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Desirable properties of a refrigerants or selection of a refrigerant

The properties of refrigerant are broadly classified into
1. Thermodynamic
2. Chemical
3. Physical
Thermodynamic properties
Critical temperature
The critical temperature of a refrigerant must be high as possible. The critical temperature of CO2 and ethylene are
undesirable because their critical temperature is less than ambient summer temperature.
Refrigerant H2O NH3 R-12 R-22 R-134a CO2 Ethylene
374.1 132 111.5 96.5 101.2 31 10.6
temperature (⁰C)
Desirable Undesirable
Specific Heat
We know that 𝑐 = 𝑇 (𝑑𝑇), as the liquid refrigerant undergoes throttling and for lesser irreversibilities dS must be small.
Therefore, specific heat of liquid refrigerant must be small.
As the vapour refrigerant is undergoing compression, the compression work must be small. For smaller compression work,
the degree of superheat (dT) must be small. Therefore, the specific heat of vapour refrigerant must be high.
Enthalpy of vaporization
Refrigerant with large enthalpy of vaporization (RE) is preferred because the larger the enthalpy of vaporization, lesser is
the mass flow rate for a given refrigeration capacity.
Refrigerant H 2O NH3 R-22 R-12 R-134 a
Enthalpy of vaporization
2261 1369 234.7 16.7 197.3

Larger the enthalpy of vaporization, lesser the mass flow rate.

Thermal conductivity of refrigerant must be high for better heat transfer.
Condenser & Evaporator pressure
Evaporator pressure must be close to atmospheric pressure as possible because if evaporator pressure is very low
atmosphere air can leak into system.
The condenser pressure must be moderate i.e., if the condenser pressure is high the compressor must do more work.
Pressure ratio
Low pressure ratios are desirable because higher the pressure ratio larger is the compressor work and less volumetric
Freezing point
The freezing point of refrigerant must be as low as possible, so that very low temperature can be achieved.
Freezing point of water is 0⁰C, which is very high. Hence, it can’t be used as refrigerant for producing low temperatures.
Specific volume of refrigerant at the inlet of compressor
The specific volume at the inlet of compressor should be small, because if the specific volume is large, the compressor size
will be large and hence reciprocating compressors are not used if specific volumes of refrigerant are large and, in that case,
centrifugal compressors are used. Ex- R-113.
High COP’s are desired because larger is the COP smaller is the running cost. Though the latent heat of vaporization of NH3
is very large. It doesn’t help in anyway in the improvement of COP because the work input to the compressor is large
(because of high γ) and hence COP of NH3 refrigeration system is almost same as other common refrigerants.
Compressor Discharge temperature
The compressor discharge temperature (T2) should not be very high. If the compressor discharge temperature is very high it
will damage the compressor. The compressor discharge of NH3 refrigeration system is very high (120⁰C) compared to other
common refrigerants. Therefore, NH3 compressors are generally water cooled/water jacketed.
For common refrigerants, the compressor discharge temperature is less than 75⁰C.
Boiling point
The boiling point if refrigerant must be low, if the Boiling point is low for a given evaporator pressure, low temperatures can
be achieved.
Chemical Properties
Refrigerants must be inflammable.
Refrigerants must be non-toxic.
Ammonia is toxic and hence not used as refrigerant in domestic refrigerators, though it is cheap.
Action with oil
In compressors some oil is carried by high temperature refrigerant to condenser and finally to evaporator. In evaporator
refrigerant vaporizes and oil separates from refrigerant. This accumulation of oil in evaporator results in reduction of heat
Refrigerants are immiscible with oil (ex- CO2, NH3) don’t present any problems because the oil is brought back to compressor
from evaporator.
Refrigerant that are partially miscible with oil (ex- R-22) create problems. So, synthetic oils are used instead of mineral oil.
Action with material of construction
Ammonia attacks copper and hence when ammonia is used as refrigerant, wrought iron or steel is used as material of
construction. Similarly CFC’s attack aluminium and hence CFC’s, copper is used as material of construction.
Physical Properties
For easy flow of refrigerant, viscosity should be low.
Leak detection
Refrigerant must not leak from the system and if at all it leaks it must be detectable.
Ammonia leaks are detectable by sulphur stick method. In presence of NH3, white fumes of ammonium sulphide are formed.
Freon leaks are detected by allied torch method. In presence of Freon’s colour of light changes from blue to bluish green.
Refrigerant Application
R-134a Domestic refrigerator
R-22 A/C
R-717 (NH3) Industrial application
Dry ice (Solid CO2) Transportation
Air conditioning
It’s the simultaneous control of temperature, humidity, air velocity and purity of air.
It’s the branch of science, which deals with the study of properties of moist air.

Moist air is a two-component system, dry air and water vapor.

Water vapor content is variable in air.
Psychometric terms
Specific Humidity (or) Humidity ratio
𝑚𝑣 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑑𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑖𝑟
𝐼𝑡𝑠 𝑑𝑒𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑠 𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜 𝑜𝑓 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑣𝑎𝑝𝑜𝑟 𝑡𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑑𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑖𝑟 𝑖. 𝑒., 𝜔 = =
𝑚𝑎 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑣𝑎𝑝𝑜𝑟
𝑃𝑡 𝑃𝑎 𝑃𝑣
= + 𝑃 = 𝑃𝑎 + 𝑃𝑣
(𝑡𝑜𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑎𝑡𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑝ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑐 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑒) (𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑑𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑖𝑟) (𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑣𝑎𝑝𝑜𝑟) 𝑡
(𝑇𝑎 = 𝑇𝑣 = 𝑇) (𝑉𝑎 = 𝑉𝑣 = 𝑉)
→𝑃⋅𝑉 =𝑚⋅𝑅⋅𝑇
𝐷𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑖𝑟 → 𝑃𝑎 ⋅ 𝑉𝑎 = 𝑚𝑎 ⋅ 𝑅𝑎 ⋅ 𝑇𝑎 → 𝑃𝑎 ⋅ 𝑉 = 𝑚𝑎 ⋅ 𝑅𝑎 ⋅ 𝑇 ①
𝑊𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑉𝑎𝑝𝑜𝑟 → 𝑃𝑣 ⋅ 𝑉𝑣 = 𝑚𝑣 ⋅ 𝑅𝑣 ⋅ 𝑇𝑣 → 𝑃𝑣 ⋅ 𝑉 = 𝑚𝑣 ⋅ 𝑅𝑣 ⋅ 𝑇 ②
② 𝑃𝑣 ⋅ 𝑉 𝑚𝑣 ⋅ 𝑅𝑣 ⋅ 𝑇 𝑃𝑣 𝑚𝑣 ⋅ 𝑅𝑣 𝑃𝑣 𝑅𝑎 𝑚𝑣
= = → = → ⋅ = =𝜔
① 𝑃𝑎 ⋅ 𝑉 𝑚𝑎 ⋅ 𝑅𝑎 ⋅ 𝑇 𝑃𝑎 𝑚 𝑎 ⋅ 𝑅𝑎 𝑃𝑎 𝑅𝑣 𝑚𝑎
𝑃𝑣 𝑅𝑎 𝑃𝑣 𝑅̅⁄29
→𝜔= ⋅ → 𝜔 = ( )⋅
𝑃𝑎 𝑅𝑣 𝑃𝑎 𝑅̅⁄18
𝑃𝑣 𝑃𝑣
⇒ 𝜔 = 0.622 ⋅ ( ) 𝜔 = 0.622 ⋅ ( )
𝑃𝑎 𝑃𝑡 − 𝑃𝑣
𝑘𝑔 𝑣𝑎𝑝𝑜𝑟
𝜔 𝑖𝑠 𝑔𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑛 ⁄𝑘𝑔 𝑑𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑖𝑟

We know that atmospheric pressure (Pt) is almost constant, therefore specific humidity (ω) is a partial function of vapor. In
air, Pv is very low (Pv <<<Pt) so it exists in gas state at a temperature very less than boiling point of water.
Relative Humidity
It is the ratio of mass of vapor to mass of vapor under saturation conditions in the same volume and the same temperature.
𝑃𝑣 ⋅ 𝑉 = 𝑚𝑣 ⋅ 𝑅𝑣 ⋅ 𝑇 ①
𝑃𝑣𝑠 ⋅ 𝑉 = 𝑚𝑣𝑠 ⋅ 𝑅𝑣 ⋅ 𝑇 ②
① 𝑃𝑣 ⋅ 𝑉 𝑚𝑣 ⋅ 𝑅𝑣 ⋅ 𝑇 𝑃𝑣 𝑚𝑣
= = → = =𝜙
② 𝑃𝑣𝑠 ⋅ 𝑉 𝑚𝑣𝑠 ⋅ 𝑅𝑣 ⋅ 𝑇 𝑃𝑣𝑠 𝑚𝑣𝑠
𝑃𝑣 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑣𝑎𝑝𝑜𝑢𝑟
𝜙= =
𝑃𝑣𝑠 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑣𝑎𝑝𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑠𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠
Relative humidity is generally expressed in percentage.
For saturated air, relative humidity is generally expressed in percentage.
Specific humidity represents the actual mass of vapour in air, where as relative humidity represents moisture absorbing
If the relative humidity is high, the moisture absorbing capacity is less.
Dry bulb temperature (DBT)
It’s the temperature of air measured by an ordinary thermometer.
Wet bulb temperature (WBT)
It’s the temperature of air measured by the thermometer whose bulb is covered by a wet cloth.
Wet bulb temperature is an indication of moisture content in air. If the difference between dry bulb temperature and wet
bulb temperature is large, it means moisture content in air is less, this is because if moisture content in air is less, it absorbs
more moisture and to absorb more moisture, air should supply more heat. Therefore, temperature of air drops.
Wet bulb depression
For saturated air, dry bulb temperature is equal to wet bulb temperature.
Therefore, wet bulb temperature depression is zero.
For unsaturated air WBT is less than DBT.

Dew point temperature (DPT)

It’s the temperature at which water vapour in air starts condensing or it is the temperature at which the first droplet of
water is formed. Thermodynamically it is defined as saturation temperature corresponding to partial pressure of vapour.
For attaining dew point temperature, air should be cooled at constant pressure.

For unsaturated air  DBT>WBT>DPT

For saturated air  DBT=WBT=DPT
Enthalpy of Moist air
𝐻 = 𝐻𝑎 + 𝐻𝑣
𝐻 𝑚𝑣
𝐻 = 𝑚𝑎 ⋅ ℎ𝑎 + 𝑚𝑣 ⋅ ℎ𝑣 → = ℎ𝑎 + ⋅ℎ
𝑚𝑎 𝑚𝑎 𝑣
𝐻 𝑚𝑣
[ℎ = 𝜔= ]
𝑚𝑎 𝑚𝑎
ℎ = ℎ𝑎 + 𝜔 ⋅ ℎ𝑣
𝑡𝑜𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑒𝑛𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑙𝑝𝑦
ℎ → 𝐾𝐽⁄𝑘𝑔 𝑜𝑓 𝑑𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑖𝑟 =
𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑑𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑖𝑟
Enthalpy of Dry air
At 0ᵒC, enthalpy of dry air is taken as zero.
ℎ𝑎 = 𝑐𝑝𝑎 ⋅ (𝑡 − 0) → ℎ𝑎 = 𝑐𝑝𝑎 ⋅ 𝑡
(𝑡 → 𝐷𝐵𝑇 𝑖𝑛 °𝐶)

Enthalpy of water vapour

ℎ𝑣 = 𝐿𝐻 + 𝑐𝑝𝑣 ⋅ (𝑡 − 0) → ℎ𝑣 = 𝐿𝐻 + 𝑐𝑝𝑣 ⋅ 𝑡
(𝐿𝐻 = 2500 𝐾𝐽⁄𝑘𝑔 𝑐𝑝𝑣 = 1.88 𝐾𝐽⁄𝑘𝑔 𝐾 𝑐𝑝𝑎 = 1.005 𝐾𝐽⁄𝑘𝑔 𝐾)
ℎ𝑣 = 2500 + 1.88 ⋅ 𝑡

𝑊𝑒 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 → ℎ = ℎ𝑎 + 𝜔 ⋅ ℎ𝑣 → ℎ = 𝑐𝑝𝑎 ⋅ 𝑡 + 𝜔 ⋅ (𝐿𝐻 + 𝑐𝑝𝑣 ⋅ 𝑡)

ℎ = 𝑐𝑝𝑎 ⋅ 𝑡 + 𝜔 ⋅ (2500 + 1.88 ⋅ 𝑡)

Degree of saturation (μ)

It’s the ratio of actual specific humidity to specific humidity under saturation conditions.
𝜔 0.622 ⋅ (𝑃 −𝑣 𝑃 ) 𝑃𝑣 𝑃𝑡 − 𝑃𝑣𝑠
𝑡 𝑣
𝜇= = → 𝜇= ×
𝜔𝑠 0.622 ⋅ ( 𝑃𝑣𝑠 ) 𝑃𝑣𝑠 𝑃𝑡 − 𝑃𝑣
𝑃𝑡 − 𝑃𝑣𝑠
𝑃𝑡 − 𝑃𝑣𝑠
𝜇 =𝜙⋅( )
𝑃𝑡 − 𝑃𝑣

Developing of Psychometric chart

𝑇 𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒𝑠 → 𝑃𝑣 𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒𝑠 𝜔 = 𝑓(𝑃𝑣 )

We know that from T-S diagram, as Pv increases corresponding saturation temperature also increases, if these values are
plotted on Pv vs T diagram, we get the diagram.
We know that water vapour in air exists in super heated state. Therefore, the region towards the right of saturation curve
shows superheated shows superheated region and hence this is the region of interest in psychrometry, we also now that ω is
a function of Pv, therefore, in psychrometry chart is replaced with ω.
Psychrometric chart

Various lines on Psychrometric chart

Basic Psychrometric Processes
Sensible Heating
It’s the process of heating air at constant ω (specific humidity).

𝑐12 𝑐22
ℎ1 + + 𝑔𝑧1 + 𝑞 = ℎ2 + + 𝑔𝑧2 + 𝑤 → ℎ1 + 𝑞 = ℎ2
2 2
𝑞 = ℎ1 − ℎ2
In adiabatic process, as there is no heat transfer, enthalpy remains constant, therefore, on psychrometric chart adiabatic
process follows constant enthalpy lines.
Sensible cooling
It is the process of cooling air at constant ω (specific humidity). For sensible cooling coil temperature must be less than dry
bulb temperature and more than dew point temperature.

Humidification (pure)
It’s the process of increasing specific humidity (ω) at constant dry bulb temperature.
Dehumidification (pure)
It’s the process of removing moisture at constant dry bulb temperature.
Pure humidification and pure dehumidification are not possible as humidification
and dehumidification process are associated with temperature changes.

Heating and Humidification

It’s the process of simultaneous heating and humidification.

Example- Steam spray in air

Cooling and humidification
It’s the process of simultaneous cooling and humidification.

For air, Lewis number is 1, therefore, WBT and Thermodynamic WBT is same.
In air coolers air undergoes the same process and this process is known as evaporative cooling.
Cooling and Dehumidification
It’s the process of simultaneous cooling and dehumidification. This is achieved when coil temperature is less than dew point
temperature. This process is generally followed in summer air conditioning.
Heating and Dehumidification
This is the process of simultaneous heating and dehumidification. Certain chemicals like silica gel and alumina absorb
moisture, during the process the dry bulb temperature increases because the latent heat of condensation is released and air
absorbs that heat.
According to Gibb’s phase rule, for moist air DOF is 3.
On psychrometric chart, only 2 parameters are required to fix this state because the chart is drawn for fixed pressure
(atmospheric pressure) i.e., the third parameter is fixed and hence 2 more parameters are required.
Humid Specific Heat
𝐻 = 𝐻𝑎 + 𝐻𝑣
𝐻 = 𝑚𝑎 ⋅ ℎ𝑎 + 𝑚𝑣 ⋅ ℎ𝑣 → = ℎ𝑎 + 𝜔 ⋅ ℎ𝑣
⇒ ℎ = ℎ𝑎 + 𝜔 ⋅ ℎ𝑣 → 𝑐𝑝𝑚 ⋅ 𝑡 = 𝑐𝑝𝑎 ⋅ 𝑡 + 𝜔 ⋅ (𝑐𝑝𝑣 ⋅ 𝑡)

Mixing of Air streams

Conservation of mass
𝐷𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑖𝑟 → 𝑚𝑎1 + 𝑚𝑎2 = 𝑚𝑎3
𝑊𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑣𝑎𝑝𝑜𝑢𝑟 → 𝑚𝑣1 + 𝑚𝑣2 = 𝑚𝑣3
→ 𝑚𝑎1 ⋅ 𝜔1 + 𝑚𝑎2 ⋅ 𝜔2 = 𝑚𝑎3 ⋅ 𝜔3
Energy Conservation
𝑚𝑎1 ⋅ ℎ1 + 𝑚𝑎2 ⋅ ℎ2 = 𝑚𝑎3 ⋅ ℎ3

From above equation we can derive,

𝑚𝑎1 𝜔3 − 𝜔2 ℎ3 − ℎ2
= =
𝑚𝑎2 𝜔1 − 𝜔3 ℎ1 − ℎ3

Resultant point 3, divides the line joining 1 & 2 in the inverse ratio of masses.

Sensible heat factor

It’s the ratio of sensible heat to total heat.

𝑇𝑜𝑡𝑎𝑙 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑡 (𝑇𝐻) = ℎ2 − ℎ1

𝑆𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑏𝑙𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑡 (𝑆𝐻) = ℎ3 − ℎ1
𝐿𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑡 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑡 (𝐿𝐻) = ℎ2 − ℎ3
𝑆𝐻 𝑆𝐻 ℎ3 − ℎ1
𝑆𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑏𝑙𝑒 𝐻𝑒𝑎𝑡 𝐹𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 (𝑆𝐻𝐹) = = =
𝑇𝐻 𝑆𝐻 + 𝐿𝐻 ℎ2 − ℎ1

Sensible heat factor for various conditions

1. For residence & private offices, SHF =0.9.
2. For hotels & busy offices, SHF=0.8
3. For auditorium & cinema halls, SHF=0.7
Sources of sensible heat
Heat transfer through walls, roofs, floor, bulbs, fan, solar heat gain through glass, occupants, infiltration through air.
Latent heat sources
Occupants, infiltration of air, frequent closing and opening of door.
SHF for sensible heating is 1.
Bypass factor(BPF)
This factor is also known as uncontacted factor. It represents the loss factor.

𝑡𝑠 − 𝑡2 𝑡2 − 𝑡1
𝐵𝑃𝐹 = 𝜂=
𝑡𝑠 − 𝑡1 𝑡𝑠 − 𝑡1
𝜂 + 𝐵𝑃𝐹 = 1 → 𝜂 = 1 − 𝐵𝑃𝐹
Bypass factor depends on velocity of air, if the velocity of air is more, then lesser time is available for heat transfer and
therefore losses will be more i.e., bypass factor will be high.
If n similar coils are placed after one after the other, then the equation of bypass factor is
𝑋𝑒 = 𝑋 𝑛
(𝑛 → 𝑛𝑜. 𝑜𝑓 𝑐𝑜𝑖𝑙𝑠, 𝑋 → 𝐵𝑦𝑝𝑎𝑠𝑠 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟)
Apparatus dew point
It’s the temperature at which cooling and dehumidification curve cuts saturation curve.

𝑡2 − 𝑡𝑠
𝑡1 − 𝑡𝑠

Ventilation air
The amount of fresh air, which is to be supplied in order to maintain the purity of air is known as ventilation air.
Summer air conditioning with ventilation air
The line joining the inlet and exit conditions of A/C equipment is known as grand sensible heat factor line.
The line joining supply conditions with the room conditions is known as room sensible heat factor line.
The point of intersection of RHSF & GSHF gives supply conditions to room.