An Experimentally Validated Model for Predicting Refrigerant and Lubricant Inventory in MAC Heat Exchangers
The paper presents a semi-empirical model to predict refrigerant and lubricant inventory in both evaporator and condenser of an automotive air conditioning (MAC) system. In the model, heat exchanger is discretized into small volumes. Temperature, pressure and mass inventory are calculated by applying heat transfer, pressure drop and void fraction correlations to these volumes respectively. Refrigerant and lubricant are treated as a zeotropic mixture with a temperature glide. As refrigerant evaporates or condenses, thermophysical properties are evaluated accordingly with the change of lubricant concentration. Experimental data is used to validate the model. As a result, refrigerant and lubricant mass is predicted within 20% in the evaporator. However, in the condenser, lubricant mass was consistently under-predicted while refrigerant mass was predicted within 15% error. Moreover, the lubricant under-prediction becomes more significant at higher Oil Circulation Ratio (OCR).