Step 3: Condenser

The vapor compression cycle is the primary cycle used in commercial refrigeration systems.

The Vapor Compression Cycle for the Mechanical PE Exam

Step 3: Condenser: The third step in the vapor compression cycle is the condenser. The condenser is the counterpart of the evaporator. Similar to the evaporator, the condenser is simply a heat exchanger. Except in this case, heat is exchanged from the warm refrigerant gas to the cold medium. The heat released by the warm refrigerant gas causes it to change phases. The refrigerant gas condenses to refrigerant liquid.

There are two types of condensers, similar to the two types of evaporators. Figure 5 shows a sample water cooled condenser, where cool condenser water at ~85 °F is used to remove heat from the refrigerant, causing it to increase in temperature to approximately ~95 °F. Figure 6 shows the air cooled system, where heat is removed from the refrigerant by blowing outside air over the coil. The location will determine the condenser water and outside air temperatures.

Condenser for the Mechanical PE Exam

The methods of heat exchange are similar to that of the evaporator. Refer to the evaporator section for the different types of heat exchangers.