Chris Millward

Research & Development Director, voestalpine Precision Strip AB

Cool Perfection – High-tech steel’s contribution to energy efficient refrigeration.

For the compressors that are the beating heart of refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners, reliable long-term operation is one of the most important features.

As a component within the compressor, the flapper valve plays a crucial part in influencing the compressor’s life time by accommodating the constant movement required to regulate the flow of refrigerant.  A successful flapper valve material therefore has to accommodate this constant movement by having sufficient fatigue strength.

In addition to sufficient life time, there is an ever growing need for increasing levels of  energy efficiency and also a more recent desire for these white goods to produce less obtrusive noise levels.

The natural approach to accommodating increased demands for energy efficiency and lower noise levels is to make the flapper valves thinner.  The challenge is therefore to produce a valve steel where the fatigue life is sufficient for the expected life of the appliance from ever thinner valves.