Heat pump, Coefficient of Performance ~ MECHTECH GURU

Heat pump

A heat pump is a device that transfers heat energy from a source of heat to what is called a heat sink. Heat pumps move thermal energy in the opposite direction of spontaneous heat transfer, by absorbing heat from a cold space and releasing it to a warmer one. A heat pump uses a small amount of external power to accomplish the work of transferring energy from the heat source to the heat sink. The most common design of a heat pump involves four main components – a condenser, an expansion valve, an evaporator and a compressor. The heat transfer medium circulated through these components is called refrigerant.

 Schematic representation of Heat Pump

Coefficient of Performance

The coefficient of performance, COP, of a refrigerator is defined as the heat removed from the cold reservoir Qcold, (i.e. inside a refrigerator) divided by the work W done to remove the heat (i.e. the work done by the compressor).

COP - coefficient of performance - equation

As can be seen, the better (more efficient) the refrigerator is when more heat Qcold can be removed from the inside of the refrigerator for a given amount of work. Since the first law of thermodynamics must be valid also in this case (Qcold + W = Qhot), we can rewrite the above equation:

The COP for heating and cooling are thus different, because the heat reservoir of interest is different. When one is interested in how well a machine cools, the COP is the ratio of the heat removed from the cold reservoir to input work. However, for heating, the COP is the ratio of the heat removed from the cold reservoir plus the input work to the input work: medium to a high-temperature is called heat pump.

 COP - coefficient of performance

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