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Int J. Refrig. Vol. 19, No. 8, pp.

517- 521, 1996


Copyright © 1996 ElsevierScienceLtd and IIR
Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved
ELSEVIER PIE S0140-7007(96)00039-4 0140-7007/96/$15.00

Domestic refrigerators with absorption-diffusion units


and heat-transfer panels
G. F. Smirnov, M. A. Bukraba, T. Fattuh and B. Nabulsi
O d e s s a Institute o f L o w - T e m p e r a t u r e T e c h n i c s a n d Energetics, 1/3 P e o t r Veliky Street,
Odessa 270100, U k r a i n e
Received 22 March 1994; revised 22 February 1996

The possibility of essential increasing of absorption-diffusion cooler set refrigerating power by means of
separating cold transmission and distribution processes in the inner refrigerator volumes from cold
generation processes has been shown. The problem is solved by using heat-transfer panels on the base of
heat tubes and vaporization thermosiphons. The construction developed on the 'Kristall' type domestic
cooler basis has attained a low temperature of -15°C in the 155-1 volume at the ambient temperature of
20°C and at the ambient temperature of 43°C it was allowed to reach - I ° C temperature without using
additional heat insulation. Copyright © 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd and IIR
(Keywords:refrigeratedcabinet;absorption-diffusionrefrigeratingunit;heat-transferpanel;heat tube;evaporatingthermal
siphon)

Refrigerateurs menagers a groupes absorbeurs-diffuseurs et a


panneaux echangeurs de chaleur
La possibilitO est montr~e d'une augmentation considOrable du rendement frigorifique des rOfrig~rateurs
absorbeurs-diffuseurs grhce ~ la s~paration des processus de gOnkration et distribution du from dans l'espace
interne du r~frig~rateur. Le probl~me est r~solu par utilisation de panneaux Ochangeurs de chaleur sur la base de
tubes thermiques et de thermosyphons ~vaporateurs. Les modifications constructives correspondantes d'un
rOfrig~rateur m~nager du type 'Cristall" ont permis d'obtenir une temperature de - 15°C dans un volume de 155 l
avec une temperature du milieu ambiant de 20°C et, avec une temp&ature du milieu ambiant de 43°C, une
tempOrature de - 1 ° C sans calorifugeage suppl~mentaire. Copyright © 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd and IIR
(Mots cl+s:armoire frigorifique;groupe frigorifiqueabsorbeur diffuseur;panneau 6changeurde chaleur;tube thermique"
thermosyphon 6vaporateur)

The absorption-diffusion refrigerating units (ADRU) where it is condensed and liquid ammonia enters the
have a number of advantages over compression ones: evaporator 5 by the line 4. In the evaporator, ammonia is
noiseless operation, absence of moving parts, easy attend- evaporated and diffuses into hydrogen-ammonia mix of
ance, possibility to use various heat sources, such as low ammonia content. Owing to these processes refrig-
electric current, kerosene, etc. erating effect in A D R U is achieved.
Construction of A D R U s comprises ramified systems Cooled vapour-gas hydrogen-ammonia mix of high
of interconnected loops of natural circulation. Under the ammonia content enters the receiver 6 and then ascends
conditions, where the driving force of circulation is pro- by coiled absorber 7 to the evaporator 5. Flow of vapour-
vided by density differential, a complex hydraulic system gas hydrogen-ammonia mix is induced by buyoancy
with phase transition processes in each element of force due to density difference in connection with varied
A D R U restricts the rate of heat-and-mass exchange concentration of ammonia. Brought to the top part
processes, which can affect adversely the level of refrig- of the absorber from the generator 1 by the line 8 due
erating capacity of ADRUs. to action of thermocompressor operating according to
Simplified diagram of an A D R U is presented in Figure vapourlift pattern is a weak water-ammonia solution
1. The unit is made from carbon steel and charged with which flows down through coiled absorber 7 and absorbs
water-ammonia mixture containing 35% ammonia. ammonia from the vapour-gas hydrogen-ammonia mix
Present within the unit is inert gas hydrogen and oper- which ascends opposite to solution flow. As a result,
ating pressure in the unit is 1.7-2.0 MPa. water-ammonia solution of high ammonia concentra-
Principle of operation of A D R U is described below. tion is formed and brought to the generator 1.
Nominal heat load amounting to 112 W is applied to the Outer tubular surfaces of the evaporator 5 and
generator 1 and w a t e r - a m m o n i a solution boils. Ammo- absorber 7 included in the investigated unit have no
nia vapour ascends by vapour line 2 to the condenser 3 fins. Overall length of the absorber is 6.5m, outside

517
518 G.F. Smirnov et al.

Nomenclature
F Inner surface of refrigeration cabinet (m 2) tx Average temperature inside the
k Heat-transfer coefficient (W m-2 K - 1) refrigeration cabinet (°C)
S Heat-transfer panel area (m 2) h Altitude of the refrigeration cabinet (m)
IOC Environmental temperature (°C) a,b,c,d,e Geometry dimension (m)
th Temperature in planes A, B, C (°C) T Time of work (h)

diameter of the tube is 18mm. As evidenced by this problem is concerned with application of heat-
experimental investigations, such absorber ensures reli- transfer panels based on heat tubes or evaporating
able operation of A D R U at ambient temperatures up to thermal siphons, which involved the problem of heat-
45°C. Evaporator tube is elliptic in cross-section. Overall engineering designing of refrigeration cabinets with heat-
length of the evaporator is 1.7 m and its area is 0.14 m 2. transfer panels and ADRUs.
It is known that fins are required for effective per-
formance of an ordinary-designed evaporator. However, Survey of the subject
finning gives rise to temperature variations over the
inside space of A D R U and usable space is blocked up. The application of heat-transfer panels based on heat
Application of heat-transfer panel allows better solution tubes and thermal siphons, which allow judicious
of this problem provided that reliable thermal contact redistribution of heat fluxes, needs substantiation.
between surfaces of panel and evaporator is achieved. Thus, in ref. 1 the refrigerating chamber evaporator is
The condenser 3 is designed with fins of overall heat thermally connected with a metal sheet made in the form
exchanging area of 0.30 m 2. of radiator. In the later design of ice generator 2 use is
made of a heat tube, which runs from the freezing
Since the low refrigerating power of domestic ADRUs
raises the problem of judicious use of energy resources in chamber to the cooled fresh products chamber. In ref. 3
connected thermally to A D R U branches are heat-
each element of the unit, the A D R U construction is
transfer devices, where phase transition processes take
provided with gas and liquid heat exchangers, finned
place, while the heat-transfer devices themselves form the
constructions of condenser and absorber, which signifi-
walls of the refrigeration cabinet.
cantly complicates the units manufacturing process.
Taking into consideration the aforesaid features of A set of experimental investigations into application
of heat-transfer panels connected with evaporators of
ADRUs it seems necessary to investigate the possibility
ADRUs has been carried out in the Scientific and
of raising the rate of processes in ADRUs and increasing
Production Association of Applied Mechanics 4. The
their refrigerating capacity materially by separating the
results of those investigations have been adopted in
processes of the transfer of refrigeration and distribution
in refrigerator's internal spaces from refrigeration gen- production and domestic refrigerators type 'Kristall'
erating processes. An effective approach to solution of with ADRU and heat-transfer panels brought to a full-
scale production level at one of the refrigerator-
producing factories.
Along with the problem of judicious use of refrigera-
/~f(l )I tion, there exists a problem of simultaneously increasing
the usable space and refrigerating effect. Under condi-
3 ! ! tions of large-scale production of refrigeration cabinets
II II II , ,bb I !
of a certain standard size with increased internal usable
space, these problems can be improved by using two or
three ADRUs instead of one. Depending on the standard
sizes of refrigeration cabinets and ADRUs this approach
can be implemented by different designing methods. A
good design for refrigeration cabinets of small standard
/ - ~ I L. 8
size is provided by mounting the added A D R U behind
i $1| ii i -..t /--- ~"1 ! I .19
the main unit in parallel to the latter. The depth of the
cabinet, in this case, will be increased by 0.10m maxi-
mum. Configuration of both ADRUs must allow effec-
8~ ~ 4 o o ~ tive implementation of thermal insulation, as shown for
120 example in Figure 2a.
Figure 1 Simplified diagram of ADRU: 1 - generator; 2 - vapour-
The use of heat-transfer panels makes it possible to
c a r r y i n g line; 3 - c o n d e n s e r ; 4 - l i q u i d a m m o n i a line; 5 - e v a p o r a t o r ; newly solve the problem of ADRU's application in the
6 - r e c e i v e r t a n k ; 7 - a b s o r b e r ; 8 - w e a k s o l u t i o n line; 9 - r e f r i g e r a t i o n construction of chest-type refrigeration cabinets. If the
cabinet; l0 - points of installation of temperature transducers, (1)-(6) refrigeration cabinet is of the chest type, it is expedient to
- nos of temperature transducers
arrange the units in the plane parallel to the rear wall of
F i g u r e 1 S c h e m a simplifid de G F A D : 1 - g~ndrateur; 2 - conduite de
the chest, as shown in Figure 2b.
vapeur; 3 - condenseur; 4 - conduite d'ammoniaque liquide; 5 -
dvaporateur; 6 - cuve du collecteur; 7 - absorbeur; 8 - conduite de Such arrangement of the units promotes better distribu-
solution f a i b l e ; 9 - armoire frigorifique; 10 - endroits d'installation des tion of evaporator surfaces over the refrigeration cabinet
transformateurs thermiques; (1) . . . . . (6)-num~ros des transformateurs space and facilitates designing of a common heat-transfer
thermiques panel. In such a case the panel may be designed both with
Absorption-diffusion units and heat-transfer panels 51 9

(a) (b) (c) The temperature inside the refrigeration cabinet and
the environmental temperature were constantly moni-
tored. The temperature transducers in the refrigeration
cabinet were mounted in three equally spaced planes
parallel to the bottom. The temperature measurement
error was not more than + / - 0 . 5 ° C . All measurements
were taken in steady-state conditions. Used as a measur-
ing instrument was an electronic measuring system which
allowed for taking measurements from 22 temperature
transducers within 30 s. As a result of the measurements
(at the ambient air temperature of 20°C) it was found
that the average temperature in the freezing chamber
Figure 2 Different design versions of refrigerated cabinets with
absorption-diffusion refrigerating units: a - echelon arrangement of was -18°C. No appreciable difference of temperatures
ADRU; b one-plane horizontal arrangement of A D R U ; c one- was observed in the refrigeration chamber between the
plane vertical arrangement of A D R U ; 1 - A D R U ; 2 - refrigerated central and lower planes. These temperatures were
cabinet within minus 1 to minus 2°C.
Figure 2 Variantes de r~alisation d'armoires frigorifiques avec G F A D : The evaporator construction of three-dimensional
a - arrangement de G F A D en dchelons; b - arrangement horizontal de
version with separately located freezing and refrigerating
G F A D dans le plan; e - arrangement vertical dans le plan de G F A D ; 1 -
G F A D ; 2 armoire frigor!fique sections, as well as the small capacity of the freezing
chamber tangibly impair the consumer qualities of that
construction. The aforesaid disadvantages can be
refrigerant-carrying piping for individual A D R U and with
avoided by using stock-produced A D R U s with evapora-
a common refrigerant-carrying piping depending on
tors of flat construction, attached to which are heat tubes
specific problems of refrigerator engineering.
with developed fins. Use of various forms of fin on the
The thermal insulation of the evaporators, in this case,
heat tubes makes it possible to design a refrigeration
must be arranged so that the heat-transfer panels should
cabinet with increased freezing chamber or to create a
not interfere with the process of placing products into
single volume of freezing cabinet with uniform tempera-
the chest and taking them out. In a vertical version of
ture field. However, as can be seen from the calculations
refrigeration cabinet the A D R U may be arranged verti-
and experimental data, at the ambient air temperature of
cally in the same plane one above the other (see Figure 2c).
20°C the average temperature in the refrigeration cabinet
Use of doubled or tripled units in one refrigeration
of that construction will not drop below minus 5°C, i.e.
cabinet as per the layout shown in Figure lc (without
the refrigeration cabinet cannot function as a freezer.
heat-transfer panels) is ineffective because it leads to
Under the conditions of efficient full-scale production
irregularity of the temperature field and reduces the
of refrigeration cabinets and A D R U s of certain standard
usable space of the refrigeration chamber. To decrease
sizes the problem of increasing the usable space of a
such irregularity it is advisable to use heat-transfer
refrigeration cabinet and at the same time decreasing the
panels in the form of heat tubes or two-phase thermal
temperature levels in the working chambers of the refrig-
siphons built into metal panels. The operating conditions
eration cabinet, can be settled by increasing the number
of domestic refrigeration cabinets predetermine the loca-
of units operating for one common volume. Such an
tion of these heat-transfer panels along the side and rear
engineering solution under temperate climatic condi-
walls of the cabinets. It is easy to see that the total area of
the evaporator can be substantially (by one and a half or tions allows for obtaining a freezing chamber instead of
refrigerator, or a corresponding refrigerator with an
two fold) increased as compared with that of the known
A D R U , if it takes place under tropical conditions.
evaporator design. Therefore, in spite of the added heat-
transfer panel, which creates an additional thermal resist- Installation of two units, particularly for the refrigeration
ance, the total heat flux removed will be increased. cabinet type 'Kristall' of 155-1 capacity, can be affected
without alterations, if one of the units has a flat-type
It is a crucial problem to reduce the contact's thermal
evaporator while in the other unit it is of three-dimensional
resistance. The maximum area of contact between the
and flat constructions. The experience of designing this type
A D R U ' s evaporator and the heat-transfer panel can be
of freezer-refrigerators exists in our Institute.
obtained by using the evaporator made in the form of a
flat coil oriented in the vertical plane. Another set of experiments was carried out to determine
the effectiveness of the refrigeration cabinet with two
This paper presents the experimental results which
ADRUs whose evaporators are connected to heat-transfer
corroborate the possibility in principle to make a freezer-
panels. Performance of individual units of A D R U was
refrigerator with two A D R U s where the evaporators will
checked against results of temperature measurements
provide service for the common heat-transfer panel with
made on flat evaporator unit. Arrangement of tempera-
built-in heat tubes.
ture transducers is shown in Figure 1. Temperature
transducer (a) was installed at the outlet of the condenser
Description of test bench and investigation procedure while (b), (c) and (d) were mounted to the evaporator in
Used as a subject of investigation was a refrigeration 0.45 m intervals starting from the inlet hole and (e) and (f)
cabinet type 'Kristall-401-1' of 1551 capacity with one or were placed to the top and bottom of the absorber,
two A D R U s whose evaporators were tested in thermal respectively. Results of temperature measurements are
contact with heat-transfer panels of different designs. In summarized in Table 1. Experiments show that A D R U
the first set of experiments the evaporator of A D R U was integrated with heat-transfer panel operates satisfactorily
thermally connected with a U-shape heat tube connected over the whole examined range of ambient temperatures.
to the panel which formed a freezing chamber. It is known that the temperature of A D R U evaporator
520 G.F. Smirnov et al.

surface contrary to the temperature of evaporators of Table 1 Results o f t e m p e r a t u r e m e a s u r e m e n t s o v e r the s p a c e o f


vapour-compression refrigerating machines varies continu- ADRU

ously from the minimum value to the maximum one when Tableau 1 Rdsultats des mesures de temperatures dans le circuit de
GFAD
no refrigerating effect is observed. Therefore, calculation of
COP value for ADRU is arbitrary by its nature. Temperature Ambient temperature,~'C
On the other hand, no techniques for calculation of transducer 20 32 43
COP for ADRU are currently available and experi- ! 32 36 46
mental data obtained for determination of this para- 2 -27 -24 -22
meter are rather particular. If guided by determination 3 -17 -12 - 8
of refrigerating capacity of ADRU from outside heat 4 - 8 - 3 1
5 38 43 48
fluxes using experimental values of kF obtained by the
6 41 49 59
technique in ref. 5, COP value for investigated ADRUs
at temperatures in the refrigeration cabinet between 0
and -15°C will be 0.35.
Used as a specimen was the refrigeration cabinet of with variations not exceeding + / - I ° C . In the course
refrigerator 'Kristall-404-1' of 155-1 capacity with the of the experiments the temperature field in the refrigera-
main ADRU having a three-dimensional and flat type tion cabinet and thermostatted space was continuously
evaporator which was in contact with the freezing monitored. The time to reach steady-state conditions
chamber where a U-shape heat tube was mounted. The was from 5 to 7 h. The temperature variations within
freezing chamber was formed by the plates of the heat each plane did not exceed +/-0.5°C. The temperature
tube finning. Mounted behind the main unit was the distribution with the height of the refrigeration cabinet in
additional unit with evaporator of fiat construction. A three configurations A, B and C is illustrated in Figure 5.
system of L-shape and U-shape heat tubes with devel- Within the entire range of the environmental tempera-
oped fins was attached to the evaporator located inside ture the variations of the temperature with the height of
the refrigeration cabinet in parallel to its rear wall. The the refrigeration cabinet did not exceed +/-0.8°C,
layout of the temperature transducers in the refrigeration therefore to characterize the temperature field inside
cabinet under test are illustrated in Figure 3. the refrigeration cabinet it is possible to use the
Heat-transfer panels of used versions constructed on arithmetic mean value of the readings received from all
the basis of heat tubes are shown in Figure 4. The heat- the temperature transducers mounted inside the cabinet.
transfer panels are made from aluminium and ammo- The relationship of the average temperature inside the
nia is used as a refrigerating medium. Other designs of refrigeration cabinet to the environmental temperature is
heat-transfer panels more judicious than investigated shown in Figure 6. It can be seen that with the rise of the
in this paper may also be used. Areas of heat-transfer environmental temperature from 20 to 32°C the average
surfaces of panels shown in Figure 4 are, respectively, temperature in the refrigeration cabinet is increased from
Sa = 0.64m"2, Sb = 0.13m 2, Sc = 0.45m 2. -15 to -10°C, i.e. within that range of the environ-
The refrigeration cabinet was enclosed in a controlled mental temperatures the construction under investi-
confined space where the ambient temperature was gation proves to be a good refrigerator and provides a
preset and maintained within the range of 20 to 45°C certain potential for designing a freezer on that basis.

~ A-___A
7 !

i~ d vl
e

Figure 3 Scheme of arrangement of heat-transfer panels, evaporators and points of installation of temperature transducers: 1 - main ADRU
e v a p o r a t o r ; 2 - a d d i t i o n a l A D R U e v a p o r a t o r ; 3 - h e a t tubes; 4 - fin t y p e f i b b i n g h e a t - t r a n s f e r panels; 5 - t e m p e r a t u r e t r a n s d u c e r s ; 6 - A D R U ; 7 -
r e f r i g e r a t e d c a b i n e t casing; 8 - r e f r i g e r a t e d c a b i n e t d o o r ; A , B , C z o n e s o f i n s t a l l a t i o n o f t e m p e r a t u r e t r a n s d u c e r s ; h = 1.0 m; a = 0.28 m; b = 0.35 m;
c = 0.35 m; d = 0.38 m; e = 0.03 m ; f = 0.41 m
F i g u r e 3 SchOna d'arrangement d'dvaporateurs avec p a n n e a u x de transmission de chaleur et endroits d'installation des thermocouples." I - ~vaporateur
principal de G F A D ; 2 - dvaporateur additionnel de G F A D ; 3 - caloducs; 4 p a n n e a u x de transmission de chaleur ~ nervures-nageoires; 5 - thermocouple;
6 - GFAD; 7 corps de l'arreoire frigorifique; 8 - porte de l'armoire frigorifique; A , B , C des zones d'installation des thermocouples: h = 1,0 re,"
a = 0, 28 re," b = 0, 35 re; c = 0, 35re," d = 0 , 3 8 m ; e = O, 0 3 r e , ' f = 0 , 4 1 re
Absorption-diffusion units and heat-transfer panels 521

(c)
(a) (b)

r - _ _- _ _

i~ 380 -~

•,~------ 210 -.

Figure 4 Investigated versions of heat-transfer panels based on heat tubes: a - heat-transfer panel with U-shaped heat tube; b - heat-transfer tube
with three L-shaped heat tubes; c - heat-transfer panel with two L-shaped heat tubes; 1 - heat tube; 2 - finning
Figure 4 Variantes ~tudi~es de panneaux de transmission de chaleur sur la base de tubes thermiques: a - panneau de transmission de chaleur avec tube
thermique en II; b - panneau de transmission de chaleur avec trois tubes thermiques en F; c panneau de transmission de chaleur avec deux tubes
thermiques en F; 1 - tube thermique; 2 - nervures-nageoires

+ +

0
-o- B
I 40
toc = 43°C + C
-5
0 0 6"
o
U )oc = 32°C
30
o
.1= -10
-8+\ /I

I
/ ot c = 20°C I
I
20
-15 o+ o, o+ \ %_
-16 -8 0
I I I
t x (°C)
8 10 12

T (H) Figure 6 Dependence of the average temperature in refrigerated


cabinet from ambient temperature: l - generalization of the experi-
Figure 5 Temperature distribution over the height of refrigerated mental data
cabinet at different ambient temperatures as a function of work time: l Figure 6 Relation entre la temp#rature moyenne clans l'armoire
- generalizing lines; A,B,C - see Figure 3 frigorifique et la temp#rature ambiante; 1 - g#n~ralisation des donn~es
Figure 5 R@artition de la temperature sur la hauteur de l'armoire expdrimentales
frigorifique en fonction de la durde de fonctionnement pour diverses
temperatures ambiantes: 1 - courbes de gdn#ralisation ; A,B,C - voir la substantiate the field of effective application of ADRUs
l#gende de la Figure 3
in designing freezing chambers and in creating domestic
refrigerators with those units intended for service under
When tropical conditions were simulated in the tem- tropical climatic conditions, as well as domestic refrig-
perature controlled space, the average temperature in erators with ADRUs with usable volume of 300 to 4001.
the refrigeration cabinet was 0°C, i.e. the construction
under investigation demonstrated stable performance in
the capacity of a refrigerator under tropical climatic References
conditions.
1 Swedish Patent no 177203, 125B15/10, appl. no. 10650/53 of
Nov. 28 (1953)
Conclusions 2 U.S. Patent no. 4003214, 125C1/08, appl. no. 645627 of Dec. 31
(1975)
By using heat-transfer panels the process of transfer and 3 Eur. Patent no. 0326881, 125B15/10, 25/00, BI no. 32 (1989)
distribution of refrigeration in the internal spaces of the 4 Smirnov-Vasiliev, K. G., Chernyshov, V. F., Dvirny, V. V. et al.
refrigeration cabinet with A D R U can be separated from Application of heat tubes and thermal siphons in domestic
refrigerators, thesis of paper for Sc. and Eng. Conf. Refrigera-
refrigeration generating process. This allows better cool- tion for National Economy, Leningrad (1991)
ing within the refrigeration cabinet space. 5 Chooklin, S. G., Chumak, L G. Laboratory manual for the
On the basis of the stock-produced refrigeration cabinet, course Refrigerating Machines Food Industry Publishers,
ADRUs and heat transfer panels it is possible to Moscow (1974), 287