How Does a Centrifugal Chiller Operate?


Quick Answer

Centrifugal chillers are industrial chillers that cool fluids or dehumidify air. They operate by using centrifugal force to compress air. Centrifugal chillers are considered energy efficient and produce a higher refrigerant flow than reciprocating engines. The refrigerant they use passes through an evaporator, compressor, condenser and expansive valve.

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Full Answer

First the temperature of the refrigerant must be lowered to its saturation temperature. Then condensation can begin. The temperature of the refrigerant continues to decrease until it has been completely condensed. Once the refrigerant is in the liquid state and has high pressure and temperature, its pressure must be reduced. A part on the chiller called the thermostatic expansion valve can be manipulated to reduce the pressure.

Some of the liquid gets boiled to help reduce the temperature. In the final stage of this process, the refrigerant exists as a vapor and liquid. Warm air is then applied to the evaporating tubing that the refrigerant is now traveling in to help it boil. This continues until the maximum amount of liquid is boiled off when it reaches the evaporator outlet, which ensures saturation of the vapor at the compressor inlet that the outlet is connected to. This entire cycle repeats as many times as necessary to achieve the operator's desires.

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