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Enhancement of vapor compression cycle performance using nanofluids

Experimental results

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Recently, Egypt is facing an energy problem due to the increase in consumption and population. There are two ways to face this issue; first, the world should be more interested in renewable energy resources and the second is the efficient use of energy. Refrigeration and air conditioning systems have a high rate of electrical power consumption. For that, the objective of the present work is to enhance the performance of the vapor compression cycle as well as to reduce the energy consumption resultantly. To achieve these goals, the performance of a vapor compression cycle with nanomaterials additives to the primary loop of refrigeration (refrigerant loop) is investigated experimentally. Mineral oil and polyol ester oil with Al2O3 nanomaterials additives are used to enhance the performance in the vapor compression cycle with R-143a refrigerant. The stability of nanofluids was first tested by using sedimentation test. The results showed that the optimum concentration for nanolubricant is 0.1% mass percentage. Results revealed that the refrigerant heat transfer coefficient increased by 22% maximum when nanofluids were used. Moreover, exergy efficiency increases by 20% when mineral oil and Al2O3 nanoparticles were used. The experimental results indicate that R-134a and mineral oil with Al2O3 nanoparticles enhance the vapor compression cycle performance by 22.5% theoretically and 10% actually with 10% less energy consumption. These results were obtained with 0.1% mass fraction of nanolubricant oil. Moreover, experimental results indicate that the polyester oil with Al2O3 nanoparticles mixture has better performance than mineral oil with Al2O3 nanoparticles mixture by 7.5% in theoretical COP and 19.5% in actual COP.

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The surface area of evaporator coil area (m2)

C w :

Water specific heat (kJ kg−1 K−1)

C p :

Specific heat (kJ kg−1 K−1)

h :

The coefficient of heat transfer (W m−2 K−1)

h 1–4 :

Enthalpy of the refrigerant at different locations of the cycle (kJ kg−1)

h w :

Heat transfer coefficient of water (W m−2 K−1)

h fg :

Latent heat of vaporization (kJ kg−1)

k :

Thermal conductivity (Wm−1 K−1)

m w :

Mass of water (cooling load) (kg)

q :

Heat flux (W m−2)

q c :

Heat removed from refrigerant (kJ kg−1)

q e :

Heat added to refrigerant (refrigeration effect) (kJ kg−1)

s 1–4 :

The entropy of refrigerant at different locations of the cycle (kJ kg−1)

T :

Temperature (K)

T s :

The surface temperature of evaporator coil (K)

T :

Average water temperature (K)

ΔTw :

Water temperature difference

w :

Compressor work (kJ kg−1)

w in :

Work input (kJ kg−1)

\(X_{{{\text{n}},{\text{o}}}}\) :

Nanoparticle/lubricant suspension concentration







Al2O3 :

Aluminum oxide

CO2 :

Carbon dioxide




Copper oxide



SiO2 :

Silicon dioxide


Titanium oxide

TiO2 :

Tanium dioxide

\(\rho\) :

Density (kg m−3)

\(\mu\) :

Dynamic viscosity (Pa s)

\(\varOmega\) :

Nanomaterial + lubricant oil mixture concentration

\(\eta_{\text{x}}\) :

Exergy efficiency (%)

Фv :

The volume fraction of nanomaterials

\(\omega_{\text{n}}\) :

Nanoparticle mass fraction in the nanoparticle–lubricant mixture


Specific exergy

\(\psi_{\text{n}}\) :

Nanovolume mass fraction in the nanoparticle–lubricant mixture


Surface tension


Base fluid


















Nanoparticle with oil


Refrigerant with oil


Refrigerant with nanoparticle and oil


The coefficient of performance


Carbon nanotubes


Multi-wall carbon nanotubes


Polyolester oil


With using nanoparticle


Without using nanoparticles


The vapor compression cycle




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The authors would like to acknowledge the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) for funding this work and the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST) for providing the equipment and tools required for this research.

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Correspondence to Aly M. A. Soliman.

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Soliman, A.M.A., Abdel Rahman, A.K. & Ookawara, S. Enhancement of vapor compression cycle performance using nanofluids. J Therm Anal Calorim 135, 1507–1520 (2019).

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