Small diameter copper tubes known as MicroGroove’s, which allow for refrigerant-charge reduction, are increasing in China and around the world according to the International Copper Association (ICA).

“The use of smaller-diameter copper tubes began in China and is spreading to the rest of the world,” acknowledged Nigel Cotton, a program director for the European Copper Institute (ECI) and MicroGroove team leader for ICA.

The tubes have been utilised in CO2 and hydrocarbon heat exchangers to reduce the charge size. 

According to research, by ICA, air conditioner efficiency is increased and materials are reduced by using this heat exchange technology.

“It turns out that the smaller diameter tubes also help reduce refrigerant volume and so they are well suited for use with flammable low-GWP refrigerants in light commercial applications”, Cotton explained, “They are also well-suited for use in larger condenser coils and heat pumps.”

ICA supports research projects looking at reducing refrigerant volume in natural refrigerants.

Technical papers on tube correlations and coil simulations will be presented at the International Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Conference at Purdue University in July 2018.

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