Interactive Self-Study Module: Refrigeration Cycle


This module uses a screencast and an interactive simulation to explain the details of the ordinary vapor composition (OVC) refrigeration cycle. It then provides example problems to allow the user to test themselves. Your retention of material in this module will increase if you write down reasons for your answers to ConcepTests, questions in the screencast, and questions to answer before using the interactive simulation, and you try to solve the example problems before watching the screencast solutions. We suggest using the learning resources in the following order:

  1. Attempt to answer the multiple-choice ConcepTest and solve the example problem before watching the screencasts or working with the simulations.
  2. Watch the screencast that describes the cycle and answer the questions within the screencast.
  3. Review important equations for the refrigeration cycle.
  4. Use the interactive simulation to further understand the behavior of the cycle.
  5. Try to solve the example problems before watching the solutions in the screencasts.
  6. Answer the ConcepTests.
  7. Look at the list of key points, but only after you try to list the key points yourself.
  • The refrigeration cycle is the model used for refrigerators.
  • This module is intended for a thermodynamics course.
Before studying this module, you should:
After studying this module, you should be able to:
  • Determine the phases present at different points in the cycle.
  • Do energy balances for each part of a refrigeration cycle.
  • Calculate the coefficient of performance (COP) for a refrigeration cycle using the first and second laws.
  • Predict how the COP changes as conditions in the refrigeration cycle change.
  • Sketch the OVC refrigeration cycle on a T-S and a P-H diagram.
  • Explain the purpose of the compressor, condenser, throttle valve, and evaporator in an OVC cycle.