People living in warm climates get tempted to start using A/C as the average temperature of the earth starts rising. Although according to the Department of Energy of the U.S., traditionally used residential air conditioners consume almost 16% of the total electricity used in all domestic units in the U.S. In such condition, the day is not far away until magnetic air conditioners will help in keeping the interior of your homes cool without heating its exterior.
Working of Traditional A/C
The working of traditional air conditioners depends upon converting the liquid refrigerant into a gas by absorbing heat from external air and converting the gas into liquid again by cooling and compressing it. In the magnetic air conditioners, they will use magnets instead of refrigerants and compressors to cool the air around you.
Magnetic Air Conditioners
Use of Magnetocaloric Effect
Magnetocaloric effect is the basic concept used in magnet based A/Cs. The materials used in magnets heat up when entering in a magnetic field and cool down when removed from it. In 1881, Emil Warburg, a German physicist, discovered this magnetocaloric effect initially but the small change in temperature was not adequate for practical usage. Recently, certain groups of researchers have developed metal alloys that show magnetocaloric effect, at room temperature, to a considerably larger amount.
Working of Magnet Based Air Conditioners
These air conditioners will cool the air by exposing the material of its magnets to a magnetic field repeatedly and quickly to produce a greater amount of magnetocaloric effect. U.S. DOE’s Ames (Iowa) Laboratory in collaboration with Astronautics Corporation of America has developed a prototype in which a wheel containing gadolinium, a rare earth element, spins through a stationary magnetic field to heat up its material. It cools down while passing through the gap in the field to cool down the water surrounding it through its repeated spins.
The technology used in latest magnet based air conditioner is environment friendly as it does not need HCFCs or hydrochlorofluorocarbons used in traditional air conditioners as a refrigerant as its alloy works as refrigerant and heat are transferred by using old water. Though it may need electricity to spin its alloy disk, it can still be much less than what’s required to run compressor of traditional A/Cs.
Future of a Magnet Based Air Conditioner
Many government agencies, universities and private companies along with researchers all over the world are trying to develop the technology of magnetic cooling for running refrigerators and air conditioners to control climatic effect for domestic and industrial usage.
Although magnetic air conditioners have been proven to be more environmentally friendly than installing a traditional air conditioning system, they still have ways to go before people can begin implementing these systems in their homes. The commercial production of magnetic air conditioners is still a few years away, even if several people are working on improving the technology for them.