A tank installed in a refrigeration circuit on the inlet side of the compressor. A compressor is a component designed to compress gas, so a malfunction will occur if any liquid coolant enters the compressor. Installing an accumulator has the function of separating out the coolant gas that is sucked into the compressor and any remaining refrigerant, and of preventing the liquid refrigerant from being sucked into the compressor. The inclusion of an accumulator creates a system that is highly resistant to variability in factors such as the cooling load.
Air-cooled condensers are generally made up of copper tubes through which the refrigerant flows, with numerous thin aluminum fins attached around the outside of the tubes.
Outside air is forced over the fins by a device, such as a fan motor, to cool the pipes to the ambient temperature and condense the refrigerant gas.
If an air-cooled condenser is installed inside a building, it can be used to heat the interior of the building since the heat generated by the refrigeration circuit is released as waste heat from the outside of the condenser. The room in which an air-cooled condenser is installed must have adequate ventilation or air-conditioning equipment.
The capillary tubes used in refrigeration circuits are simply small-caliber copper tubes, normally used in the expansion step, that act as a fixed restrictor in the refrigerant passage.
CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) refrigerants are organic compounds made up of elements including carbon, hydrogen, chlorine and fluorine. They are referred to generically using the DuPont brand name of Freon®.
When CFCs are used as heat-transfer mediums and circulated inside refrigeration circuits, causing heating and cooling during their condensation and evaporation phase changes, the CFCs are referred to as CFC refrigerants.
A compressor draws in low-pressure chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerant gas, compresses the gas and then discharges it as a high-pressure, high-temperature gas. Compressors are classified into various types (reciprocating, rotary, screw, etc.) according to the mechanical compression method used.
A heat exchanger used to condense high-temperature, high-pressure refrigerant gas. A condenser has the function of releasing heat drawn up by the refrigeration circuit to the outside. Condensers can be air-cooled or water-cooled, depending on the cooling method used.
A cooling tower is a facility that uses cooling water to expel the waste heat circulated and collected inside a factory or other building into the outside air. Cooling towers are installed in outdoor locations such as on the rooftops of buildings. The cooling water is sprayed down like a shower from the top of the cooling tower and forcibly brought into contact with the outside air by a fan motor. As well as being directly cooled by the temperature of the outside air, the partial evaporation of the cooling water itself draws off evaporation heat, cooling the water further.
Because cooling towers are directly cooled by the outside air, the resulting cooling water temperature varies seasonally depending on the climatic conditions. In addition, the cooling water cannot theoretically be cooled to a temperature any lower than 5°C above the wet-bulb temperature of the outside air.
A heat exchanger used to cool the target substance (e.g., water or air) using the evaporative heat from a low-temperature, low-pressure combined gaseous and liquid refrigerant in the refrigeration circuit.
A component that creates an expansion in the refrigeration circuit. As the refrigerant passes through this valve, a large pressure loss results, thereby making it possible to create high-pressure and low-pressure segments within the refrigeration circuit.
There are several types of expansion valve, including constant-pressure expansion valves and thermal expansion valves. Such types allow the size of the valve aperture to be adjusted using refrigerant pressure or temperature feedback from an outlet passage.
The cooling water flowing through a water-cooled condenser used to expel waste heat generated in the refrigeration circuit to the outside.
In ordinary factories or buildings, fluids such as cooling tower water or chiller water are used as facility water.
●Fundamentals of refrigeration circuits
In a refrigeration circuit, refrigerant gas injected into the circuit repeatedly travels through a cycle of compression, condensation, expansion and evaporation, creating high-temperature and low-temperature sections in the circuit. The compressor compresses low-pressure refrigerant gas and discharges the gas at a high temperature and pressure level.
The hot, pressurized refrigerant gas enters the condenser where it is cooled by the external air or cooling water and condenses to form a high-pressure liquid refrigerant. As the high-pressure liquid refrigerant passes through a constricting mechanism, such as an expansion valve, it rapidly depressurizes and some of the refrigerant evaporates. The release of evaporation heat causes the refrigerant itself to cool so that it becomes a combination of gas and liquid at a lowtemperature and pressure level. In its combined gas-liquid state, the refrigerant enters the evaporator where it continually evaporates while absorbing the heat within the evaporator, thereby cooling the interior of the evaporator. When the refrigerant emerges from the evaporator, it evaporates entirely and becomes a low-pressure refrigerant gas. The low-pressure refrigerant gas is then drawn into the compressor and again becomes a high-temperature, high pressure gas as the cycle is repeated.
●Hot gas by-pass
A refrigeration circuit sometimes includes a circuit that allows high-temperature, high-pressure refrigerant gas (hot gas) discharged from the compressor to by-pass the condenser so that it reaches the evaporator (on the low-pressure side) without being condensed. This prevents the evaporator temperature (on the low-pressure side) from dropping too far and reduces the risk of liquid refrigerant being drawn into the compressor when the cooling load is low (if there is nothing to refrigerate), thereby ensuring more stable functions of the refrigeration circuit.
This also allows a flow of hot gas to be intentionally directed to the evaporator with the aim of heating the evaporator rather than cooling it.
In compressors that use an ordinary AC motor, the motor rotation rate is fixed according to the frequency of the AC power supply, with the result that the refrigerant discharge rate is also fixed. Inverter control in a refrigeration circuit is the use of an inverter to vary the compressor rotation rate and thereby control the rate of refrigerant circulation.
This provides means of saving energy by, for example, running the compressor at a slower rate when the cooling load is low.
An element with a structure made up of alternating layers of flat P-type and N-type semiconductors arrayed in series. When a direct current flows through the element, heat moves from one plate surface to the next, so that one surface is cooled as the opposing surface is heated. This is referred to as the Peltier effect.
By changing the direction of current flow, the direction of heat movement can also be changed, providing a simple means of cooling and heating.
●Protective devices in refrigeration circuits
In refrigeration circuits, protection must be provided for electrical components such as compressors, and against abnormal refrigerant pressures. Protective measures for compressors (motors) include protective devices such as overload relays (built into the compressor to detect overcurrent and overheating), thermal relays (fitted externally to detect motor overcurrent) and temperature switches.
The devices used to protect against pressure faults include pressure switches, safety valves and rupture disks. However, in refrigeration circuits built into compact devices, the protective devices are often confined to just overload relays, or just thermal relays and pressure switches depending on the anticipated level of risk.
In a refrigeration circuit, a refrigerant dryer consists of filters that absorb and remove moisture inside the refrigeration circuit. Refrigerant dryers are normally installed in pipes carrying liquid refrigerant after it emerges from the condenser.
A compressor that compresses a refrigerant gas. These are called refrigerators to distinguish them from machines such as air compressors.
Due to their stability as a chemical substance and their safety with respect to humans, CFCs came to be widely used as industrial materials, particularly refrigerants. However, it was later recognized that when CFCs (and HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons)) containing chlorine are released into the atmosphere, they rise up into the ozone layer and deplete it.
This resulted in the establishment of the Montreal Protocol in 1987, which classified CFCs such as Freon R12 and HCFCs such as Freon R22 as “specified CFCs” and prohibited their manufacture. As a result, their use has now almost completely died out.
Instead of specified CFCs and HCFCs, SMC products now use HFC refrigerants such as R134a and R404A that have an ozone depletion potential (ODP) of zero.
→ Peltier device
→ Peltier device
A temperature control system that uses a Peltier element to directly cool and heat a liquid, gas or solid.
Heat exchangers suitable for fluids are installed on both sides of the Peltier element, with the fluid to be temperaturecontrolled on one side of the element while the heat exchanger on the other side is used to dissipate heat.
●Water control valve
A water control valve, installed on the cooling water pipe for a water-cooled condenser, used to adjust the amount of cooling water flowing to the condenser. Water control valves can be either pressure-regulated or temperature-regulated, with the amount of flow regulated using feedback from the condensing pressure or condensing temperature, respectively.
When the cooling water temperature is low, a large flow of cooling water to a water-cooled condenser reduces the condensing pressure and lowers the cooling capacity. In this sort of situation, a water control valve restricts the cooling water flow and maintains the condensing pressure at the desired value. Water control valves also have the function of reducing water consumption by preventing unnecessarily large flows of cooling water.
A heat exchanger that uses cooling water to cool and condense the coolant. Water-cooled condensers can be used in environments, such as large factories where cooling tower water or the cooling water for an air-conditioning system can be circulated and used.
Depending on their construction, heat exchangers can be double-pipe type, shell-and-tube type or plate type units.