Air conditioning

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Updated: 3/28/2003 12:52 pm Published: 3/28/2003 12:52 pm

One of the most expensive options offered on cars is the air conditioner. Here's a brief explanation of how this high priced item keeps you cool on the road. First of all, warm air inside the car is drawn through air ducts by a fan. The fan forces the warm air over the surface of the evaporator, which is cooled by a liquid refrigerant. This process cools the air and the fan returns the cool air to your car's interior. As the heat from the air is transferred to the liquid refrigerant, it causes the liquid to heat and vaporize. This vapor travels to a compressor which reduces the volume of the vapor. The compressed vapor is sent to the condenser, located at the front of the car. Like a radiator, the condenser cools the vapor by exposing it to forced air. This process returns the vapor to a liquid state so it can return to the evaporator and begin the process all over again. It's important to remember that your car's air conditioning refrigerant is under pressure, and can be dangerous if tampered with.

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