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Vapor Compression Refrigeration Simulation And Tutorial

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.712.1 - 5.712.10



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Paper Authors

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Robert Davis

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Laura J. Genik

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Craig W. Somerton

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

Session 1633

Vapor-Compression Refrigeration Simulation and Tutorial

Laura J. Genik, Robert W. Davis, Craig W. Somerton

University of Portland/University of Portland/Michigan State University


Calculation intensive courses lead to the need to integrate computer technology into the classroom, especially in courses such as Applied Thermodynamics at the University of Portland (ME 332). ME 332 is the second in the series of thermodynamics courses offered at the University of Portland; therefore the opportunity arises for the implementation of interactive tools for ease of calculations. Once the students have mastered the concepts and ability to perform the necessary manual calculations, computer programs can be used to allow the students to study more advanced topics in the material without being bogged down in the calculations. To ease the considerable calculations involved in solving vapor-compression refrigeration (VCR) cycle problems in the course, a text-based computer program was written, complete with property evaluation for 3 three substances, by L.J. Genik and C.W. Somerton at Michigan State University. This program has recently been revised to be compatible with the Microsoft Windows operating environment prevalent today in engineering software. In addition, a fourth refrigerant, R-134a, was added to account for the addition of new refrigerants in use today. Another modification made to the program was the addition of a tutorial for the thermal system analysis of a VCR cycle. This tutorial emulates the general solution methodology used in the course and reinforces the concepts with the students. The program is available via current web pages for the described course.


The evaluation of thermodynamic systems can become a long and tedious process, though an important one for students to learn and master. Several cycles are continually taught in applied thermodynamics courses such as the Rankine cycle for steam power systems, the Brayton cycle for gas turbine systems, vapor-compression for refrigeration systems. Within the applied thermodynamics course at the University of Portland, these cycles are taught along with deviations from these cycles. A thorough investigation into the operation of these cycles can be facilitated with the use of the computer to ease the property evaluation process. There are several good, commercially available programs and solvers for implementing such solutions; however, for economic reasons we have chosen to developed an in-house program. Beyond the economics of the situation, it is also the belief of the authors that value exists in writing and understanding thoroughly the ’black box’ being used by students for solving problems.

The computer program utilizes equations of state and fundamental thermodynamic relations to perform a systems analysis. The first law of thermodynamics

Davis, R., & Genik, L. J., & Somerton, C. W. (2000, June), Vapor Compression Refrigeration Simulation And Tutorial Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8829

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