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Section 5: Commercial Refrigeration

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1 Section 5: Commercial Refrigeration
Unit 24: Expansion Devices

2 Objectives After studying this unit, you should be able to:
Describe the three most popular types of expansion devices Describe the operating characteristics of the three most popular expansion devices Describe how the three expansion devices respond to load changes

3 Objectives (cont’d.) Describe the operation of a balanced-port expansion valve Describe the operation of a dual-port expansion valve Describe how electronic expansion valves and their controllers operate

4 Expansion Devices Often called metering devices; meters the correct amount of refrigerant to the evaporator Installed at the inlet of the evaporator Common devices: automatic expansion valve; thermostatic expansion valve; fixed bore (capillary tube) Less common devices: high-side float; low-side float

5 Expansion Devices (cont’d.)
Figure 24–2 The complete refrigeration cycle with the four basic components: compressor, condenser, evaporator, and expansion device

6 Thermostatic Expansion Valve (TXV)
Maintains a constant evaporator superheat If the evaporator superheat is high, the valve will open Superheat ensures that no liquid refrigerant leaves the evaporator Low superheat increases the net refrigerant effect

7 TXV Components Valve body Diaphragm Needle and seat Spring
Adjustment and packing gland Sensing bulb and transmission tube

8 The Valve Body Machined brass or stainless steel
Holds components together Provides means to connect valve to the piping circuit Fastened by flare, solder, or flange Has an inlet screen to stop any small particulate matter from entering valve

9 The Diaphragm Moves the needle in and out of the seat in response to system load changes Flexes downward to open the valve Flexes upward to close the valve Made of thin, flexible stainless steel Located at the top of the valve

10 Needle and Seat Control refrigerant flow through the valve
Needle is pushed into the seat to reduce refrigerant flow to the evaporator Made of stainless steel The greater the pressure difference across the needle and seat, the greater the amount of flow through the valve

11 The Spring One of the valve’s closing forces
Acts to push the needle into the seat, causing the valve to close Spring pressure determines the evaporator superheat Spring tension can be field adjusted, but only EXPERIENCED field technicians should do adjustments on the valve

12 The Sensing Bulb and Transmission Tube
Senses temperature at evaporator outlet Converted to a pressure and is transmitted to the top of the diaphragm The fluid in the bulb responds to a pressure / temperature relationship When the suction line temperature goes up, the bulb pressure goes up The bulb pressure controls the valve

13 The Sensing Bulb and Transmission Tube (cont’d.)
Figure An illustration of the diaphragm, the bulb, and the transmission tube

14 Types of Bulb Charge The fluid inside the expansion valve bulb is known as the charge Four types: Liquid charge Cross liquid charge Vapor charge Cross vapor charge

15 The Liquid Charge Bulb Bulb contains the same refrigerant as the refrigeration system Under all conditions, the bulb will ALWAYS contain some liquid The refrigerant in the bulb will always follow the pressure/temperature relationship of the system

16 The Cross Liquid Charge Bulb
Bulb contains a different refrigerant than the system Under all conditions, the bulb will ALWAYS contain some liquid The bulb does not follow the pressure/ temperature relationship of the system Valve closes during the compressor off cycle

17 The Vapor (Gas) Charge Bulb
Contains same refrigerant as the system Bulb only contains a small amount Also called a critical charge bulb At some predetermined temperature, all of the liquid in the bulb will boil until only vapor remains Any further increases in bulb temperature will have no effect on the bulb pressure

18 The Cross Vapor Charge Bulb
Contains a different refrigerant than the system Bulb only contains a small amount At some predetermined temperature, all of the liquid in the bulb will boil until only vapor remains Any further increases in bulb temperature will have no effect on the bulb pressure

19 Functioning Example of a TXV with Internal Equalizer
Normal load conditions – medium temperature application; R-134a; valve is in equilibrium Suction pressure 18.4 psig Suction line temp. 30°F, PBULB= 26.1 psig PSPRING + PEVAPORATOR = PBULB Spring pressure psig = 26.1 psig Spring pressure = 7.7 psig

20 Functioning Example of a TXV with Internal Equalizer (cont’d.)
Figure A TXV under a normal load condition. The valve is said to be in equilibrium. The needle is stationary

21 Functioning Example of a TXV with Internal Equalizer (cont’d.)
Load changes with food added to cooler Addition of warm food increases evaporator load Load changes with food removed from the cooler Removal of food reduces load on the evaporator

22 TXV with External Equalizers
Used if an evaporator has more than a 2.5 psig drop from inlet to outlet The evaporator pressure is sensed at the outlet of the coil instead of the inlet Used to prevent the coil from starving Connected to the evaporator outlet after the thermal bulb Used to compensate for pressure drop in the evaporator

23 TXV Responses to Load Changes
When load increases: Refrigerant boils faster and the suction line temperature increases Valve opens to feed more refrigerant to the evaporator When load decreases: Refrigerant takes longer to boil Valve closes to feed less refrigerant to the evaporator

24 TXV Valve Selection Each TXV is designed for a particular refrigerant or group of refrigerants The capacity of the system is very important

25 Balanced-Port TXV Designed to operate in low ambient conditions
Used if any of the following conditions exist Large varying head pressures Large varying pressure drops across the TXV Widely varying evaporator loads Very low liquid line temperatures Have larger-than-normal orifices

26 Dual-Port TXV Used when systems need a larger TXV for short periods of time Dual-port valves have two independent capacities Larger port for periods of high load Smaller port for periods of normal load TXV capacity is doubled when larger port is open all the way

27 Pressure-Limiting TXV
Allows evaporator pressure to only reach a predetermined pressure If the evaporator pressure exceeds this pressure, the valve will close Desirable on low-temperature applications

28 Servicing the TXV Care should be taken that the valve is serviceable and will perform correctly Things to be considered: Type of fastener (flare, solder, or flange), Location of valve for service Expansion valve bulb location Valve has moving parts that are subject to wear

29 Sensing Element (Bulb) Installation
Procedure: Bulb should be mounted on the suction line as close to the evaporator as possible Suction line should be clean and straight Bulb should be mounted securely Follow manufacturer’s instructions For small suction lines, the bulb is usually secured to the top of the line

30 The Solid-State Controlled Expansion Valve
Uses a thermistor as a sensing element Electrically controlled When coil is energized, the valve opens Responds very quickly to temperature changes Suitable for heat pump applications

31 Step-Motor Expansion Valves
Uses a small motor to control the valve port Valve port controls evaporator superheat Temperature sensor sends a signal to the controller The controller sends a signal to the motor The motor turns a fraction of a rotation for each controller signal

32 Algorithms and PID Controllers
Proportional controllers Generate an analog output signal Difference between actual superheat and superheat set point is the “offset” or “error” Integral controller modes Helps reduce the “error” or “offset” Calculates error size and the length of time Derivative controller modes Estimate rate of change of temperature/time curve

33 Automatic Expansion Valve
Maintains constant pressure in the evaporator When the pressure drops, the valve opens Spring pressure pushes to open the valve The evaporator pressure pushes to close the valve Turning the adjustment screw into the valve increases the spring pressure

34 Automatic Expansion Valve (cont’d.)
Figure 24–45 The automatic expansion valve uses the diaphragm as the sensing element and maintains a constant pressure in the evaporator but does not control superheat

35 Automatic Expansion Valve Response to Load Changes
Responds in reverse to load changes If the load increases: Refrigerant boils faster in the evaporator The evaporator pressure increases The valve closes Used where the load is fairly constant

36 Special Considerations for the TXV and AXV
Both are expansion devices that allow more or less refrigerant flow Both need a storage device (receiver) for refrigerant when it is not needed The receiver serves both as a storage tank and as a tank into which refrigerant can be pumped when servicing the system

37 The Capillary Tube Metering Device
Controls refrigerant flow by the pressure drop across it Diameter and length of the tube determine flow at a given pressure Does not maintain evaporator pressure or superheat Used when the load is relatively constant No moving parts to wear out

38 Operating Charge for the Capillary Tube System
Capillary tube systems are critically charged All refrigerant in the system circulates at all times when the system is running Capillary tube sometimes fastened to the suction line for heat exchange Responds very slowly to system load changes

39 Summary Expansion devices meter the correct amount of refrigerant to the evaporator according to system operating conditions Common expansion valves include the capillary tube, automatic expansion valve, and the thermostatic expansion valve

40 Summary (cont’d.) The thermostatic expansion valve is designed to maintain constant superheat in the evaporator Three pressures control the operation of the TXV: the bulb pressure, the spring pressure, and the evaporator pressure

41 Summary (cont’d.) Thermal bulb can be liquid-charged, vapor-charged, cross liquid-charged, or cross vapor-charged Internally equalized TXVs get the evaporator pressure from the inlet of the coil, while externally equalized TXVs get the evaporator pressure from the outlet of the coil

42 Summary (cont’d.) Special TXVs include the balanced port TXV, the dual port TXV, and the electronic TXV The automatic expansion valve maintains a constant evaporator pressure Two pressures control the TXV: the spring pressure and the evaporator pressure

43 Summary (cont’d.) The capillary tube is a fixed bore metering device
The capillary tube meters refrigerant depending on the pressure drop across the tube

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