Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Official blog of the Lehigh University Chemical Engineers

Heat Pump & Air Conditioner

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The heat pump is a reversed heat engine in general, and the most common example of it is the air conditioner. The air conditioner also goes through a vapor-compression cycle as in the refrigeration cycle discussed in an earlier post. One thing to note in this refrigeration cycle is that the compression pressure needs to make the condensation temperature of the refrigerant higher than the required temperature of your room. During the winter, the cold outside air serves a low-temperature heat source; the heat pump absorbs heat from the surroundings and reject heat into your room. During the summer, it does the opposite; the outside air serves as a high-temperature heat sink. Below is a picture of a problem we have to solve

heat pump problem

A problem in the textbook for finding minimum outside temperature for which the house can be maintained at 293.15K during the winter and the maximum outside temperature for which the house can be maintained at 298.16K during the summer. Given heat-transfer rate 0.75KJ per second for each degree temperature difference, and heat-pump rate 1.5kW


Author: Jerry Jin

Hello, My name is Jerry Jin. I'm a senior at Lehigh University pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. I'm from Allentown, PA, but I was born in Shanghai, China. I moved here when I was fourteen years old. I'm currently the secretary for Southeast Asia at Lehigh Club, and treasurer for SASE. I'm also on the Lehigh Ultimate Frisbee Team and I enjoy being spontaneous.

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