Where published:International Journal of Refrigeration
Positive displacement expanders are widely investigated and theirs models commonly use the REFPROP database to evaluate fluid properties. However, estimating procedures in CFD models using REFPROP result in heavy use of CPU time. Therefore, a study has been carried out to determine if simpler methods for fluid property estimation are suitable. The ANSYS CFX solver used includes a number of cubic equations of state, namely, the Redlich Kwong, Soave Redlich Kwong, Aungier Redlich Kwong and Peng Robinson. To determine their suitability, performance simulations were carried out with each of them, on a twin screw expander with a 4/5 rotor configuration and an “N” rotor profile, operating with R245fa, R290, R1336mzz(Z) and R1233zd(E). For each considered equation, the expander’s performance results deviation from those obtained using REFPROP is evaluated. These results show that the ideal gas equation of state gives predictions of flow and power that deviate significantly from those determined with REFPROP. The alternatively available cubic equations give far better agreement. Of these, the RK equation has the highest deviation, although it differs by only 2.2% maximum from the REFPROP values. The PR equation yields the closest agreement with a deviation of the order of only 0.8%, while the deviation with both SRK and ARK equations is less than 1.1% maximum, practically negligible. Apart from the good agreement obtained, the use of the real gas equations, in place of REFPROP, resulted in a saving of approximately 43% in CPU operating time to obtain same level of convergence of the solver.