The sources of loss in such an apparatus are:

a. Radiation and conduction of heat from all vessels and pipes above normal temperature, which can, to a large extent, be prevented by lagging.

b. Conduction of heat from without into all vessels and pipes that are below normal temperature, which can also to a large extent be prevented by lagging.

c. Inefficiency of economizer, by reason of which heat obtained by the expenditure of steam in the generator is passed on to the absorber and there uselessly imparted to the cooling water.

d. The entrance of water into the refrigerator, due to the liquid being not perfectly anhydrous.

e. The useless evaporation of water in the generator. With regard to the amount of heat used, it will have been seen that the whole of that required to vaporize the ammonia, and whatever water vapor passes off from the generator, has to be supplied from without. Owing to the fact that the heating takes place by means of coils, the steam passed through may be condensed, and thus each pound can be made to give up some 950 units of heat. With the absorption process worked by an efficient boiler, it may be taken that 200,000 thermal units per hour may be eliminated by the consumption of about 100 lb. of coal per hour, with a brine temperature in the refrigerator of about 20° Fahr.

Compression Process

In this process ammonia is used in its anhydrous form. So far as the action of the refrigerator is concerned, it is precisely the same as it is in the case of the absorption apparatus, but instead of the vapor being liquefied by absorption by water, it is drawn from the refrigerator by a pump, by means of which it is compressed and delivered into the condenser at such pressure as to cause its liquefaction at the temperature of the cooling water. It must be borne in mind, however, that allowance must be made for the rise of temperature of the water passing through the condenser, and also for the difference in temperature necessary in order to permit the transfer of heat from one side of the cooling surface to the other. In a compression machine the work applied to the pump may be accounted for as follows:

a. Friction.

b. Heat rejected during compression and discharge.

c. Heat acquired by the ammonia in passing through the pump.

d. Work expended in discharging the compressed vapor from the pump.

But against this must be set the useful mechanical work performed by the vapor entering the pump. The heat rejected in the condenser is the heat of vaporization taken up in the refrigerator, less the amount due to the higher pressure at which the change in physical state occurs, plus the heat acquired in the pump, and less the amount due to the difference between the temperature at which the vapor is liquefied in the condenser and that at which it entered the pump. An ammonia compression machine, as applied to ice making, contains ice-making tanks, in which is circulated a brine mixture, uncongealable at any temperature likely to be reached during the process. This brine also circulates around coils of wrought iron pipes, in which the liquid ammonia passing from the condenser is vaporized, the heat required for this vaporization being obtained from the brine. A pump draws off the ammonia vapor from the refrigerator coils, and compresses it into the condenser, where, by means of the combined action of pressure and cooling by water, it assumes a liquid form, and is ready to be again passed on to the refrigerator for evaporation.

The ammonia compression process is more economical than the absorption process, and with a good boiler and engine about 240,000 thermal units per hour can be eliminated by the expenditure of 100 lb. of coal per hour, with a brine temperature in the refrigerator of about 20° Fahr.

General Considerations

From what has been said, it will have been seen that, so far as the mere application is concerned, there is no difference whatever between the absorption and compression processes. The following considerations, therefore, which chiefly relate to the application of refrigerating apparatus, will be dealt with quite independent of either system. The application of refrigerating apparatus may roughly be divided into the following heads:

a. Ice making.

b. The cooling of liquids.

c. The cooling of stores and rooms.

Ice Making

For this purpose two methods are employed, known as the can and cell systems respectively. In the former, moulds of tinned sheet copper or galvanized steel of the desired size are filled with the water to be frozen, and suspended in a tank through which brine cooled to a low temperature in the refrigerator is circulated. As soon as the water is completely frozen, the moulds are removed, and dipped for a long time into warm water, which loosens the blocks of ice and enables them to be turned out. The thickness of the blocks exercises an important influence upon the number of moulds required for a given output, as a block 9 in. thick will take four or five times as long to freeze solid as one of only 3 in. In the cell system a series of cellular walls of wrought or cast iron are placed in a tank, the distance between each pair of walls being from 12 to 16 in., according to the thickness of the block required. This space is filled with the water to be frozen. Cold brine circulates through the cells, and the ice forms on the outer surfaces, gradually increasing in thickness until the two opposite layers meet and join together. If thinner blocks are required, the freezing process may be stopped at any time and the ice removed.

In order to detach the ice it is customary to cut off the supply of cold brine and circulate brine at a higher temperature through the cells. Ice frozen by either of the above described methods from ordinary water is more or less opaque, owing to the air liberated during the freezing process, little bubbles of which are caught in the ice as it forms, and in order to produce transparent ice it is necessary that the water should be agitated during the freezing process in such a way as to permit the air bubbles to escape. With the can system this is generally accomplished by means of arms having a vertical or horizontal movement. These arms are either withdrawn as the ice forms, leaving the block solid, or they are made to work backward and forward in the center of the moulds, dividing the block vertically into two pieces. With the cell system agitation is generally effected by making a communication between the bottom of each water space and a chamber below, in which a paddle or wood piston is caused to reciprocate. The movement thus given to the water in the chamber is communicated to that in the process of being frozen, and the small bubbles of air are in this way detached and set free.