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Journal Article

Refrigerant and Lubricant Distribution in MAC System

This paper presents experimental results for refrigerant and lubricant mass distribution in a typical automotive A/C (MAC) system. Experiments were conducted by closing valves located at the inlet and outlet of each component after reaching steady state, isolating the refrigerant and lubricant in each component. Refrigerant mass is recovered in a separate vessel using liquid nitrogen to reduce refrigerant vapor pressure to near vacuum. The overall weight is determined within ±1% after the separation of refrigerant and lubricant. The mass of lubricant is determined by using three different techniques: Remove and Weigh, Mix and Sample, and Flushing. The total mass of lubricant in the system is determined with ±2.5% uncertainty on average. R134a and R1234yf are used with PAG 46 oil as working fluid at different Oil Circulation Ratio (OCR), ranging from 2% to 4%. Experiments are conducted in two standard testing conditions: I35 and L35 (SAE Standard J2765).
Journal Article

Effect of Flash Gas Bypass on the Performance of R134a Mobile Air-Conditioning System with Microchannel Evaporator

This paper demonstrates that the implementation of Flash Gas Bypass method can improve the performance of conventional direct expansion R134a mobile air-conditioning system with a microchannel evaporator. This method uses flash gas tank after expansion valve to separate and bypass flash refrigerant vapor around the evaporator, and feed the evaporator with only liquid refrigerant. Pressure drop is reduced and refrigerant distribution is significantly improved, resulting in higher evaporator effectiveness and evaporation pressure. Both lower pressure drop and lifted evaporation pressure allows the compressor to work with lower pressure ratio, saving required compressor work. An experimental comparison of the direct expansion system shows that Flash Gas Bypass method increases the cooling capacity and COP at the same time by up to 16% and 11%, respectively.
Journal Article

Experimentally Validated Model of Refrigerant Distribution in a Parallel Microchannel Evaporator

This paper develops a model for a parallel microchannel evaporator that incorporates quality variation at the tube inlets and variable mass flow rates among tubes. The flow distribution is based on the equal pressure drop along each flow path containing headers and tubes. The prediction of pressure drop, cooling capacity, and exit superheat strongly agree with 48 different experimental results obtained in four configurations using R134a. Predicted temperature profiles are very close to infrared images of actual evaporator surface. When compared to the uniform distribution model (that assumes uniform distribution of refrigerant mass flow rate and quality) results from the new model indicate superior prediction of cooling capacity, and exit superheat. Model results indicate maldistribution of refrigerant mass flow rate among the parallel tubes, caused primarily by pressure drop in the outlet header.
Technical Paper

Using R744 (CO2) to Cool an Up-Armored M1114 HMMWV

The US Army uses a light tactical High-Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) which, due to the amount of armor added, requires air conditioning to keep its occupants comfortable. The current system uses R134a in a dual evaporator, remote-mounted condenser, engine-driven compressor system. This vehicle has been adapted to use an environmentally friendly refrigerant (carbon dioxide) to provide performance, efficiency, comfort and logistical benefits to the Army. The unusual thermal heat management issues and the fact that the vehicle is required to operate under extreme ambient conditions have made the project extremely challenging. This paper is a continuation of work presented at the SAE Alternate Refrigerants Symposium held in Phoenix last June [1].
Technical Paper

A Control-Oriented Model of Transcritical Air-Conditioning System Dynamics

This paper presents a dynamic model of a transcritical air-conditioning system, specifically suited for multivariable controller design. The physically-based model retains sufficient detail to accurately predict system dynamic response while also being simple enough to be of value in determining appropriate control strategies. The control focus would be quasi-steady transitions between operating states by modulating flow rates of both air and refrigerant to meet changing constraints on capacity, efficiency, noise, etc. The model structure is highly modular, accommodating various system configurations and component types. The modeling results are programmed as a library of components for use in Simulink, a graphical programming package.
Journal Article

Flow Visualization and Experimental Measurement of Compressor Oil Separator

This article presents basic separation mechanisms with coalescing/impinging separators studied as the add-on to current popular centrifugal designs. The coalescence and impingement of oil on wire mesh and wave-plates are visualized and tested to investigate the impact of geometry and flow conditions on oil separation efficiency. Re-entrainment phenomenon is explained based on the mass balance. Oil mist flow at the swashplate reciprocating compressor discharge is quantified by video processing method to provide detailed information of the oil droplets. The physics behind oil separator is illustrated by visualization and measurement in this study, which gives useful guidelines for oil separator design and operation. The flow visualization shows the details of oil passing through different oil separation structures. Videos are quantified to provide information like droplet size distribution and liquid volume fraction.