Cooling systems are widely used in our everyday live. We use them in small scale home refrigerators, HVAC systems, or cars’ air conditioners. But also large scale chilled water systems are implemented in different sectors: HVAC for entire buildings and campuses, food processing, cooling dies in plastic manufacturing, conditioning various types of machines, computers, chemical processes etc. Thermodynamic phenomena powering chilled water system are also implemented in cryogenic processes, like nitrogen/oxygen separation or liquefaction of natural gas (LNG) for transport purposes.
Wide application of mentioned above systems gave inspiration for design and construction of the Cooling System in the UW Oshkosh Teaching and Energy Research Industrial Lab (TERIL).
The core of designed and constructed Cooling System is 3 ton, water cooled industrial chiller (Fig 1 – yellow box). The chiller is integrated with additional equipment commonly used in industry: flow rate meter (FM), pressure sensor (P), seven temperature sensors (T), four automatic control valves (C), plate liquid/liquid heat exchanger, and two liquid/air heat exchangers with two-stage air fans. To increase system demonstration capabilities, both: compressor and pump are powered by the variable speed drives. Power consumption in compressor as a main energy user is measured by additional meter. The system operation can be monitored on the remote computer with individually developed (LabView) software allowing its control and advanced data acquisition.
Water chilled in the TERIL Cooling System can be used in auxiliary system, for example for cooling of experimental furnace. The design allows also for autonomous system operation, where chilled water cools down chiller itself in the condenser. Of course, the second option does not have practical implementations in real life, but is very convenient for teaching and demonstration purposes in the TERIL.
INTEGRATION WITH THE ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM
The most valuable aspect of exercises supported by the TERIL is combination of theoretical college knowledge and real industrial applications. Understanding of presented TERIL Cooling System concept guaranties, that former students will apply their knowledge in any cooling system in real world, they will have to work with. Design and construction of the Cooling System provided great opportunities for students to exercise practical and hands-on skills in their individual studies.
Already constructed system allows for various types of individual measurements like power consumption (stationary meter and portable power logger), or temperature and pressure (stationary sensors and portable loggers) in both loops: water and refrigerant. In addition to that students are exposed on deeper analyses of collected data with proper understanding of the system operation. Two exercises on a TERIL Cooling System are a part of the course Measurements, Control and Data Acquisition (ENGR 342), offered for both Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology students:
- The I Thermodynamics Law in an industrial chiller. Theory and real application of the Rankine refrigeration cycle.
- The I Thermodynamic Law for control mass systems. Data mining for evaluation of chilled water systems.
The experimental setup provides also wider opportunities for the future individual studies oriented control, operation and analysis of cooling systems.
Department of Engineering and Engineering Technology