Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Possibilities, Limits, and Tradeoffs for Refrigerants in the Vapor Compression Cycle



Mark O. McLinden, Andrei F. Kazakov, J S. Brown, Piotr A. Domanski, Jae H. Heo


We explore the possibilities for refrigerants having low global warming potential (GWP) using two distinct, but complimentary, approaches. In the first approach, we evaluate the effect of a refrigerant’s fundamental thermodynamic parameters on its performance in the simple vapor compression cycle and several variations on the basic cycle; this defines the limits of what is thermodynamically possible for a refrigerant. The analysis employs evolutionary algorithms, and it identifies the critical temperature and ideal-gas heat capacity as the most significant fluid parameters. There is a fundamental tradeoff between high efficiency and high volumetric capacity for the vapor compression cycle. Performance differences between refrigerants in the simple cycle can be reduced by proper cycle modifications. In the second approach, we examine more than 56 000 chemical compounds from a public domain database of chemical structures. A subset of about 1200 candidate fluids is identified by applying screening criteria to estimates for GWP, flammability, stability, toxicity, and critical temperature. The fluids with critical temperatures below 400 K (i.e., those which could be used in current equipment with minor modifications), are dominated by halogenated olefins. Additional chemical families, including ethers and cyclic compounds, are represented among the fluids having critical temperatures above 400 K.
Proceedings Title
ASHRAE Transactions
Conference Dates
October 29-30, 2012
Conference Location
Gaithersburg, MD
Conference Title
2012 ASHRAE/NIST Refrigerants Conference
Gaithersburg, MD October 29-30, 2012


low ODP refrigerant, global warming potential, low GWP, vapor compression cycle


McLinden, M. , Kazakov, A. , Brown, J. , Domanski, P. and Heo, J. (2012), Possibilities, Limits, and Tradeoffs for Refrigerants in the Vapor Compression Cycle, ASHRAE Transactions, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 21, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created October 29, 2012, Updated February 19, 2017