The new cool: magnetocaloric material to change the way we chill
Physicists have discovered a breakthrough new material that could revolutionise the cooling industry, including food refrigeration and air conditioning. Louisiana State University (LSU) physicists have discovered a magnetocaloric material that could change how we create cool temperatures.
LSU Physics Professor Shane Stadler’s research focuses on the next generation of magnetic cooling technologies, which are reportedly simpler in design, quieter and more environmentally friendly than conventional compressed-gas systems.
Here’s how the patent-pending material works: A magnetic field magnetically orders the material at ambient temperature, raising its temperature above ambient. The excess heat is removed through a thermal medium, such as water or air, bringing the material back to ambient temperature.
When the magnetic field is removed, the material becomes magnetically disordered and its temperature drops below ambient temperature, creating a cooling effect. According to Stadler, this ‘solid state’ cooling process is far more energy efficient than compressed gas systems currently on the market.
“We’ve studied these systems for a long time and were fortunate to discover a system in which a magnetic transition coincided in temperature with a structural transition,” Stadler said.
“That this magnetostructural transition occurs near room temperature is what makes it a strong candidate for magnetocaloric cooling devices of the future.”
After further testing, the material will be developed for commercial use in the heating and cooling industry.
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