Volume 40, No 1, 2018, Pages 19–51

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A Historical Review on the Tribological Performance of Refrigerants used in Compressors


M.U. Bhutta*, Z.A. Khan, N. Garland, A. Ghafoor

DOI: 10.24874/ti.2018.40.01.03


Refrigerants directly affect the tribological performance of interacting components in a compressor. Since the introduction of artificially formulated refrigerants, the types of refrigerants used in compressors have changed over the years. Apart from evaluating the physical, chemical and thermodynamic properties of refrigerants, the refrigerants have also been studied from a view point of tribology by various researchers worldwide. Changing a refrigerant in a compressor not only has an effect on the thermodynamic cycle but also effects the lubricants viscosity, lubricants pressure-viscosity coefficient, oil film thickness, lubricant/refrigerant miscibility, friction, wear, durability, reliability and overall power consumption. Refrigerants have been studied from a view point of tribology by varying the contact geometries, by using different lubricating oils with and without additives, by altering the environmental pressure/temperature, by changing the phase of the refrigerant, by using different interacting materials and by applying numerous surface treatments. The tribological behavior of refrigerants can be better understood by consolidating the findings in a comprehensive manner. An in-depth review on the tribological behavior of refrigerants is missing from the literature. This article reviews the tribological studies carried out on refrigerants, with focus on refrigerants used in domestic appliances, automobile air-conditioning systems and small scale industrial and commercial applications.


Wear, Friction, Viscosity, Triboilogy, Compressor, Refrigerants, Oil Film Thickness

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