DIRECT EXPANSION (DX) COILS BASIC INFORMATION AND TUTORIALS


In a direct expansion coil, the refrigerant, R-22, R-134a, or others, is evaporated and expanded directly inside the tubes to cool and dehumidify the air. Refrigerant is fed to a distributor and is then evenly distributed to various copper tube circuits typically 0.375 in. in diameter.


Types of coils: (a) direct expansion coil, (b) water cooling coil, (c) water heating coil, and (d) steam
heating coil.


Fin density is usually 12 to 18 fins/in. and a four-row DX coil is often used. On the inner surface of the copper tubes, microfins, typically at 60 fins/in. and a height of 0.008 in., are widely used to enhance the boiling heat transfer.

Air and refrigerant flow is often arranged in a combination of counterflow and cross flow and the discharge header is often located on the air-entering side. Refrigerant distribution and loading in various circuits are critical to the coil’s performance.

Vaporized vapor refrigerant is superheated 10 to 20°F in order to prevent any liquid refrigerant from flooding back to the reciprocating compressors and damaging them. Finally, the vapor refrigerant is discharged to the suction line through the header.

For comfort air-conditioning systems, the evaporating temperature of refrigerant Tev inside the tubes of a DX coil is usually between 37 and 50°F. At such a temperature, the surface temperature of the coil is often lower than the dew point of the entering air.

Condensation occurs at the coil’s outside surface, and the coil becomes a wet coil. A condensate drain pan is necessary for each vertically banked DX coil, and a trap should be installed to overcome the negative pressure difference between the air in the coil section and the ambient air.

Face velocity of the DX coil va, in fpm, is closely related to the blow-off of the water droplets of the condensate, the heat transfer coefficients, the air-side pressure drop, and the size of the air system. For corrugated fins, the upper limit is 600 fpm, with an air-side pressure drop of 0.20 to 0.30 in. WG/row.

A large DX coil is often divided into two refrigerant sections, each with its own expansion valve, distributor, and discharge header. For a packaged unit of a specific model, size, face velocity and condition of entering air and outdoor air, the DX coil’s cooling capacities in nominal tons, number of rows, and fin density are all fixed values.

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