Asee peer logo

An Experiential Learning Exercise: Optimization of Evaporators and Condensers in a Vapor Compression Cycle

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Energy Conversion and Conservation Division Technical Session on Conservation and Optimization

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


David C. Zietlow Bradley University

visit author page

Professor of Mechanical Engineering

visit author page

author page

John Sullivan

Download Paper |


An experiential learning module has been developed to better help students connect the theory with the hardware. Optimizing a refrigeration cycle requires the combination of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and engineering economics. At the end of the first semester of thermodynamics students developed a system model that connected the design variables to the total life cycle cost. A portable vapor-compression testing apparatus was brought into the classroom to demonstrate electronic data collection. Different fan speeds were used to simulate different heat exchanger areas by changing the overall heat transfer coefficient (U). Once a baseline data point, at a low flow rate, was collected, U was calculated based on the actual heat transfer surface area. Then as the flow rate was increased the overall conductance (UA) increased. Fixing the U value at its baseline value simulated larger areas. These larger areas were used to determine the optimum size of the heat exchangers in the system. Data were collected during the class time and then provided to the students for model validation and subsequent optimization.

Zietlow, D. C., & Sullivan, J. (2018, June), An Experiential Learning Exercise: Optimization of Evaporators and Condensers in a Vapor Compression Cycle Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29785

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015