What is condenser and their types (In refrigeration systems)


  • Condenser is a device used in the high pressure side of a refrigeration system. The function of condenser is to remove heat of the hot vapour refrigerant discharged from the compressor. The heat from the hot vapour refrigerant in a condenser is removed first by transferring it to the walls of the condenser tubes and then from the tubes to the condensing or cooling medium.


The types of condenser:-

  • Air-cooled condensers
  • Water-cooled condensers
  • Evaporative condensers


  • Air-cooled condenser:- In these condensers, the heat is removed by air and it consists of steel of copper tubing through which the refrigerant flows. The size of tube usually ranges from 6 mm to 18 mm outside diameter.

     Air cooled condensers are two types:
           1:-Natural convection air-cooled condenser
           2:-Forced convection air-cooled condenser
  • Natural Convection Air-cooled Condenser:In these condenser,the heat transfer form the condenser coils to the air is by nature condenser. As the air comes in contact with the warm condenser tubes,it absorbs heat from the refrigerant and thus the temperature of air increases. The warm air being lighter, rises up and the cold air from below rises to take away the heat form the condenser. This cycle comtinues in natural convection air-cooled condensers.
  • Forced Convection Air-Cooled Condenser:-In this type of air-cooled condenser, a fan or blower is employed to move air over the condenser coil at a certain velocity. The condenser coil is of the finned type and fines  are closely spaced (ranging between 5-7 fins/cm). the space the fins gets choked with dirt. Therefore to obtain optimum capacity, the fins should be kept clean.
  • Water-Cooled Condenser:-In these condenser, the heat is removed by water and they are always preferred where an adequate supply of clear inexpensive water and means of water disposal are available.

     Types of water cooled condenser:- The types of water cooled condenser are given below:-
  • Tube-in-tube or double tube condensers,
  • Shell and coil condensers, and
  • Shell and tube condensers.
  1. Tube-in-tube or double tube condenser:- This type of condenser consistes of water tube inside a large refrigerant tube and the hot vapour refrigerant enters at the top of the condenser. The water absorbs the heat from the refrigerant and the condensed liquid refrigerant flows at the bottom. Since, the refrigerant tubes are exposed to ambient air, therefore some of the heat is also absorbed by ambient air by natural convection.
  2. Shell and coil condensers:- In a shell and coil condenser vapour refrigerant enters the shell whereas the cooling water flowing through the coil causes condensation.
  3. Shell and tube condenser:- This type of condenser consists of a cylindrical steel shell containing a number of straight water tubes. The tube are expanded into grooves in the tube sheet holes to form a vapour tight fit. The tube sheet are welded to the shell at both the ends and the removable water boxes are bolted to the tube sheet at each end to facilitate cleaning of the condenser.

  • Evaporative condensers:- In an evaporative condenser both air and water are employed as a condensing medium. Water is pumped from the sump of the evaporative condenser to a spray header and sprayed over the condenser oil. At the same time a fan draws air from the bottom side of the condenser and discharged out at the top of the condenser. The spray water coming in contact with the condenser-tube surface, evaporates into the air stream, the amount of heat for vaporizing the water being taken from the refrigerant, thereby condensing the gas. The cold water that drops down into a sump is recirculated. In order to make up the deficiency caused by the evaporated water, additional water is supplied to the sump. A float valve in the sump, controls the make-up supply and the eliminator is provided above the spray header to stop particles of water escaping along with the discharge air.

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