Research Papers

Viability of Spray Cooling an Air-Cooled Condenser in a Personnel Microclimate Cooling System

[+] Author and Article Information
Brent A. Odom

e-mail: brentodom@hotmail.com

Arizona State University,
School for Engineering of Matter,
Transport, and Energy, Engineering G-Wing,
501 E. Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85287-6106

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF THERMAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS. Manuscript received March 28, 2012; final manuscript received July 16, 2012; published online October 17, 2012. Assoc. Editor: Hongbin Ma.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 4(4), 041010 (Oct 17, 2012) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4007207 History: Received March 28, 2012; Revised July 16, 2012

Attaining a reasonable size and weight for a personnel microclimate cooling system for an individual person who operates away from logistical support remains a problem. This work analyzes whether spray cooling the ambient air before it cools the condenser in a small vapor compression cycle is worthwhile in terms of battery weight savings. The analysis specifies essential characteristics of each of the main components of an ideal vapor compression cycle in order to determine equations describing their expected performance. Then, a mathematical technique is used to find balance points for the model system at different ambient air temperatures. The balance points show the decrease in condensing temperature and compressor work that result from a decrease in ambient air temperature. The saved compressor work is converted to battery weight savings and compared to the weight of water required to reduce the air temperature. It is found that the potential battery weight savings do not offset the amount of cooling water required, i.e., spray cooling the air-cooled condenser should not be pursued to decrease system weight.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

The complete model microclimate cooling system

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

The ideal vapor compression cycle. To determine the required compressor displacement rate, R, the analysis assumes the system will achieve a 150 W cooling capacity with a 16 °C Te, 44 °C Tc, and 35 °C Tamb.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Flow chart for the mathematical method

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Refrigerating capacity and power requirement for the model ideal compressor

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

(Ideal) Compressor power required with a water inlet temperature of 24 °C and various ambient air temperatures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Psychrometric chart for determining the new relative humidity at the desired temperature after spray cooling



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