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Refrigeration: A Detailed Summary

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What is Refrigeration?

Refrigeration and cooling developed from the human requirement for food and comfort and have a centuries-old history. Refrigeration is characterised as the most common way of accomplishing and keeping a temperature beneath surroundings, fully intent on cooling an item or space to the necessary temperature. It is likewise characterised as artificial cooling. To define refrigeration, we can say it removes heat and cools the object to a low temperature.

The first electrical refrigerator was invented in 1894 in Budapest, Hungary, by Ganz works, but these refrigerators were unsafe for domestic use because of toxic refrigerants. Furthermore, this machine was modified, and in 1913 the first electric refrigerator for domestic use was invented by Fred W. Wolf.

Refrigeration Principles

The refrigerator or fridge is the machine utilised to separate heat from a low-temperature body and afterwards dismisses this heat to a high-temperature body. The main reason for the machine is to cool some items; the machine is named a refrigerator. As per the second law of thermodynamics, heat doesn't stream from a low-temperature body to a high-temperature body without the guidance of external work. Thus, external work is expected to drive a refrigerator.

A heat engine can be worked in a reversible cycle with the guidance of an external source. In this cycle, heat is drawn from the cold body and dismissed to a hot body. Subsequently, the engine is known as a heat pump. In the refrigerator, too, heat is drawn from the cold body and dismissed to the hot body. Consequently, the refrigerator operates on the reversed heat engine cycle.

Refrigeration Cycle

While there are many strategies for warming and cooling, the fundamental capability is unchanged and utilised in a few structures across endless industries and processes. Yet, how can it work? In easy terms, a refrigeration cycle's main goal is heat retention and rejection. The refrigeration cycle, sometimes called a heat pump cycle, is a method for steering heat away from the area you need to cool. This is achieved by controlling the tension of the functioning refrigerant (air, water, refrigerants, and so on) through a pattern of compression and expansion.

There are four key components of a fundamental cycle is as per the following:

  • The compressor

  • The condenser

  • The expansion device

  • The evaporator

Various key components of refrigeration cycles

Various key components of refrigeration cycles

The Compressor

Compression is the most important phase in the refrigeration cycle. A compressor is a piece of hardware that expands the pressure of the functioning gas. Refrigerant enters the compressor as a low-pressure, low-temperature gas and leaves the compressor as a high-pressure, high-temperature gas.

The Condenser

The condenser, or a condenser curl, is one of two heat exchangers utilised in an essential refrigeration circle. This part is provided with high-temperature, high-pressure, vaporised refrigerant falling off the compressor. The condenser eliminates heat from the hot refrigerant gas vapour until it condenses into an immersed fluid state, known as condensation.

The Expansion Device

These parts arrive in maybe one or two plans. Popular configurations incorporate fixed orifices, thermostatic expansion valves (TXV), and the further developed electronic expansion valves (EEVs). The occupation of a framework's extension gadget is similar to making a drop-in pressure after the refrigerant leaves the condenser. This pressure drop will make a portion of that refrigerant quickly boil, making a two-phase mixture. This quick stage change is called flashing.

The Evaporator

The evaporator is the second heat exchanger in a standard refrigeration circuit, and like the condenser, it's named for its fundamental capability. It gives the final result of a refrigeration cycle, considering that it does what we expect a cooling machine to do - absorb heat.

Types of Refrigeration

The following types of refrigeration are explained below:

  • Mechanical compression refrigeration

  • Evaporative cooling

  • Absorption refrigeration

  • Thermoelectric refrigeration

  • Vapour compression refrigeration

  • Vapour absorption refrigeration

Gas Refrigeration

Similarly, as the vapours are utilised for cooling in the vapour compression cycle and vapour retention cycle, the gas is utilised for cooling in the gas refrigeration cycle. At the point when the gas is choked from exceptionally high pressure to low pressure in the choking valve, its temperature decreases abruptly while its enthalpy stays steady. This standard is utilised in gas refrigeration systems. The gas used in refrigerators is Freon gas.

Working of the Gas Refrigeration Cycle

When gas moves through the compressor, its pressure and temperature become extremely high. It then, at that point, streams into the heat exchanger, which carries out the role of the condenser in the vapour pressure cycle; then again, there is no change in the phase of air or gas. In the heat exchanger, the air surrenders heat; however, its pressure remains consistent.

The high-pressure and medium-temperature air enters the choking valve (an expander), where its pressure is decreased abruptly. Because of this, its temperature additionally turns out to be exceptionally low. The low-temperature and low-pressure gas then enter the other heat exchanger (likewise called the refrigerator), which carries out the role of the evaporator in the vapour pressure cycle.

The gas absorbs the heat from the substance to be cooled and becomes hotter, while the substance becomes cooler. There is no change in the gas phase in this heat exchanger. The high-pressure and high-temperature gas then enters the compressor, where the cycle repeats.

The TS - the diagram below represents the refrigeration cycle

TS diagram

TS diagram


Refrigeration is the process of removing heat from a body and making it cold. We use this method in air conditioning and heat pumps. This is an essential thermodynamic feature. There are different types of refrigeration which we use in scientific labs, industrial and domestic purposes.

Last updated date: 26th May 2023
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FAQs on Refrigeration: A Detailed Summary

1. What is the difference between refrigeration and a heat pump?

Refrigerators discharge heat with work input; however, heat pumps give heat with work input. The refrigerator contains a heat pump, which pumps the heat out so that our system stays cold.

2. What is air conditioning?

Air conditioning is the most common way of eliminating heat and controlling air humidity in an encased space to accomplish a more comfortable interior climate. But air conditioners consume more electricity and release carbon dioxide gas into our environment. That’s why almost all air conditioning systems in the US use halogenated chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

3. Why is the evaporator used?

Evaporator is utilised to ingest the heat from the cooled medium and getting the refrigeration impact. Various evaporators are utilised to improve the refrigeration impact and, in the end, the C.O.P.