Absorption Chillers and Heat Pumps: 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Absorption Chillers and Heat Pumps

2nd Edition

By Keith E. Herold, Reinhard Radermacher, Sanford A. Klein

CRC Press

354 pages | 190 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2016-04-04
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Significantly revised and updated since its first publication in 1996, Absorption Chillers and Heat Pumps, Second Edition discusses the fundamental physics and major applications of absorption chillers. While the popularity of absorption chillers began to dwindle in the United States in the late 1990’s, a shift towards sustainability, green buildings and the use of renewable energy has brought about a renewed interest in absorption heat pump technology. In contrast, absorption chillers captured a large market share in Asia in the same time frame due to relative costs of gas and electricity. In addition to providing an in-depth discussion of fundamental concepts related to absorption refrigeration technology, this book provides detailed modeling of a broad range of simple and advanced cycles as well as a discussion of applications.

New to the Second Edition:

  • Offers details on the ground-breaking Vapor Surfactant theory of mass transfer enhancement
  • Presents extensively revised computer examples based on the latest version of EES (Engineering Equation Solver) software, including enhanced consistency and internal documentation
  • Contains new LiBr/H2O property routines covering a broad range of temperature and the full range of concentration
  • Utilizes new NH3/H2O helper functions in EES which significantly enhance ease of use
  • Adds a new chapter on absorption technology applications
  • Offers updated absorption fluid transport property information

Absorption Chillers and Heat Pumps, Second Edition provides an updated and thorough discussion of the physics and applications of absorption chillers and heat pumps. An in-depth guide to evaluating and simulating absorption systems, this revised edition provides significantly increased consistency and clarity in both the text and the worked examples. The introduction of the vapor surfactant theory is a major new component of the book. This definitive work serves as a resource for both the newcomer and seasoned professional in the field.


"There are a number of published books on the technologies of refrigeration and heat pump[s] but most of them focus on compression refrigeration/heat pump cycles. To my knowledge, the book Absorption Chillers and Heat Pumps is the most comprehensive in covering all [of] the essential knowledge in the areas of absorption chillers and heat pumps. These include fundamentals, working fluid selections, single and double stage absorption systems, applications and modellings."

—Dr. Yunting Ge, Brunel University London, UK

Table of Contents


Heat Pumps

Heat-Driven Heat Pumps

Description of Current Absorption Chiller Products

Overview of Absorption Technology Market Trends

Absorption Cycle Fundamentals

Carnot Cycles

Absorption Heat Pump, Type I

Absorption Heat Pump, Type II

Absorption Heat Pump as Combination of Rankine Cycles

Reversible Analysis with Variable Temperatures

Irreversibilities in Absorption Cycle Processes

Zero-Order Absorption Cycle Model

Absorption Cycle Design Optimization

Homework Problems


Properties of Working Fluids

Analytical Treatment of Thermodynamic Properties

Graphical Perspective on Thermodynamic Properties of Absorption Working Fluids

Transport Properties

Homework Problems


Thermodynamic Processes with Mixtures

Mixing of Fluids and the Heat of Mixing

Specific Heat of Mixtures



Condensation and Evaporation




Ammonia Purification

Heat Exchangers

Homework Problems


Overview of Water/Lithium Bromide Technology

Fundamentals of Operation

Crystallization and Absorber Cooling Requirements

Corrosion and Materials Compatibility

Vacuum Requirements

Octyl Alcohol

Normal Maintenance and Expected Life


Homework Problems


Single-Effect Water/Lithium Bromide Systems

Single-Effect Water/Lithium Bromide Chiller Operating Conditions

Single-Effect Cycle with Heat Transfer Models

Single-Effect Water/Lithium Bromide Heat Transformer

(Type II Heat Pump)

Discussion of Available Single-Effect Systems

Homework Problems


Double-Effect Water/Lithium Bromide Technology

Double-Effect Water/Lithium Bromide Cycles

Solution Circuit Plumbing Options

Operating Conditions of Double-Effect Machines

Systems on the Market

Homework Problems


Advanced Water/Lithium Bromide Cycles

Half-Effect Cycle

Triple-Effect Cycle

Resorption Cycle

Homework Problems


Single-Stage Ammonia/Water Systems

Properties of Ammonia and Safety Concerns

Material Considerations

Water Content of the Refrigerant Vapor

Simple Single-Stage Ammonia/Water System

Measures to Improve Single-Stage Performance

Comparison of Ammonia/Water and Water/Lithium Bromide

Examples of Ammonia/Water Absorption Systems in Operation

Homework Problems


Two-Stage Ammonia/Water Systems

Double-Effect Ammonia/Water Systems

Double-Lift Ammonia/Water Systems

Two-Stage, Triple-Effect Ammonia/Water System

Homework Problems


Generator/Absorber Heat Exchange Cycles

Concepts, Configurations, and Design Considerations

Branched GAX Cycle

GAX Cycle Hardware

Homework Problems


Diffusion–Absorption Cycle


Cycle Physics

Choice of the Auxiliary Gas

Total Pressure of the System

Cycle Performance


Applications of Absorption Chillers and Heat Pumps

Industrial Waste Heat Utilization

Gas Turbine Inlet Air Cooling

Solar Absorption Cooling



Using EES (Engineering Equation Solver) to Solve Absorption Cycle Problems    


Recommended Way to Use EES (Example Problem 22)

Property Data in EES

Lithium-Bromide Water Property Libraries

Ammonia-Water Property Library

Coaxing a Set of Equations to Converge (Example 101)


Absorption Cycle Modeling  


Mass Balance Considerations  

Energy Balances  

Heat Transfer Processes  

Equation and Variable Counting  

Convergence Issues and Importance of Selecting an Initial Guess  

Equation Solvers  

Modeling a Water/Lithium Bromide Absorption Chiller

Mass Balances

Temperature Inputs

Energy Balances

UA Models      


Modeling an Ammonia-Water Absorption Chiller

The ABSIM Software Package


Introduction to ABSIM  

ABSIM Program Structure  

Selected Examples of ABSIM Simulations  

LiBr-Water Cycles

Water-Ammonia Cycles

LiCl-H2O Open and Hybrid Cycles

Vapor Surfactant Theory  



Vapor Surfactant Theory

Key Experimental Results

Drop Proximity Experiment

Active Surface Experiment

Surface Tension Measurements

Effect of flux on Enhancement

Modeling Marangoni Flows with Vapor Surfactant Effects



About the Authors

Keith E. Herold started working in absorption refrigeration during his PhD studies at The Ohio State University, Columbus. This research focus was motivated by his work at Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio, where he was involved in building and running custom absorption refrigeration cycles under contract to the US Department of Energy, among others. Subsequent to those experiences, he joined the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was the director of the Sorption Systems Consortium, which was funded by various companies. Dr. Herold has authored approximately 50 publications on the subject of absorption refrigeration and his group developed the vapor surfactant theory of mass transfer enhancement.

Reinhard Radermacher holds a diploma and PhD in physics from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and conducts research in heat transfer and working fluids for energy conversion systems—in particular, heat pumps, air conditioners, refrigeration systems, and integrated cooling heating and power systems. His work resulted in nearly 400 publications, as well as numerous invention records and patents. He has coauthored three books on absorption and vapor compression heat pumps. His research includes the development of software for the design and optimization of heat pumps and air conditioners, which is now in use at more than 60 companies worldwide.

Sanford A. Klein is an Emeritus Professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He received his PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1976, and has been a faculty member since 1977. He is the author or coauthor of more than 160 publications relating to energy systems. Professor Klein’s current research interests are in thermodynamics, refrigeration, and solar energy applications. In addition, he has been actively involved in the development of engineering computer tools for both instruction and research and the author of the EES program.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Energy
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Construction / Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / General