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Apparatus and method for evaporator defrosting

United States Patent

June 26, 2001
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Visit the Partnerships Directorate Website
An apparatus and method for warm-liquid defrosting of the evaporator of a refrigeration system. The apparatus includes a first refrigerant expansion device that selectively expands refrigerant for cooling the evaporator, a second refrigerant expansion device that selectively expands the refrigerant after the refrigerant has passed through the evaporator, and a defrosting control for the first refrigerant expansion device and second refrigerant expansion device to selectively defrost the evaporator by causing warm refrigerant to flow through the evaporator. The apparatus is alternately embodied with a first refrigerant bypass and/or a second refrigerant bypass for selectively directing refrigerant to respectively bypass the first refrigerant expansion device and the second refrigerant expansion device, and with the defrosting control connected to the first refrigerant bypass and/or the second refrigerant bypass to selectively activate and deactivate the bypasses depending upon the current cycle of the refrigeration system. The apparatus alternately includes an accumulator for accumulating liquid and/or gaseous refrigerant that is then pumped either to a refrigerant receiver or the first refrigerant expansion device for enhanced evaporator defrosting capability. The inventive method of defrosting an evaporator in a refrigeration system includes the steps of compressing refrigerant in a compressor and cooling the refrigerant in the condenser such that the refrigerant is substantially in liquid form, passing the refrigerant substantially in liquid form through the evaporator, and expanding the refrigerant with a refrigerant expansion device after the refrigerant substantially passes through the evaporator.
Mei; Viung C. (Oak Ridge, TN), Chen; Fang C. (Knoxville, TN), Domitrovic; Ronald E. (Knoxville, TN)
Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corp. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, TN)
09/ 396,062
September 15, 1999
STATEMENT OF FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH This invention was made with U.S. Government support under Contract No. DE-AC05-96OR22464, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation, and the Government has certain rights in this invention.