Refrigeration is a process where heat is transferred from a lower- to a higher-temperature level by doing work on a system. In some systems heat transfer is used to provide the energy to drive the refrigeration cycle. All refrigeration systems are heat pumps ("pumps energy from a lower to a higher potential"). The term heat pump is mostly used to describe refrigeration system applications where heat rejected to the condenser is of primary interest.

There are many means to obtain refrigerating effect, but here three will be discussed: mechanical vapor refrigeration cycles, absorption and steam jet cycles due to their significance for industry.

Basic Principles Since refrigeration is the practical application of the thermodynamics, comprehending the basic principles of thermodynamics is crucial for full understanding of refrigeration. Section 4 includes a through approach to the theory of thermodynamics. Since our goal is to understand refrigeration processes, cycles are of the crucial interest.

The Carnot refrigeration cycle is reversible and consists of adiabatic (isentropic due to reversible character) compression (1-2), isothermal rejection of heat (2-3), adiabatic expansion (3-4) and isothermal addition of heat (4-1). The temperature-entropy diagram is shown in Fig. 11-70. The Carnot cycle is an unattainable ideal which serves as a standard of comparison and it provides a convenient guide to the temperatures that should be maintained to achieve maximum effectiveness.

The measure of the system performance is coefficient of performance (COP). For refrigeration applications COP is the ratio of heat removed from the low-temperature level (Qlow) to the energy input


^ Qhigh=Qlow+W

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