Claims industrial heat exchangers, cold chain refrigeration systems, heat pumps and natural refrigerants benefit from smaller diameter copper tubes
The International Copper Association (ICA), an organisation for promoting the use of copper worldwide, has revealed that MicroGroove Technology uses smaller diameter, inner-grooved copper tubes to increase the heat transfer coefficient of tubes in coils commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning applications. ICA said that smaller-diameter copper tubes offered an effective way to reduce refrigerant charge, which is especially important in cases where flammability is a concern. It added that it had already designed and built air conditioners that used propane as a refrigerant. The coil design was optimised using simulation-based design method and a knowledge-based evolution method, it explained.
ICA said that after the success of MicroGroove Technology in residential air conditioners, it was now being used for commercial and industrial applications, and that the technology was well-suited for a broad array of products in the cold chain, including large condensing units and distributed evaporators in coolers and freezers. ICA claimed that refrigerated transport was another application that could benefit because MicroGroove allowed for compact coils.
“Copper tubing is essential to the efficient function of refrigeration systems and air conditioners,” said Nigel Cotton, MicroGroove Team Leader for the International Copper Association. “Smaller-diameter copper tubes are being adopted in a broad range of applications; consequently consumer products and commercial equipment will be more efficient and eco-friendly than ever.”
Elaborating on copper as an eco-friendly alternative, Cotton observed: “Research on coils using MicroGroove tubes with propane as a refrigerant is timely, considering that the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Significant New Alternatives Policy programme has authorised R290 as one of the available hydrocarbon refrigerants in household and small commercial refrigerators and freezers. Smaller diameter copper tubes are a good match for natural refrigerants, because these can support higher pressures and they require less refrigerant charge.”