Open Access
Dundon, Gary Patrick
Area of Honors:
Mechanical Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Andrew Lau, Thesis Supervisor
  • Zoubeida Ounaies, Honors Advisor
  • refrigeration cycle analysis
  • Energy efficiency
Current trends in many fields of engineering are leading to new developments in energy efficiency and new more efficient technology. However, this technology must often incorporate conflicting applications that allow for versatility for the user and peak operating efficiency of the device. One such technology, which is often taken for granted because it has not seemingly changed in many years, is the refrigerator which provides users with various temperature settings based on personal preference which each effect the operating efficiency of the device. The major issues facing the improvement of refrigerator design is the lack of interest in the effect that each individual temperature setting has on the efficiency of the refrigerator overall and the wide range of applications that a refrigerator can be used for. However, because there are so many different models of refrigerators of various sizes and efficiency ratings, the Absocold model refrigerator that is currently used in all Pennsylvania State University dorm rooms was chosen to accurately recreate conditions in the dorms and analyze the energy consumption trends to propose improvements in that specific refrigerator design. The analysis of the refrigerator design was achieved by conducting several tests which monitored power consumption and internal temperature of the refrigerator to determine baseline readings and test possible improvements to the design and usage of the refrigerator in the PSU dorms. The tests that were conducted included a baseline test where the refrigerator was run at “standard” conditions to generate a reference point for comparison to other tests, a ventilation test to determine the effect of ventilated air on the performance of the refrigerator, a test designed to determine the effect of improperly sealed or unclosed doors on the performance of the refrigerator, an insulation test to determine the effect of improved insulation on the performance of the refrigerator, and a test to determine the difference between a “full” and an “empty” refrigerator. These tests helped to iii generate prototype improvements to the system as well as suggestions for the relocation of the refrigerator in the dorm rooms to avoid overheating the environment. These improvements to the design and operation of the refrigerator will result in a reduction in power consumption and consequently savings on the cost of electricity in the dorms.