Concept

Refrigerant

Summary
A refrigerant is a working fluid used in the refrigeration cycle of air conditioning systems and heat pumps where in most cases they undergo a repeated phase transition from a liquid to a gas and back again. Refrigerants are heavily regulated due to their toxicity, flammability and the contribution of CFC and HCFC refrigerants to ozone depletion and that of HFC refrigerants to climate change. Refrigerants are used in a direct expansion (DX) system to transfer energy from one environment to another, typically from inside a building to outside (or vice versa) commonly known as an "air conditioner" or "heat pump". Refrigerants can carry per kg 10 times more energy than water and 50 times more than air. Refrigerants are controlled substances due to high pressures (100-145 psi), extreme temperatures (-50°C to over 100°C), flammability (A1 class non-flammable, A2/A2L class flammable and A3 class extremely flammable/explosive) and toxicity (B1-low, B2-medium & B3-high), as classified by ISO 817 & ASHRAE 34. Refrigerants must only be handled by qualified/certified engineers to the relevant classes of refrigerant eg in the UK C&G 2079 if A1 class PLUS C&G 6187-2 if A2/A2L & A3 class refrigerants. The first air conditioners and refrigerators employed toxic or flammable gases, such as ammonia, sulfur dioxide, methyl chloride, or propane, that could result in fatal accidents when they leaked. In 1928 Thomas Midgley Jr. created the first non-flammable, non-toxic chlorofluorocarbon gas, Freon (R-12). The name is a trademark name owned by DuPont (now Chemours) for any chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), or hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant. Following the discovery of better synthesis methods, CFCs such as R-11, R-12, R-123 and R-502 dominated the market. Montreal Protocol In the early 1980s, scientists discovered that CFCs were causing major damage to the ozone layer that protects the earth from ultraviolet radiation, and to the ozone holes over polar regions.
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