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[en] A hybrid air conditioner combining a thermosyphon cycle with a vapor compression refrigeration cycle has a large energy saving potential compared with a common air conditioner for spaces requiring year-round cooling. The performance of the switch between the vapor compression mode and the thermosyphon mode largely impacts the safety and reliability of hybrid air conditioners. Therefore, a self-operated three-way valve is proposed. A thermodynamic model and a kinetic model are developed in this paper to evaluate the dynamic performance of the switch valve. The effects of the spring force constant, compressor discharging volume, fit clearance and piston length on the dynamic performance of the switch valve are analyzed. In conclusion, the proposed self-operated three-way valve can realize the switch operation accurately. - Highlights: •A self-operated three-way valve is proposed for hybrid air conditioners. •The thermodynamic model and kinetic model of the self-operated three-way valve are developed. •The validity of models is verified by experiments. •Effects of four main design parameters on the operating performance of the valve are researched
[en] Highlights: • A visual thermosyphon loop test bench is established. • Partially liquid-filled phenomenon in the downcomer is discovered. • The driving force may be smaller than the conventional prediction. • Liquid head in the downcomer is self-regulated by influencing factors. • Larger height difference does not always lead to better performance. - Abstract: Two-phase thermosyphon loops (TPTLs) are beginning to be extensively used in the field of air conditioning and heat recovery, where they have quite different flow characteristics compared with the traditional TPTLs used in cooling of electronics. However, in the existing studies, the flow features in the downcomer were ignored, and most researchers simply thought the downcomer was always full of liquid. In this study, a visual experimental setup was established, the flow features in the downcomer were observed and measured. And the influencing factors including temperature difference, liquid charge, height difference, and circulation flow resistance on the liquid head have been identified and investigated experimentally. The results show that, different from the conventional understandings, the downcomer can be partially liquid filled. At this time, the upper part of downcomer is a static saturation gas blockage, surrounded by a layer of liquid film, which does not provide the driving force. The liquid head in the downcomer, which provides the driving force, shows great self-regulation ability with different working conditions. Increasing the refrigerant charge, temperature difference, circulation flow resistance, and decreasing the height difference drives the liquid head to rise, and the downcomer tends to be fully liquid filled.
[en] Highlights: • A performance evaluation index of two-phase thermosyphon loop was proposed. • Real cycles under different conditions were measured and evaluated. • The performance of the “ideal cycle” is the upper limit of all real cycles. • Reasons for lower approaching degree have been identified and illustrated visually. • Ideal cycle can be approached with optimal charge and height difference, no flow drag. - Abstract: For energy conservation, two-phase thermosyphon loops (TPTLs) have been widely used in air conditioning systems. Unfortunately, the evaluation index and design criterion of the TPTL is currently lacking, and causes for poor performance are inconclusive. In this study, an “ideal cycle” (optimal state) of the TPTL was proposed, and an approaching degree ε was defined to evaluate the extent of approaching the “ideal cycle”. Furthermore, a visual experimental platform was developed, and real cycles under different conditions were measured and evaluated. The results indicate that: (1) the performance of the “ideal cycle” is the upper limit of the performances of all real cycles, and the approaching degree provides an effective evaluation index and design criterion; (2) causes for low approaching degree have been identified and illustrated visually, from the perspective of refrigerant distribution, including under-charged refrigerant, over-charged refrigerant, insufficient height difference, and considerable flow resistance; and (3) the “ideal cycle” can be approached, only when the filling ratio (100%) and the height difference (1.2 m) is optimal, and the flow resistance is negligible simultaneously.