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Design Of A Portable Experiment For Demonstrating Air Conditioning Processes

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.337.1 - 6.337.9

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Paper Authors

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Robert Ryan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2526

Design of a Portable Experiment for Demonstrating Air Conditioning Processes Dr. Robert G. Ryan California State University, Northridge


An air conditioning experiment apparatus was designed and constructed for the undergraduate mechanical engineering laboratory at California State University, Northridge. The purpose of the apparatus is to demonstrate the air-side processes which are fundamental to understanding the design of air conditioning systems for buildings. Electric resistance heaters are used to simulate a heat load in the conditioned space, and dampers are provided for controlling air flow rate and outside air induction. Sample results for temperature and humidity throughout the system are presented. This project was completed with the assistance of a Senior Project Grant from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

I. Introduction

The Mechanical Engineering Department at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) requires students to take a laboratory course devoted to thermo-fluids experiments. Some of the equipment supporting this laboratory includes a subsonic wind tunnel, a York Trainer refrigeration system, a pipe flow bench, a centrifugal pump test bed, and a centrifugal fan and duct system. It was decided that the laboratory needed an apparatus designed to demonstrate the thermodynamics of air cooling and mixing processes which commonly occur in building air conditioning systems.

An ongoing challenge for any instructional laboratory is the purchase of new equipment within the typical budgetary limitations of state-supported institutions. The purchase of apparatus designed by vendors specializing in education equipment avoids the development time required to build and refine an effective piece of equipment, but the cost is often difficult to justify due to the many demands put upon the department’s equipment budget. Additionally, the equipment design may not exactly reflect the educational purpose intended by the faculty. Specific educational goals within a manageable equipment budget may be achievable with an apparatus designed “in-house”, but can require a significant input of faculty and student time for construction and development. However, effective integration of the design and construction of the apparatus into projects performed as part of selected senior courses, as well as generous support from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), provided an efficient approach for developing a new experiment for CSUN’s laboratory.

The support from ASHRAE came in the form of an Undergraduate Senior Project Grant in the amount of $3850. The purpose of the Senior Project Grant program is to fund equipment and supplies for undergraduate engineering projects on ASHRAE-related topics. An additional donation of a compressor/condenser unit (originally designed for a drinking water cooler) from

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Ryan, R. (2001, June), Design Of A Portable Experiment For Demonstrating Air Conditioning Processes Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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