Magnetic Cooling System
Researchers have discovered a new material that could revolutionize refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners, making them quieter, more efficient, and eco-friendly. Developed with funds from a U.S. Department of Energy grant and LSU’s LIFT (Leveraging Innovation for Technology Transfer) fund, the team has been exploring a number of applications for commercial as well as consumer use.
The patented concept utilizes what is known as a magnetocaloric material, which is heated and then placed inside a magnetic field. When it cools to room temperature, the field is removed and the temperature drops further, creating a cooling effect. Although the idea is not new, the innovation comes in being able to produce the reaction at room temperature. This requires the use of pure gallium, which is rare and expensive.
Although the technology is still in the early development stage, this solution addresses many issues that have prevented magnetocaloric materials from moving forward as a viable alternative. So, look for magneto-refrigerators coming available in a decade (or so).
For information: Shane Stadler, Louisiana State University, Department of Physics and Astronomy, 210F Nicholson Hall, Tower Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70803; phone: 225-578-2025; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: www.lsu.edu