HVAC Coiled Evaporator

Evaporator coils on air-conditioning units fall into two categories:

Finned-tube coil is placed in the air stream of the unit. Refrigerant vaporizes in it. The refrigerant in the tubes and the air flowing around the fins attached to the tubes draw heat from the air. This is commonly referred to as a direct expansion cooling system (see Fig. 10-4).

Shell-and-tube chiller units are used to chill water for air-cooling purposes. Usually, the refrigerant is in tubes mounted inside a tank or shell containing the water or liquid to be cooled. The refrigerant in the tubes draws the heat through the tube wall and from the liquid as it flows around the tubes in the shell. This system can be reversed. Thus, the water would be in the tubes and the refrigerant would be in the tank. As the gas passes through the tank over the tubes, it would draw the heat from the water in the tubes (see Fig. 10-5).

Figure l0-5 shows how K-12 is used in a standard vapor-compression refrigeration cycle. System water for air-conditioning and other uses is cooled as it flows through the evaporator tubes. Heat is transferred from the water to the low-temperature, low-pressure refrigerant. The heat removed from the water causes the refrigerant to evaporate. The refrigerant vapor is drawn into the first stage of the compressor at a rate controlled by the size of the guide-vane opening. The first stage of the compressor raises the temperature and pressure of the vapor. This vapor, plus vapor from the flash economizer, flows into the second stage of the compressor. There, the saturation temperature of the refrigerant is raised above that of the condenser water.

This vapor mixture is discharged directly into the condenser. There, relatively cool condenser water removes heat from the vapor, causing it to condense again to liquid. The heated water leaves the system, returning to a cooling tower or other heat-rejection device.

A thermal economizer in the bottom section of the condenser brings warm condensed refrigerant into contact with the inlet water tubes. These are the coldest water tubes. They may hold water with a temperature as low as 55°F (13°C). This subcools the refrigerant so that when it moves on in the cycle, it has greater cooling potential. This improves cycle efficiency and reduces power per ton requirements. The liquefied refrigerant leaves the condenser through a plate-type control. It flows into the flash economizer or utility vessel. Here, the normal flashing of part of the refrigerant into vapor cools the remaining refrigerant. This flash vapor is diverted directly to the second stage of the compressor. Thus, it does not need to be pumped through the full compression cycle. The net effect of the flash economizer is energy savings and lower operating costs. A second plate-type control meters the flow of liquid refrigerant from the utility vessel back to the cooler, where the cycle begins again (see Fig. 10-6).

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