Document Type : Original Article


1 Assoc. Professor, Dpt. of Mechanical Power Engineering , Faculty of Engineering at El-Mattaria (Helwan University), Masaken El-Helmia P. O., Cairo 11718, Egypt.

2 Graduate student, Dpt. of Mechanical Power Engineering , Faculty of Engineering at El-Mattaria (Helwan University).


The possibility of using hydrocarbon mixtures as working fluids to replace R134a in domestic refrigerators has been evaluated through a simulation analysis in the present work. Performance characteristics of domestic refrigerators were predicted over a wide range of evaporation temperatures (-35 to -10°C) and condensation temperatures (40 to 60°C) for various working fluids such as R134a, propane, commercial butane and propane/iso-butane/n-butane mixture with various propane mass fractions. Performance characteristics of the considered domestic refrigerator was identified by the coefficient of performance (COP), volumetric cooling capacity, cooling capacity, condenser capacity, input power to the compressor, discharge temperature, pressure ratio and the refrigerant mass flow rate. Results showed that pure propane could not be used as a drop-in replacement for R134a in domestic refrigerators because of its high operating pressures and low COP. Commercial butane yields many desrirable characteristics, but requires compressor change. Coefficient of performance of the domestic refrigerator using a ternary hydrocarbon mixture with propane mass fraction from 0.5 to 0.7 is higher than that of R134a. Comparison among the considered working fluids confirmed that average refrigerant mass flow rate of propoane/commercial butane mixture is 50% lqwer than that of R134a. Also, results indicated that R134a and propoane/commercial butane mixture of 60% propane mass concentration have approximately the same values of saturation pressure, compressor discharge temperature, condenser heat load, input power, cooling capacity and volumetric cooling capacity. However, the pressure ratio of the hydrocarbon mixture with 60% propane is lower than that of R134a by about 11.1%. Finally, the reported results confirmed that the propane/iso-butane/n-butane mixture with 60% propane is the best drop-in replacement for R134a in domestic refrigerators under normal, subtropical and tropical operating conditions.