One hundred and twenty years ago a fire in the cold storage facility at the World’s Fair in Chicago claimed the lives of 16 victims, mainly fire fighters, and injured many more. Recent news reports of multiple
fatalities in China and India have shown that the lessons have still not been learned.
In the last article, we thought about noise. Now, it is vibration’s turn. Vibration is caused by movement and, with the exception of solid-state Peltier effect semiconductors, all refrigeration systems depend on something moving.
We have thought about various refrigerant choices, and now we turn to the hydrocarbon family, the most common of which, as a refrigerant, is propane. It has often been said that choosing a refrigerant is an exercise in compromise because there are so many competing factors to consider, and they are sometimes contradictory. Hence, there is no perfect refrigerant.
The previous column looked at good things and bad things, now we turn our attention to a family of refrigerants that transcends that discussion and causes deeply divided opinions to emerge on many fronts—the fluorinated alkenes, more commonly known as HFOs.
One of the most puzzling things to an outsider about the world of refrigeration is the polarizing effect that ammonia has on people. It is like that quintessentially English spread, Marmite—you either love it or hate it.
The skill of fridge guys in confusing others (and often themselves) has been mentioned in these columns before. This time, we tackle a word that is frequently used, but seldom understood, although most people seem to be oblivious to this. The word is “direct.”
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