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Mejia, Charmine Diann S.


2011September 8,
ABE 50
Refrigeration and Cold Storage
Post Laboratory Report

Exercise No. 1 - Vapor Compression System: Mechanical Components

I. Introduction
Removing heat directly from a colder reservoir to a warmer reservoir
based on the laws of thermodynamics is an impossible process. Natural process
with the presence of irreversibilities only allows cooling of a substance near or
almost equal to its surrounding temperature as restricted by the Second Law of
Thermodynamics. Unless a refrigerating or air conditioning unit which will
provide the work is involved in the system, cooling will not take place.
Refrigeration and air conditioning, therefore, is the techniques used to control or
alter the conditions of the environment of both living and non-living matter for
the purpose of providing comfort and/or prolong shelf life.
Refrigeration and air conditioning uses the principle of vapor compression
refrigeration. These system has two major components namely, the electrical
and the mechanical parts.
Mechanical refrigeration is the process of boiling and condensing a
working fluid, usually refrigerants, at different temperatures and pressures by
means of the expansion and compression (Trott & Welch, 2000). Such process is
responsible for the effective refrigeration of the VCR system.
Forty percent (40%) of the whole refrigeration or air conditioning system is
its mechanical components. The major mechanical parts are the compressor,
condenser, expansion valve, and evaporator. Also, there are auxiliary devices
such as sight glass, liquid receiver tnk and filter dryer.
The functions and the principles behind each mechanical components
explains in detail how heat is rejected from a cooler reservoir to a warmer
reservoir. Its function signifies the components importance in the process.
II. Objectives
These exercise aimed on the familiarization of the different mechanical
components found in a basic refrigeration and air conditioning system. Other
specific objects are:
to determine the mechanical components of a common domestic
refrigerator and a window type air-conditioner
to describe the functions and principles of the mechanical and auxiliary
III. Methodology
The different components, the major mechanical and auxiliary, of a
domestic refrigerator model and a window type air-conditioner in the AMD
laboratory were shown and classified. The functions of each components were
also explained as well as how refrigerant flow from the system.
IV. Results and Discussion
A simple vapor compression refrigeration system involves the process of
compression, condensation, expansion, and evaporation. A schematic diagram

at Figure 1.1 describes the flow of a typical vapor compression cycle.

Refrigerant travels starting from the compressor, to the condenser, to the
expansion valve, to the evaporator and then goes back to the first state which
completes the cycle.
At state 1, low pressure saturated vapor refrigerant, somewhat
superheated, enters the compressor ( Figure 1.2.a). The work needed by the
compressor is provided by an electric motor by the use of a start and run
capacitor producing a high starting torque upon turning on the compressor
switch (Miller R & Miller M, ). Upon the exit of the low pressure liquid
refrigerant frm the evaporator, suction line accumulator intercepts the
refrigerant before it enters the compressor to avoid damaging the compressor
due to sudden return of the refrigerant through the suction line (Hercules).
Also Oil from the acccummulator must first reach the crankcase to prevent
bearing ddamage. The compressor then starts pulling the low pressure and
temperature refrigerant from the evaporator through the suction line and then
pass through the discharge line compressing and pushing the high pressure
and temperature refrigerant to the condenser (). The high pressure and
temperature result is done by means of either reciprocating, centrifugal or
rotary method depending on the type of compressor (Malestron).
The total heat absorbed by the evaporator and the heat compression
caused by the compressor, the sensible and latent heat respectively, is
rejected through the condenser (Figure 1.2.b) from state 2 to state 3
().Condesation happens here when a superheated vapor is in contact to a
surface with a temperature below its saturation temperature (Wang). This
causes the removal of heat by conduction, convection, and radiation at the
surface leaving behind a completely saturated liquid with low temperature ().
Specifically, these heat exchange in the condenser happens in three stages
namely: (1) desuperheating of the hot vapor; (2) condensing of the vapor to
liquid state and release of the latent heat; and (3) subcooling of the liquid
refrigerant, which is either done by filmwise condensation or dropwise
condensation (Wang). In filmwise condensation, the inner surface of the
condenser is covered with a film of condensate , condensed liquid, which
makes the surface wet completely. Dropwise condensation, on the other hand,
does not totally wet the condenser surface; instead of forming a film, the
condensate forms into droplets disturbing the condensate film in the tube
bundles. In the actual process, condensation doesn't stop when saturated
liquid is formed; sensible heat is continuously ejected making the refrigerant
subcooled. This is done also by a condenser depending on the cooling medium
classified as follows: (1) water cooled, (2) air cooled (fan, Figure 1.4), and (3)
evaporative condensers (Wang). At the end of the condensation process,
condensing temperature must be controlled to maintain high pressure for
proper system operation and this is done through the use of a fan-cycling and
head-pressure regulator valves. As a precaution, a high pressure safety switch
near the fan cycle switch in the condenser box is installed to turn off the
compressor when a high discharge pressure is reached thus preventing
damage infliction to the compressor (Hercules).
In order to manage fluctuation in the refrigerant charge whenever
operation conditions are altered, a liquid receiver tank (Firgure 1.5) is used
to serve as the liquid refrigerant storage tank or reservoir (evapco). This
receiver prevents the loss of the effective condensing surface of the
condenser coils since a complete removal and transport of the liquid

refrigerant is done from the condenser to the tank(evapco). The receiver tank
should be large enough to contain all the refrigerant in the system. In addition,
this refrigerant flows into and out of the tank as electrically regulated by a
solenoid valve (Figure 1.6) located at the receiver outlet, a process
commonly known as "pumping the system down" (Hercules).
Each time the refrigeration system is opened different kinds of impurities
are inevitably added to the system and to prevent compressors from
contamination, a filter drier (Figure 1.7) is installed. This traps the coarse
particulates such as copper shavings and motor burn by-products as well as
remove and isolate the moisture left in the system during the installation)
(Brachmann, hercules). Filter driers available today are made out of molecular
sieves for high performance drying and filtering (Brachmann). The moisture
left in the system captured by the filter drier is accurately monitored by the
sight glass with a green colored indicator whenever the moisture evel is in
the acceptable range and yellow indicator otherwise. It is advisable according
to Brachmann that this shight glass must be placed near the expansion valve.
In the typical refrigrearation system, two heat exchangers can be found
between liquid refrigerant that exits the condenser on the high pressure side
of the system and vapor refrigerant exitting the evaporator on the low
pressure side (Hercules) used to transfer heat. In addition heat exchangers are
used to prevent frosting on the suction line, to evaporate remaining liquid in
the stream to prevent damaging the compressor, to prevent flash gas in the
liquid line and especially to increase the refrigerating effect capacity of the
system. (Hercules)
A large pressure drop is experienced in the states 3 to 4 which is primarily
due to the presence of the refrigerant flow control devices such as
thermostatic expansion valves, electic expansion valves, float valves, and
capillary tubes (wang). In refrigeration system, expansion valves or basically
the throttling devices that regulate both the mass flow and the pressure in
order to meet the refrigeration load requirement of the evaporator (aircon
ebook2). It reduces high pressure and temperature liquid refrigerant from the
condenser into a low pressure and temperature liquid refrigerant for the
evaporator. Different types of throttling devices mentioned differs in the
manner of its execution or drivingforce. A thermostatic expansion valve
regulates the refrigerant flow rate according to the temperature of the vapor
leaving the evaporator. Just like thermostatic expansion valve, electronic
expansion valve operates deepending on the temperature of the vapor exiting
the evaporator; however, EEV uses a more sophisticated measuring devices,
pressure transducer and sensitive temperature sensor, has a good efficiency
(high COP) and is also energy-enfficient (Brachmann). Float valves, on the
other hand, controls the refrigerant mass flow on the entry point at the
evaporator to maintain a specefic level of refrigerant (Brachmann)(aircon).
Capillary tubes or also termed
as restrictor tubes, uses the frictional
resistance provided by its small diameter and length to regulate the
tempeareature and pressure (aircon).
The main part of the low pressure side of the refrigeration system is the
evaporator, in which liquid refrigerant boils and evaporates. During this
evaporation, heat is absorbed from the colder reservoir and freezes the
eutectic solution to the desired refrigerating effect (hercules). The evaporators
are classifeied accoding to the medium being cooled namely: (1) air cooler, 2
liquid cooler and ice maker. Air cooler evaporators are the ones used in air
conditioning unit wherein refrigerant flows in finned tubes with air flows
through them (Wang)

An unofficial fifth main component of a refrigeration system, thermostat,

accoding to Brachhman () controls the inside temperature of the refrigerator
by swithching on and off directly the compressor. Thermometers, on the other
hand, measures temperature and is located normally at near the evaporator
and thermostat.
Pressure gages are located along the low pressure side and high pressure
side simply as a monitoring component for the pressure (aircon).
V. Conclusion
The basic mechanical refrigeration system for both typical refrigerator and
window type air condition both operates with the use of the principle of vapor
compression sytem. Inthi system the working fluid, refrigerant, boils and
condenses to achieve a desired refrigerating effect. Cool and treated air is
obtained through a series of mechanical proccess. These mechanical part of
the vapor compression cycle involves both the major mechanical components
as well as auxilliary componentts including the compressor, condenser,
expansion device, evaporator, thermostat, fan cycle switch, liquid receiver
tank, liquid solenoid valve, filter drier, sight glass, heat exchanger and suction
line accumulator.
Each function and principle of operation of each components were
identified as well as its visual characteristics. The imporatance of each
component were taken into consideration that lacking one or two of its parts
will trip the whole system.

In-text: (Smith, n.d.)

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