heat and changes state to a vapor.

• Absorbs SENSIBLE heat turning the refrigerant to a


SUPERHEATED vapor.

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles
TEMPERATURE

SUB-COOLED

TS
S E A WAT E R
T E M P E R AT U R E

EXPANSION
DEVICE

SUPERHEATED

HEAT TRANSFER
ROOM
T E M P E R AT U R E
TS

REFRIGERANT EVAPORATING

Figure 12
HEAT ADDED

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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

COLD, LOW HOT, HIGH


PRESSURE GAS PRESSURE GAS
COMPRESSOR

SEAWATER OUT

E
V C
A O
P N
O D
R E SEAWATER IN
A N
T S
O E
R R

EXPANSION
DEVICE
VERY COLD, LOW WARM, HIGH
PRESSURE LIQUID PRESSURE LIQUID

Figure 13

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SATURATION TABLES
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TITLE:T h e s eR et far bi gl ee sr a t li iosnt Bt ah sei c PPrrei n
s sc u
i pr lee/ sT e m p e r a t u r e relationship for
fluids. Knowing the actual pressure of the refrigerant and
looking at the table for that refrigerant we can find the
corresponding Saturation temperature.

There are usually several columns in the table listing other


properties of the fluid, but since the recommended refrigerant is
used in the system, they can be ignored. The manufacturer has
already taken these properties into account when designing the
refrigeration unit.

Temp Volume Density Enthalpy Entropy


0
Pressure
F cu ft/lb lb/cu ft Btu/lb Btu/(lb)(0R)
PSIA PSIG LIQUID VAPOR LIQUID VAPOR LIQUID LATENT VAPOUR LIQUID VAPOR
15 61.2 46.5 0.01179 0.66 84.7 1.50 13.4 65.8 79.3 0.0299 0.16863
16 62.4 47.7 0.01181 0.65 84.6 1.52 13.7 65.6 79.4 0.0305 0.16855
17 63.5 48.8 0.01182 0.64 84.5 1.55 14.0 65.5 79.5 0.0310 0.16848
18 64.7 50.0 0.01184 0.63 84.4 1.58 14.2 65.3 79.6 0.0316 0.16841
19 65.9 51.2 0.01186 0.61 84.2 1.61 14.5 65.1 79.7 0.0321 0.16833
20 67.1 52.4 0.01188 0.60 84.1 1.64 14.8 65.0 79.8 0.0327 0.16826
21 68.3 53.6 0.01190 0.59 84.0 1.67 15.0 64.8 79.9 0.0332 0.16819
22 69.6 54.9 0.01192 0.58 83.8 1.70 15.3 64.7 80.0 0.0337 0.16812
23 70.9 56.2 0.01193 0.57 83.7 1.73 15.6 64.5 80.1 0.0343 0.16805
24 72.1 57.5 0.01195 0.56 83.6 1.76 15.8 64.3 80.2 0.0348 0.16799

Sometimes it is not convenient to look at these tables or they


might not be available on board the vessel

By looking at the pressure gauges on the suction side and the


discharge side of the compressor, saturation temperatures
corresponding to the pressure can be seen.

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PRESSURE GAUGE
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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles
120 TEMPERATURE SCALE
100

140
80 150

200

60
50 250
40
160

20 300
0
0

DEGREES
FAHRENHEIT PRESSURE SCALE

Figure 14

Figure 14 shows an example of a pressure gauge fitted on the


discharge side (high-pressure side) of the compressor.

Although this is a pressure gauge, there is another scale on the


gauge that reads temperature.

This temperature scale shows the same temperatures that can


be seen in the saturation table for a particular fluid.

As the gauge shows, the pressure in the system is 100psi. By


looking at the other scale we can see a reading of 900F. This
is the saturation temperature.

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It is very important to remember that this is not a
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thermometer! This gauge reads only the
TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles
pressure in the system. To read the actual
temperature of the fluid a thermometer must be
used.

By noting the pressure and finding the saturation temperature


on the high-pressure side of the system, we can quickly
determine if the pressure is enough for the unit to function
correctly.

Example:
Seawater temperature = 900F
Pressure gauge reading = 90psi
Saturation temperature (from the gauge) = 850F

From Figure 9, it can be seen that the Freon must have a


saturation temperature that is higher than the seawater in the
condenser for heat transfer to take place to allow the Freon to
release the heat it absorbed in the evaporator.

In the above example, heat will flow from the seawater (hotter)
to the Freon (colder). From this example, it can be seen that
the discharge pressure is not high enough to liquefy the Freon
in the condenser.

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Example:
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Saturation temperature (from the gauge) = 500F

From Figure 9, it can be seen that the Freon must have a


saturation temperature that is lower than the temperature in the
cold-room for heat transfer to take place to allow the Freon to
absorb heat in the evaporator.

In the above example, heat will flow from the Freon (hotter) to
the Cold-room (colder). From this example, it can be seen that
the suction pressure is not low enough.

By knowing the seawater temperature and the cold-room


temperature, a look at the two pressure gauges to see the
corresponding saturation temperatures can show us if the
pressures in the system are correct.

For good heat transfer in the condenser, the difference in


temperature between the Freon and the seawater should be
about 90C (150F).

e.g. Seawater Temp = 300C, Freon saturation temp. = 390C

For good heat transfer in the evaporator, the difference in


temperature between the Freon and the cold-room should also
be about 90C (150F).

e.g. Cold-room Temp = 40C, Freon saturation temp. = -50C

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SUMMARY
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TITLE:1 . Roesf rt i gseurbast it oa nn cBeas s icca P
M n r i en xc ii sptl e as s a S O L I D , L I Q U I D o r G A S
depending on their temperature and pressure.

2. Heat moves from the hotter to the colder object

3. SENSIBLE heat causes a change in temperature

4. LATENT heat causes a change in state

5. Boiling point is known as the SATURATION TEMPERATURE


and depends on the pressure acting on it.

6. Refrigerant passing through the EVAPORATOR absorbs


heat.

7. In the compressor, the pressure of the refrigerant is


increased. This raises the saturation temperature and
also increases the actual temperature.

8. The CONDENSER removes the heat absorbed in the

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evaporator and the extra heat of compression.
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TITLE: Refrigeration Basic Principles

9. The EXPANSION DEVICE decreases the pressure. The


saturation temperature of the refrigerant is also lowered.

10. Pressure gauges show PRESSURES in the system. The


corresponding saturation temperature can be found by
looking at the temperature scale. This is NOT the actual
temperature.

CHEMICAL HAZARDS

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and attention.

Valve assemblies on the storage cylinders should be protected


from damage at all times.

Escaping refrigerant can freeze a hand or an eye on immediate


contact.

Safety glasses will be available on board the vessel along with


protective clothing. These should be used when handling
refrigerant.

Most refrigerants do not smell. Working in small confined


spaces should be avoided if possible. You may breath toxic
fumes if your system has a leak.

Do not smoke. There is a danger of the FREON changing to


phosgene gas when it is exposed to tobacco smoke. Phosgene
gas is highly toxic.

Refrigerants that come into contact with the skin can cause
irritation. Anyone suffering from any ill effects should obtain
medical assistance.

If refrigerant comes into contact with the skin, it should be


washed off immediately with fresh water.

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