By William Bentley, Sensata Technologies (www.sensata.com)
Evolving government mandates dictate that equipment manufacturers migrate to using chemicals that do not adversely impact the environment. In the refrigeration/ cooling arena, this means that manufacturers are replacing the old classes of chemical refrigerants that emit potent greenhouse gases, such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), with less damaging, green refrigerants that do not deplete the ozone layer and have low impact on global warming.
These alternative types of refrigerants are naturally occurring, non-synthetic substances that can be used as cooling agents in refrigerators and air conditioners and include hydrocarbons (propane, butane, and cyclopentane), CO2, ammonia, water and air.
For OEMs building refrigeration and air conditioning systems, these government regulations bring new challenges, not only for selecting the best type of refrigerant for the given application, but also for selecting components that can handle the specific refrigerant’s technical challenges and performance characteristics...
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