Chris Seeton is widely considered to be an expert in the compressor/refrigerant industry. He has the notable distinction of being the person who won the first battle that allows new low global warming refrigerant regulations to come into effect by serving as the Global Technology Leader at Honeywell and leading the industry’s effort to replace R134a with R1234yf which came to fruition in 2015 (an EPA CAFÉ credit of 13.8 gCO2/mile or ~3 mpg per vehicle by just changing the refrigerant). Even today, he continues to drive change in the industry by leading two cooperative research project groups through SAE on developing new heat pump systems for electric vehicles.
While Seeton was working on his PhD thesis, he developed a system designed to measure the thermophysical properties of refrigerant-lubricant mixtures. The entire system operates on a recirculation method utilizing a vibrating-tube densimeter for mixture density measurements, a Cambridge Viscosity oscillating piston viscometer for mixture viscosity measurements, platinum RTDs for temperature measurements, and a precision strain-gauge pressure transducer for solubility measurements.
What is unique about the system is that it analyzes the complete refrigerant/lubricant combination’s operating range (normally from -40° to 130°C and pressures up to 350 bar (5000 psi) in a week’s time, while a traditional analysis could take months. By being able to automate the measuring metrics, Seeton not only completes the analysis faster, but he can also more accurately control and interpret the data.
We've known Chris Seeton for many years, as our Cambridge Viscosity viscometers are critical components of the system he uses in his work. Recently, we sat down with him to really gain an understanding of what he's doing with the viscometers, and how he got to where he is, and what he's learned over the years.