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Experiment 8

Performance of Steam Jet Refrigeration System

Introduction To steam Jet Refrigeration System
A steam jet refrigeration system is similar to conventional vapour compression system.
The condenser, evaporator and a refrigerant control device is common in both the systems
while the compressor of VC cycle is replaced by a steam ejector as a compressive device.
For this reason, a steam jet refrigeration system is also known as ejector refrigeration
system. In steam jet refrigeration system water is used as refrigerant. Thus, it cannot
produce temperature below 40C Since it would require to handle large volume of vapour,
thus increasing the size of compressor system, condenser, cooling water requirement.

Principle of Operation
Boiling point of a liquid is the function of pressure. With reduction in pressure on the
surface of a liquid, the liquid starts boiling at a lower temperature. Therefore, the
vaporisation of a part of liquid will produce the cooling effect in the evaporator by
absorbing its latent heat of vaporisation. This principle is used in stream jet refrigeration
system. The reduced pressure on surface of water is obtained by throttling the steam
through nozzles.
It can be calculated that each 1% water evaporated will keep on reducing temperature by
5.780C till the temperature of water reaches to its freezing temperature of 0oC.

The main component of the system are:
1. A flash chamber

2. Steam nozzles

3. Steam Ejector

4. Condenser

Auxiliary components include a chilled water pump and a condensate pump with
necessary valves and controls.
A flash chamber or evaporator is a large vessel to provide large surface area for efficient
evaporative action. It is thickly insulated so as to prevent rise in temperature of chilled
water due to heat transfer.
The compressor device used is steam jet ejector. Steam from boiler is discharged through
nozzles into steam ejector which converts the heat energy of steam into kinetic energy.
Therefore, steam leaves the nozzle at high velocity and low pressure. Further, it is passed
into diffuser where its kinetic energy is converted into pressure energy.

The high velocity jet in the nozzles exercises an induction action on the surrounding
vapour in the flash chamber , therefore the water vapour formed in this chamber joins
with the fast moving jet. This is how the water vapour from flash chamber is evacuated
and desired vacuum created there.
It is observed that 1% evaporation of water in the flash chamber is sufficient to reduce the
temperature by 6oC approximately.
The chilled water from flash chamber is drawn with the help of chilled water pump and it
is sprayed into the room through nozzles. Warm air from surrounding is drawn and
passes across the plant room and the cooled air from chilled water is circulated to air
conditioned room.
Warm water along with makeup water from basin of plant room is recirculated to flash
Pressure of steam required in the range of 8 to 12 bar and back pressure of about 0.06 to
0.09 bar pressure depending upon the chilled water temperature requirement.


Simple in construction and cheap.

Low maintenance and running cost
It has only pump as moving part, thus its almost vibration free.
Can be used for air conditioning of process industry where steam is essentially
required for the processes.


Maintenance of high vacuum is necessary in the flash chamber for its efficient
Needs to handle large volume flow rates of vapour.
System can only be used to produce refrigeration upto 4oC.

The steam jet refrigeration system is widely used in food processing plants for
precooling of vegetables and fruit juices, breweries, paper mills etc.