Air Squared Projects

Oil-Free Scroll Compressor for Space Refrigerator

The P09H014A-BLDC-SH-LC is an oil-free, semi-hermetic, liquid-cooled refrigeration compressor designed to support long-term food storage in space.

P09H014A-BLDC-SH-LC Oil-Free Scroll Refrigeration Compressor
P09H014A-BLDC-SH-LC Oil-Free Scroll Refrigeration Compressor

Vapor-compression refrigeration systems commonly use widely-manufactured oil-lubricated scroll and reciprocating compressors to superheat saturated vapor from the evaporator and circulate to the condenser. For operation in space, however, a vapor-compression cycle requires an oil-free compressor solution, as the zero-gravity environment causes standard oil return mechanisms to fail.

Intended to support the Zero-Gravity Vapor Compression Refrigerator developed by Air Squared, the P09H014A-BLDC-SH-LC oil-free scroll refrigeration compressor incorporates three innovative design features. First, the unit introduces liquid cooling to fixed scroll and electric motor, which keeps the compression process cool and improves the efficiency of the vapor-compression cycle. Second, the semi-hermetic design allows for pressurized inlet fluid and eliminates the need for sealed pass-throughs, resulting in leak-tight refrigeration without the use of dynamic seals. Finally, using the same idler shaft arrangement common to other oil-free scroll compressors designed by Air Squared, the P09H014A-BLDC-SH-LC can operate efficiently without lubrication, allowing for use in microgravity and zero gravity.

Air Squared will extensively test the P09H014A-BLDC-SH-LC in the Zero-Gravity Vapor Compression Refrigerator for the remainder of 2020, with flight qualification expected in 2021.

Design Specifications

  • Volume Ratio: 5.46
  • Displacement: 15.24 cm3/Rev.
  • Max. Discharge Pressure: 5 barg
  • Max. Speed: 4,200 RPM
  • Nominal Power: 800 We
  • Motor: 24-48 VDC
  • Weight: 2.9 kg
  • Dimensions: 172 mm x 133 mm x 133 mm
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