Refrigerant System Chemistry and Contaminant Control
ASHRAE Technical Committee 3.2

Scope of TC 3.2

TC 3.2 is concerned with all chemical reactions and contaminant control inside refrigerant systems. The primary focus includes effects of temperature, pressure and materials on chemical reaction rates. It also includes sources, generation, as well as control of water and other contaminants. Materials of interest include refrigerants, lubricants, additives, manufacturing chemicals and materials of construction. Scope includes identifying and quantifying contaminants that affect properties and performance of system components such as filters and driers. It is also concerned with contaminants during recovering, recycling and reclaiming refrigerants.

TC 3.2 members offer their wide knowledge on these topics in many different Society activities, through various subcommittees.  The subcommittee meetings are where the action is, so don't miss them. They are a good way for TC members to become more closely involved with the activities of the committee.


The ASHRAE Handbook is published in a series of four volumes, one of which is revised each year, ensuring that no volume is older than four years.

Refrigeration: Refrigerant System Chemistry
System chemistry deals with chemical reactions between refrigerants, lubricants, and construction materials of various system components (e.g., compressor, heat transfer coils, connecting tubing, expansion device). Higher temperatures or contaminants such as air, moisture, and unwashed process chemicals complicate chemical interactions between components. Phase changes occur in the refrigeration cycle; in particular, the temperature extremes from the highest discharge line temperature to the lowest evaporating temperature are of importance to the end user. This chapter covers the chemical aspects of refrigerants and lubricants, and their effects on materials compatibility.

The ASHRAE REFRIGERATION HANDBOOK can be purchased form the on-line bookstore by clicking the highlighted link.

Handbook 2018 Update:

The Handbook committee is working 2018 Refrigeration Chapter 6 Refrigerant System Chemistry. Adding a section on HFO refrigerants, Material Compatibility and Degradation Process.

Committee Members Greg Smith, Rosine Rohatgi, Brad Boggess, Ed Hessell, Warren Clough and Sonny Sundaresan
Reviewers will include – Elise Sorensen

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Technical committees develop and sponsor technical sessions at the winter and annual conferences. Information about their future technical program is discussed at each TC meeting and at the TC’s Program Subcommittee meeting.

ASHRAE publishes papers and transactions from presentations at its conference events. In addition, ASHRAE records most of the seminar sessions from its conferences on DVD. These DVDs are ideal for use at chapter meetings, in university courses, or company lunch and learns. Products available from the most recent conference may be found here.

Seminar 54: Chemistry of New and Retrofit with Low GWP Refrigerants
11:00am – 12:30pm, GWCC, 4th floor, Building A, A410

Seminar 7: Critical Mobile Food Refrigeration Systems Using Low-GWP Refrigerants TC10.6 
Sunday, January 13 9:45 AM–10:45 AM Location: GWCC, 3rd Floor, Building A, A302
Seminar 12: Life After R-404A – TC 10.7 
Sunday, January 13 11:00 AM–12:30 PM Location: GWCC, 3rd Floor,Building A, A305
Seminar 23: Advances in Low-GWP Refrigeration System Architectures TC10.7 & 8.1 
Monday, January 14 8:00 AM–9:30 AM Location: GWCC, 4th Floor, Building A, A410
Seminar 33: Low GWP Refrigerants: Components and System Designs TC 8.4/3.1/8.1 
Monday, January 14 11:00 AM–12:00 PM Location: GWCC, 3rd Floor, Building B, B313a
Seminar 40: Update on Global Policies and Programs for Best Use of Refrigerants TC 7.3 Monday
January 14 2:15 PM–3:45 PM Location: GWCC, 3rd Floor, Building B, B313b
Seminar 46: Refrigerant Flammability Fundamentals TC 3.1 
Tuesday, January 15 8:00 AM–9:30 AM Location: GWCC, 3rd Floor, Building A, A302
Seminar 51: Ground-Source Heat Pumps Using Carbon Dioxide 
Tuesday, January 15 9:45 AM–10:45 AM Location: GWCC, 4th Floor, Building A, A404 


Technical Committees are responsible for identifying research topics, proposing research projects, selecting bidders, and monitoring research projects funded by ASHRAE. Information about their specific research program is discussed at each TC meeting and at the TC’s Research Subcommittee meeting.

TC 3.02 has the following on-going research project.

Co-sponsoring Committee: TC 3.3, Refrigerant Contaminant Control

The objective is to develop the understanding of the impacts of R-40 contamination on the safety and reliability of HVAC&R equipment. Outcomes of this research will be immediate adoption of safe contaminant limits by refrigerant purity specifications for SAE, AHRI standards and by HVAC&R manufacturers and users.

Research Strategy:

The research strategy of TC 3.2 is to investigate all chemical interactions within a refrigeration or air conditioning system with special emphasis on the refrigerant, lubricant and all materials of construction including metals, elastomers, polymers, electrical motor insulation, and desiccants. The effect of time, temperature, pressure, electricity, catalytic metals, and contaminants such as moisture, air, process chemicals, etc. on the type and rate of chemical reactions is of primary interest.

Summary of the research discussed at the Atlanta 2015 meeting.
An RTAR has been completed - Water Level Effects on Low GWP Refrigerants – Brad Boggess is working on the document in conjunction with TC 3.3 who approved to Co-Sponsor. The documents were sent to RAC - RAC has returned documents asking for more data. Brad is working on the re-write.

Steve Kujak and Mark Baker are still working on a RTAR titled: Mechanistic Studies of HFO Decomposition – Reactions taking place in the HVAC/R system.

A work statement (WS) to the follow-up work on RP-1410 was drafted by Julie Majurin in Chicago and submitted to the RAC liaison, Mark Spatz, along with the cover sheet for his comments. Julie made the minor changes to the document and submitted to a few individuals for review. These changes were found to be acceptable and since they were minor in nature it was agreed that no TC voted was needed to approve the modifications. The incoming TC 3.2 chair, Rosine Rohatgi, will submit the amended document along with the previous cover sheet to Mike Vaughn of RAC.

Dave Wilson, SSPC 34 Chair, contact the TC 3.2 chair to request some assistance with potential technical advice or a research project on a refrigerant and refrigerant blend that the SSPC 34 committee is evaluating for ASHRAE designation. The refrigerant and blend is HFO-1123 and blends with the HFO submitted by Asashi Glass. There is concerns with the stability of HFO-1123 and maybe some research will be required to make this evaluation. The committee discussed the situation and the overall feeling was that this refrigerant has potential stability issues but even if testing was done to prove this SSPC 34 had no mechanism in place to use this information to decline assigning a designation. Based on this the committee felt ASHRAE research dollars should not be used for this project. This information will be relayed by the TC 3.2 chair back to Dave Wilson.

Hydrogen Fluoride Capacity of Desiccants.- Sponsored by TC 3.3. and TC 3.2 will co sponsor.


 ASHRAE writes standards for the purpose of establishing consensus for: 1) methods of test for use in commerce and 2) performance criteria for use as facilitators with which to guide the industry. ASHRAE publishes the following three types of voluntary consensus standards: Method of Measurement or Test (MOT), Standard Design and Standard Practice. ASHRAE does not write rating standards unless a suitable rating standard will not otherwise be available. ASHRAE is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and follows ANSI's requirements for due process and standards development. Standards may be purchased at the ASHRAE Bookstore.

Std. 97 – Sealed Glass Tube Method to Test the Chemical Stability of Materials for Use Within Refrigerant Systems

GPC 38P (Former Standard 175: - Guideline for Using Metal Pressure Vessels to Test Materials Used in Refrigeration Systems

Std. 177 - Method of Test for Measuring Fractionated Compositions of Refrigerant Blends

New Ideas for Standards
New Standard/Guideline : “Method of Testing the Compatibility of Materials with Refrigerant
and Lubricant” (Marc Scancarello and Steve Baker)

Other Activities

TIP: If MTG involvement add here otherwise leave blank.

MTG: Lower Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants

MTG.LowGWP coordinates TC/TG/TRG technical activities to help transition the HVAC&R industry to sustainable lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) alternative refrigerants. The MTG will further request participation from US EPA and AHRI. The MTG responsibilities include suggestions for research, development and presentation of technical programs of all types on alternative lower GWP refrigerants, suggestions for Life Cycle Climate Performance (LCCP) systems evaluation for different applications, development of lower GWP solutions for different applications, and a special publication detailing aspects of LCCP applied to the HVAC&R fields. 


ASHRAE Technical FAQs are provided as a service to ASHRAE members, users of ASHRAE publications, and the general public. While every effort has been made to ensure their accuracy and reliability, they are advisory and provided for informational purposes only, and in many cases represent only one person’s view. They are not intended and should not be relied on as an official statement of ASHRAE. Technical questions not addressed may be submitted to the ASHRAE Technical Services department at