Purdue University Graduate School

File(s) under embargo

Reason: Results are planned to be published in journals.



until file(s) become available


posted on 2022-10-13, 20:58 authored by Puyuan WuPuyuan Wu


Part I studies the lubricant sprays and droplets in a rotary compressor. Air conditioning (AC) systems are now widely used in residential and commercial environments, while the compressor is the most important element in the AC system, and rotary compressors are often used in split AC appliances, whose number is estimated to reach 3.7 billion in 2050. In a rotary compressor, the lubricant oil atomizes into small droplets due to the differential pressure in and out of the cylinder. Part of the lubricant oil droplets carried by the refrigerant vapor will ultimately exhaust from the compressor through the discharge pipe. The ratio of the discharged oil volume to the total oil volume is characterized as the Oil Discharge Ratio (ODR). High ODR will reduce the reliability of the compressor and deteriorate the heat transfer of the condenser and the evaporator, resulting in decreased efficiency. Thus, controlling the ODR is a key issue for the design of the rotary compressor.

In Part I, rotary compressors were modified to provide optical access into its internal space, i.e., the lower cavity (refers to the space between the cylinder and the motor), above the rotor/stator, and at the discharge tube level. The modified rotary compressors’ operation was supported by a test rig which provided a wide range of operating conditions, e.g., pressure and frequency. Thus, in-situ optical measurements, e.g., shadowgraph and holograph, can be performed to visualize the lubricant sprays and droplets in the rotary compressor. An image processing routine containing the Canny operator and Convolutional Neural-Network was developed to identify droplets from high-resolution shadowgraph images, while Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and Optical Flow Velocimetry (OFV) were applied to calculate the spray and droplet’s velocities with time-resolved shadowgraph images. Parallel Four-Step Phase Shifting Holograph (PFSPSH) located the droplets’ positions in a three-dimensional volume under the specific operating condition.

Both primary and secondary atomization were observed in the rotary compressor, while primary atomization is the major source of droplet production. The droplet size distributions versus the frequency, vertical direction, radial direction, and pressure are obtained. It is observed that the droplet characteristic mean diameters increase with the frequency and pressure. They also become larger in the outer region above the rotor/stator and keep constant in the radial direction at the discharge tube level. The penetration velocity of the lubricant spray is calculated in the lower cavity. An outward shift of the jet core combined with an outward velocity component was observed. Additionally, horizontal swirling velocity above the rotor/stator and at the discharge tube level and the vertical recirculation velocity above the rotor/stator are characterized. The volume fraction of droplets was also characterized under the specific operating condition. The results provide detailed experimental data to set up the boundary conditions used in CFD. They also show that the droplets in the upper cavity are mostly from the discharge process of the cylinder in the lower cavity. The results support a droplet pathway model in the rotary compressor, which can guide the optimization of future rotary compressors.

Evaporation is commonly seen in hydrology, agriculture, combustion, refrigeration, welding, etc. And it always accompanies heat and mass transfer at the liquid-gas interface and is affected by the substance’s properties, the environment’s pressure, temperature, convection, and so on. PFSPSH in Part I aims to retrieve the phase information for holograph reconstruction. Part II further explores the application of the PFSPSH technology in Part I to observe the evaporation process of acetone, where the phase disturbance caused by the vapor is used to reconstruct the vapor concentration in space. The method is called Parallel Four-Step Phase Shifting Interferometer (PFSPSI). The first case studies the evaporation process of the acetone contained in a liquid pool with uniform air flow in a low-speed wind tunnel. The mole fractions of the acetone vapor near the liquid-air interface with different air speeds are characterized. The second case studies the evaporation process of acetone droplets levitated by an ultrasound levitator. The mole fraction of the acetone vapor near the liquid-air interface is characterized by assuming an axisymmetric field and using the analytical solution of the inverse Abel transform. The asymmetric pattern of the acetone vapor field is observed, which is considered due to the drastic sound pressure change at the stand wave location produced by the ultrasound levitator. The mass transfer of the evaporation process by the vapor’s mole fraction is calculated and compared with the mass transfer calculated by the droplet size change. It is observed that the mass transfer by the vapor’s mole fraction is generally smaller than the mass transfer calculated by the droplet size change, which can be explained by the convection process induced by the acoustic streaming.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jun Chen

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Paul E. Sojka

Additional Committee Member 2

Li Qiao

Additional Committee Member 3

Yangfan Liu