Vapour Compression Refrigeration Systems

Vapour Compression Refrigeration Systems


A vapour compression refrigeration system is an improved type of air refrigeration system in which a suitable working substance, termed as refrigerant, is used. It condenses and evaporates at temperatures and pressures close to the atmospheric conditions. The refrigerants, usually, used for this purpose are ammonia (NH3), carbon dioxide (C02) and sulphur dioxide (S02). The refrigerant used, does not leave the system, but is circulated throughout the system alternately condensing and evaporating. In evaporating, the refrigerant absorbs its latent heat from the brine (salt water) which is used for circulating it around the cold chamber. While condensing, it gives out its latent heat to the circulating water of the cooler. The vapour compression refrigeration system is, therefore a latent heat pump, as it pumps its latent heat from the brine and delivers it to the cooler. 

                       The vapour compression refrigeration system is now-a-days used for all purpose refrigeration. It is generally used for all industrial purposes from a small domestic refrigerator to a big air conditioning plant.

Advantages and Disadvantages of vapour Compression

Refrigeration System over Air Refrigeration System

Following are the advantages and disadvantages of the vapour compression

refrigeration system over air refrigeration system:


l. It has smaller size for the given capacity of refrigeration.

2. It has less running cost.
3. It can be employed over a large range of temperatures.
4. The coefficient of performance is quite high.

l. The initial cost is high
2. The prevention of leakage of the refrigerant is the major problem in
vapour compression system
Mechanism of a Simple Vapour Compression Refrigeration System

Fig. 2.1 shows the achematic diagram of a simple vapour compressionrefrigeration system. It consists of the following five essential parts :

l. Compressor. The low pressure and temperature vapou refrigerant from
evaporator is drawn into the compressor through the inlet or suction valve A, where it is compresses to a high pressure and temperature. This high pressure and temperature vapour refrigerant is discharge the condenser through the delivery or discharge valve B.
2. Condenser. The condenser or cooler consists of coils of pipe in which the high pressure and temperature vapour refrigerant is cooled and condensed. The refrigerant, while passing through the condenser, gives up its latent heat to the surrounding condensing medium which is normally air or water.
3. Receiver. The condensed liquid refrigerant from the condenser is stored in a vessel known as receiver from where it is supplied to the evaporator through the expansion valve or refrigerant control valve.
4. Expansion valve. It is also called throttle valve or refrigerant control
valve. The function of the expansion valve is to allow the liquid refrigerant under high pressure and temperature to pass at a controlled rate after reducing its pressure and temperature. Some of the liquid refrigerant evaporates as it passes through the expansion valve, but the greater portion is vaporised in the evaporator at the low pressure and temperature.
5. Evaporator. An evaporator consists of coils of pipe in which the liquid-
vapour refrigerant at low pressure and temperature is evaporated and changed into vapour refrigerant at low pressure and temperature. In evaporating, the liquid vapour refrigerant absorbs its latent heat of vaporisation from the medium (air, water or brine) which is to be cooled.

Note : In any compression refrigeration system, there are two different
pressure conditions. One is called the high pressure side and other is known as low pressure side. The high pressure side includes the discharge line (i.e. piping from the evaporator to the suction valve A).
Pressure-Enthalpy (p-h) Chart

The most convenient chart for studying the behavior of a refrigerant is the p- h chart, in which the vertical ordinates represent pressure and horizontal ordinates represent enthalpy (i.e. total heat). A typical chart is shown in Fig. 2.2, in which a few important lines of the complete chart are drawn. The saturated liquid line and the saturated vapour line merge into one another at the critical point. A saturated liquid is one which has a temperature equal to the saturation temperature corresponding to  its   pressure. The space to the left of the saturated liquid line will, therefore, be sub- cooled liquid region. The space between the liquid and the vapour lines is called wet vapour region and to the right of the saturated vapour line is a superheated vapour region.

In the following pages, we shall drawn the p-h chart along with the T-s
diagram of the cycle.

Types of Vapour Compression Cycles

We have already discussed that vapour compression cycle essentially
consists of compression, condensation, throttling and evaporation. Many scientists have focused their attention to increase the coefficient of performance of the cycle. Through there are many cycles, yet the following are important from the subject point of view :

1. Cycle with dry saturated vapour after compression,
2. Cycle with wet vapour after compression,
3. Cycle with superheated vapour after compression,
4. Cycle with superheated vapour before compression, and
5. Cycle with undercooling or subcooling of refrigerant.


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