Transient refrigerant migration and oil distribution of an R134a automotive A/C system

S. Peuker, P. S. Hrnjak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Automotive fixed orifice tube (FOT) systems are especially prone to cycling losses due to their clutch cycling operation. Therefore, it is important to better understand the dynamics of the refrigerant and oil migration during transient events such as cycling and start-up. To measure the refrigerant mass and oil distribution of an automotive R134a FOT breadboard system, two ball valves around each component are added. By simultaneously closing the valves, the refrigerant and oil is trapped in different sections of the system and can be measured. The transient refrigerant migration during a stop-start transient as well as the refrigerant mass distribution as a function of system charge at steady state operation is presented. A transparent accumulator and transparent tubes at the inlet and outlet of the accumulator are used to visualize the flow of the refrigerant. High speed video snapshots are presented for the first seconds after the start-up. The oil distribution at steady state as a function of total refrigerant charge is presented. In addition, the entrainment ratio of the liquid refrigerant and oil mixture through the oil bleeding hole of the accumulator is determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)714-724
Number of pages11
JournalSAE Technical Papers
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Pollution
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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