Interactive Self-Study Module: Refrigeration Cycle
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder 

This module uses screencasts and interactive simulations to explain the details of the ordinary vapor composition (OVC) refrigeration cycle. It then provides an example problem to allow the user to test themselves. We suggest using the learning resources in the following order:

  1. Attempt to answer the multiple-choice ConcepTests before watching the screencasts or working with the simulations.
  2. Watch the screencast that describes the cycle and answer the questions within the screencast.
  3. Use the interactive simulation to further understand the behavior of the cycle.
  4. Try to solve the example problem before watching the solution in the screencast.
  5. Answer the ConcepTests.

The refrigeration cycle is the model used for refrigerators. 

This module is intended for a thermodynamics course.

Before studying this module, you should:

After studying this module, you should be able to:
  1. Determine the phases present at different points in the cycle.
  2. Do energy balances for each part of a refrigeration cycle.
  3. Calculate the coefficient of performance (COP) for a refrigeration cycle using the first and second laws.
  4. Predict how the COP changes as conditions in the refrigeration cycle change.
  5. Sketch the OVC refrigeration cycle on a T-S and a P-H diagram.
  6. Explain the purpose of the compressor, condenser, throttle valve, and evaporator in an OVC cycle.