Valves, bending fatigue, reliability.
Reed valves are the most common type of valves used in small compressors due to their simplicity and low cost. Such valves greatly affect the compressor volumetric and isentropic efficiencies and their suitable design is also crucial for reliability, since they may be subjected to severe bending and impact stresses. This paper reports an optimization procedure for reed type valves considering efficiency and bending fatigue, which is attained by coupling a thermodynamic model for the compression cycle and a finite element model for the valve dynamics. Then, a genetic algorithm is adopted to find different valve geometries that give the best compromise between efficiency and reliability. As an example, the method is applied to optimize the suction valve of a small reciprocating compressor.