ASHRAE Technical Committee 3.4

Scope of TC 3.4

TC 3.4 is concerned with all functions and interactions of lubrication in a refrigerant system, including physical and thermodynamic properties of refrigerant lubricant systems, all issues relating to the circulation of lubricants in a refrigerant system, and other lubrication concerns.


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: Lubricants in Refrigerant Systems

The primary function of a lubricant is to reduce friction and minimize wear. It achieves this by interposing a film between moving surfaces that reduces direct solid-to-solid contact or lowers the coefficient of friction. Understanding the role of a lubricant requires analysis of the surfaces to be lubricated. Although bearing surfaces and other machined parts may appear and feel smooth, close examination reveals microscopic peaks (asperities) and valleys. Lubricant, in sufficient amounts, creates a layer thicker than the maximum height of the mating asperities, so that moving parts ride on a lubricant cushion.

The ASHRAE REFRIGERATION HANDBOOK may be purchased from the on-line bookstore by clicking on the highlighted text.

Subcommittee meetings will restart in 2015.  Subcommittee Chair, Julie, is requesting 3.4 participants to send in data on HFO refrigerants as a start to the new chapter which will be issued in 2018.

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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.


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.


RTAR 1628 – "Physical Property Measurements of HFO/Lubricant Mixtures"
Joe Karnaz/Steve Kujak– New RTAR "physical property measurements of R32 HFO 1234YF and R32 HFO 1234ZE"

Will be moved from an RTAR to a work statement submittal, in addition HFO 1234ze(E) will be added to the refrigerant matrix. The work statement is being finalized. Chris will work with Scott Wujek to make this update by the October deadline.

Proposed RTAR

RTAR 1728  - "Development of a Model for the Prediction of oil/refrigerant mixture Properties of Low GWP Refrigerants and Synthetic Oils".
Julie Majurin will lead this effort with support from Joe Karnaz, Scott Wujek, Chris Seeton and Ed Hessell.
RTAR 1728 was submitted and approved

New Research Ideas in need of RTAR authors:

    1. Leak Detection of Flammable Refrigerants – Effect of Oil Leak rates of flammable refrigerants.
    2. Julie Majurin / Warren Clough / Chris Seeton – Discussed the need for research on foaming of lubricants under refrigerant pressure.
    3. Jacobs Limits and Oil Return – work with TC 10.10 – write RTAR and seek a co-sponsor. Chris Seeton will give existing data to Scott Wujek.
    4. Preferential solubility of High Glide Blends in lubricating oils. Safety and Performance.

       -Effect of lube from a leak of Flammable Refrigerants.
       -Fractionation of flammable fuel.
       -The affect lube has on a refrigerant leak.
       -Effect of lube in combination with a Refrigerant Leak.
        (Rob Yost and Chris Seeton will attempt to draft an RTAR by Mid- August)


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.

TC 3.4 is cognizant for these standards.

ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 86: Methods of Testing the Floc Point of Refrigeration Grade Oils

ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 99: Refrigeration Oil Description

Proposed Standard 172P: Method of Test for Insoluble Materials in Synthetic Lubricants and HFC Refrigerant Systems
This method has been on the books for a long time. Ed has established a path forward starting with creating mandatory language. A final product is 1-2 years out.

Proposed Standard 218P: Method of Test for Lubricant and Refrigerant Miscibility Determination

Other Activities

TIP: If MTG involvement add here otherwise leave blank.

TC 3.4 participates on the following multidisciplinary tsk group:
Lower Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants

MTG.Low GWP is established to coordinate 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

What information is available on the compatibility of lubricants with refrigerants? (86)