FIG. 11-111 Refrigerator using simple J-T cycle.
utilizing isenthalpic expansion to obtain cryogenic temperatures, and commonly referred to as the simple Linde or J-T cycle, is shown schematically with its corresponding temperature-entropy diagram in Fig. 11-111. The gaseous refrigerant is compressed at ambient temperature while essentially rejecting heat isothermally to a coolant. The compressed refrigerant is cooled countercurrently in a heat exchanger by the cold gas stream leaving the liquid reservoir before it enters the throttling valve. Upon expansion, Joule-Thomson cooling further reduces the temperature until, at steady state, a portion of the refrigerant is liquefied. For a refrigerator, the unliquefied fraction and the vapor formed by liquid evaporation from the absorbed heat Q are warmed in the heat exchanger before returning to the intake of the compressor. Assuming no heat inleaks, as well as negligible kinetic and potential energy changes in the fluid, the refrigeration duty Q is equivalent to m(h1 - h2), where the subscripts refer to the locations shown on Fig. 11-111. Applying Eq. 11-108, the coefficient of performance for the ideal J-T refrigerator is given by
T1[s1 - s2 - (h - h2)] For a simple J-T liquefier, the liquefied portion is continuously withdrawn from the reservoir and only the unliquefied portion of the fluid is warmed in the countercurrent heat exchanger and returned to the compressor. The fraction y that is liquefied is obtained by applying the first law to the heat exchanger, J-T valve, and liquid reservoir. This results in y = -
h1 - hf where hf is the specific enthalpy of the liquid being withdrawn. Maximum liquefaction occurs when the difference between h1 and h2 is maximized. To account for heat inleak, qL, the relation needs to be modified to y =
h - hf with a resultant decrease in the fraction liquefied.
Refrigerants used in this process have a critical temperature well below ambient; consequently liquefaction by direct compression is not possible. In addition, the inversion temperature of the refrigerant must be above ambient temperature to provide initial cooling by the J-T process. Auxiliary refrigeration is required if the simple J-T cycle is to be used to liquefy neon, hydrogen, or helium whose inversion temperatures are below ambient. Liquid nitrogen is the optimum refrigerant for hydrogen and neon liquefaction systems, while liquid hydrogen is the normal refrigerant for helium liquefaction systems.
To reduce the work of compression in this cycle a two-stage or dual-pressure process may be used whereby the pressure is reduced by two successive isenthalpic expansions. Since the isothermal work of compression is approximately proportional to the logarithm of the pressure ratio, and the Joule-Thomson cooling is roughly proportional to
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