What Is the Technology Behind Water-Cooled Chillers?


Quick Answer

A water-cooled chiller is a refrigeration system that circulates a liquid refrigerant through tubing connected to four main components: an evaporator, compressor, condenser and expansion valve. In a water-cooled chiller, water flows over the condenser unit to provide cooling, in contrast to an air-cooled system found in most vehicle and residential air-conditioning systems.

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Full Answer

In the evaporator of a refrigeration system, a liquid refrigerant flows through tubes and evaporates into a vapor, which cools metal fins connected to the exterior of the evaporator unit. Air may pass over the evaporator and be dehumidified, or, in the case of a chiller, water flows over the evaporator and is chilled. The compressor draws the refrigerant out of the evaporator and raises the pressure and temperature of the vapor. The refrigerant vapor then passes through tubes in the condenser, giving up its heat and becoming a liquid. In a water-cooled chiller, water passes over the condenser to cool the unit. The refrigerant then passes through the expansion valve, reducing its pressure and temperature. The refrigerant enters the evaporator, and the cycle begins again.

Water from a chiller is used to cool machines and devices in a variety of industrial applications. Examples of equipment cooled by chillers include injection and blow molding machines, welding equipment, power generation stations and MRI machines.

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