Plate Heat Exchanger in Refrigeration

Most commercial refrigeration equipment consists of a compressor and a condenser, outside the cold box, and an evaporator inside. The refrigerant travels in a circuit into and out of the area to be cooled, which is usually within an insulated compartment. This compartment can range in size from that of a common refrigerator interior to a walk-in cubicle as in a restaurant, to a whole air-conditioned building.

The refrigerant is compressed outside the area to be refrigerated. In the process it is squeezed so as to occupy a smaller volume. Because it contains the same amount of caloric heat in a smaller volume, the temperature is suddenly made higher. Still under greater pressure and occupying a smaller volume, the refrigerant travels via pipe to the inside of the area to be cooled. It is forced through a diffuser, which consists of a pin-sized aperture, causing the pressure to drop instantly.

Now the refrigerant expands to occupy a greater volume and as a consequence its temperature drops, so it becomes much colder. The refrigerant typically passes through finned piping resembling an automotive radiator, and the coldness transfers to the interior of the box, whereupon the new warmer and less pressurized refrigerant journeys back to the compressor to begin another cycle.

What is a heat pump?

The basic idea is that heat is extracted from outside, perhaps underground, for the purpose of heating a building in cold weather. A heat pump uses the ordinary refrigeration process outlined above, the difference being that the condenser sits inside and the evaporator resides outside.

Commercial buildings and residences closer to the equator have central air systems as opposed to individual room air-conditioners. This type of system incorporates an air handler inside that blows cold air through ductwork serving rooms and areas to be cooled. The air handler may include resistive heat elements to warm the building in cold weather.

Rather than resistive heat, a central air system can be configured to operate as a heat pump. It is a matter of adding valves and piping so the refrigeration cycle can be reversed, condenser and evaporator both serving dual purposes.

Plate Heat Exchanger in Refrigeration

The coming years could see a dramatic change in air conditioning techniques. Conventional air conditioning, with its expansion and contraction of refrigerants, have reached a plateau in energy efficiency. There are now considerable efforts to commercialize novel refrigeration cycles based on utilization of plate heat exchangers. The closed cycle diagram for a refrigeration process with plate heat exchanger is not only energy efficiency but also space saving.

More information about Plate Heat Exchanger via link: Plate Heat Exchanger

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