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M. Ba h r a mi ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle

ENSC 388: Engineering Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer

Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle

Objective
Determining the coefficient of performance of a vapour compression refrigeration cycle.

Apparatus
Figure 1 shows the experimental setup in details. Key components in the refrigeration system are a
compressor, a condenser, an evaporator and an expansion valve. The compressor unit shown in Fig. 2
comprises an encapsulated, fully hermetic reciprocating compressor with an integrated drive motor. Such
compressors are used in regular refrigerators.
The condenser is a glass container with a cooling coil through which water flows (see Fig. 3a). The
gaseous refrigerant is pumped into the container by the compressor, here it condenses and collects in the
bottom of the container. Heat is drawn off via the water circulating in cooling coil in the container.
The evaporator shown in Fig. 3b, similar to the condenser, includes a glass container and a copper coil
through which water flows. In this case, the water is not used for cooling; conversely, it generates the
cooling load. The refrigerant expands in the evaporator and changes from the liquid to vapor.
The system has an expansion valve which is a float valve. Schematic of the expansion valve is shown in
Fig. 4. Once the refrigerant collecting in the condenser reaches a certain level, the float (1) lifts the needle
(2) from its seat, and opens the connection to the evaporator. The injection of the refrigerant into the
evaporator is controlled by the expansion valve.
When the system is started, the air in the system has to be released using the bleed valve. For this purpose
the valve (item 20 in Fig. 1) is opened several times for a few seconds after the compressor is started,
until the clearly detectable odour of escaping gas indicates that there is no more air in the system.


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M. Ba h r a mi ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle


1 Table Support 12 Flow meter, Hot Water
2 Water Connections 13 Sight Glass
3 Temperature Measurement Point 14 Evaporator
4 Condenser 15 Pressure Display, Evaporator
5 Expansion Valve 16 Power meter, Compressor
6 Hand Valve 17 Switchable Temperature Display
7 ON-OFF Switch, Compressor 18 Flow meter, Refrigerant
8 Compressor 19 Pressure Display, Condenser
9 Filling Connection 20 Bleed Valve
10 Emergency Stop Button 21 Pressostat
11 Master Switch 22 Flow meter, Cooling Water

Figure 1- Components of experimental apparatus

Figure 2- Compressor unit



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M. Ba h r a mi ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle



(a) (b)
Figure 3- a) Condenser and b) Evaporator of the system.

Figure 4- Schematics of the expansion valve.

The system is equipped with 8 thermometers. The positions of the measuring points are marked with their
numbers on the front panel of the system; these numbers correspond to the following points:
= Cold water inlet, condenser
= Cold water outlet, condenser
= Hot water inlet, evaporator
= Hot water outlet, evaporator
= Mean temperature, evaporator
= Refrigerant temperature, outlet of compressor
= Mean temperature, condenser
= Temperature after expansion valve
The measured data collected during the operation of the system enables one to calculate the thermal
characteristics of the system to be calculated.
Filling and draining the system
The system is to be filled until the glass container for the evaporator is half full (Fig. 1). The hand valves
1 - 3 are open during the filling process, hand valve 4 is closed.


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M. Ba h r a mi ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle

 Fit suitable hose to the filling connection (9) and insert into the container in which the refrigerant
is supplied such that refrigerant can be drawn out.
 Start the compressor, a partial vacuum is formed in the evaporator such that the refrigerant is
drawn out of the container
 Continue filling process until the evaporator is half full with the liquid phase of the refrigerant
 Close the hand valve 2, remove the hose
 Switch off the compressor
The compressor is filled with oil on assembly in the factory; this filling is sufficient for its lifetime. Due
to the fully hermetic construction, no more oil can be added during later operation. However, during its
operation oil droplets enters the refrigerant circuit. When the system is switched off, the majority of the
refrigerant and some oil gather in the evaporator. The oil is returned in the following way:
 Hand valves 2 and 3 must be closed
 Hand valves 1 and 4 must be open
 Switch on compressor, the liquid is drawn from the compressor through the capillary tube to the
compressor and from there pumped to the condenser
 When the contents of the container have been drawn out, stop the process, for this purpose close
valve 4 and open valve 3; in this way the system is again in normal operation
For draining the system
 Switch off the compressor
 Fit the hose to the filling connection and place it in the container
 Open all hand valves except valve 4
 Open bleed valve (item 20 in Fig. 1), the refrigerant slowly returns to the container

Theory
The basis of refrigeration systems is a thermodynamic cycle working between two different temperature
sources. In this cycle a refrigerant (e.g. R134a) passes through various changes of state in a defined
sequence and returns to its initial state. A refrigerator is a machine that removes heat from a low
temperature region. Since energy cannot be destroyed, the heat taken in at a low temperature must be
dissipated to the surroundings. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that heat will not pass from a
cold region to a warm one without spending energy or work. Therefore, a refrigerator requires energy
input for its operation. It should be noted that heat pump and refrigeration cycles are the same, but in the


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M. Ba h r a mi ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle

case of the heat pump the heat emitted is utilised where in the case of a refrigeration system the amount
of absorbed heat is beneficial.
One of the common refrigeration systems in use today is the Vapor Compression Cycle. Schematic of a
vapour compression refrigeration cycle is shown in Fig. 5; this cycle has the following component:
 A compressor which compresses the vaporous working fluid and providing required mechanical
energy, w

, to the system
 The condenser that absorbs heat (at constant pressure) from the working medium and transfer it to
the high temperature source
 An expansion (throttling) valve that expands the liquid working medium during a constant
enthalpy process
 An evaporator facilitates the evaporation of the working medium while it absorbs heat from the
low temperature reservoir

Figure 5- Schematics of a vapor compression refrigeration cycle.

For thermal analysis of refrigeration cycle several diagrams such as I -s or p -b diagrams can be used.
The pressure diagram of an ideal refrigeration cycle shown in Fig. 6, includes the following processes:
 1-2: Isentropic compression to the final compression temperature with superheating of the
working medium, adiabatic
 2-2’: Isobaric cooling to the condensation temperature
 2’-3 : Isobaric condensation, releasing the condensation enthalpy
 3-4 : Expansion in the wet vapour region,
 4-1 :Isobaric evaporation, absorption of the evaporation enthalpy
The key difference between the real cyclic process and the ideal cyclic process is that compression is not
isentropic. Thus more work must be expended at the compressor to achieve the same final pressure. In


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M. Ba h r a mi ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle

addition superheating of the refrigerant is necessary prior to compression to exclude, with certainty, the
possibility of the entry of liquid droplets into the compressor. Otherwise the compressor would be
damaged by the impact of liquid droplets. By means of liquid sub-cooling the vapour portion is reduced
at the inlet to the evaporator. Hence, more evaporation heat can be absorbed.



Figure 6- Pressure-enthalpy diagram of an ideal refrigeration cycle.



Figure 7- p -b diagram of a real refrigeration cycle.

To calculate the refrigerating capacity, i.e., heat transfer from low temperature source, µ

L
, the refrigerant
mass flow rate m should be known beforehand. The specific volume v for the refrigerant is read from the
p -b diagram. Using the volumetric flow rate read on the volumetric flow meter, I

, the mass flow rate is
calculated:
m =
I

v

(1)
Consequently, the refrigeration capacity, µ

L
, is calculated as:
µ

I
= m q
L
= m (h
1
-h
4
)
(2)
This value is identical to the heat which is transferred to the water cooled in the evaporator:


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M. Ba h r a mi ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle

µ

I
= m
w
C (T
In
-T
out
)
(3)
where m
w
is the water mass flow rate in the evaporator, C is the specific heat capacity of water, T
In
and
T
out
are inlet and outlet temperatures of water in the evaporator, respectively. The compressor work W

can be taken from the cyclic process plotted in the p-b diagram. It is given by the enthalpy difference
between the working fluid states before and after the compressor (points 1’ and 2’ in Fig. 6):
w

= m (h
2
-h
1
)
(4)
Another important parameter in analysis of refrigerators is the coefficient of performance (COP). COP is
the ratio of useful energy, i.e., heat transfer from low temperature source, µ

L
, to the costing energy, i.e.,
the energy consumption of the compressor, w

.
C0P =
µ

I
w

(5)
The COP can be greater than 1 because w

is the difference between the absorbed and the emitted heats.
Therefore, the performance number must not be termed efficiency; efficiency is always less than 1.
It should be noted that in real cycles, energy consumption of the cycle is different from w

and is equal to
energy consumption of the driving motor, P. Therefore, P should be used in Eq. (5) instead of w

.
A further parameter for a refrigeration system is the compressor compression ratio, ¢. This provides an
indication of the increase in pressure that takes part in the compressor. It is given by the ratio of the upper
and lower isobars for the cyclic process (see Fig. 8):
¢ =
p
2¡3
p
1¡4

(6)
The compression ratio may affects the COP of a refrigeration cycle.

Figure 8- Pressure ratio on a p -b diagram of a refrigeration cycle.

Procedure
After the system is filled as described in previous sections, the subsequent procedure should be followed:
1. Close the hand valves 2 and 4
2. Open the hand valves 1 and 3
3. Start water flow through the system


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M. Ba h r a mi ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle

4. Switch on compressor
5. Set the volumetric flow rate of the refrigerant, cooling and heating waters. Leave compressor to
run for a while so that a steady state condition is reached in the system. Measure the temperatures
T
1
-T
8
and also read the pressure in the condenser and the evaporator, fill out Table 1. On reading
the manometer 1 bar must be added to the value read to obtain the actual pressure.
6. Change the flow rate of the refrigerant, wait until the cycle reaches its steady-state condition, and
repeat step number 5.
Using the p -b diagram of R141b provided in Appendix A and the measured data during the experiment
draw thermodynamic cycles for the two tests. Then, calculate the pressure ratio, the refrigeration capacity
and the COP of the cycle for each pressure ratio. Also, plot the COP and the refrigeration capacity versus
the pressure ratio.

Table 1: Operating parameters vapor compression refrigeration cycle
Test # I
1
I
2
I
3
I
4
I
5
I
6
I
7
I
8

1
2

Test #
Cooling Water
Flow Rate
Heating Water
Flow Rate
Refrigerant
Flow Rate
Condenser
Pressure
Evaporator
Pressure
Compressor
Power
1
2


Discussion
1) What are the important characteristics of a refrigerant?
2) How pressure ratio variation affects the COP of refrigeration cycle?
3) When the state of the refrigeration locates in the saturation dome, how its state can be fixed?




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M. Ba h r a mi ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle

Appendix A

Figure 9- p -b diagram of R141b

Evaporator Power meter.Compressor unit M.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Table Support Water Connections Temperature Measurement Point Condenser Expansion Valve Hand Valve ON-OFF Switch. Bahrami ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle 2 . Cooling Water Figure 1. Compressor Switchable Temperature Display Flow meter.Components of experimental apparatus Figure 2. Compressor Compressor Filling Connection Emergency Stop Button Master Switch 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Flow meter. Refrigerant Pressure Display. Hot Water Sight Glass Evaporator Pressure Display. Condenser Bleed Valve Pressostat Flow meter.

a) Condenser and b) Evaporator of the system. condenser = Temperature after expansion valve The measured data collected during the operation of the system enables one to calculate the thermal characteristics of the system to be calculated. Filling and draining the system The system is to be filled until the glass container for the evaporator is half full (Fig. Bahrami ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle 3 . hand valve 4 is closed. these numbers correspond to the following points: = Cold water inlet. condenser = Hot water inlet. evaporator = Hot water outlet.3 are open during the filling process. evaporator = Mean temperature. The positions of the measuring points are marked with their numbers on the front panel of the system. condenser = Cold water outlet. evaporator = Refrigerant temperature. M. (b) Figure 4. The hand valves 1 .Schematics of the expansion valve. The system is equipped with 8 thermometers. outlet of compressor = Mean temperature. 1).(a) Figure 3.

It should be noted that heat pump and refrigeration cycles are the same.g. Therefore. the heat taken in at a low temperature must be dissipated to the surroundings. in this way the system is again in normal operation For draining the system     Switch off the compressor Fit the hose to the filling connection and place it in the container Open all hand valves except valve 4 Open bleed valve (item 20 in Fig. Bahrami ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle 4 .     Fit suitable hose to the filling connection (9) and insert into the container in which the refrigerant is supplied such that refrigerant can be drawn out. during its operation oil droplets enters the refrigerant circuit. 1). a refrigerator requires energy input for its operation. a partial vacuum is formed in the evaporator such that the refrigerant is drawn out of the container Continue filling process until the evaporator is half full with the liquid phase of the refrigerant Close the hand valve 2. Since energy cannot be destroyed. but in the M. However. When the system is switched off. this filling is sufficient for its lifetime. Due to the fully hermetic construction. the majority of the refrigerant and some oil gather in the evaporator. In this cycle a refrigerant (e. R134a) passes through various changes of state in a defined sequence and returns to its initial state. the liquid is drawn from the compressor through the capillary tube to the compressor and from there pumped to the condenser When the contents of the container have been drawn out. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that heat will not pass from a cold region to a warm one without spending energy or work. the refrigerant slowly returns to the container Theory The basis of refrigeration systems is a thermodynamic cycle working between two different temperature sources. A refrigerator is a machine that removes heat from a low temperature region. remove the hose Switch off the compressor The compressor is filled with oil on assembly in the factory. Start the compressor. for this purpose close valve 4 and open valve 3. stop the process. no more oil can be added during later operation. The oil is returned in the following way:     Hand valves 2 and 3 must be closed Hand valves 1 and 4 must be open Switch on compressor.

Schematics of a vapor compression refrigeration cycle.case of the heat pump the heat emitted is utilised where in the case of a refrigeration system the amount of absorbed heat is beneficial. One of the common refrigeration systems in use today is the Vapor Compression Cycle. releasing the condensation enthalpy 3-4 : Expansion in the wet vapour region. For thermal analysis of refrigeration cycle several diagrams such as      or diagrams can be used. Bahrami ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle 5 . 6. The pressure diagram of an ideal refrigeration cycle shown in Fig. includes the following processes: 1-2: Isentropic compression to the final compression temperature with superheating of the working medium. to the system The condenser that absorbs heat (at constant pressure) from the working medium and transfer it to the high temperature source An expansion (throttling) valve that expands the liquid working medium during a constant enthalpy process An evaporator facilitates the evaporation of the working medium while it absorbs heat from the low temperature reservoir Figure 5. Schematic of a vapour compression refrigeration cycle is shown in Fig. . In M. absorption of the evaporation enthalpy The key difference between the real cyclic process and the ideal cyclic process is that compression is not isentropic. adiabatic 2-2’: Isobaric cooling to the condensation temperature 2’-3 : Isobaric condensation. 5. 4-1 :Isobaric evaporation. Thus more work must be expended at the compressor to achieve the same final pressure. this cycle has the following component:     A compressor which compresses the vaporous working fluid and providing required mechanical energy.

L . Hence.addition superheating of the refrigerant is necessary prior to compression to exclude. with certainty. The specific volume . heat transfer from low temperature source.Pressure-enthalpy diagram of an ideal refrigeration cycle. Figure 6. mass flow rate should be known beforehand. more evaporation heat can be absorbed. the possibility of the entry of liquid droplets into the compressor. By means of liquid sub-cooling the vapour portion is reduced at the inlet to the evaporator. Otherwise the compressor would be damaged by the impact of liquid droplets. is calculated as: h h (2) This value is identical to the heat which is transferred to the water cooled in the evaporator: M. the refrigerant for the refrigerant is read from the diagram. To calculate the refrigerating capacity. Bahrami ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle 6 . the refrigeration capacity. the mass flow rate is calculated: (1) Consequently. Using the volumetric flow rate read on the volumetric flow meter. i. Figure 7- diagram of a real refrigeration cycle.. .e.

. the subsequent procedure should be followed: 1. the energy consumption of the compressor. Close the hand valves 2 and 4 2. . i. C is the specific heat capacity of water. efficiency is always less than 1. 8): / / (6) The compression ratio may affects the COP of a refrigeration cycle. COP is the ratio of useful energy. The compressor work W diagram. respectively. . It should be noted that in real cycles. Procedure After the system is filled as described in previous sections. Figure 8. to the costing energy. T and are inlet and outlet temperatures of water in the evaporator. This provides an indication of the increase in pressure that takes part in the compressor. energy consumption of the cycle is different from energy consumption of the driving motor. heat transfer from low temperature source.Pressure ratio on a diagram of a refrigeration cycle. Therefore. (5) The COP can be greater than 1 because is the difference between the absorbed and the emitted heats. should be used in Eq. 6): (4) Another important parameter in analysis of refrigerators is the coefficient of performance (COP). Therefore.e.C T where T T (3) is the water mass flow rate in the evaporator. Bahrami ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle 7 .e. . i. Start water flow through the system M. It is given by the enthalpy difference can be taken from the cyclic process plotted in the p h h between the working fluid states before and after the compressor (points 1’ and 2’ in Fig. and is equal to . the performance number must not be termed efficiency.. It is given by the ratio of the upper and lower isobars for the cyclic process (see Fig.. (5) instead of A further parameter for a refrigeration system is the compressor compression ratio. Open the hand valves 1 and 3 3.

Table 1: Operating parameters vapor compression refrigeration cycle Test # 1 2 Test # 1 2 Cooling Water Flow Rate Heating Water Flow Rate Refrigerant Flow Rate Condenser Pressure Evaporator Pressure Compressor Power Discussion 1) What are the important characteristics of a refrigerant? 2) How pressure ratio variation affects the COP of refrigeration cycle? 3) When the state of the refrigeration locates in the saturation dome. Leave compressor to run for a while so that a steady state condition is reached in the system. Measure the temperatures T -T and also read the pressure in the condenser and the evaporator.4. Set the volumetric flow rate of the refrigerant. calculate the pressure ratio. Bahrami ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle 8 . and repeat step number 5. plot the COP and the refrigeration capacity versus the pressure ratio. Using the diagram of R141b provided in Appendix A and the measured data during the experiment draw thermodynamic cycles for the two tests. the refrigeration capacity and the COP of the cycle for each pressure ratio. 6. Then. how its state can be fixed? M. Switch on compressor 5. On reading the manometer 1 bar must be added to the value read to obtain the actual pressure. cooling and heating waters. Also. wait until the cycle reaches its steady-state condition. Change the flow rate of the refrigerant. fill out Table 1.

Bahrami ENSC 388 Experiment 2: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle 9 .Appendix A Figure 9- diagram of R141b M.

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