Research results from a Chinese small-diameter copper-tube research consortium and published articles from Chinese OEMs have formed a foundation for the development of air-conditioning products that use less material and are more economical than those made with conventional tubes. Consortium members include the International Copper Association in New York, two universities and at least five air-conditioner OEMs.

Four papers with ICA co-authors encompass key aspects of coil design and testing, including subject matter such as tube circuitry, fin design and refrigerant behavior for heat exchanger coils made with small copper tubes.

The results "demonstrate the feasibility of making residential air-conditioners with small diameter copper tubes,” says Nigel Cotton, OEM initiative global leader at ICA.

Success with residential-use production may point the way for industrial advances.

Co-authors Wenson Zhang., Frank Gao and Kerry Song from ICA collaborated on two articles about small-tube copper with investigators from Shanghai Jiaotang University's Institute of Refrigeration and Cryogenics. They also collaborated on two articles with researchers from Xi’an Jiaotang University's School of Energy and Power Engineering, a leading heat transfer and air-conditioning research facility, according to ICA. Additional articles have been published by the consortium's OEM members. Abstracts and links to the research papers are at