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Volume 1

Part 4



J. R. STOTT, C.Eng., F.LMar.E.


Published by The Institute of Marine Engineers
80 Coleman Street

Copyright 1974 The Institute of Marine Engineers

A Charity Registered in England and Wales
Reg. No. 212992

Reprinted 1980
Reprinted 1981
Reprinted 1990
Reprinted 1997
Reprinted 1999
Reprinted 2000
Reprinted 2001

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored

in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form of by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior
permission of the publisher. Enquiries should be addressed to The Institute
of Marine Engineers.

ISBN: 0 90007611 X

Printed by Hobbs the Printers in the UK



1. Principles of Refrigeration 3
2. Refrigerants 9
3. Laws of Heat Transfer 13
4. Main Components of Refrigerating Systems 16
5. Ancillary Equipment 41
6. Operation of Primary Refrigerant Systems 44
7. Cooling Arrangements in Provision Rooms 53
and Cargo Spaces
8. Instrumentation 64
9. Preparation of Cargo Spaces, Loading and Stowage 67
10. Cargo Carrying Procedures 71
11. Insulation Maintenance 75
12. Planned Maintenance 77

13. Principles of Air Conditioning 81
14. Air Conditioning Systems 85
15. Ancillary Components 91
16. General Operation of the Installation 94
17. Routine Maintenance 96

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following companies for pro-

viding material for illustrations:
Container Ship Product Division, Sterling Hydraulics Ltd.; Fig 36.
Crane Packing Ltd.; Fig 10.
Danfoss; Fig. 25.
Hall-Thermotank International Ltd.: Figs 7. 8,9, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 24, 28,
29, 30, 44 and 45.
Stal Refrigeration AB.; Figs 23 and 31.
Temperature Ltd: Fig. 43.
The Tilley Lamp Co. Ltd.: Fig. 25.
York Division of Borg-Warner Ltd.; Fig. 15.


When a liquid evaporates a cooling effect is produced. Common
examples of this effect are well known.
For example, a few drops of volatile liquid, e.g. ether or eau-de-
cologne poured on to the hand gives a cold sensation, as it evaporates
rapidly, taking heat out of the skin.
Evaporation of perspiration produces a similar, :hough less pro-
nounced effect.
Milk bottles can be kept cool by wrapping them in a damp cloth;
cooling is more effective if the bottles are placed in a draught to
accclerate the rate of evaporation.
Refrigeration on board ship is always based on evaporating a liquid.
but under more controlled conditions than in the above examples. To
elaborate on the principles of evaporation, the distinction must be made
between sensible heat and latent heat. If heat is applied to a liquid in
an open vessel well below its boiling point, the effect is to raise the
temperature and the heat taken up by the liquid is known as sensible
heat. As more heat is applied, the rate of evaporation from the surface
of the liquid increases and the temperature rises until the boiling point
of the liquid is reached. All heat supplied from this point onwards has
no effect on the temperature of the liquid. Instead, all heat goes to
turn the liquid into vapour. The heat absorbed by the liquid in turning
into vapour is known as latent (or hidden) heat. When the vapour is
condensed back again to liquid, the same amount of latent heat is released.
Unfortunately, there are no obvious everyday examples of condensation
of vapour where heat is being given up. However, marine engineers will
be aware that a steam condenser soon ceases to function if there is no
continuous flow of cold water to take away the heat given up when the
steam condenses.
A second natural law basic to refrigeration is that the boiling point of
any liquid varies with pressure. The temperature 100C is the boiling point
of water at normal atmospheric pressure. If the pressure of a steam boiler
is increased by weighting or screwing down a safety valve to prevent the
escape of steam at atmospheric pressure, then the temperature steadily
rises in direct proportion to the rise in pressure. If one now imagines

this process being reversed, i.e. the pressure being reduced to atmospheric
in stages and a vacuum pump then used to further lower the pressure in
the boiler below atmospheric, then the same law continues to apply:
boiling occurs at lower and lower temperatures as the pressure is reduced.
To achieve useful refrigeration at a particular desired temperature is a
matter of providing a suitably low pressure in order to make some
liquid boil and take up latent heat at the temperature desired. Different
liquids, known as refrigerants. are used according to the temperature
required and the type of installation available for providing low pressures.

FIG. I-Fundamental similarity bet wren refrigeratioll evaporator

and Economic boiler.

To illustrate the above points, Fig. 1 compares sections through a

brine "evaporator" in which Freon 22 is boiling, and an Economic boiler.
Such a relatively advanced item of refrigeration equipment is introduced
at this stage in order to emphasize the importance of evaporation in
refrigeration. Another parallel between the boiler and an evaporator may
be drawn. If a boiler is "forced", Le. attempts are made by increasing
the fuel supply to exceed its design rating, then boiling becomes so
vigorous with so much frothing at the surface that water is carried over
in liquid form with the steam. Likewise, if an evaporator is "forced"
too much, liquid refrigerant froths over with the gas.

Returning to basic principles two further terms must be understood,

viz. sub-cooling and super-heating. Consider a closed vessel in the form of
a thin vertical tube as shown in Fig. 2, and equipped with thermometers
at A, Band C. The vessel is partly filled with a liquid and the remainder
filled with its vapour, no air being present. If there is no heat being
given to or taken away from this vessel by its surroundings, all three

FIG. 2-Vessel with pressure gauge and three thermometers.

thermometers will indicate the same temperature and the pressure gauge
will read the pressure corresponding to the saturated vapour pressure of
the liquid at this temperature.
Pressure gauges used in refrigerating systems are often calibrated
both in units of pressure and in degrees of temperature. The temperature
given on the gauge opposite any pressure reading is the temperature at
which the saturated vapour of the refrigerant (for which the gauge is
calibrated) exerts this pressure. In other words, the temperature scale on
the gauge shown in the figure could be inscribed at each pressure by
marking the corresponding reading of thermometers A, Band C. Although
one commonly reads a refrigerant pressure gauge as so many "degrees",
its sensing element responds only to pressure not to temperature. In an
evaporator (or condenser) the "degrees" read from the gauge is the
temperature at that part of the heat exchange surface where the liquid

is evaporating (or condensing), i.e. where saturated vapour and liquid

If then heat is applied at A, but not elsewhere, the gas surrounding
A increases in temperature, but the pressure is unaffected and thermo-
meter B reads exactly as before. (Hot gas, being less dense than cooler
gas, remains at the top of the tube.) The gas surrounding A is known as
superheated and the superheat temperature is the difference between the
reading at B and that at A.
Alternatively, if the bottom of the tube is immersed in colder sur-
roundings, the liquid at point e is cooled without affecting the tempera-
ture reading or the pressure at B. (The colder liquid being denser stays at the
bottom of the vessel.) Liquid at point e is said to be sub-cooled. One
cannot have sub-cooled vapour or superheated liquid - if point A is
cooled by removing heat at the top end, it immediately causes vapour
to condense and the liquid falls, thus reducing both B, and eventually
e, to the same lower temperature as A. If heat is applied at e, warm
liquid rises to increase the temperature at B, causing more evaporation
at the surface and eventually increasing the reading of A.


Figure 3 illustrates an elementary form of refrigeration that is applied
to road vehicles and containers.

FIG. 3-Liql/id nitrogcl! cooling fo,. ,'clriclcs or comainers.

A pressure vessel which is filled with liquid nitrogen before refrigera-

tion is required is connected to a spray pipe in the top of the insulated body
of the vehicle. The release of nitrogen through a valve is controlled by a
thermostat. At atmospheric presure nitrogen boils, at -195C (- 320F),
and the nitrogen issuing from the spray pipe is very nearly at this temp-
erature. To maintain a vehicle at, say, -20ce only intermittent squirts
of nitrogen are required. This method of refrigeration is a "throwaway"

system as no attempt is made to recover the nitrogen after it has eva-

porated. The system is suitable for journeys measured in days rather
than weeks, unless the nitrogen vessel can be replenished en route. Gases
other than nitrogen can be used but nitrogen is usually employed because
of its price and its inertness, and hence its safety.


Most marine refrigeration plants make use of the vapour compression
refrigeration cycle. As the refrigerants used are too expensive to be
allowed to blow to waste, after the refrigerant has done its cooling job
by evaporating in some form of evaporator, the gas is collected for
reliquefaction. This is accomplished by using a compressor to suck gas
from the evaporator at low pressure and to deliver it as hot compressed
gas to a condenser. The work done on the gas by the compressor raises
its temperature above that of the atmosphere (or sea water) so that either
air or water at normal atmospheric temperature can be used as the
cooling medium in the condenser.
To complete the circuit the liquid from the condenser passes through
a regulator, or expansion valve, which controls the flow of liquid to the

FIG. 4-Diagrammatic illustration of the refrigaatioll cycle, etc.

evaporator (see Fig. 4). The correct functioning of the expansion valve
is of paramount importance. The part of the circuit downstream from
the expansion valve to the suction valve of the compressor is called the

low pressure side of the system, and that from the compressor delivery
valve to the upstream side of the expansion valve is the high pressure side.
Compressors are usually of the continuous-running, fixed-speed type and
the correct functioning of the expansion valve is necessary to maintain
the appropriate amounts of refrigerant in the high and low pressure
sides. For high efficiency the amounts of refrigerant must be correct so
that, as shown in Fig. 4, there is enough refrigerant in the condenser
for the liquid refrigerant to be sub-cooled, and only enough refrigerant
in the evaporator to ensure that there is some superheating of the gas.
This correct working of the cycle is obtained when the total charge of
refrigerant in the system is correct, and its distribution between the low
and high pressure sides being correctly maintained by the expansion
Figure 4 illustrates an evaporator being used to cool br-ine, but the
refrigerant cycle is just the same if the evaporator is designed to cool
air directly, i.e. by blowing air over the surface of the evaporator rather
than by circulating brine.
Typical temperature differences for correct operation of marine plants
Condenser gauge above sea water goC (l5F);
Liquid sub-cooled by 6C (lOF);
Superheat 3C (5F) (for carbon dioxide plants);
14C (25F) (for R12 and R22 plants).
Apart from efficiency considerations, correct superheat is important
for the mechanical well being of the compressor. If there is no superheat,
liquid may be drawn into the compressor and cause damage to valves.
If there is too much superheat, then the discharge temperature will be too
high and cause the compressor to overheat.