The Optimal Intercooling of Compressors by a Finite Number of Intercoolers

[+] Author and Article Information
P. Vadasz

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Durban—Westville, Durban, South Africa

D. Weiner

Research and Development Division, The Israel Electric Corporation Ltd., Haifa, Israel

J. Energy Resour. Technol 114(3), 255-260 (Sep 01, 1992) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2905950 History: Received September 12, 1991; Revised April 29, 1992; Online April 16, 2008


Intercooling of compressors is necessary for an efficient process. Among the optimal criteria required, minimizing the compression-specific work is one of the more commonly used. Upon ideal conditions, such a criterion leads to an isothermal compression whose importance is purely theoretical, since it requires an infinite number of intercoolers. In this paper the evaluation of correction factors to the well-known relations of the optimal location of intercoolers in a compression process and its corresponding work of compression was performed for a general compression process which accounts for pressure losses and other irreversibilities as well. As a result of including the pressure losses in the equations, a finite number of intercoolers is evaluated as optimum. The results, although qualitatively expected, show a quantitative nonempirical figure of the optimal number of intercoolers as a function of the terminal pressure ratio and as a function of the relative pressure losses . The ideal conditions are evaluated and verified as a particular case by assuming no pressure losses. In practice, these results can be used as an upper limit for technoeconomical optimization processes.

Copyright © 1992 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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