About Condenser

Condenser is another exchanger in the air conditioning system, similar to the evaporator. The condenser is the device for the refrigerant to condense in it. The refrigerant is in high temperature and gas status when entering the condenser. The refrigerant condenses in the condenser, and become medium temperature and liquid status. In this process, the heat in the refrigerant is transit to the outside air (air cooled system) or water (water cooled system).

Types of Condensers

There are different types of condensers. Similar to the evaporator, they also aim to help the refrigerant keep close contact with the air or water, and to enlarge the contact surface as much as possible. Following are some most commonly used Condensers.

1. The Copper Tube with Aluminum Fins Condenser

It looks similar to the copper tube with aluminum type evaporator. This is type condenser are widely used in mini-split air conditioners, PTAC’s, VRF/VRV system, rooftop packaged air conditioners, big capacity air cooled chiller, etc. It is produced by multiple copper tubes and Aluminum fins. And the Copper tubes are always inner grooved, to make the contact surface of the condenser with air as large as possible. There is normally a fan behind the condenser. The fan will blow the air to or suction air through the condenser. The air contact with the tube-and-fins, and the heat is transited from refrigerant to the fins and then will be taken away by the air. It can freely adjust the size and shape, so it is widely used in above mention air conditioning units.

Copper Tube and Aluminum Fins Condenser
Fins on the Condenser
Inner Grooved Copper Tube

2. Tube-in-Tube Condenser

This is a type of water-cooled condenser. The tube-in-tube condenser is manufactures as one tube within another tube, and co-axial. The water goes in the inner tube, and refrigerant goes in the outer tube. The refrigerant and the water go in opposite directions. The heat can be transfer from the refrigerant to the water. It is normally used in small capacity (below 100kw) air source heat pumps.

Tube-in-tube Condenser
Inside of Tube-in-Tube Condenser

3. Plate Type Condenser

A plate heat exchanger contains a series of metal plates with channels to transmit heat between fluids, in HVAC they are refrigerant and water. It is plates over plates, and gaskets between plates. The gasket works in two functions, one is to avoid leakage, and the other is to control the flowing directions of the two liquids in this heat exchanger. The plates have a large surface area; therefore, they offer an excellent heat transfer rate. We need to be careful on water quality for this heat exchanger, or the mineral scale will clock the channels and make the heat exchanger broken. Please note the plate heat exchanger is not only used in HVAC, it also widely used in other industries.

Plate Heat Exchanger Theory
Gaskets of Plate Heat Exchanger

4. Shall and Tube condenser

It is the condenser produced of tubes within the shell. There are two mostly used types, the dry type and flooded type. The dry type shall and tube condense is that the refrigerant goes in the tubes, and the water in the shell. And flooded type is diverse to the dray type, the water is in the tubes and refrigerant in the shell. In the last post “About Evaporator”, There are description on the Shall and tube heat exchangers. They are same style but used in different location of the air conditioning system.

Dry Type Shall and Tube Heat Exchanger Theory
Dry type evaporator
Dry Type Shall and Tube Heat Exchanger
Flooded Type Shall and Tube Heat Exchanger Theory
Flooded Type Shall and Tube Heat Exchanger

Again, there are other types condensers as well. They are not mostly used, so we don’t list them here in this post.

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