A handful of mechanisms can be quoted by historians as major life-changers, the devices that granted us dominion over a higher quality of life. A machine that can turn water into ice and change a swelteringly hot room into an icy chamber definitely makes it onto this list. A freezer achieves this modern magic by taking advantage of the laws of thermodynamics. On looking behind the metaphorical curtains, the magic is really more of a scientific principle, one known as heat transferal through the compression and expansion of chemical gases. The components in this cooling and heating cycle harness some handy laws of physics, but let’s leapfrog intangible concepts and gain an understanding of the components that realize this theory.
1. An Insulated Cooling Space
A walk-in freezer uses insulating panels with a superior R-factor (thermal efficiency rating). A durable metal construction and the installation of state-of-the-art insulating materials count for everything in this design.
2. The Vaporized Refrigerant
Eco-friendly and highly efficient, HFCs, HCFCs and CFCs are the standard compounds used within freezer, though these highly regulated chemicals are currently being phased out due to their ozone layer depletion properties. Mainly speaking, potential environmental impact should be balanced by superior physical properties.
The Mechanics of the System
The working parts of a freezer include the following basic components:
The body of parts, when assembled, forms a circuit. The refrigerant passes into the compressor. The sealed vessel converts the low-pressure gas into a pressurized liquid, a change of state that produces heat behind the freezer. The vessel has to be rated to contain the pressure and to then pump the hot liquid to the next stage. The circuit concludes with the condenser coils and the evaporator coils, stages that harness those laws of thermodynamics we mentioned earlier. The evaporator coils receive the refrigerant as it rises in pressure and changes state once more, moving from liquid back to gas. The working fluid, refrigerant, acts as the transferal medium, absorbing and rejecting heat, with the expansion valve regulating the thermodynamic state of the refrigerant. An electric fan then blows the resulting mist of freezing-cold air. All of this freezing air is produced as a direct consequence of heat absorption as caused by the evaporation and pressure drop phase when the refrigerant pushes through the evaporative coil on its return voyage back to the compressor.
Compressor and fluid, condenser coil and evaporator coils, all are crucial parts in a freezer. Notably, when this arrangement is scaled up to handle walk-in freezer layouts, the system assumes an even more complex profile. Additional fans can enter the configuration to funnel away heat generated by the compressor, though passive cooling systems are typically adequate for this purpose.
A coolroom is classed as an enclosed construct, a room that maintains a climate controlled environment. The temperature encountered in this space is set above freezing point and below 4°C, thus ice does not form. Capable of keeping shelved food or pharmaceuticals stably stockpiled for extended periods of time, these enclosures are found in hotels, restaurants, markets, and medical laboratories. They play a prominent role in everything from the storage of consumer products, including beverages and groceries, and extend their functionality to the containment of medical-grade drugs. Undoubtedly classed as an essential storage space within any commercial venture, coolrooms are defined by storage medium, application needs, and internal layout.
Equip the space with a hinged or sliding door. A gasket seal is used in both instances, though the hinged door naturally provides better compression, hence a superior closure experience. Of course, superior though the standard door profile may appear, a sliding door does offer extended spatial clearance features. The interior layout then flows from the door and the size of the chamber. A 75mm thick insulation panel outline typically surrounds this space and ensures the stored matter stays uniformly cool, with concrete or an equivalent high-compression flooring profile delivering sustained loading alongside superior insulating properties.
Coolroom layouts vary widely, with the positioning of assets finding their profile from the usage pattern of the area. For example, a beverage space with customer access would have glass doors out in the market area but be loaded behind the scenes. Thus, a series of glass doors, an open loading space, and a ramped double door configuration would fulfil this high-capacity arrangement.
Other components in the basic layout of a coolroom include lighting and a low output refrigeration unit, electrical assemblies that provide cooling and illumination for workers. The next asset would be tables and hygiene-focused furnishings, fixtures that won’t corrode or provide a breeding place for bacteria. Ventilation ducts and exhaust points are provided at ceiling height. Meanwhile, sealed conduits and plumbing fixtures are affixed to the walls. Depending on the application of the room, these fixtures may provide tapping points for large beer canisters, drainage zones for work stations, and self-contained storage shelves should the application involve a medical scenario. One wall is typically kept empty of features. This provides a blank space for stacking floor-to-ceiling shelving, flat platforms where Tupperware containers, canned items, and other coolroom-approved produce can be stockpiled.
Whatever the application, establish the layout with kitchen staff or laboratory personnel. Finally, avoid clutter and keep stored item capacity below the 66 percent mark to ensure airflow is maximized.
C&M Coolrooms can create a custom solution for your specific needs. Talk to one of team members today.