Linear Compressors for Electronics Cooling: Energy Recovery and the Useful Benefits

Craig Bradshaw
Eckhard A. Groll
Suresh Garimella


A comprehensive model of a linear compressor for electronics cooling was previously presented by Bradshaw et al. (2011). The current work utilizes this model to explore the energy recovery characteristics of a linear compressor as compared to those of a reciprocating compressor. An analysis of the impact of dead (clearance) volume on both a linear and reciprocating compressor is presented. It is shown that the volumetric efficiency of linear and reciprocating compressors displays similar trends as the amount of dead volume in the cylinder is increased. However, the overall performance of the linear compressor remains relatively unaffected by an increase in dead volume while a reciprocating compressor suffers from a proportional decrease in overall performance. It is shown that this is due to the ability of a linear compressor to recapture energy of the compressed gas during the expansion process. This peculiar behavior allows a linear compressor to be used for efficient capacity control. An improved linear compressor design is proposed for an electronics cooling application, with a predicted cooling capacity of 200 W, a cylindrical compressor package size of diameter 50.3 mm, and a length of 102 mm.