FIG. 11-115 Mixed-refrigerant cycle.
Figure 11-115 shows the basic concepts for a mixed refrigerant cycle (Gaumer, Advances in Cryogenic Engineering Vol. 31, Plenum, New York, 1986, p. 1095). Variations of the cycle are proprietary with those cryogenic engineering firms that have developed the technology. However, all of the mixed refrigerant processes use a carefully prepared refrigerant mix which is repeatedly condensed, vaporized, separated, and expanded. Thus, these processes require more complete knowledge of the thermodynamic properties of gaseous mixtures than those required in the expander or classical cascade cycles. This is particularly evident when cooling curves similar to the one shown in Fig. 11-116 are desired. An inspection of the mixed refrigerant cycle also shows that these processes must routinely handle two-phase flows in the heat exchangers.
Miniature Refrigerators Expanded space and science projects have provided a need for miniature cryogenic coolers designated as cryocoolers. Such coolers provide useful cooling from a fraction of a watt to several watts at temperature levels from 1 to 90 K. These coolers are used to increase the sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio of detectors by providing the required cryogenic operating temperatures as well as cooling the optical components to decrease the detector background radiation. The types of coolers developed to meet various specific requirements include solid cryogen coolers, radiative coolers, mechanical coolers, 3He adsorption coolers, adiabatic demagnetization refrigerators, and liquid helium storage systems. Mechanical
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