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Sensor monitors oil circulation ratio in real time

USA:  A sensor that monitors the oil circulation ratio in real time, without disrupting the air conditioning or refrigeration system, has been developed by researchers at Purdue University.

According to the developers, the new autonomous sensor technology may help businesses monitor the health and functionality of the overall system much faster and easier than current options.

“Our technology is needed as more businesses use variable-speed HVAC systems,” said Orkan Kurtulus, a senior research engineer at Purdue’s Ray W Herrick Laboratories. “The ability to measure the OCR is critical to ensure the system is using the correct amount of oil for effectiveness and efficiency. Our sensor allows businesses to check the oil circulation without disrupting the system or requiring the tedious process previously used to monitor circulation.”

Capacity control in HVAC&R systems is being used by a growing number of businesses because it increases the efficiency and reduces costs by slowing the speed and energy level when a system does not need to operate at full capacity.

“Our cutting-edge approach for OCR quantification allows otherwise immiscible refrigerant pairs to be separated and analysed by a sensor in the suction line of HVAC&R systems,” said Vatsal Shah, a research assistant at Herrick Labs. “There remains an unmet need to mitigate oil retention in vapour compression systems, as this can cause inefficiency and even shorten the lifetime of HVAC&R equipment, especially in lieu of new variable speed and tandem compressor technologies, which implement repeated cycles.”

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