Development of Vehicle Air Conditioners for the Refrigerant HFC-134a 930228

Concerns on environmental protection are being intensified throughout the world in recent years. Of those concerns, depletion of the ozone layer in the atomosphere caused by CFC emission into the atomosphere is the target of serious concern as shown in Fig. 1. At present, the use of CFC production is restricted by regulations at the global level, and CFC will be phased out by the end of 1995.
In this regard, the authors have developed a new vehicle air conditioner to adapt to a new refrigerant HFC-134a, which is gentle to the ozone layer, and to replace CFC-12. The new refrigerant system was introduced to the market in October, 1991, and the replacement will be almost completed by the end of 1993 for the Lexus and Toyota production vehicles.
This paper describes the development of the new compressor lubricant, seal rubber, hose and desiccant by taking into consideration the materials concerned and the number of technological issues involved in the new refrigerant, HFC-134a. Estimates on vehicle performance by means of air conditioner cycle simulation, and the process of merchandizing the new system by verifying the performance, reliability and durability through field tests will be also described.


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