Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2021-07-28, 10:55 authored by Jie MaJie Ma

Current air conditioning systems generally operate with a relatively fixed moisture removal capacity, and indoor humidity conditions are usually not actively controlled in most buildings. If we focus only on sensible heat removal, an air conditioning system could operate with a fairly high evaporating temperature, and consequently a high coefficient of performance (COP). However, to provide an acceptable level of dehumidification, air conditioners typically operate with a much lower evaporating temperature (and lower COP) to ensure that the air is cooled below its dew point to achieve dehumidification. The latent (moisture related) loads in a space typically only represent around 20-30% of the total load in many environments; however, the air conditioning system operates 100% of the time at a low COP to address this small fraction of the load. To address issues associated with inadequate dehumidification and high energy consumption of conventional air conditioning systems, the use of a separate sensible and latent cooling (SSLC) system can dramatically increase system COP and provide active humidity control. Most current SSLC approaches that are reported in the literature require the installation of multiple components or systems in addition to a conventional air conditioner to separately address the sensible and latent loads. This approach increases the overall system installation and maintenance costs and complicates the controller design.

A sequential SSLC system is proposed and described in this work takes full advantage of readily available variable speed technology and utilizes independent speed control of both the compressor and evaporator fan, so that a single direct expansion (DX) air-conditioning (A/C) system can be operated in such a way to separately address the sensible and latent loads in a highly efficient manner. In this work, a numerical model of DX A/C system is developed and validated through experiential testing to predict the performance under varied equipment speeds and then used to investigate the energy saving potential with the implementation of the proposed sequential SSLC system. To realize the sequential SSLC system approach, various corresponding control strategies are proposed and explained in this work that minimizes energy consumption while provides active control over both space temperature and relative humidity. At the end of this document, the benefits of applying the SSLC system in a prototype residential building under different typical climate characteristics are demonstrated.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Civil Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

W. Travis Horton

Additional Committee Member 2

Ming Qu

Additional Committee Member 3

James E. Braun

Additional Committee Member 4

Eckhard A. Groll