‘Magnetic’ fridge up to 40% more efficient
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a new alloy that becomes cold when placed in a magnetic field. This alloy, a blend of cobalt, manganese, silicon and germanium, could lead to new refrigerators that are up to 40% more efficient than today’s conventional types, as well as a super-efficient air conditioning.
This is achieved due to the magnetocaloric effect (MCE), whereby a magnetic field causes certain materials to get warmer (a positive MCE) or cooler (a negative MCE). This effect has been known for over a century, but what makes this new development significant is it is the first of it’s type that is non-toxic, affordable and provides significant cooling at room temperature.
Combining this technology with new types of insulation, possibly developed using nanotechnology instead of chemicals, refrigerators of the future could be substantially more efficient than even the best models we have now, but there are many other possibilities, such as magnetic air conditioning.
Towards the magnetic fridge – PhysOrg