You are on page 1of 55



p 2 1


3 3 4 h


THE ATMOSPHERE TREATMENT OF AIR SOME BASIC AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM CONCEPTS The cooling cycle HIGH-TECHNOLOGY ENVIRONMENTS BASIC SYSTEM TYPES Air-cooled direct expansion units with remote condensers Water-cooled direct expansion units with remote condensers Water-cooled direct expansion units with remote radiator Chilled water units Twin-cool direct expansion and chilled water units Direct expansion or chilled water? ENERGY SAVING SYSTEMS Indirect Free-Cooling Systems Water-cooled direct expansion energy-saving units Chilled water units connected to free-cooling water chillers Direct Free-Cooling Systems outdoor wall-mounted direct-expansion monobloc units with free-cooling system indoor direct-expansion monobloc units with free-cooling system Ceiling-mounted split direct-expansion units with free-cooling system DEHUMIDIFICATION AND HUMIDIFICATION HEATING AND RE-HEATING AIR FILTRATION REFRIGERANT GASES The ozone layer as a protective shield Damage to the ozone layer Refrigerant evaluation index Alternative refrigerant gases Conclusions THE ACOUSTIC FACTOR Noise Frequencies and octave bands The weighting of sounds Free field and closed field Noise and air conditioning Practical Acoustics Noise in applications AIR COOLED CONDENSERS Installing a remote condensing unit Recommended dimensions for refrigerant lines Example of sizing a refrigerant line 3 4 6 8 9 12 12 13 14 15 17

19 19 19 20 22 22 24 24 25 28 29 30 30 30 31 32 35 36 36 37 37 37 38 39 40 41 43 45 49

THE ATMOSPHERE The atmosphere is composed of a mixture of Nitrogen, Oxygen and small quantities of other gases. There is always a quantity of water vapour present in the atmosphere which has a significant effect on the treatments which are generally known as air conditioning. It must be remembered that the term air conditioning refers to all the operations which produce and maintain certain parameters within pre-set tolerances, i.e.: Dry bulb temperature This expression, which will be further explained, refers to the temperature in the room measured with a thermometer; Relative humidity Air may contain quantities of water vapour which vary according to temperature: the higher the temperature, the more water vapour the air can hold without it forming fog or droplets. The relationship between the quantity of water vapour present in the air and the maximum quantity of water vapour which the air could hold at that temperature is known as relative humidity and is expressed as a percentage. If the air in a certain environment is said to have a relative humidity of 50%, then the same amount again of water vapour could be added to that air before it reaches its saturation point. Saturation temperature If the temperature of the air goes below saturation temperature it reaches a point where it cannot retain all the water vapour it contains. If the temperature falls further then drops of water (condensation) start to form on the surface of the cooling element. Enthalpy This is the total heat content of the air and is useful in calculations for air treatment involving both temperature and humidity. Analysing air conditions To discover the air conditions of a particular room using the psychrometric diagram, it is necessary to know two of the above-mentioned parameters. Following the two lines to their intersection it is possible, using the diagram, to find out all the other parameters. The easiest two parameters to use in this case are the dry bulb temperature and the wet bulb temperature, which are measured with a device called a psychrometer.
Diagramma psicometrico
30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 x [g/kg] 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 20% 30% 40% 50% 100% 90% 80% 70% 60%

A C1 D E F C B G H

Fig. 1

TREATMENT OF AIR Sensible cooling with dehumidification Return to psychrometric diagram 1: the air identified at point B has a temperature of 22C and a relative humidity of 45%. If this air is cooled down to point C, it will then have a temperature of 15C and a relative humidity of 70%. The total water vapour content, or rather, its absolute humidity will remain unchanged however, at 7.5g/Kg. This treatment can be defined as sensible cooling. If the air is cooled further, from point C down to point D, at point C1 the saturation point curve is crossed, corresponding to 100% relative humidity.




A C1 D C E



15 [ C]





0 40

Fig. 2 Continuing cooling, the air begins to reduce its absolute humidity content and condensation forms as cooling increases. A part of the heat removed is used to reduce the temperature of the air (sensible heat) and a part is used to condense the water vapour in excess of the physical capacity of the air to hold water vapour (latent heat). At point D the air has a temperature of 7C and relative humidity of 100%. Its absolute humidity has gone from 7.5g/KG to 6.1g/Kg. This treatment is defined as cooling with dehumidification. Heating and re-heating If the previous operation is reversed and the temperature is taken from point C to point B by introducing heat, then the air has been heated. If the temperature is taken from point D to point E then it is more correct to speak of re-heating since reference is made to heating after dehumidification. It should be noted that heating the air involves only a transfer of sensible heat. Heating the air does not change its absolute humidity but only its capacity to hold water vapour, i.e. its relative humidity. It can be seen that to reduce the relative humidity of the air whilst maintaining the same temperature it is necessary to have a cooling phase with dehumidification followed by a post-heating phase. Humidification If a mass of air is taken at point F, i.e. not saturated, and is made to cross a bank of nozzles spraying water, it will absorb water vapour, its relative humidity will increase and it will cool, although maintaining the same level of total heat. In this case the air will go from 32C and 15% relative humidity to 28C with 25% relative humidity. In other words a part of the water evaporates, taking heat from the air, which cools. This happens during a summer storm: the rain enriches the air with water vapour and cools it. If, on the other hand, a quantity of steam at the same temperature as the air is directly injected into it, the air will move from point F to point H without changing temperature. The absolute humidity and the relative humidity will increase, the latter changing to 20%. Air conditioning in summer on the psychrometric diagram

x [g/kg]

A few basic principles should be defined when approaching this subject: Sensible heat: this is heat which causes a change in air temperature, for example the heat produced by an electrical heater or by a computer. Its name derives from the fact that it is easily discernible. Latent heat: this form of heat does not influence air temperature but is present in the air itself, in relation to the content of water vapour in the air. It is a result of the respiration and transpiration of people, of sources of vapour or of external air under different conditions from those in the room. Total heat: this is the sum of sensible heat and latent heat. To define the type of system required, the ratio R between sensible heat and total heat must be established. This ratio depends on the sources of humidity in the air conditioned room: an environment with a large number of people and hence a high level of humidity, e.g. theatres and restaurants, will have a low value for R, say 0.6. A computer centre, with few people and small quantities of outside air introduced, will have a value of R near 1 (0.9 - 0.95). In high technology applications there are no sources of humidity and the proportion of heat exchanged in dehumidification is unnecessary and therefore wasted. To illustrate this, below are two common air treatment diagrams, the first for an office system, the second for a high technology environment. Both are on psychrometric diagram fig.3.




C D1 D A C1



15 [ C]





0 40

Fig. 3 Since in both cases the conditions desired are 24C and 50% relative humidity (point A) and conditions outside are 32C and 50% relative humidity (point B), the conditions of the mixture of outside air and recycled air entering the conditioners are approximately represented by point C for the office and by point C1 for the high technology environment (the reasons why there is so much more air in circulation in the high technology environment is explained below). The mixtures are treated as follows: Office From point C the air is cooled and dehumidified to point D and sent in to the room where it offsets the sensible and latent heat according to a set ratio, here 0.8, therefore giving the required conditions of 24C and 50% relative humidity. High technology environment From point C1 the air is cooled to point D1 and sent into the room, also in this case reaching the required conditions of 24C and 50% relative humidity, but in this case following a different path, in line with the different characteristics of the ambient heat (sensible and total).

x [g/kg]

IMPORTANT The processes of cooling and dehumidifying shown on the two psychrometric diagrams contain an approximation: the air is taken to the saturation curve and follows it during dehumidification. In reality, during cooling, not all the air is treated to the same extent and not all reaches the same temperature. For the sake of simplicity, imagine that a part of the air reaches the conditions of the cooling plate and a part crosses the battery without being treated (battery by-pass factor). Downstream from the battery the air is composed of a mixture of cooled air and non-cooled air. The resulting mixture will therefore have a relative humidity value of less than 100% - saturation point - and a temperature higher than that which - in theory corresponds to the saturation point.

SOME BASIC AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM CONCEPTS Concepts underlying all types of air conditioning system. Cold is not made To speak of producing cold is incorrect. When a room or a body is cooled, a part of the heat content is transferred from that room or body to a different environment, a different body, or to an intermediate liquid. This liquid can be called a heat transmission medium and it, in turn, transfers the heat to a different place. According to the laws of physics, which this document will not explore but of which most people are instinctively aware, heat naturally transmits itself from elements at a higher temperature to elements at a lower temperature if these two elements are placed in contact. The best illustration is that of water which falls naturally from a higher container to a lower container if there is a connection between the two containers. The transfer of water from a lower container to a higher container does not happen naturally but needs an instrument, such as a pump. The same concept can be applied to the transfer of heat between elements at different temperatures. If the heat transfer is from a warm environment to a cooler environment there are no problems since heat transfers automatically from the warmer thing to the cooler. It is logical that the quantity of heat transmitted will depend on the difference in temperature and the type of contact between the two environments. If, on the other hand, it was desired to take heat from a room at 24C (a high technology environment for example) and transfer it to the outside air which at that moment was at 30C, a system must be used which can jump this temperature step. A thermal pump is needed which can pump heat from a lower temperature to a higher one. Depending on the required effect, whether it be cooling the environment at a lower temperature or heating the environment at a higher temperature, the system (whether cooling or heating) works on a refrigeration cycle. In order to pump heat from elements at a certain temperature to elements of a higher temperature, gas compression refrigeration units are normally used which produce a thermal cycle with phases of compression, condensation and evaporation using a refrigerant fluid which functions as the heat transmission medium. Other systems and cycles for the pumping of heat do exist but these are not dealt with here The gas compression cooling system in air conditioning A cooling system is divided into two zones one with high pressure and one with low pressure; for the sake of simplicity a number of secondary factors present in the system will be ignored here. The main components of the system are shown in fig. 4: The condenser This is normally a coil of finned tubes through which the hot refrigerant gas is pumped at high pressure. The coil is cooled by a forced current of external air. The hot gas cools, transferring heat to the external air and condenses, i.e. it becomes liquid. Since the means of cooling the condenser is a current of air, this is known as an air-cooled condenser. There are some condensers where the heat from the high pressure refrigerant fluid is transferred to water or a mixture of cooling liquids. These types are called water-cooled or glycol-cooled condensers. The expansion valve This regulates the flow of refrigerant from the high pressure area to the low pressure area according to the function mode of the low pressure area. It transfers the refrigerant fluid in a liquid state from a condition of high pressure (condensation pressure) to low pressure (evaporation pressure). The evaporator

This can be a coil of finned tubes (like the condenser) as part of an air conditioner (a direct expansion system) or as an exchanger for the cooling of water as part of a chiller (chilled water system). Inside the evaporator, the liquid refrigerant evaporates, absorbing heat from the element to be cooled: either the air which circulates in the air conditioner or the water which flows in the chiller. The concept of evaporation is the same as that seen when water boils in a saucepan on the cooker. Once the boiling point is reached (100C at atmospheric pressure), the water goes from a liquid state to a vapour state, absorbing heat from the cooker. The refrigerant liquid in the evaporator also goes to a vapour state, taking heat from the medium which has to be cooled. The pressures and temperatures involved are different from those of boiling water but the concept is the same.





Fig. 4 The compressor This device takes the refrigerant in a vapour state from the evaporator, compresses it and sends it under high pressure to the condenser where the cycle starts again. To compress the vapour the compressor uses a motor which absorbs energy. This accounts for most of the energy used in pumping the heat from a low temperature environment to one at a high temperature and to get over the step which hinders the transfer. To this energy must be added the energy needed for the fans, pumps and other devices in the cooling system.

The cooling cycle An example of the gas compression cooling cycle is given in fig.5 relative to refrigerant R22 and is largely similar, apart from the values, for the other gases. The diagram illustrates the characteristics of the refrigerant under the various pressure, temperature and heat content conditions which occur in the different components of the system. It also helps the understanding of the heat transfer cycle mentioned above.


p 2 1


3 3 4 h

At point 2 the refrigerant is in a liquid state in the condenser; it has a pressure of around 18 bar and a temperature of 48C. If a connection is then opened to the evaporator (which is at a lower pressure) via the expansion valve, part of the liquid will evaporate, absorbing heat from the medium to be cooled (in this case air in the air conditioning system). There is now therefore a mixture of liquid and vapour in the evaporator (shown by point B) with a pressure of around 5.5 bar and a temperature of 2C. The medium to be cooled which crosses or goes through the evaporator transfers heat to the refrigerant through the walls of the tubes and causes it to evaporate, at constant temperature and pressure. At the end of this stage the refrigerant is at point C and is completely vapour. If the evaporator is the refrigerant-air exchanger of an air conditioner, the effect is to cool the air which crosses it. If the evaporator is the water-refrigerant exchanger of a chiller, then the effect is to cool the water; with the figures detailed above, the water temperature would be 12C at the intake and 7C at the discharge. At this point the compressor intervenes, taking in vapour at 5.5 bar and compressing it to 18 bar. This does not occur at 18C (the condensation temperature given above) but at around 70C as a result of the transformation of the work of compression into heat. The process is now at point 1. The superheated vapour is now in the condenser which, presumably, is subject to a flow of air on the other side of the tubes. This air, at a temperature of 34, absorbs heat from the refrigerant which causes its temperature to rise to 44C. The removal of heat from the vapour first causes it to cease being superheated (from point D to point E) and then causes it to condense at constant pressure and temperature (around 18 bar and 48C). It thus returns to point A from where the process started and where it starts again: heat is transferred from a body at low temperature (the water in this case) to a body at high temperature (the outside air in this case). This cycle, which goes against nature, is not free however. It has already been pointed out that the compressor absorbs energy during the operation and therefore the quantity of heat exchanged at the condenser is equal to the heat absorbed by the evaporator plus the energy consumed by the operation of the compressor. If Qe is the heat absorbed at the evaporator and

E is the energy consumed by the action of the compressor, the energy equilibrium can be expressed by: Qe+ E = Qc where Qc expresses the heat exchanged by the condenser. Even a rapid observation of this diagram demonstrates that in order to reduce the work of the compressor and thus save energy it is important to minimise the temperature gradient which the system must overcome: i.e. it is important to try to condense at low temperatures and evaporate at high temperatures, by increasing the surface areas of the condenser and evaporator heat exchangers.


HIGH-TECHNOLOGY ENVIRONMENTS High-technology environments are those areas which contain expensive technological equipment and/or special processes. To operate correctly these machines need to be in a room with carefully controlled operative parameters which are not usually related to the comfort of people. Some examples of high-technology environments are: computer centres, process control centres, telephone exchanges, meteorological rooms, electronic component production areas, medical treatment areas which use powered electronic equipment, control rooms and photographic laboratories. The common features of these areas is that they all use medium/high power electronic equipment, all need to operate within strict temperature and relative humidity parameters and all need a high level of air purity, as well as the other characteristics demanded by the specific application. These systems are almost always delicate, complex and expensive and incorrect operation can result in damage to the system and to the products of the system, whether a physical product or information. The safety and even the lives of many people may depend on the correct functioning of the equipment. To summarise, the main characteristics of high-technology environments are: precision and stability of function parameters the highest levels of reliability in continuous operation in all seasons, high energy; high sensible/total ratio; efficient use of space flexibility of configuration, modular units; close monitoring of all important parameters. simplicity of installation; ease of maintenance. The systems which are designed and built for the efficient and economic air conditioning of these environments are known as precision air conditioning systems. There follows a detailed examination of these characteristics. Precision and stability of function parameters Technological development increasingly requires systems which are faster, more sophisticated and more powerful. Developers respond with electronic systems which use greater numbers of smaller, more complex components to reduce the transmission time of data within the device and between devices. It should be remembered that the energy which powers all these systems is electricity which must, in its turn, have certain characteristics to be considered suitable for power supply. All the electrical power supplied to the system is transformed into heat. Although progress in technology has produced components with very low energy consumption, the ever-increasing demand for computing capacity means that it is becoming more and more important to provide efficient and effective cooling in order to avoid any possibility of overheating which could lead to operation problems or even damage to the machines. The manufacturers of these machines always define these function parameters and usually provide diagrams called climatograms which represent the temperature and relative humidity conditions which need to be maintained for the correct functioning of the system: fig. 5. The climatogram normally represents four different concentric areas: Area 1 where the system can operate correctly indefinitely


Area 2 Area 3

where the system is able to operate for limited periods where the system can operate for very short periods but with a high possibility of faults and malfunctions where the system must not be operated; a system will normally have its own safety control which will interrupt operation if conditions approach Area 4.
100 90 80 70 60 % RH 50 40 30 20 10 0

Area 4

Area 4 Area 3 Area 2

Area 1



20 C





Fig. 5

As well as absolute values for temperature and relative humidity it is necessary to guarantee the stability of these values over time in order to avoid what are known as thermal shocks. Variations in temperature cause changes in fundamental physical parameters such as dimensions, electrical resistance, etc. Many manufacturers also define the maximum admissible gradient which defines the maximum speed at which parameters may change over time. High operational reliability over time High-technology environments usually contain complex systems whose uninterrupted operation must be guaranteed twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year. Sometimes this necessity is a characteristic of the service; imagine for example the effect of an interruption in the operation of a computer controlling passenger bookings for an airline or which supervises the operation of a power station or steel works. At other times, the necessity for continuity is dictated by the need to maximise the productive efficiency of a high-cost system. In any case, it is clear that the reliability of a system is only as high as the reliability of the equipment which supports it, for example the power supply and the air conditioning system. The reliability of an air conditioning system depends on the use of machines and components which have been designed and built so as to guarantee very low statistical probabilities of malfunction and breakdown. In addition, these systems also have suitable stand-by functions which guarantee emergency intervention in the event that one of the system components should, for whatever reason, develop a fault.


These machines are intrinsically reliable when the components used in them have been designed and made for long-term operation under conditions much severer than those in which the machine in fact works; when the components are made from materials which have been tested and demonstrated to be suitable for such applications; when the checking and testing of the correct functioning of the system is easy and fast and can be performed without interrupting the operation of the system; when the majority of normal maintenance is equally rapid and simple. It is necessary to ensure the absolute reliability of the system by installing several air conditioning units, including one or more stand-by units which will intervene in the event that the operation of one of the main units is interrupted. In order to guarantee the reliability of the air conditioning system, the units must obviously be fitted with an adequate fault-detection system. The intervention of the stand-by units must be rapid, automatic and certain if they are to prevent room conditions which may cause problems for the protected system. This can be ensured by rotating the units in service at any one time, according to timing criteria which can be set depending on the function characteristics of that particular system; all the units check that the unit(s) currently in stand-by is/are fully functional. Efficient use of space From the above it can be seen that the value of an investment in a high technology environment is often relevant given the high cost of the main equipment and the equally significant associated costs of the systems which guarantee the functioning of the main equipment. These environments are therefore characterised by specific relevant costs per unit area. Thus it is evident that air conditioning units should be as small as possible and should be configured so as to require the minimum space necessary for their maintenance. Flexibility of configuration High-technology environments often house complex systems which are subject to continuous evolution, tending to follow the changing demands of the service and the continuous development of the technology on which they are based. The layout of the space may also be subject to significant variations which require the various systems, including the air conditioning system, to be easily modifiable at negligible cost. Modular units which do not have fixed elements are best able to satisfy this necessity. When designing a system it is important to consider the possibility that the air conditioning system will need to be expanded in future and therefore to allocate space and connections for adding other units should this prove necessary. Close monitoring of important function parameters It is necessary to emphasise the importance of fitting each air conditioning unit, as well as the complete system, with adequate controls for the monitoring of parameters, for the signalling of any alarms and for the automatic sending of commands for the intervention of the stand-by units. The state-of-the-art technology used in TELECOOL DF systems provides the solution to these problems and TELECOOL DF systems are among the most complete and reliable on the market. From the above discussion it can be seen that specially designed and manufactured precision air conditioners are necessary for the guaranteeing of optimal conditions in high-technology environments; on the correct functioning of these air conditioners depends the functioning of the whole system .The comparative table below summarises some of the characteristics of precision and comfort air conditioning systems: Characteristics Designed for Precision air conditioning Equipment

Comfort air conditioning People

Reference conditions

Inside Outside

Ratio of sensible to total Specific cooling capacity Temperature control Relative humidity control Working life Filtration efficiency Microprocessor control Fan speed control for low outside temperature Humidifier Dehumidification Re-heat High/low temperature alarm High/low relative humidity alarm Twin cooling circuits High/low refrigerant pressure alarm Dirty filter sensor

24C / 50% RH 35C 90-95 % 2 150 to 800 W/m 1.5 C 7-8 % 12 years (>100,000 h) 90-99 % local and remote yes yes yes yes yes yes yes (on larger units) yes yes

26C / 50-60% RH 35C 60 -65% 2 50 to 100 W/m 3 C none 3-4 years (10,000 h) none none no no no no no no some no no


BASIC SYSTEM TYPES Having understood the fundamental concepts, it is now possible to examine air conditioning based on air cooling systems, i.e. the systems which expel heat from the environment. It should be remembered that precision air conditioning for telecoms and other high technology applications almost always operate in cooling. Air-cooled direct expansion units with remote condensers Fig.6 shows an example of a direct-expansion air conditioner. The refrigerant from the condenser is introduced via the expansion valve into the evaporator, which in this case is the finned coil which cools the air to be sent into the room. The transformation of the refrigerant from high pressure liquid to low pressure liquid and the evaporation of the refrigerant to cool the air take place inside the air conditioning unit. The refrigerant pumped by the compressor arrives as superheated steam at the condenser, normally installed outside and consisting of a coil of finned tubes cooled by external air which is moved by one or more fans. The refrigerant, now in a liquid state, returns to the unit.



1 2 6

3 Fig. 6 1 2 3 Evaporator fan Evaporator coil Compressor 4 5 6 Condenser coil Condenser fan Thermostatic valve


Water-cooled direct expansion units with remote condensers The refrigerant pumped by the compressor arrives at the condenser which is usually installed inside the conditioner. The condenser consists of a heat exchanger which has, on one side, a flow of water which takes heat away and causes condensation and on the other, the refrigerant which gives heat out and condenses. The heat exchangers are normally of the plate type, made in stainless steel and extremely compact and efficient. The water which supplies the heat exchanger can be taken from the mains, from a well or from a river.


1 2 5



Fig. 7

1 2 3

Evaporator fan Evaporator coil Compressor

4 5

Plate exchanger (condenser) Thermostatic valve

Water-cooled condensation also allows condensation at low temperatures, especially where there is mains or well water of 14/15C or less. However, such sources are becoming less and less common. It is also necessary to consider the mineral content or hardness of this water, which could cause the build-up of scale deposits in the condenser, reducing its exchange efficiency dramatically. There could also be sand or other suspended impurities which might damage the system. Systems using water-cooled condensation are simple to install and operate since the air conditioning unit usually includes the water-cooled condenser and can therefore be set up in the factory and delivered ready for use. The water circuit for cooling the condenser can be connected by a skilled plumber, following the manufacturers instructions. The water cooling circuit can also serve more than one air conditioner. There is no need to install external fan units and this type of machine is therefore very well suited for installation in environments where noise pollution is a problem.


Water-cooled direct expansion units with remote radiator The diagram of this systems is shown in fig.8 and is similar to fig.7 as regards the inside of the unit. The fluid used in this case to cool and condense the refrigerant is a mixture of water and anti-freeze (normally ethylene glycol). The proportion of the mixture will vary according to the minimum temperature experienced in the installation location.

1 2 5 7 4 6 8


Fig. 8

1 2 3 4

Evaporator fan Evaporator coil Compressor Plate exchanger (condenser)

5 6 7 8

Thermostatic valve Water circulation pump Air-water exchanger coil Radiator fan

The table below shows the freezing temperature of various percentage mixtures. Percentage by weight of ethylene glycol [%] Freezing temperature of mixture [C] 10 -4 20 -10 30 -17 40 -25 50 -37

After cooling and condensing the refrigerant, the fluid is pumped to a heat exchanger, normally located outside. This exchanger consists of a coil of finned tubes cooled by external air circulated by one or more fans. The outside air which passes over the coil takes the heat from the glycol/water mixture, lowering its temperature so it in turn can take the heat from the condenser. Closed-circuit glycoled water condensation enables condensation at higher temperatures than with air-cooled condensation, other factors being equal, since between the external air and the refrigerant in the condenser, there is an intermediate step, i.e. the glycoled water, which must be cooled in order to cool the refrigerant. This system avoids all the problems of scale build-up and impurities in the circuit. Glycoled water-air exchanger systems can be made which can serve several air conditioners and there are no problems of distance between the air conditioner and the glycoled water-air exchanger which can be installed where it causes least disturbance, including from an acoustic point of view.


Chilled water units Fig. 9 shows a chilled water system, the simplest type of air conditioner. It is equipped simply with a heat exchanger coil to cool the air, supplied by chilled water from outside, usually from a water chiller with a refrigerant cycle, either dedicated or shared with other systems.

1 2



6 3 5 4

Fig. 9 1 2 3 Evaporator fan Cold water coil 3-way mixer valve 4 5 6 Heat exchanger Reservoir tank Water circulation pump

Since chilled water is the basis for the functioning of the system, it is necessary to give some more details about its characteristics, especially its temperature and availability. It has already been said, speaking about ratio R (the ratio between sensible and total heat), that high-technology environments generally have an R ratio which is very high (a heat load which is all or almost all sensible). It is therefore advisable not to supply the coil with water which is too cold since this will cause the dehumidification of the air when this might not be necessary. It should be remembered that water is an excellent heat exchanging medium since it has the highest specific heat of any substance (i.e. the heat necessary to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of the substance by 1 degree centigrade) and it has excellent an physical capacity for transmitting heat, much higher than that of air for example. This means that in a water-air heat exchanger, the temperature of the wall dividing the water from the air, which has a temperature between those of the substances either side, will always tend to be closer to the temperature of the water than that of the air. With reference to what was said previously about the cooling of air with dehumidification, it is clear that the colder the exchanger which cools the air, the higher the possibility that the air particles which are in contact with the dividing wall will reach saturation conditions with the consequent condensation of the water vapour contained in it. This happens even if the average temperature of the air remains above saturation point Dehumidification of the air is a negative effect if the thermal load of the environment is characterised by a significant proportion of sensible heat (a value of R close or equal to 1), as is the case in high-technology environments. In these cases, unnecessary or excess dehumidification must be compensated for by the generation of water vapour by a process of humidification, consuming energy and other resources. . It is very important to consider that, from the point of view of energy consumption, the effect of unnecessary dehumidification is doubly negative since the latent heat exchanged reduces the


utility gained from the exchange of sensible heat. It is therefore very important to define the function temperature range, especially in chilled water systems. Optimal chilled water temperatures for high-technology environments are 9-14C or 10-15C, for intake and discharge respectively, these values giving temperature ranges for the walls of the water-air heat exchanger coils which are not too low compared to the saturation temperature of the air, thus avoiding starting the dehumidification process. Using water at a higher temperature reduces the thermal gap which generates the transmission of heat and which, other conditions being equal, needs greater efficiency from the heat exchange coil. This greater efficiency can be gained by increasing the size of the surfaces or other measures which will be examined under the heading of precision air conditioners. In conclusion, if the air is not de-humidified more than the environment demands then cooling is not wasted and energy is therefore saved. Chilled water can come from a central chiller which serves the whole building. In this case it is necessary to check that the function times of this chiller cover the function times of the high technology environment and that there is enough capacity to guarantee supply in periods of heavy demand. If there is no central chilled water system or if the system is unreliable, it is necessary to install a dedicated chiller. With regard to this, the following suggestions should be considered: It is generally a good idea to divide the total power of the system among at least two water chillers; one for general use and the other specifically for the high technology environment; For high technology and telecoms applications it is recommended that the chillers be sized to produce water at 9-10C which, as explained above, is an ideal temperature for environments with a significant sensible thermal load. Energy is saved and sometimes it may be possible to specify a smaller chiller.


Twin-cool direct expansion and chilled water units If there is uncertainty over the supply or if it is known that the chiller only covers the summer period or functions only at certain times, then specific air conditioners can be used (Twin Cool models) which, if there is no chilled water, automatically start an internal direct expansion system (with an auxiliary cooling system). These units can operate even when the chilled water supply is interrupted. Other considerations must be taken into account in relation to the energy efficiency of large chilled water systems which have mixed uses. These include when the system is used at low power in high-technology environments during the cold season. The microprocessor control system enables the immediate starting of the direct expansion system in the event that the supply of chilled water is insufficiently cold or is interrupted. The Twin Cool system can also use the direct expansion cooling circuit as its normal operating mode and use the chilled water supply as a back-up. This double cooling system allows the choice of function mode best suited to any operating conditions, guaranteeing greater energy efficiency and the highest levels of reliability.

8 3


6 2 7

1 3 4

1 2 3 4

Evaporator fan Evaporator coil Cold water coil Compressor

5 6 7 8

Condenser fan Condenser coil Thermostatic valve 3-way mixer valve


Direct expansion or chilled water?

The first criteria in this choice is system size: Small / medium systems direct expansion Large systems chilled water The reasons for this choice are practical: in the case of systems with a large number of air conditioners installed it is cheaper to install a chilled water system outside, based on one or more water chillers and if possible, dedicated to the high technology environment. The chilled water, via a relatively simple system of pipes (which has no particular limitations as regards distance or height differentials) can supply all the air conditioners for the environment. It should be remembered that chilled water air conditioners are very simple and have low levels of maintenance. It always makes economic sense to keep maintenance operations in hightechnology environments to a minimum. In contrast, air-cooled direct-expansion systems need to have complete cooling circuits with an external condenser. In the case of systems with multiple air conditioners, each with perhaps more than one circuit, the number of external condensers and in particular the number of refrigerant connection lines could mean that the system is difficult or even impossible to install. It is important to remember that both the form of components and the distance between them in a cooling circuit are limited. An alternative to chilled water air conditioners for large systems could be air conditioners with water-cooled condensation. In this case there is a single cooling water circuit which supplies the condensers which are connected in parallel. The same concept can be applied to systems which use glycoled water in a closed circuit. It is clear that these observations are of a general nature, since the choice of system is also affected by considerations regarding the characteristics of the plant in relation to existing building systems, the characteristics of the building, its location and the intended use.


ENERGY SAVING SYSTEMS Telecommunications applications, where air conditioning is required all year round, systems can be installed which use outside air to cool the air conditioned room. When the outside temperature is low enough to dissipate the whole thermal load then a free-cooling system can be activated, providing cooling without using the compressor. Energy saving systems can be divided into two main types: INDIRECT DIRECT Indirect systems use an intermediary fluid which enables heat dissipation without introducing outside air. Direct systems use outside air which is sent into the room after being filtered.

Indirect Free-Cooling Systems

Water-cooled direct expansion energy-saving units The function modes of this type of unit are shown below:

Fig. 1 The internal recycled air cooling exchanger is made up of two sections. One section is a coil connected to a closed hydraulic circuit with a water - air exchanger outside the room. The other is the coil of the cooling circuit evaporator. In the same closed hydraulic circuit there is also the water-cooled condenser of the cooling circuit. The first section, the internal exchanger where the water circulates, performs the function of an economising coil since it produces a cooling effect without the activation of a mechanical cooling circuit. It should be remembered that air conditioning for high-technology environments has to function all year round, even when the outside temperature is lower than the temperature inside the high technology environment. During the summer the air conditioner operates as a direct expansion system with glycoled water condensation (fig. 1a), the three-way valve excluding the economising coil. As the outside temperature decreases, the glycoled water in circulation becomes colder than the air conditioned room and is diverted to the economising coil, thus providing a certain amount of free cooling and reducing the load on the cooling compressors (fig. 8b). As the outside temperature falls further, so the proportion of cooling done by the compressors is also reduced. Eventually, an outside temperature is reached where the compressors stop altogether, this temperature usually being between 2 and 7C, depending on the model and the effective heat load at that moment. Should the heat load be less than the nominal power capacity of the unit, as is very probable during the winter, the free cooling function range will extend well above the temperatures given above. The management and optimisation of the whole process is performed by the built-in microprocessor control.


Chilled water units connected to free-cooling water chillers This type of system uses the same type of air conditioning unit as that described in the section on Chilled Water units. The main difference is in the water chiller which is fitted with energysaving coils. These coils are mounted downstream of the condenser coils and contain a glycol/water mix which is cooled by the airflow from the fans. The units microprocessor control monitors the outside temperature; if it is low enough it opens a three-way valve which permits cooling of the glycol/water mix by the outside air, without running the compressor (fig. 2).


8 3 4

6 5




1 2 3 4

Free-cooling coil Free-cooling valve (on-off) Evaporator Compressor

5 6 7 8

Condenser coil Thermostatic valve Condenser fan Water circulation pump




8 3 4



8 3 4


Fig. 2


DIRECT FREE-COOLING SYSTEMS Some high-technology applications which require strict temperature control and maximum reliability (as usual) but where relative humidity can vary between fairly wide limits. This is the case with some telephone exchanges. In these applications, if the outside air is cold enough it can be used to cool the room directly, thus saving the energy costs of mechanical cooling. The air conditioning unit must have an efficient filtration system to guarantee air purity levels. Fig.3 shows a direct free-cooling unit. The units control system is connected to temperature sensors; when the outside temperature is low enough to dissipate the thermal load in the room, the control opens the outside air intake damper and stops the refrigerant compressor.

Outside air

Compressor Evaporator fan Condenser fan

Recycled air



FREE COOLING FUNCTION Compressor Evaporator fan Condenser fan

Recycled air

Outside air


Fig. 3

The regulation of the free-cooling system is very important; it can be one of three types: Fixed point the damper opens when the outside temperature is below a set fixed point. Fixed differential - free-cooling is activated when the difference between the inside and outside temperatures reaches a set value. Variable point some control systems monitor the thermal load in the room and calculate the best temperature at which to start the free-cooling cycle. These systems optimise the freecooling function since they relate the thermal load at any given moment to the ability of the outside air to dissipate that load. All regulation systems must also guarantee that the delivery air is not so cold that it causes thermal shock to the equipment in the room. A modulating damper is used so that when outside temperatures are very low, recirculated air can be mixed with outside air, thus ensuring that the air delivered into the room is above a pre-set temperature. Free-cooling systems are normally fitted in direct-expansion monobloc units. These have a built-in condenser and are very simple to install. The free-cooling system is often configured to cool the room in the event of a power failure. If this happens then only the evaporator fan, the damper motor and the microprocessor control are operated so that the temperature of the room

can be controlled. The emergency power supply comes from the switching centre batteries; the power supply to the centre itself is via an inverter. In this particular situation higher temperatures can be accepted because only outside air is used to control the temperature in the room. Airflow is very important in direct free-cooling systems: the more air is put into the room, the higher the free-cooling capacity. For optimum fan function it is also important to ensure that the same quantity of air is removed from the room as is taken in. This problem can be resolved by incorporating an exhaust air function in the system or by fitting an excess pressure damper.


Outdoor wall-mounted direct-expansion monobloc units with free-cooling system These are autonomous air-cooled direct expansion air conditioners, designed for installation on the outside wall of the air conditioned room. They are particularly suitable for air conditioning of pre-fabricated buildings, shelters and containers; materials and construction of the units are designed for installation outdoors. The condenser is incorporated in the unit which is pre-charged and tested in the factory. Installation and connection to the power supply can be done by non-specialised staff. Units are designed to allow maintenance from the outside only, without needing access to the air conditioned room. All essential components, including the condenser fan, can be inspected and removed from the front of the unit. In multiple installations the units can therefore be installed side by side.

Treated air

Recycled air

Air-cooled condenser

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Evaporator fan Evaporator coil Free-cooling damper Air filter Free-cooling intake Compressor Condenser coil Condenser fan

2 1 4 3 5 6


These units enable the following function phases (fig. 4): DX cooling free-cooling modulated free-cooling (delivery air temperature control).

D X C o o lin g

F r e e C o o lin g
Fig. 4

M o d u lating

This gives the following system advantages: factory-charged monobloc units (no refrigerant lines to lay); built-in free-cooling system no space occupied in the room easy to install (only power supply connection)


Indoor direct-expansion monobloc units with free-cooling system These are autonomous monobloc direct expansion air conditioners with air-cooled condensers, designed for the air conditioning of telephone exchanges and other high technology environments. The condenser is incorporated in the unit which is pre-charged and tested in the factory. Installation consists simply of connection to the power supply and the connection of the flexible tubes for external air and for condensation drain. Installation can therefore be done by non-specialised staff. For the dissipation of heat the unit must be connected to the external environment via flexible tubes or ducting (fig.5). If the unit is mounted on an outside wall with the appropriate holes, the unit can be fitted directly to the wall (fig.6).

1 3 2


5 4 6

1 2 3 4 5 6

Evaporator fan Evaporator coil Free-cooling damper Compressor Condenser coil Condenser fan


If these units are connected to the outside via ducting or flexible tubes the condenser fan can act as an extractor during the free-cooling phase, making sure that the same quantity of air is expelled from the room as is put in. If the unit is installed next to an outside wall the evaporator fan can take in outside air (freecooling) and expel exhaust air through an excess pressure damper fitted in the wall, thus giving excellent energy efficiency in the free-cooling phase.

DX Cooling




Ceiling-mounted split direct-expansion units with free-cooling system These are autonomous direct-expansion air conditioners with air-cooled condensers, designed for the air conditioning of telephone exchanges and other high technology environments. They are composed of two separate sections: the evaporator section, installed in the room and the condenser section which is installed externally (fig. 6). The evaporator section is designed to be installed on the ceiling and allows the management of room parameters via a sophisticated microprocessor control. Units can be fitted with a built-in direct free-cooling system.



The installation of this unit requires laying of refrigerant lines, electric connection of the two sections and connection of the external air intake for free-cooling. Unit configuration means that it is necessary to fit an free-cooling damper in the room for the expulsion of exhaust air.




Fig. 7 1 2 Evaporator fan Evaporator coil 3 Electrical panel

Although this type of system lacks some of the advantages of the monobloc units described above, it can be installed where space is very limited. The ceiling installation of the evaporating unit leaves the walls and floor free. Built-in free-cooling also means that the system is extremely compact.


DEHUMIDIFICATION AND HUMIDIFICATION The aim of these two processes is to modify the absolute vapour content of the air in the room. This has the function of maintaining relative humidity, in association with temperature, within the required limits. Relative humidity is one of the factors which influences comfort in civil applications. There are diagrams which show the various combinations of temperature and relative humidity in which the majority of people feel comfortable. In high technology applications, human comfort obviously takes second place to the requirements of the equipment and processes in the room. Too high a relative humidity value can cause problems related to the dielectric characteristics of some electronic components. This is particularly relevant in the context of the increasing miniaturisation of components which simultaneously reduces the thickness of the insulation between adjacent components of different potential. A high level of relative humidity can reduce the dielectric capacity of the insulating layers below safety levels. There are also materials and compounds which, when operating in high levels of relative humidity, could create dangerous electro-chemical corrosion or even the migration of particles towards the stronger electrical potential. On the other hand, if relative humidity is too low, this could create electrostatic charges with a potential greater than the dielectric rigidity limits of the insulating material. Uncontrolled electrical charges cause serious magnetic and electrical disturbance for sophisticated and delicate electronic components. The effects of this disturbance are always serious, ranging from errors in data processing to the destruction of the component itself. Other problems which can arise from incorrect relative humidity values are associated with the printing of text or images. The dimensions and surface quality of paper are extremely sensitive to relative humidity and the associated problems are more pronounced the faster the printing and the more detailed the images being printed. Prescribed values for relative humidity in high technology applications are normally between 45% and 55%. These values are acceptable both for the equipment and the operators. When referring to problems associated with printing, the conditions in the paper storage room must obviously be the same as those in the print room.

Methods of humidification and dehumidification Humidity control in civil applications is often performed by the so-called primary air, i.e. external air which is treated centrally, distributed and mixed with re-circulated air in the rooms This is the case with systems using fan coil units. In summer this involves dehumidification, using fixed-point cooling in a chilled-water coil. In winter, pre-heating is followed by humidification, spraying large quantities of water into the treated airflow in a section of the air conditioner called the scrubber. However demand is now growing for new humidification systems for civil applications since the scrubber system can produce unwanted effects such as mould, unpleasant odours and the proliferation of germs, as well as causing problems for the maintenance of the air conditioning and ducting systems. The control of relative humidity is crucial in high-technology applications, given the precision of the value to be maintained and the importance of stability of ambient conditions. As before, dehumidification is usually via the cooling of the air, or a part of it. The air to be treated is brought into contact with a surface whose temperature is below the dew point.. Humidity sensors, normally located at the units return intake, indicate when humidity values are outside the pre-set limits or, with more sophisticated controls, when the values are likely to go outside the limits. In this event the unit must adjust its function parameters to create the cold surface described above and thus cause the condensation of the excess humidity.

A few observations should be made at this point. The cold surface is created by reducing the temperature of the cooling medium (water or refrigerant depending on the system). This reduction is below the value which satisfies the cooling requirements of the room at that moment. The reduction in the temperature of the cooling medium means that the air conditioner is less energy-efficient since the temperature jump of the thermal pump is increased; this is also indirectly true of chilled water systems. The cooling of the air in order to produce dehumidification could be too much for the thermal equilibrium of the air conditioned environment, causing the temperature to fall below the pre-set limits. In this case it is necessary to have a re-heat system after the dehumidification phase which is able to compensate for the excessive cooling. The dehumidification phase is even less energy-efficient with a small heat load or, worse, with a negative heat load, i.e. in heating function mode. It is unlikely however that it will be necessary to use the heating mode in a high technology application, given the considerable heat generated by the equipment in the room. It is therefore clear that the dehumidification process, especially when it involves re-heating, means very heavy energy consumption. The quality of the control which manages the dehumidification phase is one of the key components by which the overall quality of an air conditioner is judged.

The performance of de-humidification In order better to understand the techniques used, it is necessary first to make clear the distinction between chilled water air conditioners and those which work on the direct-expansion principle. The principle component of chilled water air conditioners is a thermal exchange coil. This is a system of copper tubes through which the chilled water circulates. Several circuits in parallel are normally used in order to avoid excess loss of pressure in the water circuit. The surface on the air side is usually extended with aluminium fins in order to increase the heat exchange area. The cooling capacity of the system, given constant airflow, is regulated by controlling the flow of chilled water into the coil and thus regulating its average temperature. The greater the water flow, the closer the temperature at the outlet to that at the input and vice versa. Since it is presumed that the chilled water supply has a fixed temperature (which is well below the dew point of the air), the greater the water flow, the colder the average temperature of the walls of the of the coil and hence the greater the dehumidification effect. The corresponding disadvantage is that there is too much cooling in the room compared to before the dehumidification phase was started. To compensate for the excess cooling and to restore the correct temperature balance in the room it is necessary to introduce a quantity of heat which corresponds exactly to that excess. Although this method works, it is very costly in terms of energy consumption. The management systems of more advanced air conditioners use one of two ways of overcoming this problem: A reduction in the airflow over the cooling coil in order to reduce airflow temperature to the correct value while maintaining total cooling generated within acceptable limits. The exclusion of a part of the cooling coil via an intercept valve on the circuit. This is used both for direct-expansion and chilled water air conditioners . In the first of these techniques, there is a lower volume of air being re-circulated and a sharp drop in the temperature of the air output. This could have a detrimental effect on the equipment in the room which, as mentioned previously, needs very stable pre-defined conditions. The reduction in the airflow is normally obtained by reducing the speed of the fan or fans or by switching off one of the fans if more than one is installed. A solution to this problem is to enable

part of the airflow to by-pass the cooling coil, thus maintaining a constant total airflow. Although this is feasible from a technical point of view, it is very expensive to produce units with this feature. The second method is far more effective. This also works on the principle of the airflow bypassing the coil but does so in a different way. Since the coil is divided, only a part of the treated airflow is cooled and dehumidified, giving reduced total cooling of the air and eliminating the need for re-heating. The resulting output of air into the room is at a higher temperature, with benefits both for the equipment and the people working there. It is important however to have the re-heating facility in order to be able to dehumidify when the heat load is very low or nonexistent. The application of humidification in high technology applications is also different from civil air conditioning. There are several reasons why humidification could be necessary: a lack of water vapour due to the dryness of fresh air brought into the room untreated from outside, especially during the cold season the migration of water vapour from the room to the outside when the level of humidity is lower outside and the room is not completely airtight excess dehumidification by the cooling coil.

It is very important that the humidification of the air in high technology applications is done with the direct injection of dry vapour. This is to ensure that the salts and other impurities normally contained in water are not introduced into the air conditioned room. Unevaporated micro-drops of water, often produced by air scrubbers or micro-ionisation humidifiers, generate dust and the build-up of mineral salt and other deposits. The micro-drops are particularly rich in these impurities given the effects of progressive evaporation. Dust and mineral deposits are very dangerous, both for moving parts (tapes, disks, print heads, etc.) and for fixed components which can be damaged by chemical corrosion. Currently there are two acceptable methods for humidifying the air: by boiling untreated water by the ultrasound treatment of de-mineralised water.

Boiler humidifiers with an electrical resistance have almost disappeared from the market because of their very poor reliability and the high levels of maintenance necessary. Immersed electrode boiler humidifiers, on the other hand, are very common. These systems are both reliable and efficient. They consist of a cylinder containing water from the mains (normally untreated) with two electrodes connected to the two power supply phases. The water, rendered conductive by its content of dissolved mineral salts, acts as a resistance element for the passage of the current between the two electrodes. When the water reaches boiling point it releases dry vapour, leaving the mineral salt deposits in the cylinder. The system is re-charged by emptying the water with a high concentration of salts and filling the cylinder with fresh water. The humidifier control system is usually very sophisticated, supervising the production of steam either by switching the humidifier on or off or by modulating the output. It also supervises the evacuation of mineral salts, the scrubbing phase (to avoid premature mineral deposits on the electrodes) and the signalling of an alarm in the event of any malfunction. The life of the


cylinder depends on the quantity of steam produced, the quality of the water used and the ability of the control system to choose the best options for the various function phases. It should be remembered that the energy efficiency of the system as a whole depends on the control system. The immersed electrode boiler humidifier is intrinsically safe because the power is automatically switched off if there is no water, thus avoiding the risk of overheating. When the cylinder needs replacing, a new one can be installed without interrupting the operation of the air conditioner. Ultrasound humidifiers use the capacity of immersed ultrasound oscillator cells to break the surface tension of water and generate a vapour of water microparticles. In order not to disrupt the function of the equipment in the room and to ensure the correct functioning of the ultrasound cells it is vital that the water supply to the cells is totally free from all mineral salts. Ultrasound humidifiers consume less energy than boiler systems and have the additional advantage of not affecting the thermal load, in fact, the evaporation of the microparticles absorbs energy from the air. The disadvantage is that the necessary treatment of the water supply needs a great deal of maintenance and is expensive. With both humidification systems, the humidifier is housed inside the air conditioner. In the case of the boiler humidifier, the vapour generated is passed into the airflow through a special distributor. This distributor must be located in a position where the water vapour will not be immediately re-condensed before being absorbed by the air in the room. With ultrasound humidification, the energy content of the water vapour is low. This means that the passing of vapour into the room is a much more delicate operation, with the risk of re-condensation making unprotected surfaces wet and water collecting on the floor, in ducts and in suspended ceilings.


HEATING AND RE-HEATING There is very little need for heating in high technology applications; it is used in the cold season when the equipment in the room is off or when it has been switched off and has not warmed up yet. The re-heating phase is a different concept, used to compensate for the thermal imbalance which results from the forced cooling during dehumidification. The three methods for producing heat in air conditioners for high technology applications are: electrical heating element auxiliary hot water coil auxiliary hot gas coil. The simplest solution is to use multi-stage electrical resistances to provide varying levels of heat according to requirements. Potential problems include overheating which causes the system to alternate between cooling and heating, as well as unwanted humidification and dehumidification. Good control systems are able to avoid this type of problem but it is nevertheless important to ensure that the balance between the power capacities of the cooling and heating phases is set by an expert. The electrical resistances must be made from reinforced materials and have very large surface areas. This is in order to avoid the air coming into contact with very hot surfaces which might cause other components to overheat from the radiated heat produced, as well as unpleasant odours. Another point regards the importance of the current balance between the phases in the case of a tri-phase power supply. Inequalities between the phases could disturb the operation of the system. The energy consumption of the re-heat system is usually fairly low since, in an application which is adequately protected and insulated, the system will rarely need to use the re-heating facility. In any case the electrical power supply must be adequate to cover all eventualities. If there is a supply of hot water, the air conditioner can be fitted with a finned hot water coil. The heating capacity of this system is controlled using an intercept valve on the hot water pipe. Clearly, if the hot water coil is the only option for re-heating in the unit, the supply of hot water must be guaranteed 24 hours per day, all year round. A much more complicated system is the hot gas re-heat. This uses refrigerant leaving the compressor at high temperature as the heat source, passing the hot refrigerant through a finned re-heat coil downstream from the cooling coil before sending it to the condenser for the remaining heat exchange. The heat from the cooling and condensation of the refrigerant fluid under high pressure leaving the compressor is greater than the heat from the cooling process. Therefore when operating the cooling circuit it is also, in theory, possible to operate the heating phase and the re-heating phase. In practice, given the necessity to make the hot gas coil as small as possible, only the re-heat phase is used. Because of complexities in the cooling circuit, whose causes are outside the scope of this introduction, hot gas re-heat is only used when the cooling circuit condenser is water-cooled and therefore housed inside the air conditioner. From the point of view of energy consumption, it is true that the hot gas re-heat system is the most economic since it uses free heat which otherwise would have to be dissipated outside by the condenser. Finally, it must be remembered that the form and the position of the re-heat coils must obstruct the airflow as little as possible.


AIR FILTRATION The air in circulation, whether taken from the room itself or from outside, must be filtered to remove the solid particles which it inevitably contains. The demands of filtration systems range from the capturing of around 80% of the natural coarse dust, acceptable in most civil applications, to clean rooms from which almost all dust has been removed, even on the smallest scale. The filtration of air is therefore a very wide and specialised field; only a few elements will be described here for the purposes of this introduction. The classification of filters In Europe, with the exception of those filters classified as absolute, air filters are classified according to the Eurovent 4/5 document. This in turn is based on the American ASHRAE Standard 52-76 and German DIN 24185 norms. According to these norms, the main performance characteristics of an air filter can be established with tests using one of two types of standard dust: Synthetic dust, similar to natural dust, used in order to determine the degree of separation of which the filter is capable in terms of quantity Fine atmospheric dust to determine the effectiveness of the filter

It is difficult to use these two methods in conjunction. The first, known as the gravimetric method, measures efficiency by weighing how much standard dust is trapped by the filter as a proportion of the total quantity of dust in the air upstream of the filter. The gravimetric method is used for filters with normal or good efficiency. The second method, called the colorimetric method, considers the intensity of the discoloration of the filter being tested. This test is used for very fine, high performance filters. According to the degree of separation (gravimetric method): EU1 : </= 65 % EU2 : 65 - 80 % EU3 : 80 - 90 % EU4 : >/= 90 % According to the degree of effectiveness (colorimetric method, for high performance filters) EU5 : 40 - 60 % EU6 : 60 - 80 % EU7 : 80 - 90 % EU8 : 90 - 95 % EU9 : >/= 95 % Air filtration in high technology applications A clean environment is very important in rooms housing sophisticated equipment and the filters chosen for the air conditioning system must be adequate for the needs of this equipment. Standard filters for precision air conditioners are EU4. EU5 filters may be fitted on request . It is important to stress that the more efficient the filter, the greater the resistance to the airflow. Since the resistance increases by the square of the increase in airflow, it is uneconomic to have a higher level of filtration if it is not absolutely necessary. If EU5 or greater filters are used then the fan must be sized accordingly; if not, the airflow will be much less than the nominal figure with a consequent reduction in the cooling capacity of the unit and the risk of dangerous operating conditions. The filters must be cleaned regularly so that impurities collected do not reduce the efficiency of the filter and increase the resistance to the airflow.


REFRIGERANT GASES The ozone layer as a protective shield The earth is surrounded by a layer of air about 50km thick called the atmosphere. The atmosphere is divided into the troposphere, which goes from the surface of the earth up to around 15km, and the stratosphere. At the poles the stratosphere starts from a height of around 8km. In the stratosphere, between about 25 and 50km from the earths surface, there is a high concentration of ozone, an unstable gas which is a modified form of oxygen. This layer of ozone filters the light from the sun, blocking almost all the ultraviolet component. Excessive ultraviolet radiation is harmful to humans and contributes to the raising of average atmospheric temperatures with the consequent negative effects on the earths ecosystem. Various international and national bodies have defined the terms for the gradual phasing out of gases which are harmful to the ozone layer, classified according to the risk they pose. The parties involved (producers of refrigerant gases, lubricants, compressors, valves and other regulation devices, as well as system manufacturers, have therefore undertaken to replace dangerous substances with alternatives which are compatible with the earths ecosystem. Damage to the ozone layer One of the worst enemies of ozone is chlorine which is present in many traditional refrigerant gases and is liberated by exposure to ultraviolet light. Chlorine molecules can reach the stratosphere connected to other molecules. Here energy is received from UV radiation and the chlorine molecules separate. They combine with ozone molecules to form molecular oxygen. This effect is important because the chlorine atom acts as a catalyst; only one is capable of breaking down thousands of ozone molecules.



These gases were (and are) used not only in air conditioning and refrigeration systems but also (much more widely) as aerosol propellants, solvents, expanding agents in polyurethane foam and the like. Traditional refrigerant gases for air conditioning can be divided into two categories (ammonia R717 is excluded here since it is both toxic and used in very specific applications): CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) include R-12, R-11, R-113 and R-502. These are the most dangerous compounds since they have the highest content of chlorine. The production and importing of these substances was banned in the European Community in December 1994. These gases, especially R-12, were mainly used in domestic refrigerators, supermarket display fridges and car air conditioners.

In the air conditioning sector R-12 was used almost exclusively where a high condensation pressure is necessary because of high air temperatures. Common examples are the cabins of overhead cranes in steelworks and refrigerators working in desert conditions. As a result the prohibition of this gas has not had great implications for the precision air conditioning sector. HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), principally represented by R-22, are easily the most commonly used in air conditioners and refrigerators operating in normal conditions, i.e. with a condensation temperature below 50C. The chlorine content of these gases is much less than that of CFC gases. R-22 is twenty times less harmful than CFCs and in any case its use is regulated by an EC directive (3093/1994) which will lead to the stopping of production of all HCFC gases by 31/12/2014. This date may seem distant but the norm imposes progressive restrictions on chlorine emissions. In the event of emissions exceeding the levels set by the norm then production ceilings will be imposed. R-22 is also used by other sectors in much larger quantities than by air conditioning systems and therefore it is logical that there will be a significant reduction in the supply of R-22 long before the definitive elimination.


50% Year 25% 5%




















Level of HCFC production com pared to reference year (1995)

Refrigerant evaluation index Refrigerant fluids not only damage the ozone layer but also contribute to the greenhouse effect; as a result some evaluation indices have been defined. ODP : Ozone Depletion Potential GWP : Greenhouse Warming Potential TEWI : Total Equivalent Warming Impact ODP and GDP are self-explanatory. TEWI on the other hand does not refer simply to the refrigerant but also and to a great extent on the equipment involved and the installation location. It considers the direct contribution to the greenhouse effect and the contribution of CO2 emissions caused by electricity generation. This parameter therefore depends on both the refrigerant fluid used and on the country where the unit is operated.


The table below summarises production of CO2 for every kW/h of electricity generated for some countries: EUROPE USA CANADA AUSTRALIA JAPAN 0.51 0.67 0.26 1.04 0.58 ITALY FRANCE SWITZERLAND GERMANY UK 0.60 0.12 0.14 0.66 0.84

Emission of CO2 per kWh of electric power [kg/kWh] The figures in the table show that CO2 emissions in Italy are very high; this is because there are relatively few hydroelectric and no nuclear power stations. In countries where this is the case, it is even more important to develop units with very high energy efficiency.


Alternative refrigerant gases The only synthetic alternatives to old-generation CFC and HCFC refrigerants are HFC hydrofluorocarbon compounds, either pure or in mixtures. These compounds contain neither chlorine nor bromine, they do not harm the ozone layer and because they retain the hydrogen atoms from the source hydrocarbon, they have a relatively short life in the atmosphere, thus reducing the greenhouse effect. R-12: this has been effectively replaced by R-134a, which has similar characteristics R-22: the alternatives include: 1. Hydrofluorocarbons R-134a: this has lower operating pressure and capacity than R-22 and therefore requires a partial re-design of the unit R-407C: this gas has operating pressure and capacity equivalent to those of R-22 R-410: this has greater operating pressure and capacity than R-22 and therefore must be used with specially-designed units. All components must be checked for their suitability for use with the high operating pressures involved. It is still in the experimental stage; there are no practical applications due to the lack of suitable compressors and other components on the market. Existing units cannot be adapted for use with this refrigerant. 2. Hydrocarbons Butane (R600), isobutane (R600a) and isobutane (R290):are already used in domestic refrigeration, especially in Germany. The significant drawback is that they are highly flammable. 3. Natural Gases Ammonia (R717) has been widely used in the past but requires special system precautions due to its high toxicity.

Refrigerant R12 R22 R134a R407C R410A R290 (Propane) R717 (Ammonia) (1) ODP = (2) GWP =

Group ODP (1) CFC 1 HCFC 0.055 HFC 0 HFC 0 HFC 0 hydrocarbon 0 natural 0

GWP (2) 9.300 1.700 1.300 1.610 1.890 3 negligible

Toxic no no no no no no yes

Inflammability no no no no no high moderate

Efficiency = < R22 < R22 > R22 < R22 > R22

Ozone depletion potential Global warming potential over 100 years (CO2 = 1)


R407C R407C consists of a mixture of R32, R125 and R134a (23, 25 and 52%) and seems to be the most likely replacement for R22. It does not require fundamental unit re-design it is only necessary to check compatibility of the materials used with the refrigerant fluid and lubricants. Special care must be taken to ensure oil return to the compressor and to eliminate all traces of moisture because the polyester oil required by this refrigerant is very hygroscopic. Even slight traces of humidity in the circuit can cause corrosion and permanent damage to unit components. Great precision is required when installing systems which use R407C; this precision is normal when units are being produced but presents problems when a system is being installed, especially if it includes remote air-cooled condensers. Moreover, the polyester oil has a very high capacity to dissolve contaminating substances such as residues of the production process which then block critical components such as thermostatic valves and capillaries. For this reason R407C is recommended for use in systems which are preassembled and sealed in the factory. Another important consideration concerning refrigerant fluids with more than one component is the different properties of the various elements of which the compound is made. If refrigerant fluid leaks from a point on the circuit where the refrigerant is in bi-phase form then the more volatile component will leak, changing the composition of the refrigerant which is left in the circuit. This is important because when the system has to be re-charged, the composition of the refrigerant in the circuit is not known The composition of R407C causes glide during condensation and evaporation (temperature variation of the mixture during condensation and evaporation). This phenomenon can be used to increase thermal exchange energy efficiency: however the limited size of the glide (6-7C) in most applications does not permit significant gains in energy efficiency. There follow a few diagrams and tables comparing R22 and R407C:
R-22 R-32/125/134a

Cooling capacity


evaporator press. drop

condenser press drop.

T. fine compressor

Cil. compressor

Nom inal tests

Evaporator Condenser

R134a/R22 0.70 0.99

R407C/R22 0.97 1.03

Comparison of thermal exchange coefficients A chiller can be used as an example to show the results of changing from R22 to R407C:

Change in cooling capacity -3.2% (experimental value) Change in COP : -7% (experimental value) Calculation of TEWI considering 10 years of operation, total loss of refrigerant charge and 3000 function hours /year: Refrigerant R22 (experimental) R407C (experimental) R410A (theoretical) TEWI 81700 94450 97600 Percentage of direct potential 10.0 11.7 10.3

The following formula is used for the calculation: TEWI = X * GWPX,N + ? CO2 *L * E X= GWPX,N ? CO2 L E fluid mass emitted in the atmosphere greenhouse effect potential of the fluid for CO2 mass of CO2 emitted per unit of energy produced life of the system energy consumed per unit of time

R134a R134a, an ideal alternative to R12, requires a compressor with volumetric flow around 50% higher than that for R22 with the same cooling capacity. This is because of the lower pressure value as a function of saturation temperature. Therefore a system operating with R134a requires larger diameter tubing compared to R22 in order to keep pressure drop within acceptable levels. As a result the system is larger and more expensive to produce. The high critical temperature of this fluid gives good energy efficiency in systems with high condensation temperatures. Summary table of HFC refrigerant fluid alternatives to R22: Refrigerant ODP GWP [R11=1] [CO2=1] 0.05 0 0 0 1700 1300 1610 1890 Boiling point [C] -41 -26 -44 -51 Critical temperature [C] 96 101 87 72 Condensation temperature [at 25 bar] 63 C 80 C 58 C 43 C

R22 R134a R407C R410A

Refrigerant Advantages R407C Good thermodynamic properties; widely available. R134a Pure fluid; good thermodynamic properties; low compressor output temperature; excellent in applications with high condensation temperatures Excellent physical properties; high COP.

Disadvantages Low critical temperature and low COP; significant glide; pressure drop problems. Low operating pressure; larger volumes of refrigerant moved; increased cost of a/c unit. High operating pressure - components need to be re-designed.



Conclusions The problems related to care for the environment such as the hole in the ozone layer and the greenhouse effect have profound implications of the choice of refrigerants to use in cooling systems. From the technical point of view the problem must be approached with reference to TEWI, which enables evaluation of the real environmental impact of new technology. It is therefore very important to develop both environment-friendly refrigerants and energy-efficient units in order to reduce environmental consequences to a minimum. Likely future developments include: electrical expansion valves: have the advantage of being able to operate with very small changes in pressure, giving maximum efficiency during the intermediate and cold seasons parallel scroll compressors: small compressors have excellent energy efficiency and are very well engineered. Using several compressors in parallel instead of a single large compressor gives the following benefits: modulation of load, high efficiency with partial load, low noise levels, increased reliability and safety. increased use of rotating compressors: rotary, scroll and screw.


THE ACOUSTIC FACTOR Noise pollution in residential areas has reached high levels and has prompted legislators in many countries to issue laws and guidelines setting limits on sound levels generated. Areas to which these laws are applied are normally divided into classes according to the use of the area, for example industrial, residential or protected and maximum permitted sound levels are set for daytime and night-time. The evaluation criteria for sources of noise, as contribution to the total, are also set, therefore defining the acceptability or otherwise of the characteristics and locations of machines, activities, etc. It is clearly important to consider acoustic factors very carefully when selecting or designing plant and machinery. It must be remembered that the reduction of noise levels can have a significant impact on costs; measures taken after installation or completion are more expensive than preventative solutions and are usually less effective. As regards internal noise levels, the relevant applicable values are those of the project specifications which, once accepted, are binding. In order to better understand the conditions imposed by the law, by project specifications and by manufacturers, there follows a brief explanation of the basic concepts of acoustics. Noise Sound, which is called noise when it causes disturbance, is a variation in air pressure caused by the vibration of a body. This variation in pressure takes the form of an acoustic wave. In air, sound takes the form of a sinusoidal wave characterised by: A speed of around 340 m/s; this value is more or less constant for the purposes of this document Frequency: the number of oscillations of the wave in one minute, measured in Hertz (Hz). The human ear can normally detect frequencies between 20 and 16,000 Hz. Wavelength: the distance travelled by sound during the time taken for the wave to complete one complete oscillation. Wavelength is inversely proportional to frequency. Noise emitted by a machine is a form of energy which is dispersed in the environment. As always, power expresses the energy produced, transmitted or transferred in a unit of time. Noise can therefore be called Sound power and expressed in Watts, the units of power measurement, but this measurement is not practical. It must be remembered that sound vibrations, for most purposes, are significant in their effect on the human ear rather than in terms of physical energy. The noise made by a machine is therefore expressed as sound power level, a logarithmic relationship between sound power and a reference (the minimum power value detectable by a normal human ear). The corresponding unit of measurement is the Decibel (dB). If sound is considered as energy generated by a source and travelling through space, the acoustic power of that sound (sound energy emitted per unit of time) travelling across a unit of area (normally orientated towards the direction of travel of the sound) is fundamental. In this case the Level of sound intensity can be defined as the logarithmic relationship between the current level of sound intensity and the conventional reference level of intensity. This relationship is also expressed in Decibels (dB). The human ear detects vibrations - oscillations in air pressure - which, if they lie between the limits of audible frequencies, are transformed into stimuli and sent to the brain. This is what we

experience as sound. In this case also there is a minimum detectable level of sound pressure which is conventionally used to define sound pressure level. This is the logarithmic relationship between the current sound pressure and the reference value. This relationship is also expressed in Decibels, although with a different significance to those of sound pressure and sound intensity. Speaking in general terms, it can be said that the level of sound power is a physical value related to the sound energy emitted by the source of the sound. The level of sound pressure is a physical value related to the effect that sound has on the human ear. It can therefore be seen that for a given level of sound power, the level of sound intensity and the level of sound pressure depend on the ability of the sound to travel and the way in which it travels, as well as the distance between the source of the sound and the point of detection. Frequencies and octave bands Noise is normally composed of a mixture of sounds at different points on the frequency spectrum, which have different characteristics and different capacities to travel and to be absorbed. Eight frequency bands have been defined, covering the audible sound spectrum. To each of these frequencies is given a value for the level of sound pressure. The centres of the bands are usually 63, 125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000 and 8000 Hz The weighting of sounds The human ear is not equally sensitive to all audible frequencies. High-frequency sounds generate stronger sensations and therefore cause more disturbance than low-frequency sounds of the same power. For ease of reference, weighting scales have been created which reduce or increase the real value of sounds according to the frequency, thus compensating for sensory variations of the human ear. From these scales a single value is obtained, a mixture of the various frequencies which is used to evaluate the sound according to the sensitivity of the human ear. The most commonly used of these scales is scale A. Noise measured on this scales is expressed in Decibels (A), or as dB(A). There are other weighting systems on the same principle, based on corrective curves. These include NC (Noise Criteria) and NR (Noise Rating). Free field and closed field Sound consists of circular pressure waves which spread radially out from the source (if they encounter no obstacles or restrictions). The sound field formed in an ideal environment, with no obstacles to interrupt the sound waves, is called free field. If the pressure wave (sound wave) meets an obstacle, part of its energy is reflected, along more or less geometric lines, part is absorbed by the obstacle and part is transmitted through the obstacle. The terms used are reflected energy, absorbed energy and transmitted energy. If there is a source of sound in a closed environment, the walls of that environment form an obstacle to the spreading of the sound and a sound detector will receive sound both directly from the source and reflected from the walls. This is known as closed field. Depending on the characteristics of the walls to absorb or reflect sound, the acoustic field is defined as anechoic (perfectly absorbent walls) or reverberant (reflecting walls). Some examples of sound pressure level Television, radio or recording studios Concert halls, theatres Hospitals, reading rooms

dB(A) 25 30 35

Offices, Restaurants, shops Mechanised workshops, mechanics garages Vacuum cleaner Pneumatic screwdriver Underground train at 6m Riveting machine Jet on take-off at 60m

55 60 70 80 90 110 125

Noise and air conditioning This argument is complicated by the difficulty of the subject and the fact that most people have very little knowledge of this area. All moving parts are subject to vibrations and the creation of noise. There are two ways to approach the problem of noise: the first is to reduce the noise generated at source as much as possible. The second is to create obstacles inside or outside the unit which are sufficient to absorb the noise generated by the source. As always it is a question of reaching a compromise between technical possibilities, costs and benefits. How to reduce noise at the source ERICSSON has always paid special attention to component choice and operating regimes. This culture enables the designing of units which are very efficient acoustically. Before going into production new products are subjected to rigorous acoustic testing in the laboratory in order to optimise the units acoustic performance. The man sources of sounds in a precision air conditioning unit are the moving components: fans compressors motors Other components such as valves can generate noise if faulty. Fans should function at the minimum possible speed for the cooling capacity required. They must be statically and dynamically balanced and supported so that they do not transmit vibrations to the rest of the unit. Where possible, variable-speed fans should be used in order to get the best compromise between noise and performance for the conditions in which the unit is operated. Hermetic compressors are preferred to other types and Scroll compressors are the preferred type of hermetic compressor. Scroll units having rotating internal components rather than alternating and have excellent acoustic characteristics. The front and side panels in TELECOOL DF units, lined with sound-absorbing material, are an effective acoustic barrier. Air-cooled condensers and air/water heat exchangers are the only sources of noise outside the building. Fan type, the shape of the fan blades and the fixing of the fan to the frame all influence noise but the most important factor is the fan speed regulation system. This enables significant reduction of acoustic levels, especially at night. When considering the acoustic performance of a system, its positioning and the characteristics of the room where it is installed must also be included. Acoustic performance depends not only on the unit but also on the acoustic performance of the room. The same source of noise installed in different rooms or in different positions in the same room will have difference acoustic effects; a unit installed in a room with carpets, heavy curtains and furniture will seem quieter than one in an empty room with hard floors.


Total noise It may be necessary to calculate the noise resulting from adding two or more sounds, say if a unit is added to an office or a second condenser is added to an air conditioning system. Noise values in decibels are not added to each other. Two machines which each produce 40 dB will together produce 43 dB, not 80 dB. To obtain the sum of two noises, the decibel values in the second column below should be added to the higher of the two values:

Difference between two noise levels (dB) 0 1 2 3 4 6 10

dB to add to the higher level 3 2.6 2.1 1.8 1.5 1.0 0.4

For example if in the same acoustic field there is a unit with a sound pressure level of 50 dB and a unit with a SPL of 46 dB is added, the resulting SPL is: 50 + 1,5 = 51,5 dB If there are more than two sources of noise, this calculation is repeated, going from the lowest of values to the highest. Background noise This is defined as the level of sound existing in the acoustic field without the noise generated by the air conditioning unit or system. From the above calculations it can be seen that unless the background noise is more than 10dB lower than the noise produced by the unit then the total noise level cannot be attributed entirely to the air conditioning system. The effect of distance It is well-known that the further from the source of a sound, the quieter it seems. This is caused by the greater surface area of the sphere emanating from the source point and by the absorption of energy by the air and by obstacles in the field. In free field, the sound pressure level from a point source reduces by 6dB every time the distance from the source is doubled. In practice sound fields are never open and sources are never a point and sound pressure wavers therefore never travel ion the spherical form of the theory. Machines and systems are often large and the theoretical relations can often not be applied to real situations. It is not practical to measure the noise generated by an air conditioning unit from 1 metre away because the normal acoustic rules could not be applied to the measurement. In any case only the noise from a part of the unit would be measured. Good practice is to measure at a distance from the source at least three times the radius of a sphere which would contain the whole unit. The table below shows the theoretical effect in a free field of the variation in sound level as distance from the source increases. Distance from source 1 2 3 4 5 10 15 Reduction in sound level (dB) -6 -9.5 -12 -14 -20 -23.5


Noise in applications The previous section describes free field conditions where sounds tend to expand spherically in all directions. Acoustic fields are normally very different from this ideal situation because of the presence of various elements which modify this theoretical behaviour. Obstacles cause the sound to propagate in spheres of various sizes; the sound is concentrated in areas which are free of obstacles and here the sound level is higher than it would have been in free field conditions. In practice and especially in outdoor locations, installation conditions can approximate to the following types, with the corresponding correction factors: Equipment on a perfectly reflecting surface: the sound will increase by 3 dB compared to free-field conditions at the same distance. As above but with reflecting surface behind: the sound will increase by 6 dB compared to free-field conditions at the same distance Equipment in the corner between two reflecting walls: the sound will increase by 6 dB compared to free-field conditions at the same distance Some recommendations This section aims to give the basic information on the most common phenomena, rules and measurements of sound. More complete information can be found in specialist publications. From a practical point of view it can be said that: Air conditioning systems for high technology applications normally work through the night. Lower background noise levels during the night mean that the noise from the air conditioner is more pronounced. If the context is particularly noise-sensitive, a chilled water or glycoled water air conditioning system is advisable, which allows the installation of the unit in a remote location. For air-cooled condensers and glycoled water chillers it is strongly recommended that a fan speed regulator is installed which functions on the basis of the condensation pressure or the water temperature. In this way the fans will often be able to function at low speed (with correspondingly low noise levels), thus avoiding the irritating stop/start function regime. It is also possible to specify versions with special low-speed fans but these necessitate a larger (and more expensive) exchanger. Do not install air conditioning units in risers: this is a very good way of creating serious longterm problems. It is advisable to install barriers (even if only hedges) in order to create a degree of insulation between the air conditioner and the building; there is also a significant psychological factor involved when the units are not visible.


AIR COOLED CONDENSERS Air-cooled condensation gives good energy efficiency of the cooling cycle since heat exchange is directly with the outside air; its simplicity also means that it is relatively inexpensive. The condenser is usually installed outside in a remote location from the air conditioning unit. The distance between the unit and the condenser must not be more than the limit recommended by the manufacturer. The height difference between the unit and the condenser is also important. The accurate installation of the system by expert professionals and according to the manufacturers instructions is essential for the correct and safe operation of the system. The condenser is one of the main components of the system since it transfers the heat from the refrigerant fluid to the outside. It consists of an air-refrigerant heat exchanger and one or more fans. To identify the thermal exchange characteristics of the condenser there is a global transmission coefficient: K. This value must be as high as possible to enable, for a given surface area, heat exchange with the minimum temperature difference. The functions of the condenser are: 1. De-superheating of compressed steam (from T1 to T2) 2. Condensation of the de-superheated steam (constant temperature T2) 3. Supercooling of condensed liquid (from T2 to T3) There are three areas in the condenser: 1. De-superheating (gas liquid) 2. Condensation (condensed steam liquid) 3. Supercooling (liquid liquid)
1 2 CONDENSER 3 1 2 3 Thermal flow

p T3 T2 T2 T1

Refrigerant GAS Outside air AIR CONDENSED STEAM Liquid

The thermal exchange conditions are different in each area since different states are involved; the partial heat transmission coefficient also varies with the three phases. Even though each area has its own transmission coefficient the exchange process is the same. The movement of the two fluids is separated by tube thickness e and the following types of exchange develop: Convection between the liquid refrigerant and the internal surface of the tube Conduction in the tube Convection between the external surface of the tube and the air. To these three (ideal) types of exchange must be added: Conduction via the film of oil which forms inside the tube Conduction via deposits and impurities which form on the external wall of the tube The film of oil and the deposits obstruct the thermal flow and therefore reduce the heat exchange efficiency of the condenser. Whereas the build-up of deposits can be controlled by careful cleaning of the coil, oil deposits inside the tubes cannot be avoided even by adding an efficient oil separator.

A global transmission coefficient K is used in thermal calculations for condensers. This enables quantification of the heat exchanged with the following equation: qcond= K * A * ? T qcond : heat exchanged by the condenser A: surface of the condenser ? T: difference between the condensation temperature and average air temperature In heat transmission in an air-cooled condenser it must be remembered that air has a low specific heat and that the gas-condensing vapour exchange is a small proportion of the global transmission coefficient. This is why large air volumes and large exchange surfaces are needed in air-cooled condensers. Moreover, since the exchange between the air and the tube is far less than between the refrigerant and the tube, the outside surface of the tubes, in contact with the airflow, must be increased by adding fins. The characteristics of a condenser can be summarised as: air flow coil exchange surface (frontal surface and number of rows) outside air temperature condensation temperature When the condenser is working, condensation pressure depends, other factors being equal, on the outside temperature. With lower temperatures in winter the system will function less effectively; to solve this problem, a condensation regulation system should be fitted, such as: direct regulation of the refrigerant fluid reduction in the exchange surface of the condenser by flooding part of the coil reducing the airflow by turning off one or more fans adjusting the airflow by controlling fan speed as a function of condensation temperature.


Installing a remote condensing unit A few instructions are necessary for installing remote condensing units. Certain system characteristics must be understood in order to ensure correct oil return to the compressor (for system reliability) and correct pressure drop in the refrigerant lines (for energy efficiency). The main examples of remote condenser installations are shown below. The following paragraph explains how to calculate the diameter of compressor output and return lines. Case 1: Intake line where the evaporating unit is higher than the compressor.


IMPORTANT There must be a slope towards the compressor of 2-5mm per metre. e.g. if the distance is 10 m then the vertical drop must be 20-50 mm.


Case 2: Intake line where the evaporating unit is on the same level as the compressor

IMPORTANT There must be a slope towards the condenser of 25mm per metre. e.g. if the distance is 10 m then the vertical drop must be 20-50 mm.


The tubing in the vertical section is narrower guage



Case 3: Liquid return line where the evaporating unit is lower than the compressor.

IMPORTANT There must be a slope towards the condenser of 25mm per metre. e.g. if the distance is 10 m then the vertical drop must be 20-50 mm.


A/C UNIT The tubing in the vertical section is narrower guage

Case 4: gas output line towards remote condenser

Fit a siphon on the intake line approx. every 3m and maintain flow velocity of 5 m/s

Remote condenser

IMPORTANT There must be a slope towards the condenser of 2-5mm per metre. e.g. if the distance is 10 m then the vertical drop must be 20-50 mm.


NOTE 1: the layout of the refrigerant lines is not a problem except if the unit is higher than the condenser (see fig.1]; in this case the system must be charged to produce supercooling at the condenser output of around 3C every 10m of height difference. The question of height difference is important if a condensing unit is located higher than the evaporating unit. In this case there is the problem of oil return on the intake line which necessitates the fitting of siphons on the tubing and/or the use of reduced diameter tubing. If the condensing unit is installed lower than the unit then it is only necessary to make sure that the refrigerant charge (and therefore supercooling at the condenser output) is sufficient to guarantee supply to the thermostatic valve (see note 1). The pressure drop of the liquid R22 caused by the increase in height does not affect condenser performance since it results in a small reduction in the pressure available to the thermostatic valve. When this pressure is over 8 bar any variations have little effect since in any case sonic flow conditions are created at the nozzle of the thermostatic valve.

Recommended dimensions for refrigerant lines Having noted the cooling capacity of the circuit, the diagrams below give the recommended internal diameter for a refrigerant lines with a range of equivalent lengths between 20 and 70 metres (see notes and instructions on the following pages). The curves relate to standard ARI function conditions, i.e.: Condensation temperature: 55C; Liquid supercooling: 8C; Evaporation temperature: 7,2 C; Gas superheating: 11 C; These should be valid for normal operating conditions of most air conditioning units. The recommended selection relates to a pressure drop of: 50 kPa in the gas output line (approx. 1C at 55C); 25 kPa in the liquid return line (approx. 0,5C at 55C). The output line diagram also shows the maximum tube diameter compatible with the correct return of oil in the vertical lines; the internal diameter of the tubes must never exceed this value.


36 34 INTERNAL DIAMETER - mm 32 30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 MAX L = 70 m L = 50 m L = 40 m L = 30 m L = 20 m




21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40


L = 70 m L = 50 m L = 40 m L = 30 m L = 20 m




INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THE DIAGRAMS When choosing the internal diameter of the line, follow the instructions below: 1. Calculate the physical length of the line 2. Increase this length by 50% to get the approximate equivalent length 3. Use the curves to find the line diameter for that approximate length; select the nearest value as long as this is not less than 90% of the value indicated by the curve 4. Calculate the sum of the equivalent lengths (see next section) of all the lines and add this figure to the length of the straight tube to obtain the total equivalent length 5. Check that the diameter found in point 3 is still valid 6. Check that the diameter found for the output line is less than the maximum allowed for correct oil flow (MAX curve on the output line diagram). IMPORTANT For units with more than one compressor, calculate for the capacity of each circuit and not for the total For lengths over 40 metres please consult ERICSSON ENERGY SYSTEMS, CLIMATE SYSTEMS with detailed information about the circuit layout. The condenser should be installed at the same height or higher than the unit. If it is lower the height difference must be less than 5 metres.



A refrigerant line consists of straight sections and connections such as bends, siphons, valves and so on. To facilitate calculation, these components are expressed in metres, that is, as equivalent straight sections of piping. These equivalent lengths are given in the table below. The equivalent total length is obtained by adding the length of the straight sections to the equivalent lengths of all the components on the line.




0 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 NOMINAL INTERNAL DIAMETER - mm


Example of sizing a refrigerant line The task is to work out the dimensions of the connecting lines for an a/c unit with two compressors and a total cooling capacity of 42 kW. The capacity of each circuit is 21 kW The layout of the circuit is shown below.




10 m



1. The physical length of the line is 34 metres; 2. The total equivalent length of the line is approximately 34 x 1,5 50 m; 3. The diagrams on the previous page show that the theoretical internal diameters for a cooling capacity of 21 kW with a line length of 50 m should be: 20 mm for the gas output line; 14,5 mm for the liquid return line. The available pipes which most closely correspond are: 20x22 and 14x16; 4. The equivalent length of the lines is calculated with the relevant diagram. The gas output line includes: 1 non-return valve (equivalent length = 2,5 m); 3 siphons (equivalent length = 2,1 m cad.); 3 curve a 90 (equivalent length = 0,4 m cad.); 1 valve (equivalent length = 2,9 m); equivalent total length 33 + 2,5 + 3 2,1 + 3 0,4 + 2,9 46 metres. 5. The liquid line includes: 1 non-return valve (equivalent length = 1,9 m); 3 90 bends (equivalent length = 0,3 m cad.); 1 valve (equivalent length = 2,2 m); for an equivalent total length of 33 + 1,9 + 3 0,3 + 2,2 38 metres. The diameters in 3 correspond with the equivalent lengths in 4; the internal diameters are therefore: 20x20 ( external = 22mm; thickness 1 mm) for the gas output line; 14x16 ( external = 16mm; thickness 1 mm) for the liquid return line. The output line diameter is below the maximum compatible with correct oil flow (max = 26,5mm for 21 kW).