Review on improvement for air source heat pump units during frosting and defrosting

Mengjie Song, Shiming Deng, Chaobin Dang, Ning Mao, Zhihua Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

272 Citations (Scopus)


Air source heat pump (ASHP) units have found worldwide applications due to their advantages of high energy efficient and environmental friendly. Frost deposition and accumulation on the surface of the outdoor coil in an ASHP unit is inevitable and always play significant negative effects. To accurately predict and control a frosting-defrosting cycle, the interrelated heat, mass, and momentum transport phenomena within frost, melted frost and at the air-frost interface, a moving boundary condition, should be clearly understood. This review paper focuses on the developments in frost retarding and defrosting investigations for ASHP units from 2000 to 2017. 12 frost retarding measures and 5 defrosting methods are firstly introduced, followed by 6 typical system optimization methods during reverse cycle defrosting. Alternative control strategies to start and end a defrosting operation are thereby presented. Basing on previous analysis, the existing gaps in the research works on frost retarding and defrosting are identified, and recommendations are finally offered as per the viewpoint of the present authors. This comprehensive and systematic review around an entire frosting-defrosting cycle might provide an overview of the analytical tools for scholars, researchers, product developers, and policy makers, and shed new light on the designing and performance optimization of ASHP units.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1150-1170
Number of pages21
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Air source heat pump
  • Control strategy
  • Defrosting method
  • Energy saving
  • Frost retarding measure
  • Reverse cycle defrosting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • General Energy
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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