A study of thermodynamic characteristics and predictive computer modelling of an air to water heat pump system
A study on heat pump thermodynamic characteristics has been made in the laboratory on a specially designed and instrumented air to water heat pump system. The design, using refrigerant R12, was based on the requirement to produce domestic hot water at a temperature of about 50 °C and was assembled in the laboratory. All the experimental data were fed to a microcomputer and stored on disk automatically from appropriate transducers via amplifier and 16 channel analogue to digital converters. The measurements taken were R12 pressures and temperatures, water and R12 mass flow rates, air speed, fan and compressor input powers, water and air inlet and outlet temperatures, wet and dry bulb temperatures. The time interval between the observations could be varied. The results showed, as expected, that the COP was higher at higher air inlet temperatures and at lower hot water output temperatures. The optimum air speed was found to be at a speed when the fan input power was about 4% of the condenser heat output. It was also found that the hot water can be produced at a temperature higher than the appropriate R12 condensing temperature corresponding to condensing pressure. This was achieved by condenser design to take advantage of discharge superheat and by further heating the water using heat recovery from the compressor. Of the input power to the compressor, typically about 85% was transferred to the refrigerant, 50 % by the compression work and 35% due to the heating of the refrigerant by the cylinder wall, and the remaining 15% (of the input power) was rejected to the cooling medium. The evaporator effectiveness was found to be about 75% and sensitive to the air speed. Using the data collected, a steady state computer model was developed. For given input conditions, air inlet temperature, air speed, the degree of suction superheat, water inlet and outlet temperatures; the model is capable of predicting the refrigerant cycle, compressor efficiency, evaporator effectiveness, condenser water flow rate and system Cop.