Air conditioning and refrigeration are provided through the removal of heat. Heat can be removed through radiation, convection, or conduction. Refrigeration conduction media such as water, air, ice, and chemicals are referred to as refrigerants. A refrigerant is employed either in a heat pump system in which a compressor is used to drive thermodynamic refrigeration cycle, or in a free cooling system which uses pumps to circulate a cool refrigerant.
Refrigeration cycles is accomplished by continuously circulating, evaporating, and condensing a fixed supply of refrigerant in a closed system. Evaporation occurs at a low temperature and low pressure while condensation occurs at a high temperature and high pressure. Thus, it is possible to transfer heat from an area of low temperature to an area of high temperature.
The refrigeration cycle uses four essential elements to cool.
Compressor- Is the heart of the system. Just like your heart pumps blood through your body at a specific flow rate and pressure, the compressor pumps the refrigerant through the air conditioning system at a designed flow rate and pressure.
Condenser- The high temperature refrigerant passes into a condenser coil. As the vapor refrigerant travels through the coil, air from a fan passes over the coil to cool the vapor refrigerant. As the vapor cools it condenses and becomes a liquid, this is referred to as a “change of state”. This “change of state” from vapor to liquid is essential.
Metering Device- Controls the flow of the liquid refrigerant to the next component which is the evaporator. This is a dividing point between the high pressure and low pressure sides of the system. As this high pressure liquid is passing through the metering device and into the evaporator the pressure drops.
Evaporator- After leaving the metering device the refrigerant immediately enters a coil called the evaporator. This coil or evaporator has a fan blowing across it. As the refrigerant enters the coil at a lower pressure it begins to bubble and boil and “change state” back to a vapor. During this process of changing state, energy in the form of heat is being removed from the air passing over the coil and is being absorbed by the refrigerant. The heat that was in the air is transferred into the refrigerant. Since heat was removed from the air blowing over the evaporator coil, the air leaving the evaporator coil is cold. You see that an air conditioner makes cold air by having the heat that is in the air absorbed into the refrigerant.
The Cycle Of Cooling
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