Diagnostics and optimization of reciprocating chillers: Theory and experiment

K. C. Ng, H. T. Chua, W. Ong, S. S. Lee, J. M. Gordon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    50 Scopus citations


    We develop a simple analytic diagnostic model for reciprocating chillers. With only a handful of non-intrusive, in situ measurements, one can then ascertain quantitatively how chiller performance changes with time or after a prescribed modification. We derive how reciprocating chillers can be characterized by just three parameters with clear physical significance. We then verify the correspondence between theory and reality with detailed experimental measurements. It is also demonstrated how this model can be used to establish optimal operating conditions for reciprocating chillers, and to evaluate potential improvements that stem from changes in operating conditions or the distribution of heat exchanger inventory. Again, comparisons with actual performance data from commercial chillers are provided. We give quantitative expression to the contribution to chiller efficiency of internal dissipation from compression and throttling, and consequently reinforce the fact that endoreversible chiller models are far off the mark.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)263-276
    Number of pages14
    JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 1997


    • Chiller diagnostics
    • Chiller performance
    • Reciprocating chiller
    • Thermodynamic modeling

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
    • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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