Investigation of working fluid performance through a centrifugal compression system

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Commonly, researchers have investigated many factors that impact the performance of air con-ditioning and refrigeration systems such as varied cooling configurations, operating conditions and optimization of specific system components. Although there is an abundance of research detailing the importance of working fluid selection, very few studies focus on how the working fluid selection influences the performance of the individual components of the system, such as the compressor. In this paper, the performance of a selection of working fluids are compared through a centrifugal compressor using CFD. The working fluids considered are R1234ze, R1234yf, R152a, R444a, R445a, R290 and R600a and were selected due to suitability as replace-ments to R134a. Each fluid, including R134a, was compared based on the performance of a cen-trifugal compressor with fixed inlet conditions across two operational speeds. The results indi-cate that R1234ze and R1234yf demonstrated the best performance as replacements to R134a, achieving the highest overall pressure ratios. Additionally, R1234ze also displayed similar power required through the compressor to R134a indicating greater suitability as a drop-in re-placement. The working fluids R444a and R445a both displayed performance similar to that of R134a across both operational speeds, indicating reasonable suitability as a replacement to R134a. Alternatively, R152a, R290 and R600a displayed reduced performance compared to R134a and subsequently, are not suitable replacements based on the compression system considered in this study. As well as considering the observed differences in the performance from the selected working fluids, the implications of the results for industrial applications is also considered, along with avenues for further work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815–829
JournalApplied Mechanics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2022


  • centrifugal compressor
  • working fluid
  • CFD


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