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How Does Refrigeration Work?

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inside refrigerator

inside refrigerator

It is quite difficult to imagine a modern food industry without refrigeration. Whether it is domestic or commercial food-management refrigeration is of paramount importance.

To keep the food fresh for a longer time and to cut down the food wastage, the refrigerators are in use in a wide range everywhere.

But after a question that can pop-up in your mind is how does the refrigeration system work? The performance of the refrigerator totally depends on this system. Here is how it works:

Overview of the refrigeration cycle:

Most of the refrigerants come with the refrigeration cycle, which is complex yet, not so hard to understand. The refrigeration cycle basically refers to the movements of the refrigerant starting from one place to the other.

Each of the movements follows the different forms which actually take place to pull down the temperature for cooling. It can either take place in a cabinet or on a counter. Also, it sometimes follows the cold room format.


How does the refrigeration cycle work?

The refrigeration totally depends on its various components, which helps it to work in a proper way. The refrigeration cycle in a major way is dependent upon the compressor.

Basically, it starts with the compressor and also ends with it. Check out Iron Mountain Refrigeration to know more about it.

  • How does the refrigeration cycle start?

The refrigerant usually flows into the compressor. Then it gets compressed and pressurized. During this point, the refrigerant works as a hot gas. The refrigerant then gets pushed to the condenser, which makes the vapor turn into liquid.

Then it absorbs some of the heat. The refrigerant then follows towards the Expansion Valve. The expansion valve is the place where the refrigerant expands and starts losing pressure and heat.


  • How does the refrigeration cycle end?

When the refrigerant comes out of the expansion valve, it is usually cold and slow as it loses the pressure and the heat. Then the refrigerant enters into the evaporator in a state of a liquid. Here it exchanges the heat to improve the loading of cooling inside of the refrigerator.

As soon as the gas cools down the loading, it starts absorbing the heat, which turns it into the form of a gas. The gas is then pushed back to the compressor, where it again starts the cycle.

During this cycle of refrigeration, oftentimes, the ice build-up takes place around the evaporator. The modern refrigerators come with a defrost system that prevents this ice build-up.


What are the main components of the refrigeration cycle?

To accomplish the complete refrigeration cycle, the refrigerators use a variety of components. Each of the components has its own function in a variety of ways, while the ultimate goal is cooling.

Most of the standard refrigerator comes with the mechanical elements which make the process easier for achieving and maintaining the cold temperature. They are the main components that maintain the entire cycle in a precise way.

Most of the refrigerators include a compressor, expansion valve, condenser, and evaporator. Also, a fridge has to make use of a refrigerant, which ensures the proper cooling effect.

The refrigerant needs to pass through all of the components to achieve the ultimate loss of temperature. Here are the components and their functionalities:

  • Compressor:

The compressor works as the controller to properly control the flow of the refrigerant. It usually acts as a motor and a pump. It allows the pressurizing of the refrigerant, and then it reduces the volume of the refrigerant.

The compressor usually comes in a variety of forms. It comes in five types of variables that are used in both commercial and domestic refrigerators. The five types of compressors are:

  • Reciprocating
  • Screw
  • Rotary
  • Centrifugal
  • Scroll

From the five of the type, reciprocating is the most commonly used one for both commercial and household purposes.

Car air conditioner condenser leaking check

Car air conditioner condenser leaking check

  • Condenser:

The condenser works to condense the refrigerant. The refrigerant that enters the condenser gets hot and pressurized. The condenser then cools the refrigerant while converting it into the form of a liquid. Here are the three types of condensers that come in a variety of refrigerators.


  • Air Cooled:

The air-cooled condensers are usually used in small refrigerators, which are used for domestic purposes.

The air-cooled compressor or the coil condenser uses an aluminum or a copper coil at the back of the fridge. The coil starts increasing in the surface area to cool the refrigerant.


  • Water-cooled condenser:

The water-cooled condensers are usually used in large plants where more refrigerants are used. It uses the water to provide the cooling effect on the refrigerant.


  • Evaporative Condensers:

The evaporative condensers are used for the ice plants. It works with a combination of water-cooled and air-cooled condensers.


  • Expansion Valve:

The expansion valve is used to reduce the pressure and the temperature in the refrigerant. The drop in the temperature and pressure serves the cooling effect.

The expansion valve starts regulating the amount of refrigerant which is used to meet the loading requirement.  The load works as the product, which requires cooling for the refrigerators.

Here are various types of expansion valves:

  • Capillary tube
  • Float valve
  • Thermostatic expansion valves
  • Constant pressure or automatic throttling valve


  • Evaporator:

The evaporator in a refrigerator works to absorb the heat inside the refrigerator. It works as the medium to exchange heat from the various stored products towards the refrigerant. The evaporator works as the coldest part of a fridge.

The refrigerant here is cold and moves at a very slow pace to absorb the maximum heat from the load. As it starts absorbing the heat, it starts getting hotter and turns into a gas.

While vaporizing the refrigerant, more heat is absorbed from the loading. The refrigerant is not hot and filled with gas, and then it pushes back into the compressor.

How does refrigeration work_

How does refrigeration work_


While the refrigerator works as a brilliant component for cooling, it uses a variety of cycles, which includes compressing the refrigerant and cooling it. Both the commercial and the domestic refrigerators have many similarities in the cooling process, which is the ultimate technology to keep the food fresh for a long time.

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