What does a condenser do in an air conditioner?

AC’s structure:

  1. Condenser
  2. Expansion valve
  3. Evaporator
  4. Compressor

The main units of any standalone air conditioner (or any refrigerator) are:

Compressor: it compresses the processing medium – the refrigerant (mostly Freon) and maintains its circulation.

Condenser is a kind of radiator located in the outdoor unit. The name stands for the process taking place in it when the AC is in operation mode – Freon’s gas to liquid phase change (condensation). For higher efficiency and durability, most condensers are made of copper or aluminum.

Evaporator is a kind of radiator located in the indoor unit. It changes Freon from liquid to gas (vaporization). Most evaporators are made of copper or aluminum.

Expansion valve is a component, which controls Freon pressure at the evaporator’s inlet.

Fans create airflow around the evaporator and condenser. They are used for better heat exchange with the surrounding environment.

AC condenser: basic parameters

Well, what does a condenser do in an air conditioner? The condenser is one of the main components of any refrigerator, as is the compressor. It is used to transfer the refrigerant’s energy to the outer environment.

How does a condenser work?

The condenser releases heat that comes in from the refrigerant via air or water. The heat indicator exceeds the AC’s refrigerator’s capacity by around 30%. With the capacity amounting to 20 kWt, the condenser will produce 25-27 kWt of heat energy.

Air-cooled condensers are the most popular.

The device features a heat exchanger and fan unit that is equipped with an electric motor. As refrigerant flows down the pipes, the fan blows on them and thus cools down air. Air moves at a speed of 1-3.3 m/s.

The heat exchanger consists of finned tubes, each being 6-20 mm in diameter, with fins placed 1-3 mm away from each other. Most finned pipes are made of copper, because it is resistant to oxidation and boasts high heat conductivity. Fins are usually made of aluminum.

There are various types of fins, as they define an exchanger’s hydraulic and thermal characteristic. The intricate shape with an abundance of sharp ends and gaps causes air to swirl around the exchanger (turbulence). This will make the transfer of heat from the coolant to the ambience more effective and boost the AC’s cooling performance.

There are two ways the tubes can be connected with the fins:

The tubes are run through holes in the fins. This is the simplest yet not very effective type of connection. Because the contact between the tubes and fins is too weak, the exchange will be less effective. If the medium in the condenser gets polluted, the connection areas may rust and dull the device’s performance.

The tubes and fins can connected with the help of collars. Although this method of connection is more complex and costly, it provides a larger surface for heat exchange. The refrigerant’s heat emission can be increased through using heat exchangers with tubes that have corrugated walls. They create turbulence in the coolant’s flow.

Most condensers have 1-4 rows of tubes, and they are placed according to the refrigerant flow direction. Sometimes they are arranged in a chess pattern just for better heat exchange.